Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Washington Migration

Our new state flag!

 There's a lot to unpack here, but let me not bury the headline...

Tanya and Rusty Move from Texas to Washington!

Yes, you read that right. We finally vacated our north Texas home and bought a one-way ticket to Washington state! We are officially homeless!

Well... that's not completely accurate. I should break down the timeline a little.

November, 2021

By this point, we'd been telling the boys for about a year that we were planning to sell the house and move to Washington by summer of 2022. By Thanksgiving of 2021, the boys started thinking about figuring out living arrangements that did not include being at our house as permanent residents.

December, 2021

The boys had been messing around trying to figure out living arrangements independently. They finally discovered via the power of verbal communication (facilitated by me) that they were actually better off combining their forces (and money) to get a two bedroom together. They found a place relatively close to both Gabriel's school and Garrett's prospective employer, and we helped them get everything in order such that they signed the lease. Their move-in was scheduled for February 2022.

February, 2022

Good times were had by all! Well, almost...

We helped the boys pack up their stuff and move it into their new apartment. That place is NICE. The complex is only a couple of years old, and the apartment suits their needs VERY well. All of a sudden, I realized they are fully-functioning and (mostly) independent adults. The upstairs of our house was 3/4 empty. This felt like progress.

March, 2022

We started getting the house sell-ready. This mainly entailed going through nooks and/or crannies every weekend and getting rid of stuff that we knew we wouldn't be moving. There were lots of nooks and crannies, and lots of stuff given away. I was slightly disheartened by the amount of stuff that still remained. Packing would be a daunting task. Then there was the cleaning and staging... it was work, but in the end, definitely paid off (see below).

We also contacted a realtor. Luckily, Tanya had the foresight to save the flyer from the agency that sold the last house in our neighborhood. They were VERY responsive, informative, and loved our house. We decided to list the house for sale during the last weekend of March. We wound up with NINE offers, and accepted what we considered the best one. Closing would be around the end of April, and we would have a lease-back until the end of May.

April, 2022

We did all of the things that needed to be done for the house, which wasn't much. Inspections went smoothly, and all was moving right along...

...until the squirrels moved into the attic.
Of all the houses in the neighborhood... why'd it have to be ours?

Yes, squirrels chewed through the base of one of the highest eaves and took up residence. That was unfortunate, but we managed to get it dealt with just before the closing occurred.  Closing went off without a hitch, and we actually got to meet the new owners. They're VERY nice, and were extremely excited to be the new owners of the house. We were very happy for them, and knew the house would be in good hands.

But the work continued: we were packing and preparing for the move. We lined up PODs, a car transport service, an Airbnb rental for a month in order to let us find a rental in one of the two main areas we were looking, and bought plane tickets.

One of two!

The first POD showed up, and we took a week to load it. The boys helped on the first weekend, and we were glad they were there. Garrett's spacial awareness helped us with a particularly tricky couch arrangement. :)

Beginning of May, 2022

The first POD was returned to storage, and the second POD showed up. We took the weekend to load it while Mary, Marco, and Tanya came and claimed the last of the things they wanted which we weren't planning to move. The house was empty! I'd forgotten how echo-y that place is when there's nothing in it. We moved into a hotel for a couple of days while we had the last house bits done (cleaning, mainly) and waited for the car to get picked up for transport.

The transport arrived, and it was... interesting. Nothing went quite as planned. They were late, then they were rushed when they were trying to get our car on the transport. We finally put our foot down and forced them to send us a copy of the bill of lading they'd just signed (they claimed the broker would be sending it to us, but the broker said to get it from the driver). The car got loaded and sent off. The last thing to do was for us to get on a plane and leave Texas!

May 12 - 17, 2022

This one deserves a bit more attention.

