Moving . . . into another Transition

If it seems that I have been absent from this blog for awhile you are right. So. . . it’s been over a month since any blog posts. Sorry, about that.

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But now it is fall, a season of changing leaves and big changes for the Greenes. Ready to hear why my blog has been stalled: we are moving!

Luke and I have been living on the East Coast for almost four years.  We started this blogging adventure soon after moving to stay in touch with friends and family.

After four years of marriage living more than a thousand miles away it is time to move “home”, which for us is the Northwest. We are ready to be near family in an environment that is familiar to us.

This has been a plan long in the making.  Although we have enjoyed visits from family this summer, most of our time has been spent checking off our lengthy to-do list for this transition.

In many ways that hard work is behind us. Part of July and most of August for Luke was spent applying to and interviewing with employers all the while trying to keep up with his current job while others went on vacations. At the same time, we had a lengthy list of house projects to complete before putting it on the market. So every weekend was packed with trips to Lowes and house work.

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But our house is now on the market, it makes this long process real when you have a for sale sign in front.

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And just last week Luke accepted a job offer in Centralia Washington. So now we know where we are moving to. We are blessed that this will be only a few hours of travel from family and not a whole day in a plane (with jet lag).

Meanwhile I just started my last semester of teaching here. My employers gave me the opportunity to work alongside a co-teacher, providing me with a chance to work while also giving me the freedom to leave before the semester ends. I am also now looking into jobs in the Centralia area for the Spring.

So there it is: we are moving and into another transition. And now that you all know, you will be updated as we move forward.

Home Improvement Update

We are slowly making progress on changes to the house.  Old shelving and nails from pictures have been removed from the walls downstairs and the holes filled them in. We also picked up paint for the walls and trim so the next step is to scrub the walls and touch-up paint where it’s needed.

Also very exciting news: the bright orange street light out side our bedroom is gone. The NYSEG came by and took down the pole and all! So we finally moved into our master bedroom.

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With some Christmas money we are starting to decorate the house; buying rugs and curtains. It took Luke some convincing that they were more than just decorations. But once he realized the heating bill for our place and that the rugs and curtains can help with insulation he was on board.

We have a wonderful new living room rug. It brings so much more color to the space! And we are waiting for the delivery of thermal curtains for the sliding glass door in the living room and curtain panels for the bedroom.

The piano tuner came back this past week so the piano is now in real working order and Luke is working on creating a workshop space for himself in the back storage/laundry room.

With all of the cold and snow it’s nice to know there are plenty of projects to do in the house while staying warm.

Do you have any winter projects?

New Home Ownership

It has been more than two weeks since we closed on the house  and they have been busy ones at that. I apologize for being behind on updates but we are going on our third week without internet at home. So I will try to write/send posts when I can and hopefully by next week I can get back into my writing routine.

About two weeks ago we moved the most essential items over to our new place including our bathroom items, clothes for work for the week, food, cleaning supplies, a basic set of dishes, and chairs and a table to eat at.

As we settled in and started to cleaning  we discovered little items that needs to be fixed or changed.

That sunday night we discovered that the shower in the upstairs bathroom was leaking from the faucet head and the temperature settings had been stuck with room temperature as the hottest. Needless to say that night there were very quick showers. (This has since then be fixed).

The toilet downstairs tended to continue to run after your flushed it so it had been turned off until we could fix it and both toilets took major scrubbing.

The well water was running a little brown for the first cycle and it took running the water a few hours to get it clear and safe to drink. Also, we discovered that the shelves in all upstairs closets do not include a rod to hand clothes on.

Exhausted on Sunday night as we got ready to sleep our first night in the new home we turned off the lights in the house to discover a bright orange glow coming through the windows. A previous owner has requested a government streetlight on the property. We did not understand this but figured we would pay the bill for the first month expecting the light, which is on a timer, would go off before midnight; it did not. So we have called to get the light turned off. Two weeks later and it has not been turned off yet.

We have been changing the lock, scrubbing shelves and walls, removing dusty curtains, peeling off decorative apple decals from the kitchen cabinets and so much more. And of course there is still so much to be done: The light fixtures to all rooms need to be taken down and cleaned out of bugs. The front of the house needs to be pressure washed clean of dirt and spider webs. Speaking of spider webs we need to de-bug the house and of course start to clean out the gutters and clear the many leaves in our driveway and yard. The list feels endless and the dollar signs for supplies we need to do these routine maintenance items are adding up in our head as we wander home depot for the 4th time this week.

Do not take all of this as complaining; any of you who own a home or remember buying your first home I am sure are laughing and nodding in agreement with our experiences. We are grateful for the work, grateful for the house, and grateful for the responsibility. It is a lot to take on but we are doing it and we are doing it together.

We can’t wait to share our progress and of course a few picture (I promise they are coming) and how we are slowly making this house in our new home.

Over due Update: Closing on the House

So I know it has been more than a month since I have written and I hope in the next few weeks to take the time to explain the many reasons why. But before I do I am excited to say we have finally closed on our house!!

