Watch my life unravel...



Top Canadian Blogs - Top Blogs

Local Directory for Ottawa, ON


It's complicated

Now that we’re married, GC and I are thinking about moving in together. Like actually formally officially living together. Getting rid of the duplicate toaster and bed and microwave and house, and consolidating ourselves and our animals and our stuff into one house.

It’s complicated, though. First we had to decide which house to live in. I preferred my house and he preferred his house. We finally reached a decision: we’ll sell my house and live in his house for a couple of years and then we’ll buy a house that will be “ours.”

But before we move to his house, we both have to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff. It’s the wrong time of year for a garage sale, so we have to figure that out. Some of it can go on Kijiji, like my loom and guitar and extra furniture and his giant 61″ 500-pound free-to-a-good-home TV. Even so, I really do need to have a garage sale.

Also, we want to do a few fix-ups of his house while it’s relatively empty, like refinishing the floors and painting the interior and installing some lighting and maybe improving the kitchen a little.

Neither one of us has has any talent or experience with fixing things (we’re quilters, not carpenters; the only thing the two have in common is the motto “measure twice, cut once”). So we have to hire people to do that. Do you hire a general contractor, and he or she hires the other people? Do you hire a jack of all trades, or a specialist for each job? Do you refinish the floors first, or paint first? We keep hearing that all the good contractors will be too busy to take the job, and we shouldn’t hire anybody that isn’t too busy because they won’t be any good. But does that even make sense?

So anyway, assuming we get all that sorted out, then we have to actually move. I’m definitely hiring movers for that.

Once we’re there, we have to fix my place up in order to sell it. The floors should be sanded and the whole interior painted. In addition to that, I think the kitchen floor and the kitchen counter both need replacing, and probably the cabinets need to be refaced. Also, the moldings and trim that Kazoo ate need to be replaced. And then there’s various assorted little things, like the window screen that Duncan plucks when he wants to come in. It’s in shreds, and must be replaced.

Oh, and the crumbling cement front porch. It has been an eyesore for years. The city issued another work order this year, and I convinced the neighbour with whom I share the porch that we should replace the cement porch with a wood porch. Another neighbour agreed to do the job in his very limited spare time. (It’s been over a month, and we now have wooden steps…but they’re not all the same size. Some are 10 inches deep and others are 20 inches deep, and the last one is really really tall. He’s still tweaking it; it’s a work in progress.)

Anyway, after we’ve sold all our extra stuff, fixed up GC’s house, moved there, and fixed up my house, then we have to sell my house. And then we’re done!

13 comments to It’s complicated

  • Instead of putting all sorts of effort and money into renovating your house, you could sell it for a bit less to someone who is more efficient at renovating or already has professionals to rely on and knows exactly what colours and materials they want.

  • sandra

    Buy a duplex. Then you can live together but separately.

  • I don’t envy you at all. Good luck. Also, I agree with David above. Our Realtor advised us that by asking less and not making the updates you may open yourself up to additional buyers – they’ll be happy to make their own choices. And, I sort of blacked out for a while there – your loom?

  • David x3.

    Selling the stuff only makes sense if you really need the cash… which you probably do, but having a massive garage sale will be a pain in the ass, and you’ll end up having to either throw a bunch of the stuff away, or donating it. So, instead of selling a few chairs for $5, or bags of whatever for $0.50, just donate them. Sell the big stuff on Kijiji, or wherever.

    You have a lovely home, in a nice neighborhood… it should sell fairly quickly. I’d lay off any renovations. Especially anything that involves a general contractor.

  • Deb

    The jobs that you need doing are mostly cosmetic…unfortunately, you might end up getting 10% less for your house by not doing them…and it should only cost you about 5% to fix them.

    As your realtor expert/sister, I think that you should be doing the work.

    You can probably find a good handyman to do most of the work…ask Bonnie, I think she or Len would know someone.

  • Is that all? I agree with your sister. The things you need to do are mostly cosmetic. A clean, freshly done interior will sell quicker and more easily.

    Moving is so traumatic.

  • Eve

    Guitar? You are going to get rid of your guitar? Sorry but I can’t let that happen.

    Signed, your guitar teacher

  • Eve

    P.S. Congratulations and good luck with the move!

  • Are you SURE you want to live together 100%? I thought the way it was – GC “living” at your house and working from his house – was kind of ideal. You are together when you want to be, but have a little physical and psychic space. Or buy a triplex – one side for GC, one side for you, and one shared space. At least, that is what my SO and I have discussed. But we are not married and (or partly because) neither of us wants to give up their space and belongings.

  • Deb

    Bittenbyknittin, that’s a pretty expensive way to live though…for what the two houses, plus utilities and taxes cost, they could buy a larger home with enough space for everyone and in a location that they both like and still have money left over.

  • GC

    Hah! Living together is not the “complication” here. The complication is the logistics of consolidating 2 homes and preparing one or both for the market while juggling 7 pets. Two homes would be nice if we could afford it. One for us and one for the pets… (oops did I say that out loud?) Just kidding! Keep in mind that Zoom is on a business trip and Rosie, Duncan, the birds and I have been playing cards and eating pizza for the last few days. We kind of need a break from each other!

  • Mary P

    I’m with the realtor/sister. The people that want to buy “as is” and add their personal touches usually want to pay at least 20% below market. Do the cosmetic fixes that need doing before listing. You’ll more than get back your investment.

    Putting time and energy into selling excess belongings only makes sense if you enjoy putting together a sale or need the extra money. If you don’t love the idea of a sale that is not likely to attract many buyers as fall advances, donate to charity and gift to friends. You’ll still eliminate the excess but with much less effort.

    Good luck on your move(s).

  • GC, I would gladly have helped out with that 61-inch-wide, 500-lb TV, but alas, my den is only a 50-incher.

    Best wishes working out the logistics!