Yeah, Yeah…I know, you’re probably thinking another blog post about moving, when will it end?! , but since this is currently what I’m engrossed in, this is what you’re getting. Don’t worry…the juicy before and after house pictures will come soon enough (see…I’m building suspense!); though, this ain’t no Young House Love site. I’m definitely not as witty as Sherry and I can’t rap….and we all know Paul is no John, so my before and afters probably won’t be that juicy. IF I even remember to take before photos.
Also-as a precursor- I started this blog post on Saturday morning while simultaneously eating breakfast and catching up on Chicago Fire and thank goodness I multi-tasked that morning. Here it is 15 minutes until actually being Monday and I’m finally getting this post wrapped up. Forgive me, it’s been a little hectic around here.
I’ve always treated blogs as more of a virtual diary for myself and I don’t intend to change now. This post will be a good reminder when I’ve (hopefully) forgotten these past two months.
Several years ago Paul and I went through a religious based financial class (Financial Peace University) and I remember walking away from the class convinced I would never over pay for anything again. Add that into the fact that I watch one too many HGTV shows where people were buying gigantic houses for around $150k and I swore I’d pay less for my second house than I did for my first; nevermind the fact that those HGTV houses are usually in the city of who-knows where, in the state of I’d-never-live-there.
So when the owners of the house we’d had our eyes on told my sister they wanted to list it by the end of that week back in March, we knew we needed to jump and jump VERY quickly. The problem was….they knew that, too.
Our first step was to find our realtor. We felt like the folks we used when buying our first house had led us astray a bit back then. (We ended up with 20% of our first mortgage being in an interest only, variable interest home equity line of credit…stupid, stupid, stupid). But I digress. Paul and I knew we wanted someone who we knew indirectly. We wanted someone our friends knew and trusted, but if something went majorily kaput there’d be no harm done to a close personal relationship. We also knew we wanted someone who was a realtor for a living…not a side business and someone who had a young family to support. Andrew had reached out to us several months ago through mutual friends (back in the fall when I was pregnant and we were on the hunt to make a move before the baby would be born-side note-it’s crazy to me to think that we still would have met our goal of moving before my due date had that been a successful pregnancy). Anyway…so as mentioned in my prior post, Cassidy and I were on our way to a concert when Brittany called and mentioned the owners had stopped by. As I stood in line waiting for the venue doors to open, I sent a rather frantic Facebook message to Andrew. I can’t even begin to process how crazy he must have thought I was after reading my initial message, but we are so, so grateful that he said yes to being our realtor. In hindsight though, I probably didn’t give him much choice!
`Things moved at the most ridiculously, crazy fast speed. I messaged Andrew on a Saturday evening. Paul, my family and I walked through the house on Sunday. I finally spoke to Andrew and a mortgage lender on Monday. Andrew walked through the house at some point early that week and met with us on Wednesday evening at our house. By Friday we had a contract submitted.
And here’s where my post will take a less specific, more generic turn.
I like to think I’m fairly well-versed in the curveballs life likes to throw; and therefore, when life does hand me another lesson to learn, I’m always a little dumbfounded. But where there are lessons, there are opportunities for growing and learning and I try really hard to stick that in the blessing column despite what appear to be tribulations in the moment. And the past two months definitely had their share of tribulations (like an appraiser who appraised our house for less than our contract was for-talk about a minor panic attack).
Over the past eight weeks we’ve had our eyes open to people who (seemingly) let the almighty dollar be their almighty. Now I have no idea if this is really true, but we’ve got a lot of arrows pointing in that direction. We have never had first hand experience with folks like this before and it caught us a little off guard. Perhaps it was personality quirks…after all, everyone does march to the beat of their own drum. Let me just put it this way…the owners of the house we bought marched to a beat that I’ve never heard before…and it was way out of rhythm with our beat…or the beat of the people who march in our life’s band. It was just…odd. Not good. Not bad. Just weird. There seemed to be moments of kindness…like the fact that they always agreed to let us in when we asked (to measure for appliances, etc.), but then there were some moments that left us scratching our heads (like the fact that they didn’t just have the power switched out of their names, they actually had it shut off…and knew about it more than 24 hours before we moved in, yet didn’t bother telling us, leaving us with a frantic Mother’s Day no power moving in situation).
The owners knew I was pregnant in the fall. And then they knew I wasn’t. I thought they were being compassionate towards our scenario by telling my sister about their house before listing it. In hindsight, I’m fairly certain it was probably because they knew they had a buyer hook, line and sinker. Our mistake…not theirs. And well, buyers = $$$$$, not necessarily a compassionate heart of the owner.
Two months after that initial walk through and these are our take aways of the home buying process.
*Know what you’re willing to pay for a house. Be informed about the housing market and know what your house is really worth.
*Be realistic and have a realtor who isn’t afraid to be truthful with you. Luckily, Andrew was amazing at knowing how important this specific location/house was to us, but he also called the shots like he saw them. He gave us so much amazing advice on both the selling and the buying process.
Our list could go on and on.
The main thing is to know yourself…know what you want, know where you’re willing to compromise and know where you’ll stand your ground come. But, the most important lesson is to get one amazing realtor. When my parents sold their first house 22 years ago, their realtor was awful. He was cocky, rude and apparently very unprofessional. He caused a huge delay in my parent’s closing process, thus rendering a family of five homeless for about two weeks. (Shout out to the Allins & Hunts for taking us in!!!) The only upside was that my parent’s didn’t end up having to pay his realtor fees.
We need to take a moment to brag about how awesome our realtor is a little more. He made a very selfless decision and stuck by our side and continued to help us fight for our dream home despite a rather huge hurdle the owners tried throwing at us. We could not have gotten this house without Andrew’s selflessness and we will never, ever forget that moment of grace and compassion he (and He) showed to us.
I have so much more to say about the actual day of moving and the first official week in our house, but right now, my eyes are barely open and I (ugh) have to go back to work tomorrow.
I can’t wrap up this first post, post move-in; however, without some major thank yous. My family has pitched in in countless ways this past week…too numerous to number at this late hour, but I know I’m grateful for each instance. The biggest thank you goes to Brittany and Matt…for inviting us to tag along on the impromptu weekly outings (bowling on a Tuesday?!-so fun!), for making us dinner multiple evenings, for letting us have daily doses of our niece and nephew, and for helping to paint and to hang things (even if the blinds are off-centered).
P.S.-If you ever need an awesome realtor, hit me up. I know an amazing one! Thanks for all you did for us Andrew!
I’ll leave you with a sneak peek at what’s to come. I saw my sister pull into our driveway around 11:45 on Saturday night after she had been collecting flowers from a wedding reception. Apparently I need to remember that just because the windows are pitch black to me and I can’t see out of them, I’m quite visible to all the neighbors. Here I am painting the living room. Yes that is blue trim everywhere. It came with the house.
Just kidding about that being the end of my post. I guess you want to know who won the giveaway? Thank you to all who shared our posts this past week! We get a kick out of people telling us they actually read our posts…’cause these are just our daily, average lives.
Okay, okay…on to the winner!
We assigned each person who shared our post a number and then used a random number generator to pick our number. Congratulations to Crystal Long! You just won a print (up to $25) from Faye Street Studios!
Now for some sleep.