Friday, May 30, 2014

Our Current Situation - Lack of Space is Driving me Nuts!

This temporary housing thing SUCKS with a Capital S!!!  Everytime I go grocery shopping, I'm quickly reminded of just how little space we have and it's driving me NUTS!

On the flip side, being that we are downsizing from Heartland's Nantucket II which had insane space, having to live in this Patio Home has been 10 months of rehab in bringing us back down to reality!  And for me personally, it has been an amazing experience in the sense that I've learned so much about life in general and it's strengthened my faith just that much more, and it's also allowing me to appreciate our Rome to the fullest!  Whereas before this experience, I was feeling like we were losing so much by selling our house and deciding to downsize!  Well now I know we didn't lose ANYTHING!  We have GAINED SO MUCH all the way around, and the Rome is PERFECT and I'm ready to GO!  

I've come a long way though LOL!  Because when we first moved, I cried like a baby the first 2 weeks in this Patio poor family, dealing with my melt downs and crying spells over this or that LOL!  Looking back on it I can just do nothing but Laugh!  God has a way of getting you ready for things LOL!  I remember the first week, I saw a centipede in our bedroom...OMG...boy did I cry that night.  I DO NOT do Spiders LOL! Then the next day I saw another one in the kitchen!  I cried again!  At that point, I said, God if you let me not see anymore Centipedes I will stop my crying and constant complaining about this patio home.  NOTE: I said constant complaining, I didn't say I would totally stop complaining LOL!  Anyway, He got the point - because from that prayer forward I didn't see anymore centipedes!  LOL!

10 months in, this journey has now made me appreciate the little things in life like Garbage Disposals, Peep Holes in the Front Door, Refrigerators with Ice and Water that doesn't taste like freakin GARLIC, Furnaces that Work in the winter, and just the everyday things that most people take for granted because this place LACKS IT ALL!!!  I call this place Perfume on a Pig!  It looks pretty on the outside but it really isn't!   I'm sick of dumping food in the garbage because we have no garbage disposal, im sick of yelling like I'm a maniac when someone rings the doorbell because there's no window or peep hole on the dum door, and I'm sick of storing food on the kitchen table because there's not adequate cabinets and the Pantry is a JOKE!!

 So July 2nd, please hurry up and get here!  Ok I'm done complaining.  LOL! Oh, here are some pictures for your amusement LOL!

No Room in Cabinets for all Our Food! So our kitchen table has become a make shift storage area comprised of a Costco box in the back to give it some stability LOL!

Whoever Designed this PANTRY is an IDIOT!  You tell me how we're suppose to reach food that's in back of the first row without taking everything out smh!  This is by far the most irritating feature of this kitchen!

This Freezer/Refrigerator Sucks! It opens backwards! And just don't even shop for more then a weeks worth of food at a time or you'll get home and seriously regret it LOL!

Kitchen is super tiny!  I HATE IT!  I can't wait to enjoy my new kitchen.  I have been on a 10 month hiatus from cooking! I vowed to not cook in this kitchen when we moved in...another one of my crying spells LOL.  Thank God my honey and boys love to cook!  They have been holding us down in the kitchen.  I have cooked a few times and that has consisted of  Spaghetti and Hot Sausage Meals and that's it LOL!  I just really can't do this kitchen! So I have alot of making up to do - I promised them I would cook 5 Days a Week once we move and I'm looking forward to it!  LOL :)

We gave our first floor Master to our youngest son because I don't like to sleep on the first floor.  So yes, this is the closet we had to use and it is a HOT MESS!  I'm a very neat and organized person and very particular when it comes to our closet.  However looking at this Mess you would never guess LOL!   Normally everything is put together based on colors, seasons etc.  Well not in this closet - I threw my hands up - just fit it in there and be glad it fits LOL!  And as you see, we literally jam packed the essentials into this closet!  Needless to say, the majority of our clothes had to remain in boxes or in my sons Master Closet LOL!  Those Rome dual Master Bedroom Closets are looking lovely right about now!  I can't wait to organize our closets! :)

Moving Companies & Cost: How to SAVE BIG on Your Move!

