Archive for April, 2014

Moving. How I Expected it To Go and How It Actually Went.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

Sean's 1991 Dodge Daytona. Patiently waiting for her new gas tank.

Sean's 1991 Dodge Daytona. Patiently waiting for her new gas tank.

I just closed on a house. I wrote about the week before closing and the overwhelming stress of the move itself.

It’s occurred to me how much moving is like having a baby. You’re excited but all stressed out. Then boom, it happens. Nothing goes like you thought, and you disappear for a month wrapped up in all the settling in. Then relatives show up.

Here’s how I thought my move would go and how it’s actually gone so far…

Wiring the Money to the Title Company for Closing

The week before closing I had to wire money for the down payment to my checking account. I was stressed about that. I was afraid I would put in the wrong account number and send the whole thing to Namibia.

Well, the money made it just fine to my checking account. From there I planned to bring a cashiers check to closing.

But when I contacted the title company they said a cashiers check was fine … but I might have to wait 48 hours to pick up the keys if I went that direction.

Sh*t. Stressball time again.

Normally two days is no big deal. But it would compress our moving window from 5 days to 3 days (I had to get the old home empty so contractors could come over and fix the drywall).

So I got the wiring instructions from the title company. I went to my bank … and here’s where the stress disappeared … it was a 15 – 20 minute process of filling out paperwork, verifying and double checking the routing numbers of the account, and then actually doing the wire. I even got a receipt.

I think I initiated the wire at 11 a.m. and by 1:30 p.m. I got confirmation that it arrived. Whew!

Work On The Old House

As I mentioned I had contractors coming to the old house. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate already, I was meeting with the contractors in the days before closing to arrange the job.

The first job was scraping popcorn, drywall repair, and applying “knockdown” ceilings throughout the house. I was stressing because I couldn’t really schedule the painting or any other work until the drywall was done.

Like I needed that additional stress before moving!

Would the contractor show up on time? Would he do good work?

Turned out to be “yes” and “yes.”

As I write this the contractor just texted me to meet for final walk through on the finished repairs (a week after they began). So now I can get the painter in there.

Jeff Rhoden was the general contractor, John “Jack” McDonald did the drywall, and Greg Wilcox did the painting. I am so stoked with the jobs they all did. Let me know if you need their numbers.

Shouldn’t I have done this after closing on the new house?

Sure, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Moving turned out to be so all consuming in and of itself.

During the move my stress was, “I have to get the house completely empty by Tuesday night because the contractors show up Wednesday morning.”

This gave me a hard deadline and it forced me to empty that house. No matter how tired I was, I had to keep at it. This was a good thing … it was difficult but it got done.

And I still would have been stressed. It just would have been a much more nebulous and nagging stress like, “I have to hire contractors.”

And I tell you what, as overwhelming and all consuming as the actual move was, I still wouldn’t have hired the contractors by now if I waited.

Changing Utilities

I was going to wait until after closing to do this.

Then it occurred to me that they might shut off the electric if I didn’t do it ahead of time.

Now, I know they don’t actually come out and shut off the electric unless some time passes, but it would mean one less stress.

So two days before closing I was busy contacting all the utility providers … and it took about 20 minutes over the phone with each one … to get accounts set up for the new house.

For electricity and water (which were already hooked up) it was just a matter of setting up the accounts. For DirectTV and internet someone actually had to come out and hook it up, so I had to schedule those for a time I knew I would be at the new house.

Putting The Home Inspection Off Until After Closing.

Yep, as dumb as it sounds.

Now, I knew I was going to do a home inspection if for no other reason than that I tell every buyer they need to do a home inspection. But since things were so stressful in the days prior to closing I just wasn’t sure if I had the block of time I needed to do it.

Well, something nagged at me and I just went ahead and did it the day before closing.

Good thing too, we fund a bunch of small items that I would have never noticed otherwise, and we added them to the final day-of-closing punch list. Click here to read the blog post and see the video we did of the inspection.

Painting the New House Before Moving Things Over

This is something that worked better in theory than in practice.

