Here is my story of my family’s purchase of a larger home (we were bursting at the seams!) just this past April 2020. It was my opinion, and my teams’, that we were going to see a pause in the Real Estate Market and when restrictions were eased there was going to be significant pent up demand. I trusted this belief and my wife and I had been tracking the market for a solid 6 months. We found a home we felt would work just right for us and we pulled the trigger despite some uncertainty in the market to say the least. Essentially, my money was where my mouth was. To be honest, I was more excited than scared but that was not by a landslide! I recall the looks on friends and even some colleagues’ faces when I told them I was in contract to purchase a home. There were the genuine congratulatory comments, but there was an undertone of skepticism they just couldn’t hide. You are making your move-up purchase NOW? We ratified the contract the day after SIP started! Needless to say, I had a few sleepless nights and take that reminder to heart as I work with clients going through the same process.
It’s an interesting experience managing a real estate transaction on behalf of yourself. I have done it before of course, but it always reminds me of all the points of angst and stress. Why would the seller not agree to this or that? Why can’t we get this document the lender is asking for signed quickly? LOL, I sounded like a normal buyer at times and I have been involved in over 500 transactions! Nonetheless, we worked through it. My inspectors and contractors were able to work with me as normal – thankfully the home we purchased was vacant. We took care of some termite related work, repaired the sewer line (I dug a hole 5 feet in the ground and had to give up and hire a contractor to finish the job, my neighbors immediately knew I was crazy!) and personalized it with a bunch of paint and a few fixtures. Meanwhile, without youth sports and extracurricular activities, my family turned to a lot of furniture refreshing projects. We painted dressers, cabinets, and even a few doors when we moved in!
Moving day was April 17 and the moving company sent the cavalry. It was fantastic to have such a large crew but imagine how you felt about shared surfaces and strangers touching your things at that time (and now). The guys were great, super polite and professional, but literally everything I owned was handled by strangers. My wife was a disinfection machine!
Once that moving truck drove away it was on! We had been preparing for the move for weeks, packing and prepping, and all four of us (my son is 11, daughter is 13) dove into boxes! I think my son’s room was set up in less than 30 minutes. My wife, an interior design major in college, ran the show and we took orders happily. And while we were able to knock it out quickly, it was like an endless supply of boxes full of STUFF.
That next morning we woke up to see the “Chalk Bandits” work on our driveway with a colorful welcome to the neighborhood message. Many neighbors were very welcoming with introductions and a few really nice bottles of wine, we really felt welcome!
In no time at all we were very settled in and I was enjoying a new work space. I adopted a 2 screen set up, put together my office decor (100% sports of course), and felt I had a better setup than the Compass office! My wife and the kids turned the dining room into a hybrid classroom and the last few months of home schooling were much improved due to the new space dedicated to education. As it became more and more clear that this virus was going to affect us for a long time, we were so grateful to have a home that was much more conducive to work, study, play, and exercise.
It was a smooth process but it wasn’t without some hiccups along the way. Personally, I never misplace my keys or phones. Never. In the first month I managed to lose my work phone, on a Monday morning, to the point where I had to go and get a replacement phone in Pleasanton. My wife later found it that afternoon in a bag of extension cords?! No idea. I could not find my keys one day, my head phones the next, it was as if I was constantly searching for something. But I could tell you what and where each item in every shelf and rafter in the garage was!
As we settled in, the COVID restrictions for our industry were loosened, and on May 4th we officially had the ability to show unoccupied and occupied homes. The market “pause” was over and the pent up demand came on strong! The market has remained strong and we are experiencing one of the strongest summers we have seen in quite some time. But let’s consider if the market had not rebounded? That would not have changed how functional our new home was and therefore how much our quality of life had increased.
It is an experience we will never forget. “Our move during the COVID-19 pandemic.” My family is definitely much closer and when we take on a project together we have confidence we can get it done because of what we gained from this experience. I am happy to share all the things we learned and make the process for you even better!