21 March 2013

Venting [House Hunting Edition]

Everyone has those things in life that make you snowball from smiling to crying. You know the hallmarks of attraction-loathing, happiness-frustration, disappointment-reward…and usually all in the same breath. Love-hate relationships... and for me they would be golf, my adorable white ball of fur and fuzziness, Molly, and house hunting.

My husband and I moved into our house October 2011 after we got married. I had so much fun planning and searching and discovering just the perfect nest for our little family of two to grow.

Cottage Bedroom

After we got into our house (isn't it adorable!?! Yes, I do realize it is just a pic of our bedroom, but I don’t have one of the outside and I am too lazy to go take one. At least I’m honest?) I began the process of decorating, finding just the right touch for each room. I knew that we wouldn't be there forever. Shoot, I knew we wouldn't be there for more than 3 years, but I didn't realize we would outgrow our home so quickly.

 I put partial blame on the other broke wife for part of my misery. See Kate and her hubby got married almost exactly one year after my man and I did. Well they of course had their own house hunting adventure.

House

And found an absolute gem. A freakin’ gem that you could fit about 3 of my current homes inside of. Gah!! (Can you tell I’m bitter?)

 So Kevin and I got to spiraling thinking, hey wouldn't it be great if we not only moved closer to Nick and Kate (because we were a whole 12 mins away), BUT also got a bigger house?! Yeah, he loved that idea because he has what I like to refer to as a “real job.” That means you know who gets to do all of the leg work….except this time we I also get to sell a house while searching/buying another home. I realize that people do this everyday, we are not unusual, but I am (as our title would suggest) married to a just-starting-out bean counter and that bean counter is married to a professional golfer.

 And as awesome as professional golfer sounds, it is not rolling in the money right now.

So with our limited budget and infinite excitement in hand we started out on a house hunting adventure. To be honest, we thought the most challenging part would be selling our current house, not because it isn't adorable, comfortable, and nice, but because you do have to find the right buyer for a two bedroom/one bather. Right about the time we put our house on the market we found a house that both of us loved. It was a new build, 3 bed/2 bath on about 2.5 acres. Perfect. I smiled to myself thinking “oh I do love how God’s timing works out.”  Well, “BOOM” went my bubble. Apparently that was not the house that was intended for us. Even though it had been on the market for a considerable (almost a year) length of time, the minute we put an offer in someone else came along and thought it would be the perfect home for them as well. We lost.

That’s okay though because there was another house that had caught our eye. It was a big colonial on a hill with 4 bed/ 2.5 bath and hardwood floors. Oh heart, stop fluttering! One catch: it was a foreclosure. At this point in our house hunting search, we lacked agent representation. Both the first house and this one we had found on our own and were just doing our own thing... naked in the world of real estate. That’s a scary thought to begin with. And Kevin and I were about to make a very big no-no in the realty realm (not purposefully, but we will never let this happen again!)

An important side note: we both have wonderful families who want the very best for us and will be more than happy to help any way they can in any situation. Well, that meant many times visiting the house on the hill giving it a thorough looking over (1. Me and Kevin 2. Me and my family 3. Kevin and his family 4. Me and Kate.) Through all these visits we got to know the listing Realtor well and me, not being a shy person, chatted along the way.

We definitely asked the agent some general questions…her FACE was on the sign in the yard. We never signed any contract with her. For as many times as we visited the house, Kevin never gave in, liked it. At that point, we thought it was best for us to get a buyer’s agent and explore the market. Weigh all of our options as it were. So that’s exactly what we did. Well…after seeing many, many houses we both thought it might be time to go back to the foreclosure.

BIG MISTAKE! WARNING, warning for all you house hunting novices out there, do not have someone show you a house several times, even if you haven’t contracted them to be your agent, and then come back in with representation. Things will go south, quickly.  Learn from my mistakes! In the end, admitting that it was our (unknowing) mistake we decided to walk away because I don’t like stepping on peoples toes and I like to right my wrongs. So mark those gorgeous hardwood floors and granite counter tops off the list. It was a sad, embarrassing day.

But Kevin and I weren't deterred. God had a different plan for us and we were merrily naively following along. In comes house number 3, which had also been on the market about six months. A cute brick ranch 3 bed/ 2 bath, 2 car garage, and in the same neighborhood as Nate (that would be Nick and Kate combined and often how Kevin and I refer to them. Because we are lame. We enjoy being lame.) Everything was really falling into place this time! After our feedback post-showing, the Realtor persuaded the sellers to lower the asking price. So that Friday, my bean counter in the middle of busy season got off work at 5:00 (a small miracle) and we went to put together an offer.  You might be able to guess the ending here... yes another offer was put on the house. AND they don’t have to sell their current house to buy this one, which means no contingency, which means strong contract, which means our positive attitude was shrinking at a very fast rate. But determined to make this house our home (I mean it is on Bunker Ln. It’s fate. And all of you golf fans out there will get that) we put in a very solid offer. Over the asking price and everything.

Then we waited. I have never been more nervous. We had been so confident about the situation just 48 hrs earlier and now we were lying in bed awake at 2 am and fretting. That’s the problem with love-hate relationships, the roller-coaster ride of emotions is sometimes more than any person can handle. The next day, I never thought the hours would pass. And at 2 pm we got the phone call.  Dang. The sellers had accepted the other offer and it hadn't mattered how much we would have offered or how clean the deal, we had the “c” word (contingency) and the competition didn't  I felt like we were the donkey and God was dangling the symbolic carrot in front of us. Just out of reach, a tease if I had ever seen one. I was becoming bitter. Two offers rejected on 2 houses that had been sitting on the market for months, no houses that we were really having a connection (I don’t think my husband would ever admit he was having a connection with a house, but it’s important, you need a connection) with left on the market, 1 house that was a war zone, and a quickly approaching closing date. That’s it… God must want us to be homeless!

The night we lost the offer on the 3rd house, sitting in the bathtub with a glass of wine and a mind full of worry, I was reading and stumbled upon this (even though it was about child birth, I thought it fit my current situation pretty dang well) “In that moment, as I looked at my little girl lying in my arms, I realized this whole process was such a striking picture of how Christ works in us. He takes our disappointments, rejections, and hard times, and he makes something beautiful. He creates life and shows us what beauty looks like in places where we look and see nothing.” Wow. Hello light bulb moment. Maybe option 1, 2, and 3 didn't work out for a reason. There is something more beautiful waiting for Kevin and I. And even though I am stressed because I can’t see the bigger picture, He can. So I said a prayer and set aside my worry and I gave the reins to God. The house-hunting search continues and the clock continues to tick away, but I am trying my best to stay calm and enjoy the process. I guess for now this is a “to be continued”…and I’m learning to be okay with that

xoxo - Christie

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