I gave myself a hard deadline to move everything over from the old house to the new house (so that the drywall work could begin on the old house on time).

That meant everything had to be in the new house on a certain date.

But the painting we wanted to do on the new house wasn’t done by then. It was only about half done.

Which basically meant all the furniture and boxes for these rooms not painted had to stage and stack in the garage (and the dining room) of the new house. It made things a little tighter but, hey, it worked out just fine.

Moving Things Over

I hired a mover to bring the furniture over.

These guys could lift small mountains by themselves. Furniture that I needed a dolly for these guys called “lighter than balsa wood.”

But then there was my work bench.

Seven feet long and six feet high. I built it myself from 2x4s. “Solid” best describes it.

And there was the antique bath tub I converted into a couch. Five hundred pounds, give or take.

They earned their money on those two.

Here’s the odd thing, though…

I built the work bench, and moved it into position in the old house myself. I converted the bath tub and moved it myself as well (by turning it over on its top and then lifting one side and pivoting it around, over and over again). Though I couldn’t do the bath tub that way after it was finished because it would have ruined the paint.

Maybe I’m stronger than I thought?

The Daytona’s Gas Tank, and Moving Plywood

Then there’s my 1991 Dodge Daytona sitting in the driveway of the old house, minus it’s gas tank. I’m not going to tow it over to the new house (here’s hoping), instead I’d like to drive it to the new house (a thankfully short distance in case it breaks down).

To paraphrase Richard Hammond of Top Gear, “A classic car is something you dream about, driving down the highways with the windows down on a sunny day, but which is actually a money sucking grease pit that has weaseled its way into your garage.”

I bought my Daytona back in 1995. I drove her all the way to Alaska, up the Cassiar, through the Yukon, then back down the Alcan to Vancouver then down the west coast to Mexico. After I came back to Florida I drove her back out to California again the same year. I loved driving her.

But by the time my daughter was born eight years ago I was hardly driving it anymore. And then it got to the point to where I would fire her up every few weeks, then every few months, just to make sure she was still alive. Then one day she didn’t start at all. That was about a year ago.

So I made the commitment to either get her running or git rid of her.

And after diagnosing the fuel system as the culprit, and then discovering a fouled gas tank besides a bad pump (maybe get some fuel stabilizer next time?), it meant much more work than expected. The new gas tank didn’t show until two days before closing. Needless to say, it’s not done yet.

But even if she were done, I have no place to put her, because I have the garage of the new home filled with many boxes.

Thankfully I have an attic in my new home with its own ladder. I can move many of those seasonal-type boxes into the new attic.

Unfortunately the attic isn’t floored yet.

I needed to get some plywood.

Twelve sheets of heavy-grade, 8-foot by 4-foot plywood. I managed to wrangle it all by myself, along with a half dozen 8-foot 2x2s. Somehow this all fit into my Chrysler Town & Country.

Like I said, maybe I’m stronger than I thought?

All to make way for the car I fell in love with 19 years ago.

Taking My Time, But Where To Start?

The last time we moved we were in a mad rush to find homes for everything.

Every picture had to be on the wall, every piece of furniture needed a place, every book up in a week.

This time I want to take my time and do it right. I don’t want to move again in 20 years and find a box of things that has been stuck behind a something else on a shelf somewhere and forgotten.

But where to start?

And since I want to get my home office up and running first (I’m actually writing this here right now), there’s a mad desire just to unbox everything and shelve it somewhere.

This going through the drawers and pitching stuff instead of just stuffing it back into the desk–a desk that I took a few days to refinish this time, and which should have been done 13 years ago, the last time I moved.

I just have to remind myself to chill.

And relatives are showing up in a week. A whole passel of ‘em. Just like having a baby!

Want a Broker who truly understands moving? You can contact me at the email above, or call me at (904) 386-8327. You can also email my partner Kate Stevens; she moved about 4 years ago and still remembers the stress.

Find me on Google+.





The Week Before and After Moving: Stressful. Sometimes We Agents Forget How Stressful.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

This is what moving feels like...

This is what moving feels actor George Clooney in a scene from "The Perfect Storm."

