OUR ADVENTURE MOVING TO NC

On October 30, we decided to sell our home in Texas and move to Murphy, North Carolina. North Carolina has many, many more opportunities for white water kayaking than Texas, something we really enjoy, so the move made sense.

We had interviewed two agents, both of whom suggested a listing price of “$X.”  We decided to list the house for $20,000 under X in the hope we would get multiple offers. We listed with an agent and on November 6, a “coming soon” video about our house was posted on YouTube. Our agent said that “coming soon” videos created a sense of FOLO – fear of losing out.

The actual listing hit all the well-known real estate websites on November 9, and on November 11, two days after the listing appeared, we received an offer $10,000 above the listing price. We could not have asked for anything better, so we decided not to hold out for multiple offers.

With a contact in hand, we had an appraisal scheduled for December 3rd. The appraiser first asked if he could show up earlier, but we were in the middle of packing and said it was not convenient. He did show up a couple of days later and spent quite a bit of time performing the appraisal.

We also had a survey scheduled for December 9, and that also took place.

Then the issues began.

We were notified on December 13 that the appraiser was not going to complete the appraisal – no reason given. That meant that another appraiser had to show up on very short notice. That appraiser showed up on December 16 and submitted his report on the 17th. Good, right?

First of all, he spent no more than 45 minutes in the property. Second of all, he appraised the house at $70,000 less than the contract price. We were furious, mainly he said in the appraisal that no major improvements had been made to the house in the past 5 years. When I walked through the house with the appraiser, I pointed out improvements we had made this year, one of which required the demolition of a wall and the addition of a new wall. It turns out that the appraiser lives in the same subdivision as we do, but on the other side of the main road dividing the north and south subdivisions. The north subdivision, the one the appraiser lives in, has fewer amenities than the south side, the side we live in, and fewer restrictions. For example, you can have livestock on the north side, but not on the south side. The comps he used were of houses on the north side. Then we discovered that he was building a house on the north side. Very suspicious behavior on his part, and we think the appraisal was self-serving.

Anyway, that created a lot of angst, but the buyer decided to go ahead with the contract.

Then we were informed that the surveyor had not turned in the finished surveyor by the required time, and without a survey, the closing could not go ahead. I contacted everyone concerned and said that if we could find a surveyor who could do an “emergency” survey, I would pay for it. The buyer’s agent, however, said that she would and managed to get a surveying company to perform the survey. (Our closing is the day I am writing this and we are waiting for the survey to be sent to the title company in the morning so we can close in the afternoon.)

In preparation of our move, we agreed to a contract with a moving company on November 17, 2021 for a move from Spring Branch, TX to Murphy, NC. The estimate was for $3415 for an estimated 450 cubic feet of items and a $200 fee for a kayak, which they considered a “bulk item.”. The move was supposed to take place December 27, 2021 or December 28, 2021 because we had to vacate our home on December 30, 2021. The contract also specified that the belongings could not be delivered until January 3 because we had renters in our cabin in NC.

On December 20, 2021 we received a text from the moving company stating that they were “one truck down and one driver down,” and asked if we postpone our move to early January. we replied immediately, reminding them that we had to be out of our home by December 30, 2021.

We then had to try to find another mover immediately and, given the short notice, we were not able to find any that could meet the pickup date.

After numerous phone calls, emails and texts, the moving company said that they would fly a person from Florida to Texas to complete our move. They also said that the charge for the move would be $1500 more than the original quote. We were told that this difference was based, in part, on the fact that Pronto would have to store our items until we were able to accept delivery. Pronto’s estimate, however, includes one month of storage at no cost. We had previously told Pronto that we were not shipping the kayak so $200 should be removed from the estimate. However, the moving company said that because we were shipping a river board (similar to a “boogie board”) that would incur a $200 charge.

Having little or no choice in the matter, we agreed. We were told that the driver would show up on December 26, 2021. When he did not show up, we called Pronto and was told that he would show up on December 27, 2021.

The driver eventually did show up and loaded the truck. We had told the moving company that we were not shipping the river board and that $200 should be removed from the cost. We also gave them a detailed spreadsheet itemizing everything we were moving with the sizes in cubic feet of each item. The cubic feet totaled 416, much less than the 450 cubic feet the original estimate was based on. However, the moving company said that because they could not stack our items floor to ceiling, we would have to pay extra for the move, and that amount would offset the $200 credit for the kayak.

Because of the change, the plan was for the driver to move our belongings to NC and put them in climate-controlled storage. However, the driver of the truck tried very aggressively to get me to agree to a delivery date of January 1. He said something about getting delivery on January 1 because he was going to meet his supervisor in NC and his supervisor was not going “to sit around waiting” to deliver our items to our cabin in North Carolina.

I told him that delivery could not be made until the 3rd of January and had him change that paperwork to the 4th of January.

The next day I had a conversation with the moving company which consisted mostly of “WTF?” They were as confused as I was and confirmed that the belongings were going to be put into storage. I requested that the driver take a picture of the belongings when they were in storage so I could have confidence that they were, in fact, were put into storage.

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Well, literally minutes after I saved this file, we got this email: I just wanted to let you know that (the buyer) texted me last night that he has COVID-19. He went to the ER and got some meds that will hopefully help his symptoms. I have reached out to the title company to see what our options are. Perhaps we can use a mobile notary and they can watch the buyer sign through the front window. I’ll let everyone know as soon as we have a solution. 

