Moving or …...Entering into a world of psychoses
It all begins with a decision to move. Simple. Easy. Effortless.
You do some research to find the best realtor that you can find with the hopes of making as much money as possible on your life long investment. Afterall...this is the money that you will be using for your retirement. You're energized and excited! You know that your house is worth $850,000 but the market seems to have just turned. According to the “comps”, your house is now only worth $660,000. After three days of depression and living in a coma-like state, you somehow rationalize all of this. You meet again with the realtor and take a powerful stand, stating that “we will NOT go 1 penny below $670,000.”The realtor agrees and we will discover that this will be the only moment in the process...where I will feel like a victor!
After the meeting with the realtor, it is determined that the house needs to be “prepped” for showing so that you can make as much money as possible (as close to the $670,000 as possible). Afterall, you can’t show a house that doesn’t “show well”.
So, you begin with hiring a painter to remove all of the expensive wallpaper that your decorator had chosen. Then, you have to have all of the walls painted a “neutral” color. Mind you, not white...that is too sterile. It has to be something “potterybarn ish” like GInger, or lemon grass or Jute from the Ralph Lauren collection. This way, the buyers won’t be too put off by the distraction of the colors and they will have a better idea of what colors they will paint the house when they move in.
Now you realize that the floors don’t match the Ginger walls that you just had painted and the house isn’t going to “show well”. So, you decide to take the plunge and put new carpet in the house even though no one likes carpet. Everyone seems to need hard wood floors. We are already $6,000 in the hole and hard wood floors would eat too much $$ from our life long investment. I hate hardwood floors and I’m beginning to hate people.
Wallpaper off, rooms painted, carpet installed, $2,000 of mulch put down, new plants planted, and house professionally cleaned, you are now ready to put the house on the market.
The hard work is over!
It hasn’t even begun.
The phone rings. A realtor will be over in 2 hours to show the house. Huh? It’s 6PM and we just sat down to eat. We shovel the food in our mouth, clean the kitchen and get the hell out of the house. Where are we going to go at this hour in the middle of the week? So, we circle around our neighborhood. Someone calls the police because they see a suspicious car “cruising” this residential area. We explain to the police that we are driving around because a realtor is showing our house and we are not allowed inside.
As it turned out, the buyers didn’t like the “ginger” walls or carpet, but the good news is that we didn’t get arrested.
This ordeal goes on with great intensity during the first week that the house hits the market. I suppose that it’s good news that so many realtors are walking their buyers through. Then…..we get that phone call that has been so greatly anticipated. There is a buyer that is VERY interested in the house and they want to make an offer. They want to offer $610,000 for the house. THAT’S $60,000 LESS THAN WE LISTED IT FOR”. Apparently, they also weren’t crazy about the “Ginger” paint color, but they would make a concession for $60,000 less than the asking price. Anyway...thank you, but no thank you.
The very next day, we got an offer for the asking price. Well...that is...the asking price based upon the “comps” with the downturn in the market. I felt like I was giving my child away for FREE! So be it…..It’s over. It’s done. Life goes on. At least we won’t be getting anymore last minute phone calls from realtors. At least we won’t have to keep our house so neat and clean. Who lives like that? We like to live with a mess. In fact, we only clean up when we have company...which thankfully isn’t too often.
Some contracts to be signed, and deposits to be made. Phew! I’m glad that’s over.
There is the inspection process. The buyers found some guy that does house inspections. This individual is an EXPERT in plumbing, electrical, masonry, landscaping, cooking, astronomy, neuroscience, chimneys, finance, and basically everything and anything that GOD has ever created. He walks through the house with white gloves and magnifying glass and inspects every square inch of your home. What’s more, he finds a problem with every one of those square inches. All of this goes into his 20 page report. After reading this report, I felt compelled to take my $850,000 home that is being listed for $670,000 (less the carpet, paint,and landscaping) and hanging a big “CONDEMNED” sign on the door. According to this expert, it was a miracle that my house was still standing. Not only did he discover multiple problems with our house, but he apparently started finding things wrong with our neighbors house as well. This guy was on an INSPECTION FRENZY. The good news is that it is all fixable. It would only cost ...yes…..$60,000. Okay..that’s an exaggeration, but that’s what it felt like. What isn’t an exaggeration, is that the contractors that I hired to “remediate” (I love that word- it means to fix all of the imagined crap that the inspector found wrong with the house to make it possible for humans to live there) the situation, all laughed and were completely empathetic to me. They’ve seen this type of thing many times in the past and I could see their pity in their face as they charged me their customary $1,000 each for their service.
