Friday, March 26, 2010

Relocation Updates!

Goodness time flies!!!!

So....on 2/11 I drove my rep car from IL back to Harrisburg, PA. This was my FUN way to break up the long drive back to CT with a visit with my knitting friends in PA. I got to enjoy a leisurely day Friday at yarn-love where in addition to knitting and shopping and visiting I also got the yarn-love facebook page up and running. Friday night was dinner out and a movie (the green zone, I don't recommend it). Saturday was a road trip to visit The Mannings (can't believe I never made it down there while living in the area!) followed by a night in with knitting, a Lost in Austen marathon, and yummy dinner with friends.

Sunday was up and at 'em early to finish the drive to CT. I had an appointment that day to look at some more places with my realtor. I had a full week of meetings planned and appointments with the realtor every day after work. Didn't find any places I liked on Sunday which was dissapointing. However, I did get a couple of interesting phone calls. One from a realtor who showed my house on Saturday and wanted to bring the people BACK to see the house again on Sunday. And one from my realtor wanting information on my HOA and my utility bills. I started to get excited. Around 9pm Sunday night my IL realtor emailed and said he had an offer and to give him a call if I was still up. I of course called immediately. I won't get into the details on the sale except to say....these buyers clearly still believe its a buyers market and didn't respect what a bargain they were already getting! We ran thru 4 rounds of negotations that night and Monday and finally came to agreement Monday afternoon. At that point, the offer goes to my relocation company - I'm not allowed to sign anything or take any money. The home sale stuff dragged on that week as apparently my relocation agent hadn't provided all the right paperwork to my IL realtor, who hasn't done relocations before (I'm assuming that he hasn't...I think my LAST blog mentioned how worthless he's been and how he probably wasn't going to BE my realtor when I got home from this trip - lucky for him we DID get an offer). this point...were still I think trying to get all the right paperwork in. My relocation agent wants to take possession asap, because the buyers inspections are Monday - and if the relocation company has possession at that point then anything that comes up is on them instead of me. realtor was just getting the last of the papers signed today I think..and we're still trying to find out if we can give money, or drop price to handle some house and carpet cleaning the buyers wanted rather than ME needing to do it so relocation actually CAN aquire right away rather than having to wait until I've vacated and THEN we get the cleaning done and confirm to them it was done.

Sellers asked for a 4/15 closing. We got them to 4/30. My plan is to be out by 4/23 on the IL end. I talked to mom about hotel costs, and she said as long as I furminate the kitties before coming home. and THOROUGHLY clean the house once the kitties are out, we can all come stay at home until we start the drive to CT. This will save me lots of money so it makes me very happy!

Okay...back to story in process. Monday night we go see some more houses in CT. And find...THE ONE. I kid you not...its beautiful. Its actually a condo - and 3 years older than me. But its been totally remodeled inside - and really nicely done. It quickly knocked my top 3 off the list entirely and made it difficult for me to say what my 2nd and 3rd choices would be should this one not work out. We had plans to look at the last 5 possibilities Tuesday night, and this place had been on the market for about 35 days at that point. So my realtor let the other realtor know we were interested and would be making a decision later this week. Tuesday night we looked at the last 5 places...and they were NO comparison. My mind was made up! I had plans to go to NJ for the day Wed and thought I'd get back late, so my realtor agreed to pull the comps and we'd talk via email on Wed and decide on the offer and then I'd sign off on Thursday.

Wed I ended up getting back from NJ way earlier than normal. I let my realtor know and we decided to go ahead and write the offer Wed night. The comps came in WAY lower than the asking price...which made me a little nervous. Except they were without basements (mine is finished) and with only 1.5 baths ( I have 2.5 baths). Looking at the pictures they also didn't have NEARLY the updates mine does..and what updates were there weren't nearly as nice. But it was concerning none the less since the comps were between $40-50k less than what the seller was asking. In the end we decided to offer $20k below asking and we asked for his big tv hanging in the living room. This seller was much more reasonable and we settled at $11k under asking. No TV, but I do get a home warranty. Let the excitement begin!

