Thursday, March 27, 2014

New House, Part One

As of yesterday, we now own two homes! While we wish circumstances were different and that we would be closing on our old house soon too, we are very excited about this new chapter! Since we now officially own the home, I wanted to share a few pictures and tell about how we ended up buying this particular house. (This post got way longer than I expected, so I'll share the pictures tomorrow!)

About a year ago, David and I were in the early stages of trying to decide whether a move would be good for our family. We loved the idea of being closer to David's work and church, but we kind of hated the idea of actually moving (and I can now say almost a year later, that that process has been every bit as bad or worse than we imagined it would be.... and we haven't even moved yet!!!). Anyway, for fun, I started checking house listings in our "target areas." I found this one house on a great street that was listed WAY lower than any other houses in the area. Upon further investigation, we found out that it was a foreclosure that needed a LOT of work.

Being the adventurous people that we are (bahaha!), we thought, "Oh, a project! This could be fun!" and we scheduled a time to go look at it. Going into it, David and I both felt pretty confident that this was our house. We loved the area, we would be able to get it at a rock bottom price, and neither of us minded the fact that it was a major project. In fact, we were excited about the prospect of fixing it up just the way we wanted it.

So, one day about a year ago, we went and looked at this house. And I was seriously underwhelmed by the house itself and seriously overwhelmed by the amount of work it needed. It was a nice house, and we could see potential, but it needed pretty major foundation work, the backyard had some big issues that in my mind made it not a good "kid backyard", and we didn't love the bedroom layout. The house is four bedrooms plus a bonus room, which is something we really wanted, but the master bedroom is upstairs, along with two other bedrooms and the bonus room. The fourth bedroom is downstairs. I wasn't comfortable with the thought of everyone sleeping upstairs except for one child who would be downstairs alone. David and I talked about using the downstairs bedroom as the master, but the bathroom really is small for a master. We could have made it work, but on top of everything else, it just didn't seem like the house for us. We did look into what it would take to fix the house up. David called and got estimates on fixing the foundation and he even met a contractor at the house to find out what exactly the house needed. After finding out how much money we would have to spend on the house, we realized that we wouldn't really be coming out ahead after all. One of the big draws to this house in the first place was that we could potentially end up with a great house in a nice area and spend a lot mess money than if we bought a house that was in good shape to begin with. We also would have had to go ahead and buy the house and start working on it so that it would have been ready for us to move into by the time our house sold. I wasn't comfortable with the idea of owning two houses for a long period of time (oh, the irony!). Plus, we were also in the throes of our homestudy and we had no idea when we'd be getting a baby (again: the irony!), and I just didn't think that was the best time to take on a huge project. So, we crossed it off our list and moved on.

Over the next months (and MONTHS), we would look at many, many houses. I think we looked at close to 30. We literally looked at everything in our price range. There were several houses along the way that we really liked and thought would be great for our family, but for various reasons, they all kind of fell off of our radar eventually. From time to time, we would talk about the first house again and say things like, "Maybe we could make it work.... a project might be fun?" David even went and looked at it again at some point and took a friend with him who is in the landscape business to talk about the backyard issues. I think his advice was RUN. Haha! Once again, we ruled the house out, it eventually went to auction and sold, and we thought that was that.

Well, the last time we went to look at houses, we looked at a different house on this same street. As we drove by the first house, we noticed a for sale sign in the yard, and my interest was immediately peeked. We ended up going to look at it, too, and we realized that someone had bought the house to fix it up and flip it. Well, let me tell you, it was like stepping into a completely different house! In a good way! It wasn't finished - there were actually workers there doing stuff while we looked at it - and it wasn't even officially listed yet. But I really kind of loved the house this time. The foundation had been fixed, and it just felt really fresh and bright. Obviously, since the house was being renovated as an investment, some of the finishes weren't what I would have chosen if I was doing it myself. But, it was all stuff that could be easily changed (like light fixtures) or things that I could definitely live with (black granite in the kitchen). All in all, I just thought it was a good house that could really work for us. The original backyard and layout issues were still there, but they didn't even seem like such huge hurdles anymore. (We decided that we will all sleep upstairs. We'll use the bonus room as a bedroom, and the extra bedroom downstairs will be the playroom. As far the backyard goes, I'll probably devote a full post to it at some point. It really is a pretty, private backyard, but it has a retaining wall and is divided into two levels. We're just going to have to fence in each level individually so that it will be VERY safe for the kids.)

Anyway, to make a long story not quite as long, the house ended up being officially listed on the market the same week that we were in negotiations with the potential buyers for our house. We made an appointment to go see the house, but by the time we got there, they had already had an offer. We had to make a VERY aggressive offer on the house with no contingencies (except for the home inspection). We felt comfortable doing that since we had pretty much reached an agreement with the buyers for our house. Well, we all know how that turned out, but we did get our house! As stressful as it is to think about owning two houses for an indefinite amount of time, I can definitely see God at work in the situation. If we hadn't gotten that offer on our house, we definitely wouldn't have ended up buying the house we bought. So, even though our contract fell through, I can see the good in it... a little bit. Maybe one day, I'll see even more good :)

So, that's the long story of how we ended up with this house! David and I sometimes kick ourselves a little bit that we didn't buy the house a year ago and fix it up EXACTLY the way we wanted it. But, I really think we needed to look at all of those other houses to make us realize that this house was "the one." Is it my dream home? No. But it's a great house that I think will suite our family really well. That's all I need. I also think that if I had been picking everything out for the house, we would have ended up spending a LOT more money than we are. Hahaha! We are excited to move in to our new house in the next few weeks and start making it our home!


twinkietotmom said...

I love reading this story. Any story that lets you see God's work at play is one I love to read. But I do have to say, this was quite the teaser...I want to see pictures! Lol! I'll check back tomorrow for sure!

Arlene Keller said...

Congratulations on the new house! From the way you describe it, I think you ended up with a great deal, and the house looks quite amazing. We really don’t get our dream house a hundred percent, especially if you’re buying a pre-owned one, but it’s nice to know that you found one that suits your family. Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a great day!

Arlene Keller @ Scott Sauer