Open House

Filed Under (House Related, Personal) by Jason L. on 27-02-2009

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Mount Timpanogos, in the Wasatch Range, near O...
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Tomorrow, Saturday, my wife and I are holding our so-called “open house” for our newly remodeled home in Orem. We bought the house in October and just yesterday I finished up some of the last touches. I’ll be honest, there is more to do but for now we are done (and out of funds).

So please stop by anytime tomorrow from noon till 8pm. We will have food, drinks and photos of our house before the remodel. We are really excited to be done and hopefully have a life away from Home Depot now. :)

See you tomorrow!

By the way (Nessa), we don’t expect people to bring gifts. This isn’t a “bring us stuff” party. We just want to visit and show everyone our hard work we are so proud of.

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A new day – We are homeless

Filed Under (Personal) by Jason L. on 22-06-2008

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Location of Orem, Utah

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Today our house is nearly completely empty. It is a sad moment in our lives. We are walking away from a house Mandy and I purchased 3 years ago. Our first home. We will miss so much about this house. It was a house we both loved. We added a patio, grass, sprinklers, a fence and so much more. There will be so many memories of this house.

Unlike many sellers in this market, we were selling while we were ahead. Gasoline and eduction costs are ever-rising and our incomes are not. Each day our 30 minute commute felt like a significant donation to OPEC. Our best attempts at carpooling significantly reduced our monthly expenses, though I could feel this only going to get worse.

We put our house on the market four months ago with agent Mike Coutlee. He works for Exit Realty in Orem Utah. Vanessa and Korban recommended him to us after they used him to purchase their townhome. Mike has done a great job in getting out house in the public’s sight. He kept our fliers full and had showings on average once a week. In the current market, we consistently had an above average number of showings. Something else Mike did right is he didn’t let us over inflate our price. (now that we are shopping around, we can see how many houses are overpriced – by like 50k!) He was honest and kept our price consistent with the other homes on the market. In the end we sold our house for about five thousand less than we started out with. We were satisfied with the price and didn’t even counter-offer.

For the past four months we feel as though we have been living in a model home. Our house is normally pretty clean, but when you are selling a house, everything has to be perfect all the time. We would make our bed in the morning – something I’ve done maybe twenty times in my life, wash the dishes we used immediately, and keep the bathroom counters clean. We enjoyed returning home at the end of the day to a spotless house. Taffy, our dog, started out living with my in-laws. We figured that having a dog in the backyard might be a turn off to some buyers, and Mandy’s parents don’t mind the dog. After a couple months we brought her home again. It was depressing to not have her happy face there to wake us in the morning or when we got home from a long day at work. I heard once if you ever want to see who loves you more, just lock your dog and your wife in the trunk of your car for an hour. When you open it, watch to see who is happy to see you. :)

The closing process on our house was quick and painless. We signed the offer acceptance paper on 06-07-08, the closing papers on Friday the 13th, and deposited the check on our Mandy’s favorite number, the 16th. Yes, we closed super fast. I was afraid we wouldn’t have time to even pack. After four months, we weren’t sure if we would actually sell our house, so we weren’t ready when they said “you’re closing this Friday!”.

My wife is so amazing in every way. She single handed packed 80% of our house in the first day. I got home from work and we had nothing to eat with, nothing to do, and not much left to pack. I have moved 15 times that I can remember and besides when it was just me, I have never seen such efficiency. We had a box shortage at first, we both were packing as much as we could into each box.

I called around looking for a storage unit in the vicinity of Orem. I was surprised that none of them had any availability on the larger units. I guess they try to fill them asap. I lucked out and found a 15×20 unit in Orem. I called them and tried to reserve it, but they didn’t take credit cards so Michelle was nice enough to run down there and write a check to get it. Wouldn’t that have sucked to not have a place to put all our stuff?