We were supposed to close on September 12th but ended up waiting for the sellers to get a survey done of the property and then for the lawyer we are working with (required for NY state instead of an escrow company) to take care of the title. At the end of every week we waited impatiently to find out if we could set a closing date to sign paperwork.

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Then finally last week we got all paperwork in and we could set a closing date. The hard part then was figuring out if I was going to get a sub or if Luke was going to take a half day of work in order to make this happen.  In the end Luke took a half day yesterday from work and we went up to the house around noon to do a final walk through. The roof of the house and front yard are covered in leaves as the many trees on the property and around it are turning a bright yellow then falling to the ground. (I guess it’s time to get a leaf blower and ladder)

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We were told originally that the sellers would be leaving some furniture and other items in the house. So we were curious what was left that we would either keep or have to try to haul away. So we were surprised when we arrived to find the house completely bare minus a few curtains. At the same time we were finally able to see the true square footage of the house; it felt so much larger! We also had to rearrange where we had planned in our minds to put furniture now that we could see where the intake and heating vents were in the floors (which were covered by rugs or furniture before).

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The only thing missing: the microwave. So overall it went well and we were promised a check to cover the microwave they took. We went to sign paperwork around three back in Corning at the lawyers office. We signed mountains of paperwork, were handed all of our housing information including survey of the property, and most important the keys to the house!

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Afterwards reality hit: we have this beautiful empty house that we need to move into! But we did take a small break from planning how to get all of our stuff from point A to point B to celebrate with a late dinner of prime rib.

So that’s the update for now. I promise there is much more to come as I try to catch everyone up on the last -more-than-a-month of my absence including pictures of our first home!

House Hunting: The Grand Finale

For more on this topic see other posts entitled house hunting

I know I left you all wondering whether we had given up on this house-hunting thing after all considering our time crunch and frustrations. But as this post indicates the hunt is over!

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After our hiatus from looking two weeks ago we decided to give it one more try: fifth times the charm right? Luke ended up having this past Monday off from work so we once again looked up what was available online, created a list of 11 homes, and sent it to our realtor (who rightly was becoming a little impatient). He picked us up at 2pm and we took the now familiar drive up to the Dansville area.

Of the 11 homes we wanted to see at only 7 were still available; of course this disappointed us. We hit six not so great options through the Dansville/Wayland area with major issues such as low ceilings, horrible updates, uneven floors, half done updates, unfinished (no drywall) rooms, and bad locations.

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House number one:

Fortunately we had two great options. One of the realtors in the Dansville area decided to show us a house that had just come on the market:  four hours before we saw it. House number one is an old 1900’s victorian in downtown Wayland that had been totally updated. The owners had had a fire and used the insurance money to invest in some major changes to the home: brand new roof, updated master bedroom with skylights, upstairs laundry in the bathroom, etc.

With four bedrooms and two full baths the house is larger then we need.  The kitchen is open and although there is not a lot of cabinet/cupboard space there is plenty of room to put in more. The yard is well kept although only .22 of an acre and has a new fence around the property (which is not standard out here for you west coast people).

Our concerns were mainly about the location: because of all of the updates this is the nicest house on the block. Plus many homes in the area are currently for sale; there is no way to tell the location’s value over time -a bit of a gamble. The other issue is  the house next door is a rental with four tenants and they share the double-wide driveway with this home.

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House number two

House number two was the first house we saw. It is an older 1800’s home with a more simple victorian style right about 5 minutes from the freeway  and 10 minutes from downtown Wayland. The home has three bedrooms and two full baths on an acre of property half wooded.

The previous owners had invested time to update the roof, vinyl siding, restore the floors or put in pergo, paint and update the water heater etc.. The current owners have been using the property as a winter/holiday house and so are not living in it.  The floors and ceilings do buckle/tilt a little in certain places because of the age of the home but the house itself is stable. The kitchen is large and open with plenty of cabinet and counter space and although there is currently no garage there is room to build one.

Our concerns with the place were mainly seasonal; about .25 of a mile up to the house is dirt/gravel road. We were not sure if in the winter we would run into problems being able to get to the main road. But after talking to Luke’s co-workers who live on such roads we felt confident that with a few adjustments (snow tires etc.) we would function just fine.

So which one did we choose? After all of our searching and options what do you think?

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We went with house number 2. We decided although house number 1 was wonderfully updated we were unsure about the location and what we would do with that large of an old home. Whereas with number 2 although it has less fancy updates we knew we could make it our own besides the fact that is has a better  location and more land.

We placed our first bid on Tuesday afternoon did one counter offer and re-bid and by Wednesday we had an accepted bid! By Saturday we were back up at the house with the inspector who said the place was great and  he was jealous. The current owners have already moved everything out of the second floor so we are well on our way towards a closing date and more than a little relieved that we have a hopeful house and the hunt if over.