If you haven't peaked at the pics in the sidebar, my photoalbum of the new house is here.

Inspection happened on Tuesday of this week. I was pretty concerned about a few things that popped up, but upon further review and discussion most of them weren't a big deal. Inspector is worried about age of my air conditioner and furnace, and actually thought the furnace may have a cracked heat exchanger. We got a hvac inspector in today and he gave the furance the all clear. And my home warranty will cover a failure of either so I'm not too worried. That said, there's one minor electrical concern along with the attic stairs which the inspector says should be replaced. So we're going to go back and ask for that with the buyer.

Also, I was still a bit concerned about how high even my negotiated price was compared to the comps (even tho it was well under what I was willing to pay). So...I tracked down what the seller paid when he bought the house 3 years ago...and its only about $1500 less than what we agreed on. And that was PRIOR to all the remodeling I can see why he wasn't really willing to go much lower than he did...he has to be losing money on the sale. back to plans... outta the IL house by 4/23. Up to mom's until 4/28. BFF Mandy flies in from Nashville to Chicago that day. Lunch with mom so Mandy can say hello and I can say goodbye. Then Mandy and I head home to mom's to put everyone/thing in the car and de-hair the house (mom's super allergic). The afternoon of 4/28 Mandy and I, and the animals will drive to Fort Wayne, IN. We are staying there that night so we can hit up the annual Vera Bradley Outlet Sale first thing on 4/29. We are SOOOO excited! Don't ask me where we are going to put our purchases...we may be riding on top of vera bags the rest of the drive...but we're so excited. So we'll do that early in the morning and then spend about 8 hours in the car Thursday to get to our next stop in State College, PA. Relocation policy says we have to drive 400 miles per day...with the length of this move that means only 2 nights on the road. Our drive Thursday will be way long compared to Wed or Friday, but because of traveling with pets we are somewhat limited on where we can stop for the night. And since we'll be together it will be great fun! Friday we'll finish our drive, and end up in Southington, CT. I'm hoping we can schedule the walk thru on the CT place for Friday afternoon or Saturday so Mandy gets to see it, because she has to fly out FIRST thing Sunday to get home to her doggies since her DH is headed to California that morning.

Finally, Monday, 5/3 is the closing on the new place! I'll have my air mattress and blanket with the animals and I will plan to check out of the hotel and head "home" after closing. Hopefully my delivery date for the movers is sometime that week...preferably EARLY that week so we're not living on the floor for too long!

So those are the plans....!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vacation Planning!

Okay..I promised to talk vacation plans in my last entry!!!!

So later this year the whole family is headed down to Mexico for my baby brothers wedding. And next February, mom and I are cruising the Disney Dream with the WDW Radio Show Podcast Crew (go deck 7!!).

But mom who is a member of Disney Vacation Club had a year's worth of points expiring this October with no plans to use them. So I thought....we've been on the Disney Magic three times, and will be on Dream next year....what about a cruise on the Wonder! Mom agreed...and hence our next Disney trip was born!

We booked for the first 5 night Wonder sailing this summer. The Magic is headed back to the Meditarranian this summer, so instead of its normal 3 and 4 night Bahamas itineraries - the Wonder is doing some special ones. We are due to spend 2 days at Castaway Cay, one day in Nassau, and a day at sea. I can't decide what I'm more excited about - the delicious chicken fingers up on deck 9 or eating at Tritons and getting my picture taken next to Ariel out in front of Tritons.

As we started planning, it occured to me, that if we did the Disney Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promo that we'd earn a park ticket and get into one of the parks as well. This not only was something that made us feel good, but also, helped us maintain the low cost vacation we were looking for.

Then plans of mom's best friends also needed to use some DVC points, and hadn't been on the Disney Cruise Line yet, and we invited her to join us. are the plans so far:

Saturday, May 29

Fly to Orlando
Check into our studio at Bay Lake Tower (bay view rather than Magic Kingdom but we are still excited!)
Spend the afternoon shopping at Downtown Disney (Tren-D here I come!)
Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe (never been!)
Watching Wishes from Top of the World Lounge

Sunday, May 30

Breakfast at Chef Mickey's
Travel to Port Canaveral and board the Wonder!

