Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Journey To Our New House

Right after I graduated college in May of 2007, Matt and I bought our first house.  Prior to this, we rented a house from my mom (you can read more about that story here).  When we bought our first house, we considered it a "starter home" and planned to live there for about 5 years.  To make a really long story short, we were still living in that house 11 years later.  We started talking in August 2017 about potentially putting the house on the market in the Spring to see what would happen.  About 4 or 5 years ago, we put our house on the market for about 6 months, but it literally got almost zero activity.  I think our realtor at the time showed it once.  We noticed the market around our area starting to pick up, and we thought it might be a good time to try.  Our house was also very close to the locale Air Force Base, and we knew that a lot of people get new orders in Spring/early Summer, so putting the house on the market in the Spring would hopefully attract some attention from those people.

So starting in August, we really started to hit the house heavy with home improvements.  We worked on landscaping.  We painted the entire inside.  We did a million things that had just been hanging out on our "to-do" list.  Then, around February/March, we really started the process of staging our house (something we did not do the time that we put our house on the market prior).  We have a big barn out back, so we packed up soooo much stuff in the house that we didn't use on a regular basis and put it all out there.  Our motto was: if we can live without it for 6 months, put it in the barn.  Our house wasn't very big (about 1300 sq ft), so we needed to get as much stuff out as possible to make it look big.

In April, we talked to a few people about realtors.  We knew that we needed an aggressive realtor who would really work to sell our house (not like our realtor a few years ago).  Our house was not in the best location (on a dirt road, in a different county than most people in this area want to live), and we knew that we needed a realtor who really put in the work to show it/sell it.  We didn't need someone who was going to be relaxed about it.  

We heard the name of a local realtor from several different people, and decided to give them a call.  They came, looked at the house, had a discussion with us, and it just didn't seem like it would be a good fit.  They wanted to list it considerably less than we were comfortable with (in the ballpark of 5 - 10 THOUSAND under where we wanted to be), and it just didn't seem like our personalities would match.

We called a friend of ours who is a realtor (Sarah Parker at Herndon Realty for any local people who need a realtor!) and had her come and look at it next.  She absolutely blew us out of the water.  She came prepared with comps around us, a plan for what to list it at, and a list of things for us to do before her photographer came to photograph it.  We instantly knew that she was going to be a perfect fit for us.  Plus, she was willing to list it at a price we were comfortable with.  Our plan was to list it at our dream price for 2 weeks.  After two weeks, if the house either a- didn't show at all, or b- was shown but the feedback was that it was priced too high, we would then lower it by a few thousand dollars. 

April 16 - our house is officially on the market.

Almost immediately, Sarah got a call for a showing.  We were so hopeful that this was a good sign for us!  That first showing lasted over an hour (we may or may not have had a neighbor spying for us - haha), and we were really hoping that the prospective buyer staying that long was a good sign.  You don't spend forever looking at a house you don't like, right?  Several days passed, and we found out that that person picked a different house.  Two more showings were scheduled within that first week and a half.  

Ya'll.  This is where God showed up and completely blew us out of the water.  9 days after our house was put on the market, we had our 3rd showing.  That same day, we got a full price offer.  Remember how we agreed to list the house at our dream price for two weeks?  Yeah.  We got a full price offer at that priceIn 9 days.  Matt and I literally just stared at each other that night.  What in the heck was God up to???  This was CRAZY!!!

April 25 - The day we got our full price offer.  This was our "Oh my gosh we just got a full price offer on our house in nine days" face!

We immediately accepted the offer (duh) - and then Sarah (our realtor) hit us with some pretty sobering news.  The buyer wanted to close in 30 days.  By the end of May.  We got our offer on April 25.  Our closing was schedule for May 25.  While this was AWESOME, it also meant that in 30 days, we would have no place to live!!!  And the craziest part?  We were scheduled to leave on May 27 for a cruise!  So we would close on our house, and then leave almost immediately for a week long vacation.  So.  Much.  Stuff.  To.  Do.

This was our "oh my gosh where are we going to live?!" face.

We talked a lot about what we wanted to do.  My mom offered to let us stay with her for up to a month if we needed.  We looked at apartments and considered just renting for about a year while we looked around for the perfect house.  We looked at houses and considered renting a house until we found something.  Then, we started looking online and decided - what the heck?  Let's go look at some houses.  There were a few houses online that really appealed to us.  So while we weren't 100% sure that we wanted to buy immediately, we at least wanted to start the process of looking.  Sooooo....the next day, Sarah took us to look at three houses.

April 26 - House hunting for ourselves!

When we were looking online at houses the night before (and picking the 3 that we wanted to go look at), there was one that really got my attention.  I told Matt that I wanted to look at all 3, but there was one that was already just tugging at my heart.  I couldn't explain what it was, but even just looking at pictures online, I felt a connection with this house.  When we went to look at those three houses with Sarah the next day, the one I felt a connection with was the last one on our list.  The first two were nice.  They checked off a lot of our boxes of things we wanted.  But, with both of them, I knew within the first 3 minutes of walking around that they just weren't right.