 

Adventures in House Hunting update

For more on this topic please see the past few week’s posts on: adventures in house hunting

So I know it has been awhile since I gave you an update. The past two weeks have been pretty crazy and overwhelming. Let me see if I can fill you in.

After my last post “the final trip” we took some time to think through our options and decided we were ready to make an offer on a house. We chose a home near the top of our price range up on a hill in South Dansville that has several acres. We had the paperwork taken care of and made an offer; they came back very quickly saying we were too low. We offered higher but our higher offer wasn’t anywhere close to what they wanted.

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We took some time to reconsider then decided to move on to another home: a nice farmhouse with an acre that needed an updated kitchen. We were all set to do the paperwork when our realtor got back to us and said the place was under contract. We were frustrated and disappointed.  So we went back to our first choice and raised our offer again to what we had been told they would accept; they didn’t respond.

So we felt stuck. We decided it was time to revisit our home list with a new angle: look at some homes with less bedrooms or bathrooms, try further distances to work etc. We set up with our realtor to do an unexpected round four of house-hunting this past Monday. On Sunday we drove up to the Dansville for an open house and did some looking around; we found one of the houses on our list was under contract already and the location of some of the others were not very good. We made a few adjustments after our Sunday drive and got ready for another round of house hunting the next day.

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This past Monday we got up there early but our first showing had not been scheduled by their realtor. So we had to move on to the next house. These options were no better then our round three if not worse; if they had land, there were issues with the house. If the house was in great condition property was on a main highway with possible flooding issues. If the layout of the house was good and the yard was nice the house reeked of cigarette smoke. None of our round four options stayed possibilities in our mind past the drive back home.

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We thought about reconsidering our first option again; raising our price one last time then yesterday we found out it had gone under contract.

So now we are taken a very short house-hunting hiatus; trying to decide what our next move is: round 5 of house hunting? wait it out for something new to be listed? Or are we done with the house-hunting process for awhile; should we rent an apartment and try again 6 month from now?

I will update you when we make our next move.

Adventures in House-Hunting round 2

For more on this transition see: relocation, and adventures in house-hunting round 1

So after our long and somewhat disappointing first day of house-hunting we came home and processed what went right and  wrong. We had two that we liked from our first day of looking: one in town and one 10 minutes outside of town but we were not settled on either one just yet. So started looking at homes in a different price bracket and got to work really analyzing not only the photos but also the information/descriptions provided by each realty page. Before long we had a whole new list set up of more than 10 new homes to look at.

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We were anxious to look at some other possibilities so Tuesday July 1rst we were once again headed up to Dansville to look at homes. Of the ten on our list some were no longer on the market. This is something that happened with our first list as well; when our realtor tried to set up an appointment he would discover that the house was under-contract or taken off the market total.  So Tuesday night we ended up seeing seven homes; five new ones, two re-visits, and one that got canceled because we were late into town due to a traffic problem.

Most of these homes had better layouts, less confusing bathrooms, and bedrooms of normal/average size. So we took it to the next level and looked over the disclosure information provided to us and asked more specific questions about the foundation, carpeting vs hardwood floors, insurance costs, the functionality of the fireplace, the heating system, the roof, the pipes etc.

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If the realtor didn’t know the information, we asked for it to be provided after we looked. Three homes of the five new ones were discounted pretty quickly based on similar issues to what we saw in our first round.  One of these homes was out of town and beautiful on paper: 6 acres, a brick and shingle exterior, and an open layout. But when we got there we discovered there was only one formal bedroom, the acreage was all down a very steep decline off the back porch (which was sinking) and heavily wooded. Another home was a split-level which reeked of cigarette smoke and had a kitchen that was condensed into such a small space I would get closer phobic working in it.

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That left two new ones to consider. One option was huge  it had a full vaulted attic with more storage space then we could consider what to do with, a formal living room, dining room, open updated floor plan for a kitchen, hardwood floors, and a study with fireplace. The house was built with a craftsman style and had beautiful interior woodwork. Still the backyard was a little small and narrow even though it was well maintained and gardened. The house had so much character but it was more space than we need which means it would cost more to heat then it’d be worth for us right now and the roof was old enough it would have to be redone while we lived there. In-spite of all this and other issues it is the most difficult home we’ve let go of so far.

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The other option had a beautiful large backyard with a natural border, new hardwood flooring in the whole house, and good sized bedrooms. But it was hard to overlook that the half bath was only a toilet in a broom closet off of the kitchen. It was the only bathroom downstairs so any guests would use that toilet then wash their hands in the kitchen sink? Um . . . .no. Plus the kitchen was a 70’s kitchen with a indoor grill and bright red-orange cabinets; talk about a need to re-do.

That night we went to applebees and had a very late dinner. We talked about the homes we had seen and especially about the ones we revisited; what new issues or positive attributes we saw during our second round with a more critical eye. After which we decided we were still pretty confident in two options we had kept from our day of house-hunting; which I promise I will talk about next.