Joe and Sylvia move from Hoffman Estates to Woodstock—via Tucson

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Moving / Neighbors

Today’s post is another in a series of stories detailing how my neighbors found their way to Maples at the Sonatas.

In 2009, retired librarians Joe and Sylvia were happy with their living situation. Their primary home was a townhome in Hoffman Estates, and they also owned a vacation home on a lake in Wisconsin.

That March, they took a trip to Tucson, Ariz., and fell in love with the area and the climate. One day, while were driving around, they spotted a for sale sign in front of a condo that appealed to them.

On a whim, they arranged to go through the home. Long story short, they liked it a lot. It had a great back yard with a hot tub and was in a nice neighborhood. It was priced reasonably too. They found a local realtor and viewed the place three times during that week.

The condo remained on their minds after Joe and Sylvia went home. Wouldn’t it be possible, they wondered, to keep their Wisconsin cabin for the summers and spend winters in Arizona?


That was exactly what they decided to do. They started by listing their townhome in Hoffman Estates. To their amazement, they received an offer at the full asking price just two weeks later. It seemed too good to be true, and in hindsight it was.

At the same time, they made an offer on the Arizona condo and negotiated a price with the seller. They used phone, email, and fax to complete the entire deal. “We were mentally placing our furniture in the new place,” Sylvia said. “We started selling furniture and other possessions that we wouldn’t be taking. We were giving other things away or storing them.”

In the meantime, their Illinois agent said everything was going fine with their deal to sell the old place, despite the contract being contingent on their buyer selling her house.

But things were not fine. Their buyer said she needed just a little more time because her buyer was selling her property to a business that would require a zoning change. The closing kept being delayed.

By June, Joe and Sylvia had rented a truck, lined up friends to help load the truck, and found another friend to share the driving to Arizona. Everything was packed up ready to go on the truck. All the paperwork was ready for their closing once they got to Arizona. They had contacted all of the utilities there to set up new service.

One day before their closing in Hoffman Estates, their lawyer told Joe he didn’t think it would happen the next day. All the color drained from Joe’s face. With heavy hearts, he and Sylvia canceled the moving truck and the utilities in Tucson.

From then, it was a series of bad news events until, finally, the whole deal collapsed.

Then they lost the new place in Arizona. They still owned their townhouse in Hoffman Estates, but they didn’t want to live there. “We had already checked out of that place,” Sylvia said. “We couldn’t put the home back together. Too much was gone, given away, sold, just gone.”


Unsure what to do next, they decided to look for another townhome “out of suburbia, a place in a nice little town.” They both did some online research and, independently, came up with Woodstock. Then Maples at the Sonatas popped up as a possibility for housing, along with others.

On their way home from a July 4 weekend in Wisconsin, they stopped here and met Jamie Wilcox, our builder and owner of Wilcox Communities. As he took them around, they were impressed with the Canterbury model and the clubhouse. Then he showed them a Canterbury that was finished but was under a contingent contract. They liked it and its location.

On their next visit, Jon, the sales agent, assured them that the changes they would want in the Canterbury—blinds, ceiling fans, upgraded carpet—could all be made. “But we hadn’t sold our other place,” Sylvia said. “We had the will to buy, but not the money.”

Then they unexpectedly received another offer for their old place, one from the same buyer and with the same contingency. They were assured that the same obstacles would not be a factor, but again the process bogged down with delays.

Finally, a realtor who lived here suggested a creative financing option that would work for Joe and Sylvia. They closed on their Canterbury in October and moved in just before Thanksgiving, 2009.


End of the story? Not quite. Joe and Sylvia already had plans to go to Arkansas for Thanksgiving. They had moved in their furniture, but nearly all the rest of their possessions were in boxes in their garage. Fortunately, they had met their neighbor Jody and exchanged phone numbers before leaving on the 10-hour drive.

Shortly after they arrived, they received a call from Jody asking if they had meant to leave their garage door open. She closed it for them, but they cut their trip short and returned. Some investigation revealed a programming issue with their opener.

Joe and Sylvia’s positive buying experience, along with the helpfulness of a neighbor they barely knew, confirmed that they had chosen the right community for their new home.

“We didn’t look at homes anywhere else but here,” Sylvia said. “Jamie and Jon were just so wonderful, why would we consider anywhere else?”


In April 2010, Joe and Sylvia’s home in Hoffman Estates finally sold—to a different buyer. Nearly three years later, they must have recovered from the long, painful experience of selling it. Now they are planning to sell their home in Wisconsin.

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