Moving: the San Francisco Experience

Drum roll please.
We are moving.
just 1% of the boxes piling up
Kathy is moving too – and we have been comparing notes. There are so many differences, that maybe we should talk about what goes into selling in the “wild west” of San Francisco. (This is not to make light of moving somewhere else. Moving is the 7th ring of hell. Anywhere. Let’s just look at the lunacy of moving and selling in the “hot hot market that is the City of San Francisco”)

First, ordinary mortals do not qualify for two mortgages at once. So we are obligated to liquidate one home before buying the next one. Right out of the gate you are signing up for some period of “transitional housing”.
Steps to moving:
Make any and all minor and major repairs to your home. (Yes, there are repairs that you could and maybe should do yourself. But really. You haven’t. So, call in 2-3 professionals and get quotes.)
Growth chart - being removed
One of the “repairs” we did, was to take out the “measuring wall”. This was more like dental work than carpentry. We had a real wood artist come in and remove that board out of the victorian trimmed 1906 door! And replace it! Yeowsa.

You will be moving every STICK out of your house. Every last paper, trash can, wardrobe, book, toy, bed, and shower curtain out of your house. Consider saving money by calling the Pods people and moving the junk out of your house yourself. While you are considering this, pack books for two days and realize this is completely outside of the scope of what you can do realistically. Once you have lifted boxes for 2 days and you have not even made a DENT in the library you own, you will reconsider the Pod idea. You will likely burst the “head gasket” if you try moving all your books into this POD contraption yourself. And then you will be forced to orchestrate the rest of the move under the influence of pain killers.
Look at reviews of moving companies on line. You are going to need a full service operation, that has climate controlled storage. You can’t really use “cheap college guys” as your company, because you are doing a three part move – out, temp housing and storage, then in.
Truk one
And, you don’t even actually know where you are going exactly. You can estimate. You can hope you are moving into a ranch, one level, no stairs, easy access. But you don’t really know. (Stop, take a deep breath, don’t let it freak you out that you really don’t know where you are moving. Text some friends.) Pick a company. And set up a date. (you don’t even want the break down of what mover’s cost.)

Paint the whole interior of your home. (Sure, we all know HOW to paint. But we are not going to be able to accomplish this task ourselves. Get 2-3 bids for the job, and pick the person you want to do the work.)
Think about painting the outside of your house. Have a heart attack thinking about the cost. And then choose not to.
Carpet or recarpet every floor that is not hard wood or the kitchen. (call several places. make appointments. Get them to come out, measure, and bring samples. Then collect estimates and make your choice.)
carpet laid
Stage your house. Here in SF this does not mean “hide the toys and the mail”. They mean the WHOLE enchilada! Regardless of what you think about your taste in furniture, take all of your stuff out and stage your house. (For one thing, stagers have all their pieces insured. So if someone comes through, and grazes one of the pieces that is in the house, they can claim it, you will not be able to.) Call several stagers. Have them come over and walk through your house. Get proposals. Figure out your time table and pick who you are going to work with. (Staging is staggeringly expensive.)
sweet view

You are going to have to schedule the mover FIRST. Everything has to come out of the house.
Then repairs.
Then paint.
THEN carpet (the order is important)
Then a cleaner. Again, I understand that you are capable of cleaning your own place. But be for real. The list of to do’s is staggering here. Call a cleaner. Get a quote. Set a date.
Call a couple of hauling services. Because by the time you are HERE on your list, you are just ready for the junk to leave your life. You have moved, but in the end you are left with gnarly shower caddies, random IKEA book shelves that were in the kitchen that have a little bit of water damage, funky “welcome mats” that are not welcoming. … and a wagon load of other tired stuff that will fill way more than one standard residential trash can. Get someone to take those piles to the dump.
Look at your garden. You will need to get someone in to do that too. Call some people, get some quotes, pick one, and schedule them.
The going wisdom here in SF is that you pay to have the inspections done beforehand, and you have them on display for seriously interested parties. Homes are sold in “as is” condition here. So the inspection protects the seller from any surprise legal action. It also serves to make the price “stick”. Buyers cannot come in, make an offer, and then drop the offer $50k based on the inspections.
Here, your agent will help. She will call her preferred person. They will schedule a time to come over. And for 2-3 hours, they will crawl around every square inch of your house, inside and out, over and under, and then they will give you a report that shreds your beloved house to RIBBONS. And, you will pay $1100 for this privileged/protection. The “good news” is that this can be scheduled at any time in this process.
Oh, did we talk about picking a real estate agent? You have to pick an agent.
I don’t think that is any different than anywhere else. But, where ever you are, that is an important decision. Talk to several, pick one you are comfortable with, that you think will work hard for you.
Don’t forget about the kid(s).
Hiding place, during the move
She hid below the table and had a tea party with her animals.
And don’t forget to eat.
And don’t forget the parking permits.
signs posted
We are out now.
The exquisite furniture is in place. My sister-in-law could not even place some of the rooms.
The open houses have been getting a LOT of traffic. So that is good. (Right?)
Away we go. Stay tuned. There will be more to come.

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6 Comments to Moving: the San Francisco Experience
    • Beth W.
    • When we were house-hunting, we were disappointed to find so many had had their gardens redone (because we wanted to create one more or less from scratch), and had had kitchens remodeled — in ways we wouldn’t have wanted, with the same old granite counters and stainless steel fixtures, blah blah. As a pie-maker the granite counter does have its upsides, but I think we would have been happy to pay $20-$50k less for a non-redone kitchen and then pay to do it ourselves later.

    • Jenny K
    • Wow, that is sure different than what we did in Minneapolis. And it was different here in Atlanta buying. I am at the stage now where the movers have put all my boxes in my house and now I must find spots for everything. We had boxes upon boxes of books and boy was I glad someone else moved them.

    • Abbie
    • My husband farms, so we are pretty much stuck where we are, especially since we built our house on our land. And I am oh-so-thankful. Because that whole process sounds awful. You are a brave, brave lady. Good luck and best wishes!

    • Jusa
    • This may be why we stayed in this awful house we’re in for 25 years. Sigh. The funny thing is, the last time I moved I only had a cat to worry about, not a family. The cat sensed something BIG was up for the weeks I was packing. He, too, hid under a chair the whole time. Would not speak to me. I’ll spare you the story of me having to give the cat away because the man I was marrying is allergic. At least you don’t have to give your kid away.
      It didn’t used to be this way, did it. It all seems so, I don’t know, vicious now, and you have to worry about covering your backside all the time. It used to be that you fixed up a house after you bought it; you didn’t expect everything to be like new when you moved in.
      I do remember pulling a muscle in my back after lifting a box for the bajillionth time. That put an end to unpacking for a while. Definitely worth hiring someone else to move heavy stuff, or even boxes, just to save your back.
      Best of luck with everything. (You could go sit under a chair….)

      • Susi
      • Jusa, It does seem like that! You used to paint, and ‘get to know a house” when you moved in. Now, you paint (and paint and paint) and move out!
        I’m sorry about your cat.
        The kid is not for sale. (hmmm, she would fetch a pretty penny on the open market!) No. Not for sale, even on a “bad” day.
        We are safe and warm in our “temp housing” and SUPER blessed. And we will have many projects to do in our next place. HA HA! where ever in the world that is!

        Throw stuff away ALL THE TIME! And NEVER MOVE. These are rules to live by. : )

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