What I Learned Selling Nearly Everything & Moving Cross Country

by • July 29, 2013 • Advice, Life Lessons, RandomComments (0)2210

I haven’t posted much here lately. Part of that is because I’ve got a long list of ideas for projects I’d like to start but don’t know which I should commit to first. I have been spending a ton of time researching and not a lot of time defining my grind and actually taking action.

Another big reason I haven’t done much here lately, is because I’ve just completed a cross country move. I just sold most of my possessions, my car, and my house in Tempe, AZ, and have now moved on to greener pastures in what seems like a great little city, Des Moines, IA. I’m finally getting settled in a bit, and learning the ins and outs of my new surroundings.

Since I am now setup, I’ve had some time to refocus on the things that I want to pursue and time to reflect on everything that’s transpired. Looking back, there are some lessons learned from my move that can be applied to different aspects of life. Here are a few I took away from the move. Downtown Tempe Arizona

Goodbye Tempe!

Have the right people help you.

  • Estate sale company. I had been planning my move for quite some time. I knew I wanted to move light, and I knew it was important to have the house looking great. So the first step in the process for me was just plain getting rid of things. I had had a number of garage sales and sold items on Craigslist leading up to listing, but never had as much success as when I brought in an estate sale company to take the reigns. They handled the 2 day sale so I didn’t have to, marketed the sale to their list of followers, and brought in about 3 times as much money as I had at any garage sale I had previously held on my own. No headache + more money = success.
  • My girlfriend. I maintained a nice house inside and out while I lived in Arizona. When it came time to sell though, I needed to stage it so that it was open, clean, and could easily appeal to anyone who did a walk-through. Now, I don’t know much about staging a house, but luckily, my girlfriend does. I deferred to her to arrange and de-clutter every room, and by the time she was finished, it looked like a house right off of HGTV. You only get one shot at a first impression, and I thought her staging was a big reason why the house sold so fast.
  • My realtor. I know a decent bit about real estate, I knew my neighborhood well, and I did quite a bit of research before listing. I didn’t however, know anywhere close to as much as my realtor when it came to marketing and selling a house. He was very easy and open about the whole process, had great ideas, found many qualified potential buyers, had a list of other helpful companies and contractors, and closed the deal when the buyers appeared to me to be a little flaky as we approached the closing date. Going with him I ended up getting 98% of list price in only 21 days time.

Trust your instincts.

Although my realtor was knowledgeable and did a great job, there was a time when I had to go with my gut somewhat against his advice. When we got our first offer from the eventual buyers, our realtor advised us to take it as it was a solid offer and at the high range when looking at comps. It was a really solid offer, but I just had a feeling the buyers really, REALLY wanted the house based on how long they stayed at their 2 walk-throughs. With the thought of turning the buyers off with a high counter in mind, I went ahead and countered. They accepted the counter with no conditionals at closing, and I ended up walking away with a sweeter deal.

Learn to roll with it.

Life has stressful moments, and moving cross-country is no exception. When planning your exit strategy and you have to worry about the jobs, house, friends, and life you’re leaving behind, while at the same time looking forward to everything you have to do to set up your new life once you arrive, a little bit of stress is inevitable. The sooner you can accept that not everything will go 100% according to plan and take things as they come, the whole process gets much, much easier.

A lot of your things are probably just stuff.

When I very first started going through every room in the house to donate and sell off things I had accumulated over the years, it was staggering how much in the house was just “stuff.” I kept seeing flashes of the movie Fight Club in my mind as I was going through closets, drawers, the garage, and boxes of things I didn’t even know I’d had.

The things you own end up owning you. – Tyler Durden

Although I discovered quite a number of things that weren’t even mine (I always rented out the spare rooms on the other side of the house to ASU students or young professionals) it was crazy the amount of things left behind, or things I kept, that I should have sold or donated them a long, long time ago.

If something has no sentimental value to you, and you go a year without using it, get rid of it!

Give yourself time to save yourself stress.

If you don’t want to have to, “learn to roll with it”, like I said above, then give yourself as much time as possible to get things done. No matter how much you plan, there are always going to be things that come up that will take substantially longer than you think. Selling items, packing up a house, staging things perfectly, finding a new house or apartment – if you give yourself more time to get things done, you’ll definitely reduce your stress levels.

Some things are better done in person.

No matter how much time you spend researching things on the internet, some things are just better done in person. When it came to selling things, dealing with U-Haul reservations, and finding an apartment, everything was much easier when done in person. The best prices aren’t always found online, and sometimes the best apartments are the ones that aren’t available yet, but will be soon. If you can meet with people, you can negotiate pricing, and find out about things before everyone else does. Not to mention, some apartments can look amazing when posted, but actually be a dive when you see it in person.

Downsizing is very freeing.

I thought I would miss my old house in Tempe a lot more than I actually do. I had 2500 sq feet that was laid out to seem even larger, a huge lot, lots of landscaping, a pool, etc. What I’ve found going from that, to a now 1000 sq foot loft in downtown Des Moines, is that I have a lot less to worry about. I don’t have constant upkeep, high utility bills, and my more limited space allows me to prioritize better the things I should have vs get rid of.

Although there will be people and things I’ll miss back in AZ, I’ve learned a lot, and so far it’s looking like a good decision.

Hello Des Moines!

des moines iowa skyline

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