A Brief Update
Snacks on the Road

The Move That Almost Wasn't


It's been a week, all right.

As you probably gathered from Instagram/Facebook, our move did not exactly go as planned. In fact, in the span of about an hour on Friday afternoon, things went from moving along with near military-like precision to a complete and total clusterfuck. 

I've relayed the events and details over text message about 500 times since then, I estimate, and I always include something like "someday this will make a great/funny story, but right now I just caaaaaan't."

I'm still not sure we're at "someday" yet, but I guess I can try. 

On Friday morning, my in-laws arrived at the hotel we'd spent the night at and took the kids and pets so we could head to settlement on the townhouse. The plan was for them to head to Yellow House and hang out in the backyard, have a picnic lunch, and possibly let the movers in if they arrived before we got back from the second settlement. (We'd been graciously given the garage door code by the owners ahead of time.) 

Settlement #1 went off without the slightest hitch. We were in and out in under 20 minutes, congratulated our lovely buyers and that was that. Goodbye house and neighborhood and everything and gaaaahhhh okay painful let's move on.

We jumped back in the car and booked it up to settlement #2. We arrived about 10 minutes late because of traffic, which at the time felt like an agonizing eternity. 

And then we sat. And sat. Finally we asked what was up and got our first piece of (totally downplayed) bad news: The relocation company still hadn't signed the settlement agreement. They were still waiting for it. But no worries! It's all been approved and whatever, we'll just start signing the rest of the closing documents anyway and it'll probably arrive by the time we're done.

Our movers were scheduled to arrive at Yellow House in just under an hour at this point. "That might be problematic," we were warned. "But let's do what we can."

So a primer on the "relocation company" thing: The previous owner was transferred across the country by his company. His company enlisted a relocation company (a very big, well-known one that ohhhhh I would so like to name but am refraining for now) to handle their move and ultimately, sell the house on their behalf. We were warned before we put an offer on the house that relo companies can be...difficult. Similar to buying a bank-owned property, there was going to be a lot of paperwork and an extra level of bureaucracy added to the process, so be prepared.

And that warning turned out to be perfectly correct -- almost every other day there was an new form to sign or document to provide. We dutifully dropped everything when the requests came in and turned things around as quickly as possible. We scanned and copied and e-signed and got on a first-name basis with the notary public at the UPS store. We waited patiently for over TWO WEEKS for them to send us our own damn ratified contract (without which I couldn't enroll the boys in school, or sleep completely peacefully at night knowing that Yellow House was definitely totally going to be ours). We dealt with near radio silence when trying to get updates because no one would ever answer the phone. 

But through it all, we trusted that things would get done on their end when they needed to get done, because duh. Selling this house was their job.

The entire time we were signing everything, everyone else in the office was on the phone in a futile attempt to track down an actual human being at the relo company who could sign the settlement agreement. Emails were going unanswered. Every phone number they had went to voicemail, and every possible contact listed on the company's website was the same number: The Office of the President. Jason started calling this number, which of course also went to voicemail every single time, leading us to believe that the Office of the President was simply a lonely phone ringing endless in a conference room somewhere, the vaporware of company executives. 

(Jason and I now respond to each other's requests with "hello, you have reached the office of the president" when we don't feel like doing whatever the other is asking.)

We were starting to panic. The movers had been dispatched and were officially on the clock. And if the settlement agreement wasn't received before 4 pm, it would be too late to get our loan funded. And we'd have to wait until Monday to actually settle on the house, and our stuff would be on moving trucks and we'd be in a hotel and oh my God school starts on Monday this can't be happening

But of course, it was happening. And it was getting worse by the minute.

Not only were we missing a signed settlement agreement, the loan underwriter suddenly discovered that we were missing any goddamn shred of evidence that the relocation company had any legal right to sell the house in the first place.

Like. Literally the first thing that should have been signed between the homeowners and the relo company BEFORE THE HOUSE WAS EVER EVEN LISTED FOR SALE...had simply never been signed. Or was lost. No one even knew for sure. And STILL no one would pick up their goddamn phone. 