Moving is like being in a ship and going under a big wave. Finally we are on the other side and breathing fresh air again.

Everything stops when you move.

The thing is, I’m a Broker and I’m used to the process, but I haven’t been through the move itself in 13 years. I forgot how stressful and all consuming it is.

In the week prior I was stressed about the wire transfer for the closing, that somehow I would send it to a bank in Gambia or Mali. Then there was lining up movers to get furniture out of the old house (and hoping they showed up on time), and lining up contractors to start work on fixing up the old house (and hoping they showed up on time).

There was the stress of walk throughs, inspections, and punch lists for the new home, and making sure we were around when the guys showed up to fix things.

Then there was the raw, physical labor of moving all the boxes and packing all the boxes that I did, mostly by myself. I did have the movers (who did a fantastic job by the way … find them at to help me with the furniture, Thank God.

The back ache has mostly gone away and the leg shock too.

There are still boxes everywhere. There will be boxes for a long time.

The mistake we made in the last house was setting things up too quickly, not taking time to think things out. So this time we’ll take our time. We should be here for awhile.

Want a Broker who truly understands moving? You can contact me at the address above, or call me at (904) 386-8327. You can also email my partner Kate Stevens; she moved about 4 years ago and still remembers the stress.

Find me on Google+.

All images, video and audio not in the public domain are used in accordance with the Fair Use Law (Per Title 17–United States Code–Section 107) and remain the property of the film or photo copyright owners. If you’ve forgotten what a great movie “The Perfect Storm” is, here’s a recap: based on a true story, The Perfect Storm tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working day, pitting their fishing boats and rescue vessels against the capricious forces of nature. Pick up the book it’s based on (by Sebastian Junger) as well … a truly awesome read.

Should I Get A Home Inspection On a New Home? Short Answer: Yes!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

Should you get a home inspection when you buy a new home? Yes, you should.

I just closed on my new home, and I got an inspection. Watch the video below to see how it went. We uncovered quite a few things we missed on the walk through.

When you are doing a walk through and (in my case) the inlaws are buzzing around and your wife is buzzing around, it’s easy to get distracted and miss things.

Having an inspection will put someone on your side who isn’t distracted, who isn’t worried about “what goes in what room,” and who isn’t preoccupied with movers and changing internet service, etc. An inspector will just inspect the home and act as a second set of eyes.

So when you buy your new home … heck, when you buy any home … get it inspected!

Want some names of good home inspectors? You can certainly contact Greg Strump at Sunspections in the video, or contact me at the address above. You can even email my partner Kate Stevens.

Find me on Google+.



Two Homes, 5 Acres: 2355 and 2365 Rolling Hills Drive, 32086

Friday, April 4th, 2014

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

The Main House: 2365 Rolling Hills Drive

The Main House: 2365 Rolling Hills Drive

My partner Kate Stevens just listed two fabulous homes at 2355 and 2365 Rolling Hills Drive in St. Augustine.

If you’re not familiar with Rolling Hills Drive, it’s the road that goes south from the movie theater. The two homes and their five acres sit right across from the Hidden Lakes subdivision and next to the new Forest Oaks subdivision. To have 5 acres this close to everything is almost … well, is unfindable an actual word? This type of home and land package is simply unfindable.

Here’s what Kate wrote about the two homes:

“Great opportunity to own a unique property close to everything in an area of much development. Two homes (Main Home is a 3 bedroom / 2 bath, Second Home is a 2 bedroom / 2 bath … both homes include an ADDITIONAL mother in law suite on ground floor). Sit up in the trees and well back from the Rolling Hills Drive on 5 acres of beautiful oak-canopied land. Both homes have large covered decks & oversized 2+ car garages with 9ft doors (10 ft. ceilings) – plenty of room for boats, trailers, vans – you name it. 220ft road frontage with approx. 4 acres that could be developed. Buyer to verify all measurments.”

Click here for all the details on 2355 and 2365 Rolling Hills Drive, and make sure to watch the short video we did below!

Want to know more about theses two fantastic St. Augustine homes? Email my partner Kate Stevens.

Find me on Google+.