Checking our mail I saw an ad for 7 Brothers Moving Company. It said you don’t have to be rich to hire a moving company. Bah. So I called to get a free estimate of what it would cost. I was amazed it would only be $303 for 2 hours of 2 movers. The lady on the other end said she was new but sounded confident of the information. Supposedly the drive time didn’t count towards the 2 hours, however we found out only at the end that this wasn’t the case. Mandy and I got all our boxes placed in the garage and in the morning of the move, her and a few of our friends helped to move furniture into the front yard. We wanted to get the most out of our money, so we were ready.

The movers showed up and started wrapping our dressers in shrink wrap to keep the drawers in. We helped as much as we could hoisting the piano onto the dolly and loading boxes into the truck. I was thrilled they let us help load the truck with them, though they kept apologizing that since we were helping we might not fit it all. There was barely anything left behind. It was no big deal. By the way, today was the hotest day this week. Blazing 95′ sun. Several times I had to sit down so I didn’t pass out. Nate was sure I was suffering from heat exhaustion by the end of the move.

Our storage unit was definitely big enough, I’m glad we didn’t go smaller though. We finished unloading the truck and headed back to the house to take one last load in our cars.

Now before I go on, if you have ever moved before, you know that something has to go wrong. Well nothing really major has happened yet. No furniture falling out of the moving truck, no children sent to the emergency room (though Evie was close to shredding her fingers), no broken mirrors (that I know of). Instead we decided it would be fun to have a flat tire. My Mazda 3 had one of the tires completely flat. I was outraged! Not only do I not have time for this, but I don’t have the wheel lock key! When I bought this car from my brother-in-law Stuart from his dealership in Colorado, they failed to give me the key. I didn’t even notice I had wheel locks till I got home to Utah. I had made 3 different calls to see what they could do about getting me the key, but no one ever called me back. Now I was really screwed. Its 6:30pm, so no place is really open that could help me and I was sitting at home alone.

My step-dad Paul was nice enough to offer to take me up to Maceys grocery store to get a can of fix a flat. I haven’t ever used it, but he swears by it. I noticed that the can says right on it “do not use if you have air pressure sensors”. Wonderful. I had them leave me at Macey’s so Mandy could come back and get me without driving so far. I called her and she was pissed off about something. She told me she had to eat or she would kill someone. Instead, Mandy’s dad arrived to get me and we headed back to the house to get stuff out of the car that was incapacitated. He had a wonderful idea. Why not check with the spare tire to see if the key was in there. And there it was! All this time I have been so frustrated and it was right there in my trunk. Gosh. We then changed the tire (which didn’t want to give up easily) and headed back to Orem.

So here we are. Homeless. Ok, so not really. We have Mandy’s parents to live with until we can find a home to purchase which is closer to where we live work and play. Originally we moved to Spanish Fork so we could afford a newer nicer home. In the end we discovered location is very important and should have been on the top of our list.

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Selling a home isn’t easy – especially in this market

Filed Under (Personal) by Jason L. on 28-03-2008

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Map of Utah highlighting Utah CountyImage via WikipediaSo as most of my family and friends know, Mandy and I are trying to sell our home. We have lived in Spanish Fork for 3 years now and come to realize how much of our lives is spent commuting. Even though it is only 30 minutes to work, there are several other motivating factors including the cost of fuel. For over a year now we have been carpooling to save money and it has really helped our budget.

We have had our house listed for about 6 weeks now. At first we had people walking through at least every 3 days, even a couple days back to back. For the past 10 days though, nothing. It is definitely a different experience having to make your bed every single morning and wash the dishes as you use them, etcetera.

Everyone that has walked though our house says its very nice, has a great floorplan and is in excellent condition. It shows like a model home, the agents tell us. We did have few criticisms regarding our neighbors yard and the lack of kitchen cabinets. If you want to take a virtual tour, check our website

I talked to my mother on Tuesday and she was telling me about how one of her new neighbors had their house on the market for a whole year and only got 1 offer. If you want to take a look at pictures of my mom’s new house, go to

So for now we will keep our house on the market and see what happens. It is listed at $205,000, at this time we don’t want to go any lower. If it sells, great! If not, thats ok too. We have no reason we must move now.