From there, it kept spiraling. Documentation holes were cropping up left and right. Our attorneys got us an extension on the loan deadline until 5, then an damn near miraculous one until 6.  They brought us beer and promised us they wouldn't give up. 

Jason called the movers to find out our options for storing our stuff until Monday, and found out that uhhhh yeah...they're booked with other moves and wouldn't be able to move us in until NEXT THURSDAY. 

Almost an entire week of expensive long-term storage and living with three kids and two pets in a hotel, with one small suitcase between us containing exactly one change of clothes and zero things the boys needed for school.

We tried asking the listing agent about a rent-back agreement through the weekend, and while the homeowners were totally okay with it, wouldn't even charge us a dime, we couldn't do it. Because while the relocation company couldn't yet PROVE they technically owned the house right at that moment...they did. And of course, were totally not going to approve something like that on the spot. Give 'em a couple weeks and 500 more reams of paperwork, maybe.

That was the closest I came to crying. I could hear voices getting raised in the back, pleading and begging SOMEONE to take some pity on us and GET THIS SHIT DONE. THIS FAMILY IS HOMELESS AND IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT.

Dear Internet. We had the code to the garage. What would you have done?

6 pm came and went. By 6:15 the attorneys and our lender finally, omg amazing, had everything they possibly needed to finalize the sale and fund our loan. They spent another 20 minute futilely trying to find someone willing to wire the funds after hours before finally giving up and rescheduling us for Monday.

Again, what would you have done?

Especially if all the other eyes in the room deliberately and pointedly decided to look the other way?

Sigh. This is the part of the story that might be funny someday, but just isn't yet. It was just a crappy situation all around.

On Monday morning, we dropped Noah and Ezra off at their new school (that's all going GREAT, more on all that later), and headed back to the settlement office to re-sign everything we'd signed on Friday with Monday's date. 

Once we were done, the attorney said, "Okay, one little bump here..."

Fucking relo company hadn't signed the fucking updated settlement agreement. 

"You're JOKING, right?" I asked. I mean. No. Come the fuck on. There's probably a hidden camera somewhere, right?

Nope. Not a joke. They were expecting it "any minute." We should go grab some lunch. They'll text us when it comes through. 

Minutes ticked into an hour. Then an hour and half. 

Two full hours after our settlement appointment time, the signed agreement arrived. Our loan was funded and Yellow House was finally, officially, forever our own. 


And it was worth it, all of it. We're completely in love. 

Sponsored post tomorrow (that was supposed to have been published already, another casualty of the chaos) and then back with more post-move stories and pictures on Friday. Everything is okay now, though. Better than okay, even. Could probably use another beer, though, because oh my GOD.



I am so glad this is over for you. I would have been an alcoholic before it was all over.


I highly recommend http://www.thealehousecolumbia.com/, reservations for which can be made through Open Table and whose bacon/mac and cheese flatbread (and their southwest eggrolls, and their burgers, and their risotto...) is a fantastic accompaniment to their many draft brews.


I'm glad you finally have everything under control. I found myself getting irrationally angry on your behalf as I read the updates last week. And for them to just drop the ball like that, and then not reimburse you for anything...at the very least they should have refunded you the cost of the movers. Anyway, that's just messed up. I'd be blasting their name all over the internet. Maybe that's more of that irrational anger talking, though. But all's well that ends well. Enjoy that yellow house! :)


I would have had the moving company move your stuff in, at least to the garage. Grabbed a few things to make it through the weekend & headed to a hotel. But, I'm from North Dakota where everyone pretty much trusts everyone else so the sellers would have been totally cool with that. And probably paid for the hotel room & dinner (& alcohol). Glad this is all behind you & can't wait for the other posts!


We had the code to our unoccupied house for a few weeks before settlement. You better believe I went in on a regular basis and started messing with stuff. It's all good.


Yeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh, we're totally going to need you to share the name of that relo company because HELLOOOO, we all need to make sure that we aren't helping to contribute to this fucking mess with someone else by inadvertently hiring them. YIKES. It's for the greater good!!!!


