The Thurrotts are moving to Pennsylvania


I published this on Facebook previously, but I figured some might have questions about the move, so…

So, we’re moving.

This isn’t something that we planned or expected, at least not now. But it came together very quickly, and it’s happening.

We’ve discussed downsizing after the kids were both out of the house, or at least off to college: We wouldn’t have pulled them out of school, or away from their activities and friends.

But our daughter Kelly is a Zillow enthusiast. And she began asking us about the possibility of moving last year. When we visited The Netherlands in November, she fell in love with the place, and started pestering us to move there. That was a bit too fanciful, but it was clear she was ready for a change.

So when April vacation came this past year, the three of us drove up to Montreal and had several hours in the car. And Kelly, again, was asking us about moving. So we went through a series of questions and answers, and Paul expected to be able to shoot down each possible place she might want to go. Because there was just no way this was going to happen now.

But by the end of this vacation, which included driving from Montreal to Stowe, Vermont, and then later to Pennsylvania for my sister Jill’s birthday, we had started coming around to the idea of moving. And in one of life’s beautiful coincidences, Jill’s mother Sharon was moving out of her family home to a nearby townhouse. We had been visiting for decades, and we’ve always really loved it there. The kids have cousins who are the same basic age, whom they love. The cost of living is lower. Mark’s drive to and from college is less arduous. On and on it went.

Mark wasn’t initially part of this conversation because he was away at college. So we had what was probably a very confusing conversation for him when we got home, and explained what we were thinking. He agreed that it made sense. And, of course, he’s 19, has his own car, and is already making big trips with his friends as it is. He will adapt to this change too.

So we’re moving to Pennsylvania. We left for April vacation not interested in moving at all, and came home with plans to move before the end of the summer. It happened in one week.

The past few months have been a crazy mess, with us putting all of our extra stuff in storage, cleaning and painting the house, and otherwise preparing it for sale. Paul had work trips three of the four weeks in May, and then an international trip in June. So we scheduled the open house for the one free weekend we had in that time period, and were surprised to get six offers immediately, two of which were well over the asking price. We sold the house two days later, and finalized the sale while Paul was away in June.

The schedule remains hectic because we already booked a vacation for August—again, we were not moving—and because we need to go back and forth to Pennsylvania to get that house ready, to move some of our stuff ahead of the final move, and to get Kelly set up for her new school. (We’ll be there again this week and are getting appliances installed, Internet connected, and estimates from painters, among other things.)

We’re going to close on our current house on August 22, so we need to be moved out by then. We close on the new house later that week. And then Kelly starts school the following Monday.

We’re not sure what happens next. We won’t be in the new house forever, and still plan, vaguely, to downsize three to five years from now. We have even vaguer plans to split our time, if we can, between two places. Maybe one of those places will be Massachusetts, maybe not. But we’ll be visiting as often as we can in the meantime. And we’ll figure it out as we go.

We don’t do this lightly. We moved to Dedham in 1999 when Mark needed his first cochlear implant surgery and this town, and our friends and family here, have been a huge part of our life over the past 18 years. But it’s not the 1980s anymore, and our ability to keep in touch with the people we care about has never been better. We intend to continue doing so.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening.

–Paul and Steph

Comments (42)

42 responses to “The Thurrotts are moving to Pennsylvania”

  1. Wolf

    Very cool story, Paul. It's not really any of our business, but thanks for the background and detail. We are also considering downsizing in the future as our kids are grown and gone now. Best of luck with the move and all the changes and challenges it will bring.

  2. spacecamel

    Paul, Your wife has a very good voice. Does she write also?

  3. jbinaz

    Doing a home swap this year and moving out right after that?

    With six offers and two over the asking price, does it make you feel like you priced it too low? ;) (Of course, you still have to deal with comps, so someone could offer you 3x what you're asking, but if there aren't comps, then it really doesn't matter.) 

    Had a similar thing happen to me here in Phoenix back in '04 where I had multiple offers in less than two days on the market. Of course, it was in the "magic zip code" of 85254: city of Phoenix property taxes, with a Scottsdale mailing address and two blocks from being in Scottsdale itself. 

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to jbinaz:

      I thought it was priced too low, yes. But I guess the way things are right now, it's common to get lots of offers that often exceed the asking price too. I don't understand this market at all.

      • Darmok N Jalad

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        I hear it's actually a strategy now in hot markets. Price it a little low to get a ton of interest, and then you get a bidding war from emotional buyers. I guess the other plus is if your buyer falls through, you likely have a couple more buyers lined up behind them.

        Could be much worse. I bought my first house in 2007, and it was a house in an "improving" neighborhood. Well, I can tell you that when the market crashes, so does the "improving." Even after 10 years of diligent mortgage paying, I had an overpriced house in a declining area. I ended up getting a better job and had to move, and that house sat on the market for over a year. It was move-in ready and well cared for, but I had to write a sizable check to sell it. Timing is everything sometimes, but I also learned a lot about home buying with that painful lesson.

