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Moving On Up To the Westside: Real Estate 101

Moving on up to the Westside! The Jeffersons theme song keeps playing in my head as I try to control the ever increasing chaos in our house.

The more I sort, clean out, throw away, or donate, the more it feels like there’s still an overwhelming amount left to do. That must be an immutable law of physics. If it’s a law, it can be broken, but I don’t know how to break the laws of physics.

moving on up to the westside on chezgigi.com

Moving is a pain even if you hire someone to do it all for you. Because even if someone else packs all of it up for you, and then loads it, and then moves it, and then unloads it, and then puts it away for you in a new place, you will STILL open a kitchen cupboard door your first day in your new home and find a tube of toothpaste.

The tomato soup is in the bathroom cupboard, natch. And that’s the way it will go for the next five years, or however long you live there. One day you will find the missing mate to your favorite pair of shoes in the bottom of a box of income tax returns.

Shoot, that’s likely to happen even if I am the only one packing. I’ve made a standing appointment with the Vets to come pick up at our house every Friday for the next month, but it hasn’t made much of a dent.

It has proven diverting, though; I’ve dumped enough paperwork to fill two plastic 20 gallon containers and am trying to fit any paperwork or mementos I want to save into one small five gallon tub. (I saved all my plastic containers and lids from when we moved here 12 years ago.) My filing cabinet is empty and I am going to give it away.

There’s stuff from the 70s that I’ve saved–events I attended, or shows I went to, or little things friends gave me, newspaper articles where someone in the family was featured. I’ve been posting it here and there on Facebook. In case anyone is interested in seeing my mementos, click on the link.

I also post pictures of Pan Am trips and crews. I know a lot of former and current flight attendants on the site and they enjoy seeing those.

There’s a big envelope full of letters from the 70s and 80s. Right around then is when people stopped sending letters. Not altogether–they still send cards–but I don’t remember writing or receiving a lot of letters past about 1984. I can’t remember the last real letter I received. Those old letters are fun to have, a true relic of the past.

My closets are empty now except for the clothing and shoes I want for the next three months. That is, until our house fell out of escrow.

We had a buyer who was doing a 1031 exchange and his house was in escrow. We drove up to Kern County to find a house and instead, found a parcel of land on which we wanted to put a new manufactured house–it’s high on a hill with a wonderful view overlooking the valley. As soon as the septic was inspected and the building permit pulled, we were going to park the RV on it and live in it.

The folks who live on the hill.

Five dogs, and three grown a** adults are not going to fit into 26 feet of RV. There was a lot of planning going into this endeavor. I was going to set my son up like a Saudi prince in a tent with lots of rugs and pillows. And the internet, of course. Every Saudi prince worth his salt needs the internet.

The physical inspection guy hired by our buyer came two days ago to do his thing and the next day the buyer backed out.

True to the domino effect, everything fell over with it, including our offer for the land. The guy had used the side gate to the back unit–the casita–and Don told him to wait for him as the two shop girls are back there. (They have their own little house, thank you very much.) They’re pit bulls and Don didn’t want them getting loose.

The guy cops an attitude and tells him, “I don’t work for you.” Even though he’s on our property and in our yard, I guess he feels he can do whatever he wants as long as someone else is paying him. Yes, selling, buying, and moving is such fun.

I was so excited to be buying this parcel and putting a brand new–brand new!–house on it, that I was crushed when we fell out of escrow. I came into the bedroom, turned on an old Carol Burnett show to cheer myself up, and who should be singing a song? Nancy Wilson. And what was she singing? The Folks Who Live on the Hill.

Image result for river's edge manufactured homes
My favorite model

Her cruelty was shocking. Even more than forty years later. How could you Nancy? It was so on point and on time, she HAD to have planned it.

Tears rolled down my cheeks, into my shirt, and drowned my cleavage. Seriously, your cleavage can hold a puddle of water. It’s annoying and if you’re wearing your silk pajamas, the jammies get spotted. Not that I have silk pajamas, but I could have.

The amount of time I spent trying to figure out the whole scenario of applying for a loan, getting the septic system inspected, satisfying California regulations (before we even made an offer on it!) was numbered in days. The parcel had a mobile on it at one time, so the septic system is there, which makes things easier and cheaper if you ever want to do what we’re doing.

Not that the time was wasted; we are back on the market, like a newly divorced person, the house looks better with reduced clutter, and we’re ready for another buyer.

Whatever I learned in the first go round, is handy for the next. Enjoy the view in the pictures I took. It may still be available when we do sell our house.




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14 thoughts on “Moving On Up To the Westside: Real Estate 101

  • March 10, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    I don’t know why, but these days, whenever I receive a mail informing me about a new blog post of yours, I get this warm, happy feeling inside me❤️

    • March 10, 2020 at 10:29 pm

      What a coinkydink! I get the same feeling when I see you have left a comment or message. You are my second son, Tej. It would be nice to finally meet you one day. XO

  • March 10, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Wait, I’m falling behind. You’re moving from Las Vegas to Kern County? What town will you be near?
    Kern Co. is that stretch of I-5 where I try never to drop beneath 85 mph. So that I can get caught in LA traffic sooner.