I'm exhausted just reading this... wow...


Thank goodness that is over then!!! Oh my gosh, how awful!!!! Go review that settlement company on every website you can find and make it scathing! Better yet, just give us their name! That'll be some excellent, awful publicity for them. The deal is over, the house is yours, screw them, you can honestly explain how awful they are on the interwebz.


Like MamaKaren, I found myself getting angry on your behalf. Glad that it worked out and y'all get your happy ever after with yellow house.

Suzy Q

What a horrific roller coaster ride. The sellers must have been MORTIFIED.

With the garage code, I would have done exactly what you did, which is save your family.


I know you won't name names but if it starts with a P and rhymes with "rudential" then I feel your pain. We dealt with them as sellers and it was a nightmare.

Sara M

Yeah, I totally would have had movers move in everything on Friday night after you learned that everything would be good to go on Monday. Then drank heavily all weekend.


Was it Cartus...if so I feel your pain COMPLETELY. We've relocated w them several times and thankfully never had to sell but everything else has been a giant clusterfuck.Glad to see you guys are settling in!!!

Heather Laura Clarke

So glad everything is over and that the house is totally worth it! I've been thinking of you guys way more often than is normal for a reader, ha.


I'm so relieved there's a happy ending!


Arg! Even though it's all over and everything is cool now I still got all stressed out just reading about it. I'm sure living it was way worse. Congrats on the new house! May you live there long enough to forget about how bad this last weekend was!


Holy guacamole. Get thee a massage, stat


What a nightmare! (But, yay for great blog material?!)

P.S. I would have had the movers use the garage code to move things in (too) and wouldn't have felt the least bit guilty about doing so.


Good GOD I'm exhausted reading that. When you say "another beer" do you mean "another CASE of beer"? cause that's where I'd be at this point. Enjoy the Yellow House!!


Holy crap. I knew the ending and I still felt my stress level rise as I kept reading. As for the garage code - at the minimum I hope you had the moving truck unloaded so you'd have your clothes and stuff. Glad to hear the kids are liking their new school. Something going smoothly was definitely in order.

Cheryl S.

I would have moved my stuff in on Friday. Remember, "Possession is 9/10ths of the law" It would have taken them MONTHS to get you out if the whole thing fell through.


We had a terrible time buying our house. We had a similar, "well, we've now closed on the old house and the movers have our stuff so where should they take it?" issue where paperwork was not being delivered when it needed to be. But I think yours might actually be worse. So glad that's over for you.


Sounds really stressful! Love your story telling skills though :) New houses rock!


You totally deserve another beer. And another one after that. I'm glad things finally worked out but so sorry you had to deal with all of that crap.


I would've been on the news because somebody would've gotten kicked in the shin just to ease my anger. Luckily you're not me and aren't in jail. Congrats!



I hope hope hope you yelp and Angie's list and angry letter to the company who hired them the sh** out of that company. Lord.

Jan Ross

We were at our closing on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend when the buyers casually mentioned that their second mortgage wasn't listed in the paperwork. Oh well, haha, no problem, but oh yes it was. The closing could not go forward without that information and it was late on Friday and a holiday weekend. CRAP!! We moved in and just crossed our fingers that there would be no problem on Tuesday. My husband would barely let me unpack anything. It worked out but geez stress much??

Jess Z.

Ugh, so sorry! That was exhausting just reading it! I do hope you had more than one beer, though...like at least 6 pack. Yay Yellow House!


Dude. I got hired straight out of college to work for a Big 3 automaker. Big relo package, very $$$, seemed great on paper. Then I decided to buy a condo. While still in school.

Slow relocation company, broke until my first paycheck in August, mortgage due in July, they sent the rent check to the wrong office back in College Town and I nearly got sent to collections because NO ONE DID THEIR JOBS CORRECTLY, and then payroll sent my relo funds AND first pay to a paycard I never received.

If the company starts with "Brook" and ends in "field" I FEEL YOUR PAIN.


