Hi Friends! Hope you had a nice weekend! Sorry for the wonky posting schedule, but as you saw in the title of this post, we MOVED to our new home!
This all happened super fast. We closed on Friday, the movers came yesterday, and we’re now we’re officially moved in to our new place. But the work has just begun!
If you guys have been reading for a while, you know that Chris and I have been searching for a new place for about 4 years, while living in our one-bedroom condo. It’s a great condo. So great, we actually invested in a second one-bedroom in the same building. (We’re currently renting it out). We love the location, the gym, and the door staff!
However, we wanted more space, especially since we had talked a lot about starting a family. Meanwhile, we had to deal with some issues at the one-bedroom, like neighbors who were smoking (they’ve since moved out) and some plumbing issues. In 2015, we made an offer on a new construction condo in Wicker Park. We asked for a washer/dryer and for the hardwood floors to be installed in the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms, but were denied! I guess someone else made a full price offer and didn’t ask for anything.
In March 2016, we heard about a building going up in the West Loop, our neighborhood. We jumped at the chance to be one of the first buyers, and the ability to pick all our own finishes. Well, if you’ve been reading, you know that condo is STILL NOT READY. While some of the residents in the building started moving in around December, our unit still needs work.
Chris and I love the idea of new construction. I know a lot of people prefer vintage charm, but we like brand new and shiny. And to be able to pick/design things ourselves. However, I did not know how much work and patience new construction takes…I had to learn to take all the timelines you hear about, and throw them out the window!
Last spring, Chris and I were talking a lot more seriously about having a baby. Knowing that our original West Loop condo wasn’t ready yet, we kept our eyes peeled for another project that was farther along. We found another new construction condo that someone else had backed out of due to unforeseen cross-country move, and put an offer on that! Luckily, none of the finishes had been selected yet, so we would be able to pick EVERYTHING!
So there have been
some a lot of speed bumps. First, this condo got delayed as well. I honestly don’t know if it’s even possible for new construction to deliver on time, especially in Chicago. But after I found out over the summer that we were having a baby, we started getting really antsy to move. Also, picking finishes myself was a lot more challenging than expected. We went to a tile store and basically had free range to choose whatever. And then we got to choose whatever lights we wanted (this was the hardest). We went Everything Closets, and designed closets for all the bedrooms, pantry, linen closet, laundry “room,” etc. You’d think the more options you have, the easier it is. But I thought it was harder having limitless options (especially if your budget is not limitless).
While we’re mostly thrilled with our selections, the hardwood floor stain didn’t turn out gray like I wanted (apparently you can’t really stain oak floors gray unless you bleach them first, or just get a prefabricated wood?). And the white countertops have little specks in them, and I had wanted pure white. We were really upset about it at first. You work so hard, wait so long, and pay a lot of hard-earned money for your home and you want things to be a certain way!
But then something happened that made Chris and I reconsider everything. We discovered there were higher electromagnetic field levels in the master bedroom. Now, a lot of people wouldn’t really care. In fact, we had a meeting with ComEd (the electric company) and they claim everything is fine. But we’re both VERY health conscious people and we care a lot. (During my pregnancy, I’ve even been keeping my phone on airplane mode when I’m not using it!) And if you read my clean beauty swaps post, you know how careful I’ve been. While there aren’t definitive studies stating that high EMF levels will necessarily cause cancer, some studies show that elevated levels will lead to insomnia and sleep disturbances. Not ideal at all for your bedroom!
But anyways, there was a period of time when we didn’t know if we were moving anymore and it was incredibly stressful. We didn’t want to lose out on a home we practically designed, but we also didn’t want to risk our health. Ultimately, there wasn’t really solution, since again, the electric company says everything is working as it should and we were bound to our contract. So we decided to go ahead and close and work on remediation after the fact. (There are shields and window covers you can install, and there’s the possibility of paying ComEd to relocate some of the electrical equipment, although that probably won’t happen super soon). Plus we’re on a deadline with the baby, and the mortgage lender was going to charge us extension fees!
SO, after that, everything moved super fast. Because Chris and I found out we’d be closing/moving in just days, we’ve been in a mad rush to pack. If you saw my Instastories over the weekend, you can see packing wasn’t exactly going well. Luckily, our old and new places are only about a block apart, so we can manually move some things later this week. And we’re selling a lot of our furniture. But yeah, packing was kind of a disaster.
Currently, our new living room is just a pile of boxes. Our old place still has most of our furniture and all our dishes. And a bunch of random stuff we couldn’t decide whether to pack or not. And some stuff that needs to donated or thrown away. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Chris and I are germaphobes (but not necessarily really neat or organized) so we’re not really unpacking until we can clean every square inch of the place (with all green cleaning products!) So that’s what’s on the agenda for the next couple of weeks!
Also, another thing you might not know about new construction is that the builders typically have a month or two after you close to fix all the punch list items – things like cracks, dents, paint overspray, etc. I wish everything was perfect when you move in, but that’s apparently usually not the case. To a certain extent, we need to let the workers fix some things before we can unpack. Otherwise our stuff will be in the way.
We also need to get internet/cable. And an AV guy in to do wiring for speakers. And we need to get our old place ready to be rented. Put up a window shield to block EMF. Decide what to do with the other condo that’s still not ready. Oh and we can’t get mail/packages yet, and the elevator’s not working, so we’re still waiting on buying a crib and other larger baby items! And we need to get a car!
Like I said, the work has just begun! Luckily, my sister, who was just here for our baby shower, found a reasonable flight this morning and she’s coming back tomorrow morning to help clean and unpack since it’s getting hard for me to move around. Almost 34 weeks! Also, she’s going to house-sit and let workers in/out while Chris and I are at work.
Thanks for reading this long post – I’ll be sharing more posts soon about the condo, our unpacking progress, and how we decorate! Any tips and advice would be appreciated!