Clint and I own a two bedroom condo that has served us well over the years. However, Clint has always dreamed of owning a house, and now that our family has expanded to include two kids and a dog, we could really use a bit more space. In particular, we dream of outdoor space for the kids to run around in, an attached garage that is all our own (we share a detached garage with our neighbors), and a family friendly neighborhood.
Back in January of this year, Clint and I made an offer on a house, but we walked away when we ended up in a bidding war and the owner countered back to everyone at $30K above asking price! Then in March we found another house that we were excited about, and this one actually went into escrow. We were thrilled until issues started to come up: the room they claimed was permitted was, in fact, not permitted, and the roof that we figured would need to be replaced in the next year or two (when we could save up enough money to pay for it) needed to be replaced right away as it was already leaking– apparently it was beyond repair, and the estimates for replacement were even higher than we had anticipated.
Although we were in escrow, the owners were made aware of someone who was willing to pay more than we were for the house and would take it “as is.” We, on the other hand, were asking for a small contribution to the roof and required that the permit process for the addition be completed. Sadly, it became clear that this was not the right fit for us or the sellers anymore, so we parted ways. Clint and I were really burnt out after that experience. We took a much needed break from house hunting and began reconsidering where we wanted to live and what was really important to us. It took a while, but eventually we started looking at houses again, and that is where our story begins…
We toured three houses on Saturday, one of which particularly grabbed our attention. It was smaller than the previous two houses we had made offers on, but the lot was huge, which is an extremely rare find in this area (we were mainly looking at houses about a half hour north of where we currently live). The neighborhood was our favorite yet, not to mention the house was located at the end of a small cul-de-sac. Clint was ready to make an offer on it the second we saw it. I was a little more reluctant because though the house seemed workable for us now, I wondered if it had enough room for growth.
Sunday, August 17th
On Sunday we decided we wanted to tour the house again. My mom was in the area, so we brought her with us. As I looked at the house again, I felt like the opportunity to get a large lot in such a charming neighborhood, right around the corner from my work, with kids next door and a park within walking distance, was too good to pass up. I also realized that if we felt like we needed more room in the future, the lot was large enough that we could do an expansion.
Fatefully, while we were touring the house, Stacy, the real estate agent (who also happened to be the seller) stopped by to show the house to one of her clients. She told us more about the house and the area, and we were able to get some of our questions answered. It turned out the house had been in her family for years, although she and her husband had only purchased it about a year ago. They had started renovating it, but due to finances could not complete all the upgrades they had planned, and instead were listing it for sale. It was nice speaking with her, and fortunately her clients were only in the house for a few minutes, so we knew they weren’t interested.
As we left I finally felt at peace about the house. We attended mass that evening at the church that would most likely be our parish if we bought the house, and we were happy to find that it reminded us a lot of our home parish. We hated the idea of leaving our church, so we were relieved that this one seemed like a good fit for us. That night we officially decided to make an offer on the house, and after discussing it with our real estate agent, we agreed upon on a price $10K below asking.
Monday, August 18th
I was in a good mood Monday morning until I spoke with my boss (you might remember him from this story of how he recruited me) who informed me that he had decided to resign. This news was extremely upsetting, especially in light of the offer we were planning to make. Clint and I had a long talk on my lunch break to decide whether or not to move forward on the house, and we finally concluded that it was still the right decision for our family. I electronically signed the documents before I headed back into the office, and that was that. I was emotionally drained at the end of the day, but after a run, a chat with a friend, and some down time with my hubs, I felt better.
Tuesday, August 19th
The stress of it all began to hit me again Tuesday morning. I was praying and trying to focus on accomplishing basic tasks, but I was a mess. That afternoon we received an update on the house. Stacy had received multiple offers, including one above asking price (later we would find out that there were three other offers, and one was $5K above asking), but she liked us and thought our family would be a perfect fit for the neighborhood. She was willing to sell the house to us if we would come up to asking price. Absolutely! We had already discussed that we were willing to pay up to asking price, although we couldn’t afford to pay more than that. This news was really encouraging to me because it seemed like the house was meant to be ours. Reassurance is always nice when you’re spending your life’s savings, but it is especially nice when your job is feeling a bit precarious. That evening we reviewed the counter offer with our agent and signed on the dotted line.
Wednesday, August 20th
Wednesday was another stressful day at the office as my boss announced his sad news to devastated employees. I came out of a meeting that morning to find my husband blowing up my phone with text messages, one of which said that Stacy had now received over 10 offers on the house, with one offer $25K above asking price! I was shocked! Clint told me that Stacy still wanted to sell the house to us, but her husband (understandably) was pushing her to accept the higher offer.
Between the situation with my boss and the house drama, I felt like my head was going to explode. As I sat there on my lunch break wondering how this was going to play out, I saw an email come through telling us that we were officially in escrow! I couldn’t believe it! Who would turn down $25K just to sell a house to us?!? Once again this was a dose of much needed encouragement that the house was meant to be. I concluded that though I may not know how this whole job thing was going to play out, if we’re supposed to buy this house, then there must be a plan for how we’re going to pay for it, and thus the job situation must be going to work itself out one way or another.
Thursday, August 21st
Normally I am off on Thursdays, but as the boys’ school was closed for teacher prep on Friday, this particular Thursday I was working so that I could have Friday off instead. On my lunch break that day I decided to visit our future house, and as I turned on the street, I noticed open house signs— pointing at our house! What in the world?! Why were they having an open house?! We were in escrow! I go in and ask the real estate agent (an associate of Stacy’s) why they are holding an open house on a house that is pending. She explains that they had already scheduled the open house, so they decided to hold it anyway to generate leads. I understood, but not really. I did not want people traipsing through my house, and I didn’t want anyone getting any ideas about buying it! The agent goes on to say that escrow just opened on the house, to which I countered, “I know; it’s with me!” “Oh, Stacy really likes you guys,” she said, and she tried to reassure me about the open house situation. I told her how much we appreciated what Stacy was doing for us, and then I walked through our house again– just because that never gets old.
I thank the agent and return to my car to call Clint. We’re laughing about how I’m the creepy girl that is stalking the house when a guy in slacks and a dress shirt leaves the house and starts coming over to my car. It turns out he is our escrow agent, and he wanted to introduce himself to me! Lol. Hi, nice to meet you, I’m the creepy buyer. Fortunately, laughing over my lunch break fiasco got me through the rest of the day, as it was a tough one– my boss’ last day.
Friday, August 22nd
Since I had Friday off, we scheduled the home inspection for that afternoon. Given our previous experience, we were a bit nervous, but this house appeared to be in good shape, so we had no reason to expect a disastrous inspection. The home inspector found some small issues, but nothing major, which meant no deal breakers! The inspector actually commented on how well built the house was! It was also awesome because we were able to spend more time in the house. Watching the kids play in the backyard was everything we dreamed it would be, and even though it wasn’t officially ours yet, the house began to feel like our home.
So that’s the house. Normally I wouldn’t announce that we were buying a house until escrow was closed, but this story was just too amazing to not share. Now that you know, please keep us in your prayers as we go through escrow (it’s supposed to close September 19th), and as I try to rise up to the new challenges that I will be faced with at work. With all that plus Parker’s birthday (September 1), Clint’s birthday (September 6th), and a 6 day business trip (second week of September), I think we’re going to have our hands full in September!