Monday, May 31 thru Friday, June 4

Cruising - planning to stay on ship in Nassau..and do lots of relaxing by the pool. Will hit up Serenity Beach on Castaway Cay and rent bikes there one of our days too. Also have dinner, brunch, and tea booked at Palo.

Friday, June 4

Disembark the Wonder and head to the Boardwalk Villas
Head over to Magic Kingdom (its open until 2am so we decided to spend 2 days in the park instead of just one).
Dinner at Ohana (I'm still having my obsession with pot stickers and can't wait to try the Ohana version).

Saturday, June 5

Head to Epcot for the day
Dinner at LeCellier (never been here before either!).

Sunday, June 6

Head home (I'm sure I'll be sad to leave, but happy to get back home to my furbabies who will still be adjusting to our new home in CT when I have to head out on this trip!)

So...thats the next vacation in a nutshell!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Quick update

I'm behind in my posting again!!!!

A quick update for those wondering.... At this point I'm still living in Illinois and traveling back and forth between here and Connecticut. My CT have been more once a month this year due to weather, and other meetings. My last trip I had to DRIVE home thanks to the crazy snow storms in the Northeast in mid February. Not really looking forward to having to drive back - except of course that I'm planning the drive back to stop and PA and see my friends there for a few days! Haven't been there since June so I'm really looking forward to that!

I have so far had one househunting day in CT. I'm really not happy with the quality of the single family homes in my price range - so I'm probably looking at condos. Sadly, most of the condos in my price range are way smaller than what I have..and without garages. Which means getting rid of a bunch of stuff or renting a storage space. And in some cases both...I may not be able to use my washer dryer in CT..and I really don't want to sell them...but without a garage to store them I won't have much choice. Anyway, from my previous trip there are two strong possiblities for condos there...and next week I'm in town all week and have most nights planned with my realtor to look. Plus now that I have my buyout offer/date in Illinois - I feel confident making an offer on something in CT next week.

On the Illinois end things aren't going as well. The house was listed for sale Jan 25. We listed it higher than what I was expecting us to, based on the comps - though it was still less than what I paid. In the first 3 weeks I had about 11 showings. Since then...nothing. I realize of course that the market is not good right now. However, since I moved in about 18 months ago...there have been 4 or 5 houses on my street go on the market and all have sold within 1-2 weeks. So okay, you are thinking...things msut be worse now right? Thats what I thought. Until my next door neighbor, with EXACTLY the same house, put his house on the market 2 weeks ago - for $1000 less than me. AND SOLD IN A WEEK! My realtor hasn't said two words to me about it. Nor has he dropped off the new fliers with my now lowered price that he promised to drop off 2 weeks ago. And I'm realizing he pretty much hasn't lived up to ANY of the promises he made during our initial meeting which is why I went with think the relocation company will be exercising our "non-performance" clause to get rid of him. Unfortunately I'm headed out of town Wed for 10 days....and in meetings all week the week after not sure when we'll be able to get me relisted with someone else. Also, my buyout price SUCKS. To come up with the buyout we get two appraisals to estimate what the house will sell at and average the two. My two appraisals came in more than 5% apart so they had to order a third. Turns of them SCREWED me. The first and third appraisal are within $2000 of each other and close to my current list price. The second appraisal...nearly $20,000 less. And they average all THREE to come up with the buyout that took my average way down. Now before you get too upset for me....Its still within our loss protection I'll get back what I paid eventually. But it makes the transactions more complicated because its less than what I currently OWE on the house. And it takes some time to get the loss protection check which means I need to have the cash to close on the new house on hand. Fortunately I do..but it will wipe out my savings until that loss protection check comes. Hopefully I don't have to spend a lot of money on stuff for the new house. Anyway, I get to accept my buyout at the end of April if I so choose. So hopefully by end of April / early May I'll be headed out to CT full time.

Thats it for now folks....will try and come back later this week and post about something my upcoming trip to WDW and the Disney Wonder!