Thursday, May 12

We arrived after an uneventful plane ride. When we left Texas, it was in the 90s and sunny. Landing, it was in the 50s and raining. This felt like progress. We got our rental car without issue and made it to our Airbnb with plenty of time to prepare for the next day's (Friday the 13th) appointments. We had already made a handful of appointments to view rental properties in the Lynwood/Everett/Lake Stevens area. We also tried to make more appointments for Saturday the 14th in the Puyallup/Bonney Lake area, but hadn't gotten many responses as of Thursday night.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the geography: Everett is directly north of Redmond, which is east-northeast of Seattle. Puyallup (pronounced pew-AL-up) is directly south of Seattle.)

Geography is not my strongest subject...

Friday, May 13, 2022

This wasn't one of the listings we looked at, but it wasn't out of the question either...

We spent the day looking at several properties. The second one we looked at was in Lake Stevens, and just seemed... perfect. The approach to Lake Stevens was picturesque, and the neighborhood is SO quiet. We met the landlords there and had a great talk with them. It turns out they spent some time in Texas, so they knew where we were coming from. After we got back to the Airbnb from that appointment, we submitted the application. Later that evening, they accepted! By the end of our first real day in Washington, we'd landed a rental!

Later that night, the car transport folks said they were going to be in Seattle. They were about a day earlier than expected, which surprised us. They must've driven straight through. We got the car (which was in fine shape), and planned to return our rental car to the airport several days early.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

We wound up cancelling our rental viewings in Puyallup the evening prior, since we'd signed the contract on the rental. However, we knew we wanted to check out the area regardless, and we had to return the rental car to the airport. So, we got up early-ish the morning of Saturday the 14th, dropped the rental at SEATAc, and drove on down to Bonney Lake (just to the east of Puyallup). We were looking at a new planned community area called Tehaleh (pronounced tuh-HALL-ee, just outside of Bonney Lake), mostly on a lark, since we knew there was no way we would be able to find anything interesting.

For those of you not familiar with the device, that last sentence is called "foreshadowing."

Neither Tanya nor I remember how we stumbled across MainVue Homes, but we wound up at the model home and were warmly greeted by the broker. We walked through the Nova model, which was being built in the community with a slightly different fit and finish (known as the Nolina). This link is the virtual tour, and if you're interested, click it! For everyone else, I'll include a couple of shots...
Kitchen with outdoor living area

Living and dining room

When Tanya and I bought our first house in Carrollton, we visited the community on a lark, not really thinking we'd find anything we liked or that was within our price range. We were wrong then, as we found a house that we immediately fell in love with. That approach is apparently our pattern, as we left the MainVue model and really couldn't stop thinking about how it was about the price we were planning on paying and was a floor plan that we adored (with the exception of all bedrooms being on the second floor, which is apparently a thing). We waited as long as we could (which was about an hour), then called the broker and asked her what the process for moving forward entailed. She told us it was pretty simple, but involved a component that we'd completely forgotten about: the pre-qualification letter. There were, of course, other folks interested in the lot we wanted, so time was suddenly of the essence. And it was Saturday afternoon. What were we to do?

Tomo to the rescue!

Tomo is an online mortgage company that specializes in making the mortgage process as pleasant as possible for the consumer. We also happen to have a good friend that works there. After chatting with her briefly, we went through their web application forms, uploaded all of the necessary documentation, and by Sunday morning, had a pre-qualification letter!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Pre-qualification letter in hand, we drove back out to Bonney Lake and filled out the offer with the broker. We also spent time with the team going over in more detail what was included in the house by default, which as it turns out, is a lot. The cost/value ratio is buyer-favorable, in our opinion. We drove back to Everett for a dinner by the ocean, knowing we'd have to wait a day or two to hear back from the builder.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

On our way to Leavenworth, we received a phone call from the broker. The builder had accepted our offer! We were going to be homeowners again!

All of that in our first week in Washington. Feels like a pretty productive few days!

So... when I started this post saying that we were homeless, that much was VERY true for a handful of days. Practically speaking, though... are those days really even worth counting?