This post is for those who wish to cut their moving expenses as much as possible!  Our goal is to keep our money in our pocket whenever possible.  These are things we have done in the past and plan to do with this move as well to save money.  So maybe these tips can help you too! :)

Schedule Early and do your Research:

You should be scheduling your movers 1-2 months in advance.  Especially if you are moving during the spring/summer months.  They book up super fast during that time of year!

I strongly advise you to do some research online before selecting your movers.  Research at least 4 different Moving Companies and check out their rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).  You'd be surprised how some of the most popular movers have an F Rating.  The most complaints we came across were movers breaking items and not wanting to replace them etc. So do your research!  Once you do that - schedule for at least 3-4 different Moving Companies to come out and give you a Free Estimate.  This is crucial.  You will be utterly surprised at the difference in Estimates you will get!  Our quotes ranged from a company charging $1000 more then others to as much as 50% more, which is ridiculous!  Example one moving company quoted us $5500 and another $2000.  Big difference in price!  So YES, check around!  And schedule early!  Most of the less expensive movers will fill up very quickly.  You don't want to be stuck using the most expensive moving company.

Bigger isn't Always Better - Don't Dismiss the Little Guys:

Don't be afraid of the smaller name moving companies.  We found that many of them actually had better ratings then some of the big guys and cost ALOT LESS!  We hired a Moving company from Pittsburgh called Gardner Moving and they brought a 5 man crew, were very professional and actually ended up finishing under estimate.  So we were very pleased and are using them this time around too.  Our estimated moving cost is around $1700 and that includes packing 3 Large Flat Screen TVs, 2 Glass Curio Cabinets, 2 Large Glass Tops for Tables, 15 Wardrobe Boxes, plus Dissembling and Reassembling 3 Large Beds.

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes:

For free moving boxes, check with your local Dicks Sporting Goods, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Other Grocery Stores, Dollar General, and Department Stores - many times they will have free boxes available.  It's best to call ahead to check.  

Other places to get free or cheap boxes is on Craigslist and Facebook.

For Cheap or Low Cost Boxes - Check on Craigslist, Facebook and if all else fails...Lowes has cheap boxes - Small to Medium are less then $1 and the Large ones are like $1.15.

Rent your Wardrobe Boxes instead of Buying them!  To rent our wardrobe boxes from the movers it was only $5 compared to $15 to buy them.  If you really want to buy the boxes, check on Craigslist first!  We snagged them last year when we moved for just $5.

Cut Cost by Moving Boxes and Smaller Items Yourself!

In addition to our moving company - the weekend before our move - We are going to rent a Uhaul this time around to cut cost.  The 10' - 17' Uhaul Trucks all cost the same which is $29.95 plus .99 Cents per mile. We are not moving that far away so total miles is like 40 for there and back.  We also added 2 Dollys to our order.  So the cost will be around $100 total to rent the Uhaul and dollies.  

We plan to load it with as many of our boxes and smaller items as we can like lamps, glass top smaller tables, glass shelves, smaller flat screen TVs, plants, etc.  

Move Expensive Items Yourself:

We will also open box up our computers and laptops and move them ourselves.  I wouldn't dare but these on a moving truck.  Nothing against them, just my preference.  Mainly for the fact that I don't feel like packing them with bubble wrap etc, that just seems like a pain in the butt.  I would recommend doing the same if you have expensive jewelry etc.  Just box it up and move it yourself in your car for peace of mind.

 This will cut down on our moving cost as our mover charges by the hour.

IMPORTANT:  The 10' Uhaul Truck does not have an EZ-Load Ramp on it so I would advise not to get that size truck!  We learned that the hard way last year when moving my son and friend were not happy LOL!  So take it from me, it'll make your life so much easier with the EZ-Load Ramp when unloading the boxes with the dolly.