When we got to the third house, we walked in and I just knew.  This was it.  It checked off a lot of our boxes, but it also needed quite a bit of work.  This was actually something that Matt and I were looking for.  Our current house was a new construction when we bought it.  That was nice, but we just didn't feel like we wanted to go that route again.  My mom's current house was built in the 70's, and she and my step-dad have spent the last 20 years really fixing it up, and now it is gorgeous.  I've gotten to see first hand what putting love and hard work into a house can do to it.  That's what we wanted for the next house.  While this house needed work, though, it wasn't drastic.  It was all stuff that we felt like we could handle and take our time doing.  That night, we told Sarah we wanted to put an offer in.

The next day, Sarah called us back and let us know that the house already had an offer in.  The offer had been submitted the week before, and the seller had just been sitting on it.  We put our offer in on Thursday, and the seller said that they would pick someone by Friday.  Friday afternoon, Matt called me at school to let me know that our offer was chosen!!!  This was so crazy.  God was showing out again.  Our current house got a full price offer in 9 days.  We looked at houses the next day.  We put in an offer the first day we looked.  Our offer was accepted (over another offer that had been in for a week) the next day.  All of this happened in the span of THREE DAYS!  And - not only was our offer accepted, Sarah was able to get our closing scheduled for the same days as the other house!  So we would be selling and buying a house on the same day!

After I got out of school on Friday, we met Sarah at the house with the kids.  We didn't take them house hunting with us, and we didn't want to show them a house until we knew it was going to be ours.  Going to show them the house was surreal!

April 27 - The day our offer was accepted; showing the kids the house for the first time.

The next two weeks were filled with a lot of craziness: inspections, appraisals, termite reports, water inspections, etc.  One of the thing that had to happen at the new house was some siding repair on the exterior of the fireplace.  Some water damage happened and was allowed to sit for years, and a lot of the wood under the siding was rotten.  Part of our conditions was that the seller needed to make all of these repairs.

May 18 - repairs on the house are underway!

May 21 - 5 days until closing and the new siding is about to go up!

This week of our lives was pretty crazy.  The kids were finishing up school, and Cooper was graduating from preschool.  I was packing up my classroom to move to my new job next year.  And we were packing up our house to move AND packing for vacation at the same time.

May 21 - the kids last night at the "old house" (and sleeping on mattresses on the floor of LL's old room).  5 days until closing!

May 24 (one day until closing)- We officially had everything out of the "old house".  We took the kids by to have one last look around and to say goodbye.

LL saying goodbye to her room!

Cooper saying goodbye to his room!

Our last picture in this house!

We wanted to get a family picture, but Cooper refused, so he was the photographer instead - haha.

Same living room (different flooring and paint color) 11 years earlier with Lola.  It's crazy how much has changed in 11 years!  Two kids later, we're moving out (and Lola is still around and moving out with us!).

Last front porch picture at the old house!

After saying goodbye to the old house, we wanted to end on a happy note for the kids (they were pretty sad) and go take "hello pictures" at the new house!  We also checked on the progress while we were there.

Front porch picture at the new house!

LL's new room!

Cooper's new room!

When we pulled up the day before closing, we were excited to see that there was finally a "sale pending" on the sign out front!

May 25 - BIG DAY!!!  Heading to our first closing at 9am to sell our house!

It's a done deal!  We sold our first house!!

And 3 hours later...we bought a house!!

We're homeowners again!!


We were leaving the next day for our cruise, and it really ended up being perfect timing because one of the repairs that the house needed immediately was flooring.  The house had been a rental for several years, and the carpet was disgusting.  I'm a "make it work" kind of person, and the only way to make this carpet work was to rip it out.  We weren't able to start moving stuff right away, but I was able to bring over something important.

The house had a built-in entertainment center that needed to be removed before we left for our trip so that the flooring people could put the flooring down.  That was our project for night one!

Here are a few pictures I took around the house that first night:

First pictures inside our new house!

We left the next day for a cruise (posts to come!), and as soon as we got off the boat, the house was on our mind!  On the way back home, we stopped by IKEA to load up on some stuff for the house!

The situation on the ride home was pretty epic - haha.

This is what we saw when we walked in the house after the cruise.  Both my mom and Matt's mom snuck in while we were gone and did this - it was so sweet!!

Nothing like pulling up to your new house...and seeing a toilet on the front porch - haha.

Please use before you enter the house!

They weren't quite done with the flooring when we got back from the cruise, so while they finished up, we scrubbed this house from top to bottom!  My sister went on the cruise with us, and they stayed in town for a few days after to help us clean and move in!

Matt was putting together IKEA furniture, but look at how beautiful the new flooring is!

Happy to be home and ready to move in!

You've got to take a break from cleaning and moving to eat Donuts on National Donut Day!

Starting to move a few things in while they finished the carpet upstairs.

June 2 - Our first night at our new house!  At our old house, we lived too far out in the country to get pizza delivery.  Take a minute to let that sit in.  We haven't had pizza delivered in 11 YEARS.  After my sister went home (and our first official night in the new house), she and my brother-in-law had pizza delivered to the house for us for dinner.  It was so so sweet and thoughtful - and so amazing to have pizza actually delivered to our door!

Our first night in the house: we didn't have a ton unpacked, but we at least had the furniture so that we could sleep here!

The Master

Cooper's Room

LL's Room

The next day was Sunday, and our first "before church" picture on the front porch!

This was a crazy whirlwind process that completely took us by surprise!  God showed out in a major way, and completely shocked us over and over again in this process!!  In less than two months, we literally went from putting our house on the market to moving into our new house!  It was an amazing process, and an amazing way to physically see God moving in our lives!

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