I Moved Across The Country In The Middle Of A Pandemic

Kristen Bousquet
I Moved Across The Country In The Middle Of A Pandemic
Photo: Kristen Bousquet. Art: Bella Gerard/STYLECASTER.

It’s been a running joke between my boyfriend and I that we, as a couple, have the worst luck ever. Every time we get something delivered to our home, it comes damaged. When we redid our kitchen at our old place, we hired a designer and were without a kitchen for an extra two months. I could go on and on, but moving during a pandemic certainly tops our list of unlucky circumstances.  If you told me that I’d be moving across the country during a worldwide epidemic like nothing we’ve seen in the last century, I would have laughed in your face—but that’s exactly where our luck brought us.

Back in November 2018, my boyfriend, Andrew, and I purchased a beautiful house in our hometown. We weren’t necessarily “ready” to buy, but it fell into our lap: it was in great condition and being sold by a family friend at a more-than-reasonable price. We figured it was meant to be.

We lived in our little Massachusetts home from November 2018 to April 2020, and during that time we flipped the entire house completely, renovating the kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, decks, backyard, you name it. We knew that this wasn’t our “forever” home, but we figured that we’d flip it and make some cash for our future home.

In 2019, we did a ton of traveling, as we both own our own businesses. The travel bug got us thinking that life would be much easier if we were in a place that had more going on. Eventually, we traveled down to Charlotte, North Carolina and absolutely fell in love with the city. (It didn’t hurt that every time we’d travel cross-country for an expo, we’d fly from Massachusetts down to Charlotte, then to our destination.) At the end of the day, it just made sense for us to move there. So we did.

STYLECASTER | Moving During A Pandemic

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.

During the second week of February, we put our Massachusetts house on the market. It sold in one day (!), and we knew we needed to get down to Charlotte to find our dream home quickly. On the last weekend in February, we headed down and did just that. At this point, it seemed everything was going (surprisingly) smoothly. We had no idea that in a matter of days the coronavirus would change everything.

We’d agreed to close on April 13 for our Massachusetts home, and would close on our Charlotte home the next day—at least, that was the plan. Suddenly, the entire country broke out in chaos, and a stay-at-home order was put into place in just about every state. We were hardly able to leave our homes (still true at the time I’m writing this), many businesses were closed unless deemed essential and life as we knew it was no more.

At the time, I didn’t think the coronavirus would really affect our move, since realty was considered an essential business. Our lender, realtor and attorney all reminded us almost every single day that things were good to go, and insisted our closings would happen as planned. It wasn’t until I got a call on April 9 (yes, four days before our closings) that our reality came crashing down. The man buying our home was from New Jersey, and because of the quarantine, the person buying his home wasn’t able to close on the expected date. He would have to push the closing of our house out until June 19. JUNE 19.

Just our luck, I thought, for what felt like the thousandth time in this whole process.

Immediately, my heart dropped into my stomach. I felt like I was going to vomit. My Type-A personality could not handle a dramatic change like this—especially so last-minute, after our entire home was packed into boxes already. I hung up, called my boyfriend, my mom, my friends, my realtor, my lender and my attorney. I think I cried to every single one.

The biggest issue we were facing was that our builder for the Charlotte home (that we had already put non-refundable deposits down on) was not going to wait, for us or for anyone else. We could move down to Charlotte and close on April 14 as planned, or we’d have to find a new home. If we hesitated, we’d lose both the house of our dreams and the thousands of dollars we’d already invested into it. But if we moved, we’d have to pay two mortgages until our Massachusetts home sold in June.

I tried to look at the situation from every angle possible. I was MAD. I was FRUSTRATED. I hated our buyer and his buyer. I cursed them both. But, I kept having to remind myself that technically, it wasn’t their fault. I worked every minute of the day with my attorney, lender and realtor to figure the best outcome, and even the our strongest solutions weren’t great. Ultimately, we knew the only way to secure our dream home was to accept paying two mortgages until June. So we budgeted it out and planned to do just that, the money on our minds as we prepared for the twelve-hour drive to Charlotte.

STYLECASTER | Moving During A Pandemic

Kristen Bousquet.

Just our luck (are you sensing a theme?), we experienced torrential downpours as we drove to Charlotte, driving through some of the most-affected states of the pandemic. We tried to plan ahead so that we wouldn’t have to stop in New York or New Jersey, but of course, our bladders had other plans. Up in Massachusetts, restrictions were tough, but not nearly as intense as they were in NY and NJ. We weren’t even able to enter rest stops without masks on. Fortunately, we came prepared with masks, gloves, Clorox wipes and plenty of hand sanitizer.

As we drove along, the rain eventually slowed down and then came to a stop. After about 13 long, dreadful hours, we finally made it to our home. When it came time to close, we had everything prepared, and were finally ready to get the keys we’d spent an eternity waiting for.

Of course, there had to be one more obstacle: when we called our bank that morning to wire the money, we were told that due to COVID-19, they wouldn’t be doing wire transfers via phone. I had to physically be at the branch in order to wire money. My local bank was in Massachusetts, with absolutely zero locations in North Carolina.

STYLECASTER | Moving During A Pandemic

Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock.

I couldn’t believe this was happening. Another bump in the road, this time so close to home sweet home. Just our luck, I thought for what felt like the thousandth time in this whole process. After having a small panic attack, we did some research and found out that my bank (thankfully!) had a branch in South Carolina. We finished signing our paperwork, hopped in the car once again, and drove down to South Carolina. Once we got to the bank, the transfer was seamless, and we finally got the keys! Can you believe it?!

As if buying and selling a home and moving across the country aren’t tough enough already, the hiccups that the coronavirus put in our way made things even more challenging and stressful. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that we’re finally settled into our new home in Charlotte. Despite the ups and downs, it feels like a miracle that none of us got sick during the moving process, and for this I’m truly grateful. We are unlucky, but we are luckily in good health, and that’s what matters most. Yes, we’re still stuck paying two mortgages until June, but assuming all goes well until then, it will be worth it—that said, with our luck, you never know!

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News about the Coronavirus is unfolding in real-time, and while we make every effort to ensure our content is accurate, some of the information in this story may have changed. For the most up-to-date news on the pandemic, please go to the CDC or WHO websites. For the latest from STYLECASTER, visit our Coronavirus hub page