A Moving Experiment

March 5, 2008

We’ve been conducting a lengthy, 8-month-long experiment: we tried to sell our house and then move by just using the web and via email.  We’re trying to do this without any phone calls at all.  Here’s the result of our experiment:

* Find a realtor via the web and who’s willing to do everything thru email:  check.  After driving around our target communities, we sent emails to several realtors that we saw signs for, and heard back only from a few.  We interviewed one in person, and hired her.  She was always good about emails, and even text messaged us when on the road.  And she did a wonderful job selling our house in this difficult market and finding a wonderful new home for us.  Thanks, Lisa Giuliani with Keller Williams Realty!

* List our house in several places on the web: check.  Our realtor listed our house via the MLS listing service (which shows up on Realtor.com and Homedatabase.com, our two favorite home listing websites, as well as many other public websites).  I also listed our house via Zillow, Yahoo, Google, and Craigslist.  The buyers of our old house saw the MLS listing for our home, and now they live there!  We had several open houses, but they didn’t seem to generate offers.

* Find a lender who’s willing to deal exclusively via the web: mixed.  My Federal credit union’s website could collect some info, but I had to call for prequalification.  I found the lender I ultimately went with through my realtor — Vincent with Countrywide.  He responded quickly to my emails, and would accept / send documents as PDF via emails.  The loan approval process went smoothly.  Thanks, Vincent!

* Switching or starting new utilities and services for our house: mixed.  I had to call Comcast to cancel cable / Internet service, but was able to make arrangements with Directv for television service entirely via the Internet.   Washington Gas did just fine entirely via the web.  I had to call to change water / sewer service.   I think I could have made arrangements with Verizon via the web, but my on-line account access was messed up a long time ago so I had to call to transfer voice and start DSL service.  (Too bad Verizon FIOS service is not yet available in the new home’s area.)  But when we moved into the new house, we realized that recent renovations had cut off or eliminated all phone jacks throughout the house!  So now we’re anxiously awaiting a contractor who’ll install a couple of jacks so that we can have DSL Internet service.  Hard to live without high-speed Internet at home!

* Find a mover who’s willing to deal via web and email: check.  We were deluged with postcards of various moving companies.  We threw out those without web addresses.  When it was time to make moving arrangements, we visited those websites and discarded those that didn’t have a form where we could fill out info on the various rooms, furniture, dates, and other details.  We filled out several, and got responses via email from two movers.  Both came over, and we hired one of them.  We kept in touch via email up till moving day.  Thanks, Hassan with 1st Class Movers!

* Changing addresses of allllll our various organizations, favorite stores, banks, employment-related sites, etc etc: eehhhhh.  Haven’t done most of thm – I’m dreading this … But a vast majority of these can be done via the web, thank goodness.

So, our online selling / buying / moving experiment has yielded mixed but mostly good results.  Thanks to all of the sites and people who dealt entirely on-line – you made life considerably easier.


4 Responses to “A Moving Experiment”

  1. Alison Says:

    You hit it on the head, re economic sense for business. I too will only seek out companies that suit communication online. If they won’t do, I move elsewhere.

    Hope you’re all enjoying your new home, and your family is happy there. :)

  2. twallclimber Says:

    rats, no FIOS ! Enjoy your new home !

  3. […] To help answer that question, I ran across an interesting post on Proud Geek this morning — A Moving Experiment. The blogger (and his wife) conducted a 8-month experiment to sell their home using the web. No […]

  4. proudgeek Says:

    Hi Twall – yes, I know, no FIOS! I was really disappointed about that too. As soon as it’s available in my area, I’m signing up. One thing, tho – I’ve heard that Verizon sometimes cuts the old type of phone line to a house when that household signs up for FIOS. Hmm.

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