I definitely think a letter to the relo company is in order. Keep it calm and sweet as saccharine (give them diabetes). Mail it to the company president. Might not do anything but they might comp you a dinner or something. You deserve it. Looking forward to hearing more about Yellow House.


If you didn't use that garage code, I will be very disappointed. :)

I honestly probably would have used the garage code, and broken into the house. Since apparently no one works at the company, there's no one to yell at you for breaking in.

Sue W.

I just hugely exhaled! I am so glad that it's behind you and now you can make life-long happy memories in the Yellow House.


We've done the relo thing a couple of times. I, like some of the other posters, was getting angry on your behalf. Then, once I convinced myself that was silly, I started reliving our nightmares all over again---even though the last relo was more than 5 years ago! For the record? The last one still isn't funny. Give it another decade. Then I'll think about it. I'm gonna go drink a beer for both of us!


I'll name a shitty relo firm: Brookfield.
Complete clusterfuck asshats when I purchased from them. Asshats! Like selling the house was something they DIDN'T WANT TO or just plain didn't KNOW HOW TO do.


You guys are so honest. We moved into a new rental about six weeks ago. It was vacant and the property management office actually gave us the key lock code to view it on our own. Now we did ask permission to put a new couch in the house before we signed the lease because we didn't have space to store it, and they were cool with that. However, we totally took advantage and moved at least two carloads of stuff almost every day for the next two weeks. We kept it to things that could be stashed in closets and cupboards just in case someone came to inspect before official move in day.


Ugh. Was praying for yall. That's just awful. Glad it worked out at the end.

Melinda Michelle

This is what buying a house was like for us!!! We were put on hold and ignored and rescheduled a million times. The bank actually rejected our VA loan because of a bureaucratic policy of theirs & we had to do everything again with an FHA loan.

That was nearly two months ago AND WE STILL DON'T LIVE THERE! Why you ask? Well, because we didn't realize how disgusting the house was until all their junk was gone. We knew they were smokers, that's why we got such a great deal-'we'd have to do a lot of cleaning & painting.

We didn't realize the smoke smell and hoard of kitsch was hiding a house that they had LITERALLY NEVER CLEANED. dead bugs around the edges of the carpet. Food splatter in the kitchen and dining room. Mouse crap in the closets.

I do about five hours of work five days a week & it's not at all done. I ended up tearing a muscle in my shoulder, so who knows when we'll actually move in. We're paying the mortgage, bills, a storage unit, AND staying with my in laws :-( boo

Rachel A.

Other people's stressful situations make me cry. I'm so happy it worked out for you!! (And I am all for making use of garage codes)




Oh, name them, and watch the power of social media take over. This is how change happens. No one deserves that level of incompetency. But I'm glad it's over for you and you are home!


Congratulations on your new yellow home! May it be the background to many happy memories for your big, boisterous boys!


oh man, but i'm not even sure what you DID do! a story for another day, maybe? when the boys are in college?

<3 hugs

Amy A

There--just drank one for you. Ye Gods, woman, that kind of stress is just nuts. Here's to a stress-free existence from here on out! Although on the bright side, anything will look minor in comparison. Enjoy that new house!


We also bought our house from a relocation company. It was awful, and very similar to your story, except that I was nine months pregnant at the time. We closed -- three weeks after we were originally supposed to close, due to said relocation company -- on December 26. My due date was December 28. Our lease expired on December 31. Needless to say, I had the code to the house, and I sent the painters in before we'd closed because well, I didn't want them painting while I was sitting there with my 1.5 year old and newborn baby. So I went into labor on December 30, had the baby that night, and my husband met movers at our apartment on the morning of the 31st and moved us while I stayed in the hospital with our newborn. I left for the hospital from one house and brought the baby home to our new house. It was AWFUL. I think I still have PTSD from the whole thing.


Congrats! And well done on making it through that clusterfuck.


So I'm a real estate paralegal and would have been among those set of eyes looking the other way...
I would have moved your stuff to the garage but not your physical beings. Insurance and all that.
Glad it's over and done with. Relo sales are the WORST!

The comments to this entry are closed.