The buyers had made us such a good offer on the house that the real estate agent told us we should do everything we could to accommodate them. So it was a mad scramble for us. Luckily, we had been referred to a good moving company (Allied International) by friends of ours who had recently moved from California to New Zealand. The movers took care of all the packing as well as the shipping.
Even before we put the house on the market, we had a big garage sale one Saturday and got rid of a good portion of the stuff that was cluttering the place up. The real estate agent wanted the house "staged" for the sales viewings, and she told us to get about half of what we owned out of sight. Our only options were to sell, give away, or throw out a lot of things that we knew we wouldn't be able to move to France.
One of the moving company's guys spent eight hours packing up everything that was in our kitchen.
We had decided to move to France, but we didn't yet have visas. We didn't want to apply for them until the house was sold and we had the money in the bank. We also hadn't yet closed the deal on the house near Saint-Aignan where we live now. That closing also depended on having the money from the sale of the San Francisco house, because we didn't plan to take out a mortgage in France. It was all pretty risky.
But it all worked out. From March 18 until April 24, we were officially homeless. Luckily, good friends took us in after the moving company hauled our furniture and other belongings away and put everything in storage, waiting for us to give them the go-ahead to put it all on a boat bound for Le Havre.
On April 24, we became the owners of the house in France. But we still didn't have visas. We wouldn't get those until mid-May. At that point we could buy plane tickets. We were still trying to get the dog's papers sorted out so that she could travel with us to France. We didn't plan to leave 11-year-old Collette behind.
It's amazing what one can accomplish when one is motivated, isn't it?
What do we miss about that house? I guess the main thing is the kitchen. We had had it completely redone to our specifications in 1999, and it was great — beautiful, we thought, and practical, with an amazing amount of storage space.
Otherwise, I personally don't miss the garden. It was very small. And I don't miss having neighbors right on the other side of our walls. We could hear them just a little too much. And I don't miss that mortgage, that's for sure! I think we got out at the right time.
Here's a topic about how we sold the house