See ya later, maroon carpet
There must be something about pregnancy and moving that go together for me. When we moved across town from our Chicago condo to our Chicago multiplex, I had just suffered a miscarriage. When we were 6 months pregnant with Emmy, we purchased a single family home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And when Charlie was just 3 months old, we purchased a duplex in Charleston, South Carolina.
When we decided to leave Chicago and head to Ann Arbor, we knew it would be tough for many reasons. Though we have lived in and traveled to many cities, Chicago is the city that has felt the most like home to both of us. In addition to pulling on our heartstrings, moving meant finding new jobs (not easy when you're an 8 month pregnant teacher), searching for childcare from afar, and facilitating an out-of-state move.
But we knew if we wanted to make it happen, we would. That is probably what I love the most about us. When we say we're going to do something, we do it. We don't just talk the talk - we walk the walk.
We contacted a local relator, Tammi Ebenhoe, and got to work searching for homes. We went back and forth between buying a large house we could grow into and a small starter home. While we looked at houses in-person one or two weekends, the majority of our "house tours" were virtual. Tammi was awesome at narrating video walk-throughs for us, and through those virtual videos we probably put offers on 10 different houses. We kept getting put in multiple offer situations and losing properties to cash offers or huge appraisal gap coverages. To say we were feeling defeated is to put it lightly. BUT... we never gave up.
We finally came across 19 Revere Court and submitted the below offer, sight unseen... AND WE GOT IT! (YES: We purchased a home we never saw in person!)
TIP: Writing a letter to your seller can give you an edge in multiple offer situations. (see above)
We closed on Revere in April of 2018 and spent the next two months facilitating renovations over phone/e-mail, from out-of-state. With the goal of having our home move-in ready when we arrived in Ann Arbor with our precious newborn, we had no choice but to put a lockbox on the front door and let all sorts of random Angie's List strangers inside to give us quotes for their work. The next few months looked like texts and emails to contractors with extremely detailed updates and inspiration photos like this:
We also went back to Ann Arbor as often as we could to knock out small projects ourselves. This is called SWEAT EQUITY.
We also continued coordinating with contractors via amazing text messages that sometimes included photos of me being VERY pregnant to light a fire under their rears to speed up construction:
Two months later, we welcomed Emerson Ainslie Wales into the world.
When Emmy was 10 days old, it was time to take the trek from Chicago to Ann Arbor! With our precious cargo in hand, we had a vision for what our home would look like when we opened the front door.
Move-in Ready Expectation vs Move-in Ready Reality:
We continued making improvements while living at 19 Revere Ct., and a year later we decided it was time to move on! We fell in love with a bigger house for our growing family. Luckily, Ann Arbor is located in a college town and has a strong rental market. Within days, we had rented our home to a lovely family for well-above our mortgage, making it a great investment property.
Are you considering moving? Think outside the box! Instead of selling your current home beforehand, consider renting it. Interested in learning more about the process and what has worked/not worked for us? Please reach out! We love talking real estate and would be thrilled to help YOU.
Below are a few more BEFORE/AFTERS from Revere:
19 Revere Court, by the numbers
Mortgage, Insurance, Etc. : $1817
Tenant Rent: $2425/mo.