10 house rules

I’m about to buy a house and sell the one I’m living in. My current house is in total chaos due to packing, painting, and prepping for the move.

Based on that experience, here are the ten immutable rules of houses and moving.

  1. When you put something down, it instantly becomes unfindable and will not be there when you look for it; the likelihood of finding it again is inversely proportional to its importance.
  2. Whenever you need to get to something, something else will be in the way.
  3. When you seal up the last box of similar items, another item that belongs in the box will immediately appear.
  4. The most likely times for a major system in your house to fail (plumbing, electrical, roof, etc.) are just before you’re ready to show it and just after you bought it.
  5. It’s an excellent plan to touch each belonging or box only once, but this theoretical strategy is impossible in practice.
  6. If you need a particular object or tool, it is already packed.
  7. The best real estate agent is the one who listens, not the one who is focused on getting the best price.
  8. Don’t piss off movers. They hold everything you own in their hands.
  9. Your house will look better when you sell it than it ever did when you were living in it.
  10. Knowing and accounting for these rules will not exempt you from them.

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  1. I love #7 and would add that the highest offer doesn’t necessarily translate into the easiest transaction.

  2. Let me add another rule please, given that we have just sold our cottage. If you rent a UHaul truck and get it all packed up for the next morning, when morning comes you won’t be able to find the key to the truck. (Only after getting another key cut for $200 and finally moving, will you get around to unpacking and finding that the key had magically deposited itself into a box of small inconsequential things, which had then been packed inside a bigger box). [Yes, this is written in the passive voice, because “I”, the subject, had nothing to do with it. ;-)]

  3. Haha— I can so relate. A few further tips: Each person is responsible for their own packing tape dispenser. All Sharpies, box cutters, etc. return to the plastic container on the kitchen counter. I used an empty bookcase to store bubble-wrapped fragile things that still needed a box. Made rows to squeeze my feet between stacks of boxes. But there’s hope…now, 3 months later, I no longer dream about it. Best of luck in your new digs, Josh.

  4. An extra number – Always have one box packed that goes with you in the car – containing ‘first day/night’ items like sheets, towels, cups/mugs, bowls (and animal feed/water bowls if you have them), soap etc. Then you don’t have to unpack a gazillion boxes to get the bed made and have a shower.

  5. We are now finishing up on THE VERY SAME SITUATION (except downsizing to a condo!). EACH POINT ABOVE IS 100% CORRECT.
    (Oh, and thank goodness, you did not mention Trump one single time! Bravo, you’re on the road to recovery!)

  6. It may be too late for some of you, but the best rule we found was to have an extra type of box labeled “give away to the thrift store.” The rule was don’t move it if have never missed it. You would be surprised how much stuff goes to good cause.

  7. #4 Was big for us on our last sale.

    Just before listing, Hail damage to roof, needed rush replacement.
    Someone drove into our fence downing a section.
    Water heater acted up and needed fixing.
    Windows that had no problem before, suddenly became impossible to open.

    I’d add another to your list:

    Never underestimate how dumb / unrealistic potential buyer’s expectations can be, nor how incompetent their real estate agent can be.

    We had a string of offers with unrealistic expectations written in (e.g. 3 week closing, but 10 days for contingency period. Others were even more hare-brained) and a buyer (who trash talked about the house) who couldn’t close on the set date when it came (fortunately got worked out, almost 2 weeks later – but get this, they were realtors themselves – WTHey!!).

    This was a few years back, before this housing market.