Note that we are supposed to sign the closing documents today and the buyer tomorrow. I was informed that there is a time period in which the buyer must sign his paperwork and, if that time period elapses, we would have to sign all over again.

Then we were informed that the survey of our property was not complete by noon, even though it was supposed to be completed by 9 AM. No survey – no closing.

We were like – YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

However, at 1:20 or so, we were told that a mobile notary had been found and agreed to notarize the buyer’s signature, and that the survey had been delivered and approved. Out new closing time was now 2:30.

But the fun did not stop.

While we were in the title company’s offices, my phone rang. I recognized it as one of the mover’s phone numbers and tried to answer it. Nothing. It rang again and, again, nothing. Then I realized that I had left my Bluetooth phone device on in our truck. I raced out to the truck and managed to answer the third call. I was totally frazzled at that point but, fortunately, it was not a negative phone call.

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The buyer signed his paperwork! We are good to go, right?

Well, the adventure continued. I woke up with a killer stomach ache and spent a lot of time on the toilet. My assumption was that all of the stress had really taken its toll on my gut.

Anyway, while we were loading the trucks, I pulled a muscle (I think). As the day progressed, especially while we were driving, my back and my stomach really started killing me. Moreover, I had to stop once an hour to pee. Yes, I am old, but not THAT old.

Well, we got to our hotel, where we had to get two rooms because the hotel only allowed two pets per room and we had three dogs and a cat with us. We had asked for connecting rooms, but were told that they didn’t have any.  I don’t know how I discovered them, but I actually found two rooms that connected. That was the good news. The bad news was that, after unloading everything we needed, we had to take all of the stuff to the new rooms. That aggravated my back even more.

Long story short – when I went to bad, I had to get up (no exaggeration) every fifteen minutes to pee. Then I started vomiting. I was convinced that, despite having three vaccine shots, I had somehow gotten COVID. I was in such extreme pain in the morning that my wife drove me to an Urgent Care place.

The place was awesome – very large and fully staffed at 6 AM. They ran all types of tests on me, and gave me morphine for my pain. The morphine had no effect, though, so I asked for a second dose. Still no effect.

After two hours, the doctor came in and told me I had a kidney stone. Morphine does not help with the pain associated with kidney stones, so they gave me something else. Whatever he gave me was awesome, and I went back to the hotel with some in hand.

Interesting note – I was in and out of sleep, but was able to hear what was going on in the room next to me. It seemed that someone who had checked in was arguing with the doctor, who said, in a loud voice, “It doesn’t matter – you have COVID!” I guess the person was saying that he had been vaccinated and, therefore could not have gotten COVID.

I ACTUALLY FELL ASLEEP! First sleep in I don’t know how long.

Nothing else, right? Not exactly. My blood pressure when I went into the Urgent Care facility was 220 over 102. That is heart attack level. The doctor tried to play that down, saying it was most likely caused by my pain. It fell steadily after I got some morphine, reaching 187 over 96. Still, that was very high. The doctor told me that he was going to prescribe blood pressure medicine for me because he “didn’t want me to have a stroke.” Just the kind of thing you want to hear.

However, my blood pressure continued to fall, hitting 145 over 88. The doctor said that I probably did not need the blood pressure meds, but he prescribed it anyway.

Well, after we got back from the Urgent Care place, and after I got four prescriptions filled, I thought – nothing else could go wrong.

Well, I got a call from the title agency saying that someone had messed up in their office and they did not have the bank account information necessary to sell us the proceeds from the sale of the house. That was easily solved, fortunately.

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I had the best night of sleep in ages due, I think, to the magic pain pills the Urgent Care doctor gave me. I had no pain at all. If I passed the stone, I don’t know how, put I was hoping I did. However, I did have a slight stomach ache. That kind of freaked me out since the stomach ache was part of the pain associated with the stone. Since we were going to be driving for a few hours, I decided not to take a pain pill unless it was absolutely necessary. We will see.

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Ah, no pain. When we got up in the morning, though, and looked outside, we saw the effects of the winter storm that had blown through during the night. Our trucks were covered in ice and I was unable to get the tail gate of our Ford to drop, and I was unable to get the rear window of the camping top on our Nissan to lift because the handle was frozen in place. I was able to get the side window of the Nissan to open, so we could reach in with a pole and pop the latch open. After a lot of work with an ice scraper (which, fortunately, we had brought along) I was able to get the tail of the Ford to lower.

All this meant that we left the hotel a lot later than we had expected, so the next part of the trip was tiring and, because the skies were dark, a bit scary. On to the next day!

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The last day of travel. No major issues, except for the fact that a major storm had blown through the area causing some tress to fall onto the roadway – a twisty, snaking roadway along the Ocoee River. The scenery was breathtaking, though. However, numerous trees, heavy with snow, had fallen, some onto the roadway. That made driving treacherous and slow.

But we made it. So, here we are at last!

UPDATE

Just when I thought the Fates were down with me, I found out I was wrong. I went to the Ingles in Murphy to get some groceries and, on the way back, found the road blocked by a huge pine tree that had come down. I was four minutes from the cabin, but had to turn around and take a 25-minute detour. That’s not so bad, but the sun was setting and I was driving straight at it.  Fortunately, while at Ingles, I bought a few bottles of wine.

So, here we are (again).