    • March 10, 2020 at 10:28 pm

      You always want to be stuck in it sooner, rather than later, Mike. We were pretty lucky with getting down there for my surgeries and drives back. We listen to Great Pal Shirley. She knows where to go. Although, once, she sent us around the city hall and other LA buildings for no seeming reason.

      I have been researching properties in different counties for the last two years. I stumbled across mention of Lake Isabella and we drove back through there in January. Very nice! Close to amenities, not too cold, not too hot and best of all, affordable. As of now. I get anxious because I’ve seen Siskiyou run out of lower priced properties.

      The manufactured home on a parcel always attracted me, but everyone I talked to made it seem impossible. Finally, we found the right people. I’m so excited to get out of town and into the country. I will miss the pool though. In the worst way. No community pools up there. Although, there is a lake. Which I will not be getting into in the winter.

      • March 10, 2020 at 10:38 pm

        We have a daughter and family in LA area and we’re in SF area, so we’re often dashing down I-5, trying to finesse the traffic.
        But next trip we’re taking it easy and staying overnight at Harris Ranch.

        • March 10, 2020 at 10:41 pm

          Where is that? I’ll look it up. We passed another beautiful place–Tejon Ranch, I think?–outside of Bakersfield. We don’t want HOAs though, and it looked too expensive anyway. Maybe one day you’ll be able to stop through Lake Isabella and we’ll take you to dinner in Kernville or at the Dam Corner–Dick Weed’s place. Pretty good food!

  • March 10, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Well heck and swear. Just remember the immortal words of our real estate agent when we bought our house. “Every escrow is hell.” Too true.

    Here’s to a better offer and a happy move.

    • March 10, 2020 at 10:22 pm

      It’s been a wild ride and we’re not even off the ground yet, Mary! I left out the part about the old guy selling us the home hung up on me. Too much. He and Don made it up and the reason we’ll work with him and the contractor (who is very nice), is because the loan broker trusts them and we will have private money in this that needs to be paid back ASAP. You need a trustworthy crew for that.

      Thank you for the encouraging words! This won’t be the last update, I’m sure.

  • March 11, 2020 at 5:33 am

    What is in those boxes that were in the garage three houses ago? We didn’t open them, we just moved them to the next house. Then the next one, then this one. The guys we paid to help load the trucks would ask what’s in them – because they wanted to know how to unload at the next place – and we shook our heads and said, “I dont know.” And they will get moved to the new one.

    I think several of us should meet at a campground, light a bonfire, have two or three drinks, and have a box opening party. We could trade the surprise stuff around, like white elephant gifts, an old pair of roller skates for a lawn mower repair manual. Our new old stuff would go in the old boxes we brought, which would be sealed with new tape and taken to a succession of new garages.

    • March 11, 2020 at 5:51 am

      You kill me! That is such a good idea, I feel like I have to sell it to somebody on a corner. Wear a trench coat and a stingy brim hat, take it to the streets and open my trench coat to the first likely prospect. That’s just too good to waste. Haha!

      • March 11, 2020 at 12:25 pm

        Cigarette in one hand, box in the other. A passerby wonders if anything is on under the trench coat.

        “Pssst. Hey. Yeah, you. Look here, for 10 bucks its yours.

        No, I cant say what it is. All I will say is that no one has dared cut this tape in 17 years.

        No really, I cant say. Look, I dont have time for this. You dont know my name and I dont know yours. My husband has no idea I’m doing this. If we dont keep it like that the deal’s off.


        5, or me and the box walk.

        Okay, 3, but I cant make change. 3 ones.

        Shit. Okay, 2. Now scram, kid.”

        • March 11, 2020 at 2:55 pm

          Haha! I got boxes of all sizes hanging from the inside of trench coat. A mite uncomfortable, but that’s what you get for not finding out what you own. This scenario is so not me, because I would HAVE to know what I was selling. The one time I don’t, is when I give away that vintage clock that’s been broken for twenty years, but is worth $300,000 according to Antique Roadshow. Only mine turns out to be a knock off.

  • March 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Gigi: I feel your pain…..we are currently trying to sell our house on a hill outside of Grants Pass, Oregon. This was supposed to be our last home. But we have both developed health issues which have forced us to look for a home closer to relatives and friends for the long haul. We absolutely love country living….but trips to visit medical professionals 2 days a week in Medford (1 hour away), well not fun. We had a buyer under contingency trying to sell their house on a hill in Bailey Colorado. In the meantime all the home inspections on our property came back with perfect scores, no issues. So after 2 months of waiting on our buyer to get a buyer….we had to move on. A least we are half packed and ready to hit the road at a moments notice. Best of luck on your home sale. May be the drop in interest rates will help.

    • March 12, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      What a shame, Robin. It sounds like a wonderful home. Don is experiencing issues, too, and I thought about that drive down the hill to Bakersfield. It’s kind of a toss up, whether to live near all the amenities, or get out of town to where the air is cleaner and the stress is less!

      I am looking at it that way too–that we’ll be packed and ready to go when the time is right. We think that inspector queered the deal deliberately by telling the buyer there was mold in the bathroom. Don looked and said there isn’t mold, just some rust from a previous leak. It wouldn’t matter to that guy; he gets paid $400 for every inspection, right?

      Good luck, Robin! From my years as a realtor I know one thing, all houses eventually sell. That was the going wisdom.


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