The Move, Part One

May 1 – June 10


We returned to Charlotte with the sale of the house and a move across the United States staring us in the face.  We were in better shape than many at this point in the process, having secured a solid offer ($5,000 over asking and no request to cover closing costs) and had already packed a 12-foot storage container from PODS (more on this later) to declutter the house for showing it for sale.

We had agreed to a closing date of Monday May 20th which now gave us approximately three weeks to pack everything and prepare to vacate the house.  This was complicated by time constraints on our ability to move to Los Angeles as we had a renter living in our house there.  The county requires that a 60-day notice be given if the tenants has lived in the house a year or longer, which was our situation.

Official notice was given on April 15th, meaning we might not be able to move into the house until sometime after June 15th.  Once we accepted the offer in April, we asked our property management firm, Power Property Management, to give the tenant a head’s up, providing close to 90-days’ notice, which we felt was fair given how long he had been renting from us.

With an uncertain and large gap, nearly a month, between the closing date and our potential Los Angeles move in date, selecting a moving company became complicated.  My first thought was to use the company that had moved us to Charlotte, a United Van Lines Agent, as we’d been satisfied with the cost and the process associated with that move.

Charlotte Move

Charlotte Move Estimate

I met with the agent who walked the house with me and after tabulating our belongings, rendered a quote of $15,167, nearly double what it had cost us to move pretty much the same furnishings the same distance in 2008.  Of equal concern was his ballpark estimate of $5,000 to store our stuff in Los Angeles during the period when we couldn’t occupy the house there.

LA Move Estimate

LA Move Estimate

Obviously, this was going to be tough to swallow but fortunately for us, while enjoying an adult beverage at the Flying Saucer, Doug (a good friend from UNCC) mentioned that he had used PODS twice to move and been happy with the experience.  So, I called them up and after speaking to a sales representative, ordered one 12-foot unit to be delivered in late March with which we would place much of the clutter all of our homes contain (excess furniture, walls of personal photographs, boxes of those keepsakes you just can’t seem to part with, you get the picture) in order to stage the house for sale.


POD and the Podzilla

At their recommendation, I also placed an order for two 16-foot units which I was assured would handle all of our belongings for the move to the west coast.  I could easily cancel this order if I decided to go with the United Van Lines quote so felt I had some options available to us as we went along.  For the staging unit, we hired two movers recommended by PODS who came out to the house and loaded up the 12-footer in an expedient and tidy fashion with one exception.  As we didn’t quite fill the POD, the load needed to be tied down and the crew wasn’t really prepared to do so, instead using just one rope to cover the high and wide stack of boxes.

The POD left for local storage, we staged the house, listed it, and as detailed in an earlier post, received an offer in less than one week.  This was primarily due to the housing market in Charlotte, a city that continues to grow at a rate of about four-percent a year and like other rapidly growing locales, suffers from a lack of affordable housing.  Indeed, normal housing inventory for sale in town should be about six months.

Charlotte Growth

Charlotte Population Growth

At the time of our sale it was down to three.  When you add in that the price of our house was in that sweet spot of affordability for most folks and in a great location (five miles from UNCC, midway between interstates 77 and 85, twenty easy minutes from downtown) we weren’t surprised when it sold as quickly as it did.

Population vs Housing

Charlotte Region Population and Housing Unit Growth

We returned from the CNC Spring Coastal Ride committed to using PODS for the big move, with one question to resolve, that is with a 12-footer three-quarters full of our staging and pre-packed items, was it realistic to assume that once unloaded, it and all of the rest of our stuff would now fit into two 16-footers.

Help came from an unexpected source; we needed to crate some items (glass table tops for our Crate and Barrel furniture) and after shopping around, I found that Scott Walker from Navis Pack and Ship had not only had the best rates but was full of good advice.  He volunteered to come out to the house to review what needed crating and to also give me a second opinion on what my POD needs might be.

After touring the house, he thought all of our stuff might fit into the two 16-foot PODS but it was going to be close and so suggested that if not we could consider using pallets to ship excess items.  I asked him to get back to me with an estimated cost and thanked him for his time.  Now the clock was ticking, and the closing date was indeed, closing in.


Power Property Management:


Charlotte Inventory:

Navis Pack and Ship:


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