MOVING SALE - Get Rid of What You Don't Need and Make a Profit:

It makes no sense to pay movers to move junk or stuff you no longer want or need!  When we downsized from our last house - We had a HUGE Moving Sale!  We knew certain furniture pieces wouldn't fit in our new home plus we didn't want to pay for storage for a year for things that wouldn't fit in our temporary home!  So we sold as much as we could!  That in itself is another post LOL! So stay tuned for that post and tips on how we were able to make an amazing $12,000 at our Moving Sale!!  :)

Other Places to Sell:

Oh we got real creative - What we didn't sell at the Moving Sale - We sold on the Pittsburgh Facebook Fleamarket.  Most cities and townships have one so replace city/township name with your own.  It's free and allows you to post pictures etc.  I set up 6 foot tables in my garage and people would literally find me via my free facebook ad, and call to schedule an appt and come out after work and shop through the tables I had setup in the garage LOL.  Fun stuff!  This to me was safer then Craigslist as we could put a face with the person and know they were legit.

You can sell things on eBay too.  But since I sell on eBay anything that was eBay worthy was already not sitting out in my Moving Sale Lol!! 

Donate Items You Can't Sell:

We literally donated about 25 bags to our local Goodwill LOL!  Plus was able to write off the donations at tax time.  So whatever doesn't sell at your moving Sale - donate it to the Goodwill or Thrift Store and write it off at tax time :)

Clearly Mark Your Boxes Unless You Want a NIGHTMARE!

Although all our boxes were clearly marked, with our previous move to our Heartland Nantucket, I had told the guys to just dump all the boxes in our Kitchen and Morning Room! Why! Why! Why! LOL! Boy did I regret doing that.  It was a nightmare to say the least. Mounds and mounds of boxes piled 5 and 6 feet tall LOL! That was a goofball move on my part trying to save a few bucks by with the time LOL!  BIG MISTAKE!

So make sure you mark the room where your boxes go Clearly for them to understand which room it is with BIG BLACK MAGIC MARKER on the Front of the Box.  Plus if you have kids, put their names on the boxes too!  This will save you so much time and confusion when you go to unpack!  

Another reason why I think I told them to dump all the boxes in the kitchen is because I got sick of them saying which room is this or where does this go 100 times! LOL!
So another GOOD TIP!  On 8x10 Pieces of White Paper - Write your room names in BIG BLACK MARKER on the paper to correspond with your boxes, and the day before the move - tape it to the outside of each room at the New House so your movers will know which boxes go in which room and can quickly get them to the rooms.  After all, your typically being charged by the hour so we want them to be able to just keep the flow going.  So don't just write Janie's Room - the movers do not know who your little Janie is LOL. If you do this - make sure to have a piece of paper saying Janie's Room on the outside of Janie's room!  :)

This little tip will save you time and money.

Protect Your Flooring!

 Be sure to tell the Movers to cover all your flooring with either plastic or drop clothes so that they don't scratch or dirty up your flooring during your move. PS. Thanks for the reminder Darla lol :)

Keep Your Receipts for Tax Write Off:

You may qualify to write off your moving expenses.  So be sure to keep all your receipts!  Especially if moving a home office.

Don't Forget to Tip for the Movers :)

We tipped each mover about $20- 25 each.  Average tips should be 5% of your total bill.  This is optional of course, but they don't make much so they really appreciate the tip. So if you have it in the budget, it's nice to do so :)

OK Guys and Gals - I think these are all the tips I can think of for now!  If I think of more, I will let you know.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pre-Settlement Date is Set!

Our Pre-Settlement date is set for Wednesday, June 4th, 2014.  If our closing did not have to be delayed due to us being in a lease that doesn't end until August, we could have moved in next week :(

So after Pre-Settlement our house will sit until July 2nd when we close and we have movers scheduled for July 7th!!  Almost 30 days away!

The Punch Out team is there finishing everything up this week through the weekend.  The house must be ready for Inspection on Monday.  So I can't wait to see it come Sunday night when we drive by.  I believe he said the landscaping will be done as well before then.

