Selling a house and moving is, no doubt, one of the biggest personal projects one can ever undertake. No one likes to do it, but when the reward (moving) still seems to outweigh all of these monumental drawbacks, one pushes forward and does it.
My last house move was 12 years ago, and I remember it taking about 4 months to look for and buy the desired new house, get my current house spruced up, listed, and sold, and then get all my household “stuff” packed up, moved, and unpacked.
When I started planning my move to full-time RVing a few years ago, I spent an eternity trying to find and buy the right new home (RV), and also had multiple major projects to do to the house to get it ready to sell – new roof, new driveway, new kitchen, etc. Transitioning to full-time RVing was definitely going to take a lot longer than simply moving from one house to another!
When I quit my job late last year to head to Mexico for the Winter, I estimated that most of the time-consuming stuff with the house was now finished and that it’d only take a few more weeks to tie up loose ends and get it listed this Spring. If I was lucky to sell the house quickly, I’d be on the road full-timing by Summer.
Boy was I ever wrong!
What I failed to appreciate were 2 very important factors---
- Getting rid of everything you own takes A LOT longer than simply throwing it in a box and moving it to your next home!
- “Primal survival” emotions will kick in when you attempt to move from a permanent fixed home (the place you know & are fully comfortable with), to the new mobile one (which will take you to places you do not know and will not be comfortable with). No matter how committed you are about full-time RVing, it will take much longer than you think to overcome these emotions and overcome your default “status quo” (which will want to just sit and surf the Net, watch TV, or eat bon bons all day!).
As I started diving into this final transition in April, I quickly became overwhelmed with the literal tsunami of decision-making to come.
- List the house empty? Or with some minimal “staged” furnishings?
- Move all the stuff to storage to list the house sooner? Or sell/rid the stuff first and list the house later on?
- Turn all the sellable stuff over to an Estate Sale service? Or try selling things individually on my own?
I had done pretty well last year to already donate or trash most of the non-sellable stuff (looking back—that was the EASY stuff)! What now remained was the really HARD stuff—what to do with Grandma’s gorgeous vintage 1930s dining room set, her adored china and silver set that she so deeply wanted me to have and cherish? All the boxes of family photographs? My LP record collection of over 1,000 albums? All the excess camera, camping, and sporting goods gear that I’d always meant to list on eBay or Craigslist years earlier but had never got around to it?
A somewhat easier solution would have been to just pack up all the stuff and send it off to a storage facility, list the house (or even rent it), fire up the Winnie engine and be on my way down the highway to save all these problems for another day.
Well, who knows! That still might be what I end up doing if I’m not finished here before Winter!
But for now, the revised “How to Eat an Elephant” plan #559 (that I finally put into action on June 1st) is to proceed as follows:
- Sell the big, bulky stuff out of the garage on Craigslist. Most of these things are seasonal items that are in very high demand right now.
- Box up and move the remaining closets full of treasures down to the garage for temporary storage.
- Complete final “staging” work on the house (painting bedrooms/halls, cleaning carpet, de-clutter/beautify the interior and landscaping).
- Get the house listed, and meanwhile sell the remaining boxed treasures via Craigslist, eBay, and/or Amazon; and scan the desired family photos.
- Once the house sells (or about 6 weeks before “snow fly” date), donate and/or sell the staged furnishings to empty out the house. This will better allow the house to be rented if that ends up being necessary.
- Store the remaining boxes of treasures (hopefully only a few by this point) with family or commercially.
- Hit the road before the snow flies!
I’m happy to report that Step 1 is now just about completed, and I’ve been having great success with my first month of Craigslist sales (more about that in my next post)!
It feels GREAT to be able to make trips to the bank with big wads of cash to deposit (rather than always going to withdraw money)! Good motivation to also move on to the next course of my elephant meal….one bite at a time!!!
Any other tips from you full-timers out there who have been through this arduous process? Anything else that I might be overlooking (or sequencing wrong)?