Monday, April 20, 2015

Finding Our Way Home

We left Minnesota with a lot of question marks dangling over our heads, the biggest one being, "Where will we live?" Seven months later, we finally have the answer.

Here's the long version of how it all went down.

When things got kind of stressful in the finding a home before our lease was up department, I went to zillow.com and clicked on a house under the make me move category. These are houses that aren't on the market, but the owner would consider moving if the right offer came along. These are the things you do when you are moving into one of the hottest housing markets in the state that has the hottest housing market in the country. The house had four bedrooms and just showed two exterior pictures. We called the owner and set up a time to go and see it. It snowed eight inches on the day we drove to see the house. We pulled up to a beautiful, flat, 2 acre lot with a nice looking house. We walked through the house. It was messy and the paint colors were heinous and the floors were ruined and I absolutely loved it. The floor plan of the house was just what we wanted. It was in the exact type of neighborhood we'd talked about for years with neighbors and kids around, but big lots for some privacy and room to play. Jim and I kept catching each others' eyes and nodding and smiling. The kids were choosing rooms and Asher had commandeered the homeowner's remote.

We talked with the homeowner to see how serious he was about moving and he said he was ready to go. We went home and talked about it, went to see the house again, this time with our realtor, and made an offer. There was an offer, then a counter-offer, then he said he just wasn't ready to sell. We felt really good about getting this house since we couldn't be out-bid since it wasn't even on the market and then when even that didn't work we felt totally defeated. So we made offers on a lot of other houses and eventually tallied up seven offers with seven big, fat NOs.

Eventually panic mode reached threatcon orange. (Is that the highest? I'm trying to convey to you that we were freaking out. Fa-Reaking!) We were running out of time and options and were quite annoyed at being beat out by cash offers up to $30,000 over asking price. Stressed? Absolutely. More stress than I remember feeling in my life. In the back of my head, I knew it would end up how it was supposed to end up, but, unfortunately, in the front of my mind: freak out!

Then our realtor called and told us that the homeowner had the house cleaned up and had done a few things necessary to getting it on the market. He was ready to sell and wanted to give us the first chance to look at it and make an offer. I looked at Jim and said, "We have to do everything we can to get this house."

It felt like a gift. Remember this gift, when everything worked out just like it was supposed to? That has happened so many times throughout my life, yet I continue to worry about the day to day circumstances. If only I could take the advice I give to my kids and then hear them tell each other. "God has a plan for us. God knows where we're supposed to be and will make it work out." This has proven to be true time and time again.

Jim went out of town and the kids and I went to look at the house again. We also visited another house that was about to go on the market. The previous homeowner (since, you know, we're the current homeowners!) had done a lot of work on it and I loved it again. Although we were nervous about his willingness to actually sell, we decided to make another offer on the house.

Offer. Counter offer. Accepted offer. March 23, 2015.  Closing scheduled for April 23. Because we used an amazing mortgage company, we were able to move closing up to April 17. This was very reassuring to us because, due to our prior experience with the seller, we would not rest comfortably until all of the papers were signed and we wanted to have at least a little time to find something if the plans fell through.

On Friday morning we loaded up the kids after about 26 inches of snow fell overnight. We drove to walk through our new house. We walked through the rooms, envisioning our things there, our paint colors, our books lining the bookshelves, our family pictures hanging on the wall.

Then we drove to closing. The roads were bad and visibility was worse, but slow and steady does win the race and we got there. Armed with a backpack full of word finds, mazes, crayons, markers, books, and a contract that the kids asked me to write up so they'd have something to sign at closing, we headed in to sign, sign, and sign some more.

About 40 minutes into the signing Elliot decided to crawl under the table and Asher decided to tickle him and those two brothers got a little rambunctious. We attribute this to the celebratory doughnuts we shared on the way to closing, purchased at this tiny little cafe in our new little downtown. As Elliot said, "I don't know if I've ever had a doughnut before." He has had doughnut holes from our church in MN, but we are not big doughnut people, so giving him part of a doughnut before we were going to stick him in a boring room for over an hour wasn't our best idea, but, oh well, we were celebrating. We talked them down from the crazies and continued on.

We called the seller so he would have plenty of time to get to the office to sign his few papers. I wasn't too thrilled that he didn't just leave at the same time we did, but he had much less to do and he was still cleaning up the house. Then we heard that he had taken a load of stuff into Denver and was stuck there because the highway was shut down due to the huge snowstorm and because that highway always closes down when there's a big snow. I shook my head and told Jim that I knew something like this would happen. Thankfully the loan officer jumped in and said, "This will not stop closing." She faxed his paperwork down to an office near him so he could just sign there. Since we were done with our part, we went to lunch and came back to pick up our paperwork saying, hooray, hurrah, yeehaw, we were homeowners!

We have a house. Not just a house. Our dream home. While most people's dream homes may not have a 30 year old stove, fuschia walls and ceiling in the master bath, mouse droppings throughout the kitchen, a bright red master bedroom, mostly missing trim, and stained carpet, we see this house for what it will be. It will be the home where we continue to raise our children and then see them off. With a few coats of paint, some new flooring, and lots of love, TLC, and updates as we can afford them, it will be beautiful. It will be the home where we roast s'mores, play catch, take bike rides, and find a puppy to take home to pee all over our new carpet. Yes, that is happening later this summer or fall. Help us all! It is a gift.
You can see the gorgeous contrast of red and hot pink 
Ceiling, too? Heck yes! Go big or go home!

Now THAT is red.

As we drove to see the house the morning of closing, Jim and I said, "This is the house we wanted all along." We just couldn't believe it. But, then again, we could believe it because for all of our worry and uncertainty, for all of our human tendencies to try to plan things out and control the situation, it worked out perfectly. What a great lesson for our entire family.

I'm not saying life will be perfect. I'm saying we're home. Finally home.
Stay tuned for "before" tours of the upstairs and main levels in the next few days.

2 comments:

  1. This is so perfect! I wish I could come down when you start painting - it's that Fischer thing, you know! I know that God picked this place just for you and I pray that He bless it with love and may the adventures begin.

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  2. Uff da, those walls. But I am so happy that you guys got in!! Hooray!

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