  4. BigM72


    Best wishes for the move and limiting stress in the process :) .

    The pedant in me has a couple of things to point out:

    1) You claim in the comments that you wrote this but you've referred to yourself in the third person e.g. "Paul had work trips".

    2) You said "my sister Jill" and then "Jill's mother Sharon" rather than "my mother Sharon".

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to BigM72:

      I wrote this. But it's from both of us (my wife and I), and was posted this way to Facebook.

      Jill and I have the same father but different mothers. My parent divorced when I was three.

  5. George A. Roberts IV

    Good luck with the move!

  6. Chris_Kez

    Congrats Paul! I've been looking at houses the last few months and the thought of having to "declutter" my current house is alternately terrifying and enticing.

    Wait, so does this mean driving to NYC for the next few years? I can't imagine you'll still be a stone's throw from an Amtrak stop.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      I will test driving and Amtrak. It's a shorter train ride than from Boston, but an hour to a station.

      • Roger Ramjet

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Ride, don't drive.  

        Especially if you are already used to the convenience of riding from NE to NY, trying to drive through the NJ tunnels into NYC (and trying to get out) is brutal most times, excepting off hour periods. And it will cost you a penny or two for tolls to get in, and to park in NYC. Once in, if you need to get around, doing it with your car rather than subway, uber or cabbie is also not very fun. Also for train, since you're coming from "Pennsylvania" (Philly suburbs probably) you will have a choice of Amtrak from Philly or Amtrak or NJ Transit from Princeton Junction etc.

  7. alexgrin

    Good luck on the new place!

  8. DrDrTed

    Best of luck. A few comments:

    old Navy expression (where many moved every three years):

    3 moves = 1 fire

    I've lived in all parts of the US except the Pacific NW, Hawaii, & Alaska, and you've related that you lived in the southwest as well.

    I'll be interested if you find, as I have, that most of us move around the country living in pretty much the same niche, experiencing geographic, but not socioeconomic, diversity.

  9. mortarm

    >But it’s not the 1980s anymore...


  10. Supatra

    Good luck on the new place!

  11. eddopc

    Thanks for the update Paul. Always interesting to share your life.

    It's a bonus as well as I'm not on Facebook.

    I was years ago but it started ruining family life and pretty much became Fakebook so appreciate the update.

    Hope you enjoy the new world, although it will no doubt be sad and a great deal of memories to leave behind.

  12. mangurian

    Paul -

    Welcome to the USA. We made the move from Connecticut to the Research Triangle in North Carolina two years ago. It was difficult to leave our friends and institutions, but the life style is much better (and cheaper). It was also a good feeling unloading decades of "stuff." (It didn't feel good until we finished.) Best of luck.

  13. jeddytier4

    My wife and I have voluntarily moved 11 times in 17 years, only 3 with kids. It is quite amazing how much stuff that you find you really don't "need" to move 4-5 hours. I apparently collect computer cables, and with the last semi-final move (we are waiting until kids go to college as well), I got rid of my last serial cable and internal floppy drives/cables. You really never realize how much stuff you have until you have to box it up.

    That all said, I hope everything works out with the timings and makes for a smooth as it can be transition.

  14. RoHo

    Paul, I don't do Facebook so I just discovered this article. It's very interesting reading about your complicated move. Having done a major move from Upstate NY to Florida after living in the same house for 20 years I can relate. I don't know if I could stand being away for 2 weeks in Spain knowing what was waiting when you get back.

    What really surprised me was you comment that you would down size in 3-5 years. I can't imagine going thru all this for such a short time.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  15. Adlton

    Thank you for sharing this. I wish you and your family all the best, and that you enjoy your new home.

  16. Remtiwk

    You'll like PA! I was born and raised here, and have been here all my life! What area of PA if I may ask?

  17. Cdorf

    Godspeed on the move Paul! Thanks for sharing, and I wish you and your family the best!

  18. Simard57

    Living in Maryland, we spent many a weekend in PA Camping. Usually in Dover PA outside of York (though they are named after Gettysburg) but also in Millersville PA near Lancaster. Found the people and country very nice. Also the Amish have their own unique spin on life - we could learn a lot from them.

    The nations oldest brewery is a short drive from where you are heading -

  19. Patrick3D

    No grammatical/spelling errors? Must've been written by Steph.

  20. Joe Lavery

    TIL via WW#520... Longtime listener, first time caller.

    Welcome to the neighborhood (+/- 15 mi)!

    Can I buy you a South Mountain Cycles coffee, or a Funk Brewing beverage some day?

    Go Tigers! circa '81