Rob and I have been renting our current house now for 4 years. I love renting and we have an amazing deal so it’s been hard to “pull the trigger” on buying a home. People claim that owning a home saves you so much money, but in reality it can be financially and emotionally draining. When you have to call the plumber it’s no longer the landlord footing the bill!
For whatever reason, every summer we get the “itch” to buy a home. Maybe it’s because that’s when there is a lot of real estate being listed, or possibly because our lease expires every August. The first time we got the itch was the summer of 2014 and there were two different houses we liked. We couldn’t really afford the first one and had just looked at it for fun. After walking through the second house we liked it enough to almost make an offer, but it was the next door neighbors that kept us from making that mistake. We quickly realized that we were young, dumb, and did not have our finances in a place to buy a house.
In the summer of 2015 we looked at a house in our neighborhood. It had been on the market for some time, but the price had recently dropped. We liked it and put an offer in on it that night. What a dumb mistake. We were blinded by our emotions and when we went through it again on inspection day there were so many problems glaring at us that we had missed before. The inspection turned up some bigger issues that would have kept me awake at night (water in the basement) so we backed out of the contract. A valuable lesson was learned though: always bring along someone who can spot costly problems and will point out things you might miss.
The whole fiasco with backing out of the contract left us emotionally bankrupt, so we decided to put house hunting on hold. We still liked to look at what was being listed on an almost daily basis, but nothing struck our fancy. However, this past June we noticed a house for sale around the corner. It was a nice brick ranch located at the end of a cul-de-sac on a large lot. We decided to contact a new realtor (Zack Ferrell with ERA in West Chester, OH if you’re looking for one) and he set up a showing for us.
Unfortunately, that house wasn’t the one; it was just way too small and needed too many updates. But now Zack was on our side and messaging us new listings each day. Finally a house turned up that we really liked and we wanted to see it ASAP. But wait, the seller “wasn’t ready.” What?! Why would you list your house if you aren’t ready to show it? Luckily Zack worked his magic and used his connections to get us in before anyone else and we decided to make an offer. It was a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom brick ranch with a large fenced-in yard. The full basement was partially finished, which was an added bonus. We decided to jump in again and make an offer. Zack said the house was priced really low, even below market value, so he suggested putting in an offer at full price. We also asked that the seller pay closing costs and leave a couple of appliances.
Later that evening, a family friend told us that a house on a street we really wanted to live on was going to be for sale soon. I couldn’t believe it and honestly did not want to hear that (thanks Sally!). I told myself that it was fine and that we liked the house we were getting. I felt anxious that night about our decision and prayed that if that house was where we were supposed to be our offer would be accepted. I kept my phone handy the next day and could NOT believe it when we got the news that our offer was countered. The seller believed that they had priced the home “too low” and wanted to net no less than their asking price. We were so offended/spooked by their response we decided not to negotiate further. I also had concerns that we would find problems with the inspection and the sellers might not work with us to get them rectified. So we decided to hold off on countering, thinking we could always go back at a later time. Thirty minutes later, no joke, the house Sally told us about, the house on our favorite street, was listed.
I wish I could say the address since we call it the “(insert street name here)” house, but that doesn’t seem wise. Anyway, I wasn’t immediately in love with the house, but Rob had a good feeling about it. The pictures online were okay, so we decided to check it out in person. This place is yet another brick ranch with 3 beds, 2 baths, and a full unfinished basement. What is kind of cool about the house is that it is actually located on my great-grandparents’ old farm and right next door to their old farmhouse. The home was nicer in person than in the pictures, but needed some work. It was overpriced and even though we liked it a lot, we had to wait it out. So we waited. And waited. And the price never dropped. We checked each day online, holding our breath, hoping the listing wouldn’t say “pending.” Nearly one month after the house was listed, our realtor let us know that the seller’s agent had given us a bottom line. We felt that number was reasonable and decided to look at the house again. We still liked it and felt very grateful that all of the other properties hadn’t worked out. Finally ready to make an offer, we went in, offered, counter-offered, and got our house!!!
Rob and I have kept quiet about buying a home in case it doesn’t work out, but things seem to be going well. We told our friends at Bible study about the house and heard from them that a couple they knew almost put an offer in on the same place. Right before they were going to put in the offer, another house was listed (ironically in the neighborhood we live in now), and they ended up going after that one instead. We were literally sooooo close to losing our future home it’s crazy, and if our neighbors hadn’t listed their property when they did we probably wouldn’t be about to move to our new place. We believe God has his hand in everything that has happened to date for us; hopefully this new home is our next blessing.
I’m really excited to share more about the house, the rest of the home buying process, and of course pictures.
Here’s one to hold you over: