Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Hardest Part of Moving is Giving Up Your House

I have to begin this post by saying that Cory and I love our house. Love, love, LOVE our house. The day we first set foot in it, we knew it was the house for us. It has an amazing open floor plan, hard wood floors, lots of built in fixtures, and a basement with serious man-cave potential. It's also an older house (built in the 1950s), and being someone who grew up in an old house, the quirks and imperfections made me feel right at home.

Our house in Iowa pictured after a heavy snow
It even has impractically large trees in the yard! I love this house!
Almost as soon as Ireland became a reality, Cory and I took a wistful look around our home and called our realtor to discuss putting it on the market. It was late February, and our hope was to have the house up for sale in mid-March, when we would be traveling to the Dominican Republic for Keri and Kent's wedding. I think Cory will agree with me when I say that going through the experience of prepping a house for sale is very educational. We had been so cozy in our house, that it was hard to see the flaws anymore. We learned quickly what small things we could do to make our house as attractive as possible.

Our efforts were essentially two-pronged. First, fix any and all blemishes. I must give major credit to Cory for this end of things. Cory diligently filled in all nail holes and fixed dry wall dings and scrapes. He put new paneling in the sun room. He caulked things and painted things and cleaned things. He's pretty much my hero. Substantial effort was eventually required from both of us when we learned the hard way that getting touch-up paint to match a wall that was painted at least four years ago is nearly impossible. We had to repaint several rooms in the house to ensure uniform color after the dry wall touch-ups.

Second, strip the house of any and all personality or character. Apparently the more reminders there are that someone actually lives in the house, the less attractive it is to potential buyers. I completely understand the need for this, but it really was the most emotionally taxing part of the process. When you spend a few years building a nest that is warm and comfy and feels like home, it hurts to take it all down. I packed up all of our pictures and removed all of our decor (except for the basement, which I left to Cory as it contained all of his most prized possessions). I cleaned out all of our cabinets, closets, and drawers so that they only held the minimum amount of stuff we needed. Everything else was thrown away, sent to consignment, or was hidden from the critical eyes of home-buyers in boxes we stored in the basement.

The finishing touches were handled by our hard-working realtor. She staged the house once it had been fixed up and cleaned out. She did a very nice job, as evidenced by the pictures from the listing:

The small room off the kitchen shown staged when the house was for sale

The living room of our house staged when the house was for sale

The small bedroom in our house staged for sale

The master bedroom staged for sale

Second bedroom staged for sale

Basement staged for sale

Kitchen staged for sale

Dining area staged for sale

Fireplace staged for sale

It was a few weeks of hard work, but it paid off because sure enough, our house was on the market the day we left for the wedding. Even better, an offer was made on the house within the first day! We spent our first few hours in the Dominican Republic making phone calls and finding an internet connection so we could sign the offer. Then we had even more to celebrate!

We have now cleared all of the house selling hurdles including the appraisal and inspection, and are in the process of finishing our packing for the move. We close in about a month, and then we will have to bid our lovely home sl├ín leat (that's "goodbye to you" in Irish--don't be impressed, I had to look it up). One of the saddest parts of moving is leaving this house, the first that Cory and I adopted and made our own. We will always love it, and we hope that the next owners will care for it as much as we did.


  1. I couldn't relate more to this post. I am in the process of doing the same thing. I felt like the only one on the planet in this situation and yet... here you are. I, as well, am making a big leap of faith moving the Eire. Alone at 45 years of age, I have some guts to be starting over as most people say, but sometimes I think I' just plain crazy. I love this house, but its all I have. I am ready to give it up; to close a window and open a door. Start the next chapter of my life. Without a support system its the scariest, most adventurous thing you will ever do to kick start your life back into gear. I'm going there to go to school. Thats how they will let me stay at this point. I have no job transfer, no skills from the DJEI highly skilled occupations list. They would not even give me my nursing license there. So I'm going back to school to obtain an MBA. Hopefully from there I will get to stay since there will be nothing to come back to. Its a big gamble and I'm going through my things room by room... what to take what to leave...organizing so that yes, the house does not look lived in, but move-in ready. Life is a gamble and instead of betting black or red, we are putting it all on green!!

    1. Gina- Thank you for reading and leaving your thoughts. It sounds like you are in for quite an adventure. We wish you the very best of luck. If ever have questions, drop us a line on the CONTACT page of the blog and we'd be happy to exchange emails. We can tell you a lot about the paperwork involved in the big international move.

      Good luck again on your own big move.

  2. Wow, you got an offer pretty quickly


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