After three days of depression, and living in a coma like state (once again), and a bottle of tequila in hand...you decide to let it all go and move on. But you can’t (this is where the tequila comes in)! You want to kill that expert inspector who gets back on his white horse and rides into the sunset looking for his next victim.
It is at this point that your realtor stops being a realtor. You find that she/he is now becoming your much needed personal psychotherapist. I find that I am confessing every detail of my life to a person that I just hired a few months ago to sell my house. I am moody, depressed and somehow I am estranged from my loving wife. My world of peace is being turned inside out and upside down. Well, at least the hard part is over with.
We have to select a mover. Who thinks about movers in their life..unless they are ready to move? So you look online and read horror story after horror story about people’s moving experiences.. Then we are told to contract three movers and get three quotes. So...we do. The movers have a small ipad type thingy. They walk around the house going from one room to the next. They spend approximately 1 minute (60 seconds) per room pushing little things on their Ipad software. At the end...we compare all three quotes only to discover that somehow….mysteriously….they are all exactly the same. Are they all friends? Is there one big gigantic moving company that controls all of the business? How do they come up with the same exact number? So..we picked the mover that we thought would “hurt us the least”.
There is a mathematical formula that was developed some time ago by one of the brilliant Greek scientists. It goes something like this
If you Pack 10 boxes before midnight. when you wake up the next morning , the amount of items in your home that will still need to be packed, will increase by 1 ½ x’s.
So, while you think you are reducing your inventory by 10 packed boxes, you are actually increasing the amount of boxes that need to be packed by 15 boxes. I’m not sure how that works….but it does.
There was another Greek mathematician who discovered that the speed of time increases significantly the closer you are to closing on your house. So..if you are moving in 1 week (seven days), it will actually feel like you are moving in 2 days.
The only thing that seems to go in slow motion….is the PACKING!
There is a reason why GOD created alcohol, Drugs and fast food! It’s needed for those that are moving!!
If we could place our stress levels on a scale of 0 (the ultimate peace), to 10 (where you want to rip someone's eyeballs out), you find that during the moving process you vascillate somewhere between 11 to 30. Experiencing an 11 becomes the new normal at this point in time. This is where psychosis sets in. You wander from room to room aimlessly. You begin talking to….?????? You begin answering???? You hate your partner, you hate the buyer or seller (depending on which side of the fence on. You hate your life, you hate the fact that you just ate too much and drank too much and are now sick to your stomach. That Sickness is what I was going for anyway. It is a nice diversion from the intensity of feelings. There is only one person in the world that you can count on...your realtor..your confidant..your new best friend (only friend), you psychiatrist, your “moving Guru”.
There is a point in time when you reach “overload”. The definition of overload is when the stress is so incredibly high, that you are no longer functioning like a normal human being. This is when you enter what psychiatrists know as PSYCHOSIS. Everyone handles overload differently. Me? I entered into a state of “numbness”. I looked like one of the participants from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest. In essence, I just shut down and started operating on remote control.
To add just a little more to the overload, my wife gets off of the phone with her brother. He proceeds to tell her the story of friends of his that just moved. The very day that the couple arrived in their new home, the wife dropped dead from a heart attack. Now why would anyone want to share a story like that with someone that was in the midst of moving? If the move kills you (which apparently it could)...so be it. But why add any extra stress to a loved one??
We are getting to the end……
Three days before the move (Day before Christmas), we detach our washing machine (instructions from the mover). I unhook the hoses and guess what? The shut off valve continues to leak after I turned it off. I am told that over the course of the past 20 years, one is supposed to turn the valve off and on so it doesn't’ “freeze” and then leak when you try to turn it off. Now who the %$^*&^& has a life, where all they think about is periodically turning off and on the shut off valve of their washing machine? Not me! I am too busy trying to survive on a daily bases in this life to be concerned about shut off valves.
So...you call in a plumber that you find on the web and $150.00 later, you are back in business….only to discover that now it is Christmas day….you are moving in 2 days and you ran out of BOXES.
I remember NOTHING. Someone (something) other than me showed up that day. Where was I? Who knows? My body was there but somewhere along the line I became disconnected from myself.
The movers were great! They brought everything into the house. Nothing was broken. All went well…..
We are in our new home.
I begin to relax. All of that stress begins to dissolve. I have been constipated now for 3 weeks. Is that possible? I begin to feel my body again. I now regret the overdoses of burger king, pizza, and other assorted foods that I used to numb the trauma of moving..
As I sit back and relax, and look at the mountain of boxes before me, I realize that at this moment, the most important possession in my life is nowhere to be found…….
TOILET PAPER !!!!!!!!
It’s in one of the 85 boxes sitting before me.
Someone shoot me……...
Written by, Howard Gorman, by far one of my favorite sellers...