Move to Ohio

Our move to Campbell, Ohio is complete! Well, sort of. Our house is starting to look like a home, although there are some major gaps, like an empty living room.

Closing on the house seemed to require a series of small miracles. Up until November, I didn’t even think we could get a house because we lacked the cash for a down payment, but then I realized that if we could refinance the mortgage on the house in Hartville, that Andrew and Tina are buying from us, that we could raise enough cash to afford a modest home. After that, we would still need additional financing the purchase a new house.

After talking to several lenders over a period of several weeks, I finally found one that really performed for us. He eventually told us we might be able to afford a home valued at up to $150,000. That amount was too low for many areas of the country. As an example, Derek and Katrina were searching for a home near Olympia during the same time we were looking. They qualified for up to $225,000, but had a lot of trouble finding anything, and eventually purchased a home in Centralia for about that amount.

With a March 1 deadline looming to vacate the Georges’ home in Tumwater, it became increasingly important to make a decision. A move back to Ohio was a possibility, although we were very unsure about it, and were looking virtually everywhere in the U.S. In December we had a video call with Andrew and Tina, and that’s when Susan received the impression that we really needed to be closer to them. This was despite the fact that she didn’t really want to move back because of the distance from her family, the proximity to some family members here who didn’t want us to return, and the cold weather.

We still were very unsure as to how close to Andrew and Tina we should be so were searching throughout the state and even neighboring states. I felt that a duplex would be a wise investment to help us pay the mortgage. At one point, we found a nice-looking duplex in Ravenna, but hesitated and ending getting beaten to it by someone else.

Despite Covid going on, its been a very hot housing market for the past few years and nice home were being snatched up quickly everywhere in the country, even in Ohio. This presented another problem. It meant you had to act quickly, and likely would have to pay over-asking price.

After what seemed like endless searching, we found a home in Campbell that looked nice and within our budget. By then we had enlisted the aid of Christina Hoff, the daughter of my cousin Denise (Shilts) Hoff. We offered the asking and it was accepted, despite not being the low bidder according to the selling agent.

Then we started the seemingly endless task of obtaining loan approval. Initially, we thought it would close a week or more before our departure from Washington State, but there were endless issues to resolve – mostly with the financing, but also with a roof inspection that took a couple weeks longer than expected because of snow cover.

We left Tumwater, WA on March 4th, towing a 5’x8′ Uhaul trailer behind our 2014 Honda Accord. The trailer was packed to the brim. Fortunately, I had the last-minute foresight to purchase a car-top carrier (which arrived on the 3rd). The carrier ended up being full along with the trailer and our poor car looked like it was way over-burdened. We also worried about snow and failure of the car’s transmission during the trip.

But the car and trailer performed very well. There was no snow. We spent the first night (Thursday) in Boise, ID, the second in Salt Lake City, cut short by a day because were were told as we were leaving Washington that the refinance closing had to be done on Tuesday the 9th, followed three days later by the closing on the new house, or the seller would back out of the deal. Our arrival day wasn’t the only potential problem with the financing – there were still a couple of issues that needed to be resolved in order to get final loan approval. In fact, we were unsure that it would happen until the day before the closing was scheduled to happen.

We visited with Jason Christiansen and his family on the evening of our arrival in Salt Lake (Friday). The next morning, I had a late breakfast with Kirk Lindstrom while Susan had lunch with her sister Shavonne and her daughter Serenna. I was disappointed when Michael informed me that he didn’t have time to see me, but we ended up not having time anyway because of our accelerated travel plans.

Saturday night was spent in Cheyenne, Sunday night in Des Moines, and Monday night in Toledo. On Tuesday, we drove directly to the title company’s office in Boardman for the closing with about 30 minutes to spare. Thankfully, everything had worked perfectly to get us there in the nick of time.

Our rig
Airbnb in Des Moines

As it turned out, we were able to do both closings at the same time, so didn’t have to wait the three days, as we had erroneously been told previously.

We ended up spending that night with Andrew and Tina, hardly getting any sleep on our uncomfortable air mattress. We expected the sale to be recorded the following day and then be given the key to the house. That didn’t work out, but fortunately they allowed us to unload our trailer in the garage. Then we spent the night in a nearby hotel.

We finally were able to officially move in on Thursday, March 11th.

So far, we’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and still not sure that we made the right decision to come here.

to be continued…

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