So for those who don't know, during the Pre-Settlement meeting - they will demonstrate all of the features and benefits of our new home.  We will be there along with our Project Manager.  They will demonstrate how to operate and maintain all the appliances, furnace, thermostat, etc.

If you have any questions about your home, now is the time you want to ask.  It's advised not to take small children along as your full attention is required during this process.

Typically this meeting takes place 2 days before your Closing aka Settlement date.  Since our closing is delayed - it is still taking place as Ryan has certain deadlines for home completion that they must still meet regardless of the delayed closing date.

I will update you further after the meeting.


Moving Trucks DO NOT PARK IN NEW DRIVEWAY - New driveways can not support the weight of a moving truck without causing possible cracks and/or damage and that would not be covered under warranty!  So remember to tell them to park on the street!

Broken Windows - DO NOT Panic!

So during week 9 as we walked through our home we noticed there were at least 3 broken windows.  I was freaking out and immediately told my SR.  Apparently sometimes the contractors aren't so careful and this happens often LOL!  She assured me they would be fixed prior to the Pre Settlement meeting which they were.

So if you walk through and notice cracked windows - just make note of them but DON'T PANIC - Ryan will make sure they are replaced prior to your Pre Settlement meeting.  :)

Update Weeks 9 thru 10 - Flooring, Cabinets, Carpet, Appliances - ALL DONE

Sorry for the late update guys.  Week 9 was actually the Week of the 18th.   Our house is pretty much done.  The punch out guy is there now putting on the final touches.

Week 9 - They installed our flooring, kitchen cabinets, and first coat of paint.  All the hall and kitchen flooring was covered and protected by cardboard.  Carpet was installed last in Week 10.

Week 10 - Our house is pretty much done.  So during this week they installed the Carpet, Kitchen Appliances, and Faucets. 

The Punch Out guy is there now putting on the final touches.  He is the man who basically inspects the house before the inspection aka Pre Settlement meeting and makes sure everything is done and wraps up what was not done.  Everything is pretty much in except for the shoe mold, 2nd coat of paint, White Column on Porch, Mirror in Hall Bathroom upstairs, and a few other minor things.

Living Room

Powder Room

Dining Room

Powder Room

First Floor Office

Family Room

Kitchen Dishwasher - Standard Black

Kitchen - Standard Black Range

Double Bowl Stainless Steel Standard Sink 

(I was disappointed this has no hole for a sprayer - so we will have to upgrade the faucet instead)

Master Bedroom and Sitting Area

1st Master Bedroom Closet

1st Master Bedroom Closet - Other Side

Master Bathroom with Double Bowl Sinks

Master Bathroom Shower

Master Bathroom Toilet

Master Bathroom Garden Tub

2nd Master Bedroom Closet off the Bathroom - This one is all Mine! LOL!

2nd Master Bedroom Closet - Other Side

Hall Bathroom

Hall Bathroom 
DIY Project: Small Cbinet will be replace with a Larger Cabinet/Counter Top ASAP.

Hall Closet
I was so happy it didn't have that pole down the middle :)

Laundry Room

Upstairs Hallway

Bedroom 3 - I think LOL

Bedroom 3 Closet - I think

4th Bedroom - This will be my 2nd Office

4th Bedroom - Closet

Hall with View of Loft with 2 Foot Extension from Elevation C



Our Backyard

Our Backyard

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Got Our Closing Date! Woohoo!! :)

We just found out our closing date will be July 2nd!!!  I can not wait until this long journey is over and we get our keys to our new dream home.  God is so Good!   :)

Ps.  Don't forget our closing is delayed per our request due to the fact that we are in a lease until August.  Normally our closing would have probably been June 2nd or so.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Week 8: Drywall Done ~ Lighting Installed - Lookin Good!

Sorry guys - So I'm like a week behind.  This was completed last week which was week 8.  The dry wall is now all complete and they started to install the lighting and bathroom cabinets during week 8.