We’re doing what now?
Life was settling down. You’d had all the babies you wanted to have (or at least all the ones you and your better half could agree on) and are finally, FINALLY, sleeping. You’d wrestled that work-life balance and figured out how to make it work… most of the time. The kids are eating/learning/clean enough and even that puppy has grown into an excited-but-not-too-crazy dog. And then suddenly, from nowhere, you have to move. Serenity now.
Three steps: sell, buy, move. Piece of cake!
As many of you know, we recently moved halfway across the country after Ernie was presented with a freakin’ awesome opportunity. We had a good thing going in Toronto – I was working part-time so I could feel challenged/appreciated and still get plenty of cuddles, Ernie was working hard but we got him most evenings and weekends, and hockey. was. over. for the season. It was sweet. But, when that offer came, it was a no-brainer. It didn’t seem so at first: leave our dear (dear!) friends, family, and beautiful home we’d just reno’d to move to a city where I’d be jobless, friendless, and very, very cold? A city we’d visited once and it was the worst vacation ever because this happened on day two? Um, N to the O. But… an opportunity is an opportunity and once we hashed out the highs it truly was a no-brainer. So then step one: sell our house. Here’s how to make this as painless as possible:
1. Assemble your team. Use your network to find the very best agents, tradespeople, storage lockers, cleaners, babysitters, dog boarders… whatever you need! Hiring the best of the best means you can rely on their knowledge to get ‘er done. Sidenote, a good agent will research recent local sales to recommend your best list price (one of the key things you need to get the right person through the door). Asking you the price you want before giving you a number is a sure sign they haven’t got a clue.
2. Declutter. Start the second you decide to move and do it as fast as possible. Unless it’s really worth something, forget about selling your stuff and skip straight to donating/junking. You might think you have plenty of time to kijiji but you don’t. After the elimination purge, anything you don’t use DAILY needs to be packed and stored until it’s ready to go in the moving truck. Seriously – this is the easiest thing you can do to sell your house – get those pictures down, people.
3. Accept offers of help! When people volunteer to take your kids or stow your stuff in an emptyish garage, say yes! I thrice (thrice!) dissolved in a puddle of tears when awesome people helped me out – a sure sign that I needed more help.
4. Outsource. Pros will do it faster and it’ll look better, period. Since you’ve already teamed up with the best agent (right?) they can tell you what obvious defects would turn buyers off and what can be ignored (read: where to spend and where you can save). Don’t hesitate to take a vacation from the daily grind too: cleaning, groceries, and home cooking all fit into this category.
5. Move outta there when your listing goes live – it’s not just your pet that needs to be banished. Plan for at least a week, ten days if possible, and cross your fingers it won’t take that long. Go on vacation, househop between friends and relatives, sleep in your office/car/tent if you have to. Yup it’s annoying but it makes life so. much. easier.
6. Take time to reconnect with your spouse and kids. Life will be stressful and you’ll all be on edge. Whenever there’s a calm minute make sure you spend it well. Don’t forget about the lovely friends and fam who are supporting your cray-cray and being taken for granted on a regular basis.
On that note, I’d be remiss to end off without thanking all of the wonderful, truly wonderful, people who helped us out. Please contact any of them if you’re in Toronto’s west end and need their expertise.
Our agents: Stephanie Martin and Theodore Babiak. This is the sixth time we’ve worked with someone to buy/sell and they make everyone else look like amateurs. Seriously, this team has perfected exactly how to stage and sell a house and not only that, they take care of the majority of the inconveniences (cleaners, storage lockers, tradespeople… the list goes on). Steph is the most dedicated agent you could ever find, she was on-call and typically on-site twenty-four seven (even scrubbing our porch with a toothbrush near midnight and giving me a shoulder when our nutjob neighbour went… nuts) and Theodore provided regular check-ins, calm reassurances, a strategic game plan, an amazing team (thanks Emily!), and holy cow does he know how to negotiate. Steph and Theodore made us feel like we were all in it together and the result was so much better than we ever imagined! Thank you Babiak Team!!
Our painters: Javier and Olga Perez, a lovely husband and wife team, worked diligently to paint our entire house and didn’t complain every time I added more to their plate (Ceilings? Sure! All the wood trim? Sure! Kitchen cabinets? Sure!) even working around the clock to get it done. Plus they were so, SO, affordable and so, SO, nice! Definitely call them if you have any painting to be done, they work all over the GTA.
Our contractor: Raymond Kerr was the amazing contractor we hired to dig out our basement (remember this loveliness?) and we had hired him to do a small job shortly before we learned we’d be moving. He hustled to get everything done and even had one of his guys come on Good Friday to finish off. Such a genuinely nice man, fantastic workmanship, and I was entertained by his team’s Irish accents all day (especially when they got to arguing with their Scottish plumber… good times). Call Raymond if you’re looking to dig out your basement, remove a wall, or just don’t have a clue who to call: 416.347.1140
Ky Young Tae Kwon Do. Ernie and our boys have been going there for years and they really became a second family. When Master Jang saw how busy/stressed I was, and how it would affect the boys’ training because I couldn’t get them to class often enough, he immediately offered FREE school pickups and childcare for the month that we needed it. There was nothing in it for him, he totally did us this huge favour out of the goodness of his heart. You should definitely call him if you’re looking for a new kids’ activity to improve discipline, respect, and self-esteem (while getting them in excellent shape too) or need a birthday party venue, after-school program, or want to learn yourself! www.tkdtoronto.com
My awesome friend Emma. I’m lucky that I have so many awesome friends (and one who’s a very kind lawyer – thank you Martina! More about you in the future ‘Buy’ CRUNCH) but whenever I needed anything Emma was my go-to. Thanks for everything Emma, but especially thanks for taking/calming/delighting my kids on a school night when those offers came in. You are the best!
Focus on the first step to avoid feeling overwhelmed. And even if you’re not crazy about life’s latest curveball, embracing change makes it a lot easier to teach your kids how to adapt and be more resilient. Be honest about what you’re going to miss, but then become a cheerleader for the new cause to get everyone on board. Convincing kids to move away from their friends is a lot harder than selling your house… more on that in a future post. Happy purging!
Have any great tips you want to share? Leave a comment below!