how we found our house – part 1

When JJ and I first went house hunting about a month ago, we spent a day and a half seeing about 18 houses.  It was overwhelming.  As we drove home, we asked each other which ones were our favorites.  We each had the same top two houses: YW house and ND house.

YW was a “short sale,” meaning it was in the pre-foreclosure, and any sale would have to first be approved by the lender holding the mortgage.

ND was a “flip” house, meaning it was a foreclosed house bought at auction, fixed up nicely, and now being re-sold.

Not too many days after we returned home, the ND house went off the market.  It had an offer pending.  So, JJ and I put an offer in on the YW house, knowing that the short sale process would likely hold it up for a while. However, our realtor told us that it seemed that it would be an uncomplicated short sale, since the seller’s realtor was experienced with short sales and because there was only one mortgage on the house.

So, we waited.  We kept watching for homes on the internet, and we had one more afternoon to do more house hunting, but we didn’t find anything else that fit all of our criteria as well as the YW and the ND houses did.  But we had no idea if – or when – the YW short sale would go through.

Early in Holy Week, we learned that the offer on the ND house had fallen through, and that the house was back on the market.  JJ was very interested, and wanted to put in an offer right away.  I hestitated; I was still hoping for a house that fit more of our criteria to come onto the market, and there were things about the ND house that weren’t as I wanted.  I was also worried about the smaller square footage.  Would our stuff even fit into the house?  However, the ND house did have a HUGE backyard, of the type that was hard to find in Calfornia.  (The YW house had a very small backyard.)  I said that I wanted to see the house one more time before we put an offer in on it.  And there was no way we could go to see the house until after Easter.

Our realtor talked to the ND’s realtor, and she explained the situation to him, that her clients were VERY interested in the house, but because her client was a pastor and because it was Holy Week, we simply could not get out to see the house until after Easter.  We planned to come out on the Tuesday after Easter.  ND’s realtor bent over backwards in kindness, and agreed to let our realtor know if an offer was placed on the ND house so that we could also submit an offer at the same time.

The ND house had a Open House on Easter Sunday afternoon.  JJ was very tense that afternoon, wondering if someone else would come along and put an offer on that house.

At 4am Tuesday morning, early in the morning of the day we were to drive out and look at the ND house, Lyd came into our room and tearfully announced, “I just threw up.”  Her vomiting continued for another hour or so, and then she slept for a few more hours.

I got up that morning, thinking, “We have to go.  We must go see this ND house.”  However, not long after Lyd ate breakfast, it came back up again, and we realized that there was no way that all of us were going anywhere.  Would one of us go?  Would none of us go?

JJ and I agonized over these questions.  Meanwhile, our realtor agreed to go and look at the houses on our list that we were going to see, and discover if any of them were better than the ND house.  She also agreed to measure the living spaces of the ND house for us.  (JJ had already measured the dimensions of our furniture pieces.)

After an hour, our realtor called us with the ND’s dimensions.  We mapped it out on paper, and we figured that it seemed like our stuff would fit, although it’ll be a tighter fit than it is right now in our current house.  Later, our realtor called again and said that the other houses all weren’t a better match for our criteria than the ND house.  The ND house was still at the top of our list, with the YW house, as the best house available to us that met the most of our criteria.

We called our loan broker, and we spent quite a bit of time talking to him about prices for comparable houses, and he gave us more background information on the ND house.  It gave us a clearer picture of what we might want to offer for that house.

Our realtor talked to the ND’s realtor, and he said that they were hoping for three offers to come in that day.  That spurred us into action.  It was now or never!  So, without seeing the house a second time, we decided to put in an offer on the ND house.  We offered them less than the asking price, but we offered them what we felt was a fair price.

Our realtor gave the sellers 24 hours to respond.

That night when I went to bed, I prayed the prayer I have prayed ever since this process began, “Lord, please help us to find the right house for our family.”

(Read part 1 of the story here.)