Sixty Days in Real Estate

Sixty Days. Seems like a long time doesn’t it? We sold our house and had 60 days to find a new one. 60 days flew.

So wondering where I have been? Let’s catch up.

We sold our house in Norwalk in late July and had exactly 60 days to clean out, organize, pack, find a mover, find a new home, find an apartment in case we couldn’t find a new home…well you get the idea. Something had to give and it could not be my family or clients.

First task, find a real estate agent. We chose Phoebe Leask, of Emmy & Co. from Higgins Group to help us in the search for a new home. She and her team are incredibly knowledgeable about and connected in Fairfield and I didn’t have a minute to waste. I met Phoebe through my BNI Merritt Madness group and really liked her balance of warmth but ‘get it done’ business sense. Selling a home and then buying a new one is a highly emotional decision. I needed someone who understood what I was going through while simultaneously acknowledging that I had a long list of needs and wants for our new home and had to move fast.

Phoebe insisted that we have a needs list and a wants list. Our top three on the needs list were an open floor plan (something similar to the one above), master bath and back yard. Our daughter still has a playground and we love to entertain outdoors. Oh and it had to be close to our daughter’s school – that was non-negotiable. Ok, so we got down to four absolute musts. On the wants list were a 2 car garage, finished (or finishable) basement and a place to “live” during the renovation.

Phoebe and I looked at 40 different houses in two weeks – not the above 40 – but now I think I want this book. My husband saw only the ones we really liked. I knew what he wanted – a man cave – we are a good team that way.

We went round and round on negotiations for three houses over the course of five weeks. I was just amazed at dealing with sellers who didn’t really want to sell their homes. Really? All of those people tromping in and out. I couldn’t wait to be done! I was ready to throw in the towel and just rent a beautiful Avalon apartment for six months. The process was so stressful that I signed up for an exam prep course for the LEED Green Associate with Bill Janhonen. I plan on taking the exam in the next month. It was wonderful to go to class and think about something other than the move. But that’s another post.

With Hurricane Irene’s imminent arrival, we rushed to batten down instead of heading off to our much-needed vacation. Knowing that we were moving out mid-September, we did not have many groceries and the batteries and flashlights were already packed, but our generator was ready. By candlelight, I continued to organize and pack boxes. We were very fortunate to only have one downed large tree branch. You can imagine how concerned we were with a contract for sale.

Monday dawned bright and sunny. We packed the car and hit the road for Fenwick Island, DE.  While on the road, we received word from a lovely family at our church that we could rent their apartment close to school while we continued to look for our home. I breathed a momentary sigh of relief and then my husband said “I just want to move straight to our new home.” I realized that at that point it no longer mattered what the home was like, my husband was not willing to move twice.

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do – after all we were headed on vacation, so I simply put it out there to the universe “find me a new home that I actually want to live in.” The one we were negotiating on had so many problems – causing us too many sleepless nights before we even moved in.

It was the most relaxing vacation ever. Maybe it was just sheer exhaustion from the move, but I was in full vacation mode by Tuesday morning. We had important decisions to make each morning – beach? pool? boat? mini-golf? Every single day was absolutely glorious – it was hard to imagine that mother nature had just slammed us with a hurricane. I didn’t spend one minute thinking about where we would live when we got back home. I was much too busy having fun!

By Friday morning I had my answer. Phoebe sent me an email about a home that had just come on the market. It was the perfect size, the right price, a lovely little backyard and only a mile and a half from DD’s school. The catch? We wouldn’t see it until the following Wednesday because we were on vacation! We drove home that Tuesday in the after-effects of Hurricane Lee. With all of the rain here in CT, a tree fell across the Merritt Parkway so instead of seeing our new home we were left waiting some of us more patiently than others on the highway…

When we saw it Wednesday, we knew it was a perfect fit for us. From there, the entire process was so easy, we just knew it was right. We had a 10 night stint at a hotel in between closing dates, but it was fun and we had a kitchenette so we did not have to eat every meal out.

This was my view from our front door on the day we moved in. I didn’t ask for a sign, but I believe I received one anyway.

Now, we are negotiating piles of boxes, creating a rudimentary kitchen setup in the second kitchen downstairs (how great is that!) and interviewing contractors for the renovation. We are so happy in our new home. Sometimes, I can’t even believe it is true.

Stay tuned for posts on the renovation process…

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