A lot has happened in the last nearly 2 1/2 years since my last post. School got crazy and life got busier. Basketball happened (for both boys, on two different teams) and took over our lives. Then others things took control. Finally we decided we needed to move closer in to where life happened. It seemed all we were doing at our house was sleeping.
Last spring, we got our house ready and put it on the market. Since it was a seller’s market, it sold in no time. The house was in a good location and was in really good condition. It was a remarkably easy process! We had received one offer before it actually listed, then two offers came in just a day apart after showings began. Within a week, we were working out details over offers and counter-offers. We were starting to feel the pressure to find something for ourselves.
Our realtor had us wait until we had an actual contract on our house and were past the options period (where the buyers could no longer back out without a large penalty) before we actually looked at anything. While we waited for that step, we watched the realty websites like hawks, finding dream homes only to have them go off the market within days. It was so frustrating – but that was nowhere near what we were about to experience!
The first day we were actually able to go look, one of my friends texted me a picture of a house down the street from her that was just about to go on the market. She called the realtor, I called the realtor, I sent my realtor the picture. We wanted to see that house! But they weren’t ready to start showing until the next day. My husband’s boss also lived down the street from that house, so they talked about it and he gave high recommendations on it.
The realty site listed photos that night and we made a split decision to make an offer, sight unseen. It felt right. The sellers agreed to consider our offer, but they still wanted the house to show to see if there would be other offers. They wanted a week.
They next day we were able to see the house – along with about 3 other groups at the same time. That was awkward because we felt like we couldn’t really look at things critically or discuss anything with our realtor. We didn’t want anyone to overhear anything we said and maybe gain an advantage.
Still, we loved it! It was the one we wanted. We just had to wait… During that wait, we both spent a lot of time praying about it.
Our realtor stayed in contact with the sellers’ realtor over the course of the week. Things looked good one day and bad the next. Up and down, all week long. We decided to go the next weekend and look at some others houses we were interested in. Since things were looking bad for the house we really wanted, we decided to make an offer on our second choice. If they both ended up being accepted, we would choose the first house and only lose a small amount of earnest money on the second. It would be worth that to not be left with either – and our time was running short. The closing date on the house we were selling was getting closer.
The offer on house two was declined. We were back to waiting to hear something about house one. They had decided to show for another week because there was a lot of interest (nice house and a prime spot on a golf course) and they had gotten several offers. Things were not looking good for us. Still we prayed.
Things got blurry after that. We kept finding houses online that we liked, but they came and went quickly. Nothing looked to be going in our favor. Then we heard that the sellers were still considering our offer – and one other. They countered our offer and we countered back. We waited to hear. Things looked bad again. We were at the point where we were ready to rescind our offer and start over with looking elsewhere. It was too stressful and there was no longer any joy or excitement in the process. We felt like we were being toyed with. We told our realtor that whatever answer they gave, we would not counter again. We would either accept or walk away. My prayer had changed from Please let us have this house to If this house is meant to be ours, You will work it out; and if it’s not, it’s because You have something even better for us. At the time I couldn’t imagine what that would be because the house, the location, the neighbors and friends there – everything about it – seemed like the perfect situation for us.
We got the call on a Thursday night, right in the middle of our sons’ school play. I returned our realtor’s call at intermission with a knot in my stomach. She knew how frustrated we were with the whole thing, so she immediately said, “It’s good news!” Our final offer was accepted. They were going out of town for the weekend, but they would sign the paperwork their realtor was planning to send them, then overnight it to us for our signatures. For some reason, that didn’t happen. We had to wait until the next week. Doubts were beginning to creep in again.
With all the offers and counter offers and new contracts being written and rewritten and taking so much time in between, our closing date with our buyers was just around the corner. The closing date on the house we were buying was still a month away. Thankfully our realtor had the foresight to insist on a clause with our buyers for a month-to-month rent-back policy. And our buyers were very gracious in letting us stay in our/their house a month past closing – rent free! They were also willing to allow a second month if needed, but we would pay rent for that.
Thankfully we only needed that one month. We closed on our new house in early June and started moving in the following weekend.
I’m just glad it’s all done – and that we got the house we wanted. It’s neighborhood we wanted to be in. It’s close to our church, where I also work. It’s closer to the boys’ school and to my husband’s work. The boys already had several friends in the neighborhood, and now it’s so easy for them to be able to hang out at one house or another. We knew more than 15 families here when we moved in. We’ve since found out others we know live here, and we’ve met some new families.
Our experiences with buying and selling were so different! And our experience with buying in a buyer’s market in 2009 was so much easier than our experience with buying in a seller’s market in 2016. We learned a lot and, while our hope is to be done with moving – at least until we are no longer able to physically manage things there, we can be better prepared mentally for the next time.
Our house from the back, from the edge of our property line.