Our current house is a ranch style, 5 bedroom with partial basement and a 2 car garage on a third of an acre. That third of an acre is big enough to include space to erect a grass volleyball net, which was important to me when I was in my twenties and playing doubles volleyball…. and also to young kids that were playing baseball and soccer. It’s also important to a Basenji dog breed that likes to run.
However, a two car garage is not so attractive to a husband that would like to have a shop for woodworking, welding, machining. Especially when the distaff half (moi) insists that one bay in the garage is to be reserved for her little red car. Add to that the fact that the road behind our house is busier and busier (and noisier and noisier) and the inevitable happens.
Even though I insisted, over 29 years ago, that I would not leave this place unless I was in a pine box, hell hath frozen over.
We are moving.
When I moved into our current place 29+ years ago with my first husband, I swore, “Never again!” I was 5 months pregnant and it was such a pain to pack up stuff and move and then unpack and figure out where to put everything. (Yes, I am NOT looking forward to doing that again!!)
My role in this whole process has been to find houses on the internet that might fit our needs. I volunteered for this, because I wanted to have a lot of say in the process. DH found a few properties but it’s mostly been me finding the house and showing the online listing to him and then it being shot down as too expensive or no place for shop or HOA fees being too high…. all very valid reasons. Having said that, starting about 6 months ago, we have visited several properties, some of them being grossly misrepresented by the wide angle photos in the online listings (that is DH’s special pet peeve)!
We have seen several houses I really liked…. but a lot of them had small lots with road noise, and/or RIDICULOUS covenants especially in the area of fence restrictions…. Look, people of the almighty HOA…. We don’t want to erect an eyesore, we just want to make sure the escape artist dog is fully contained. He doesn’t bark, but if he ever gets out, he’s coyote food (or mountain lion food…. or a tasty snack for whatever predator frequents the neighborhood we’re visiting at the time). The three or four rail white vinyl fence is the only thing that most of these places will allow, and that will NOT be sufficient, even if there is wire mesh attached to it.
Nothing was wrong. The seller was pricing it very aggressively in order to get a lot of quick bids. They listed it on a Wednesday, deadline for offers was the following Monday, and they reviewed all the offers on Tuesday with the intent of accepting the most attractive offer at that point.
So I saw this property on the interwebs on Thursday or Friday, and on Monday I sent an email to the contact on the website. “Oops, too late. The deadline for offers was today and they will pick one tomorrow.” Damn.
Sure enough, I watched the listing and it soon went from “active” status to “accepting backup offers”.
I continued to drool over the Internet listing of this and one or other two houses (including one we had visited in person but had the aforementioned unreasonable fencing restrictions. That house was GORGEOUS but as of today it’s still on the market….) So on Thursday (a week ago) I contacted the person that showed us the aforementioned GORGEOUS house and said can we see the one that’s on backup…. the voicemail response was, “Well, I’m off over the 4th of July weekend but maybe next week” .
Then on Friday July 3 the first person I had emailed the previous Monday about this property called me back…. “Hey… this one is active again, the contract fell through. Do you still want to see it? We could see it tomorrow….”
Really? Tomorrow is a Saturday and a federal holiday. But yeah, we (well, I) **WANT** to see this house! So I set up the showing and we met the gal at the property on July 4.
The place was FFG. Grand entry, check. Formal dining, check. Awesome kitchen, check. Separate shop building, check. Big yard and space from neighbors, check.
The agent explained the sellers’ situation. They listed low in order to get a bunch of offers. The buyer was expected to submit their top number. No “ebay bidding wars” here. They had a major contingency — they are having their next house built and want to live in the current place until the new one is done (target is end of September). And DH and I are saying, well, THAT’s not a problem, we’re not ready to put our house on the market yet. And our current place is paid off, so it’s not like we’d be carrying two mortgages.
Long story short (or, okay, epic saga down to a long story)…. We were still at the showing; DH and I managed to isolate ourselves for a few minutes from the realtor, agreed on a number, and then met up with her and said we want to make an offer.
This lady is good. The previous day after she had called me, she got a lender ready to process our paperwork even before we went to the showing; that evening we had already gotten some emails from the finance person. On Saturday we got home from the showing by 1:30 p.m. and I had emails from the finance person with instructions. I got all the financial documents to her before 5 pm that same day. We had all our ducks in a row before the Monday noon deadline, and that lender wrote an outstanding referral to the seller about us — we have a down payment, we don’t have an existing mortgage and we are so motivated that we turned all the documentation around in less than 24 hours….. heck, I figured if she was working on a holiday weekend bending over backwards for us, the least I could do was make sure that all our docs were available and we weren’t holding anything up!!
(I still haven’t met the finance lady…. everything has been done via emails, phone calls and secure documents. I plan to bring her a big bouquet of flowers and a treat for her five year old at closing. Ditto for the realtor, she was really on top of things when this place came back on the market!)
On Tuesday the sellers reviewed (again, as they had done a week earlier) all the offers with their agent. I couldn’t focus on ANYTHING all day and hadn’t slept in four days. I finally was napping that evening, hoping that we would hear something that night but also afraid that they would (a) wait until Wednesday to publicize their choice and/or (b) choose some other offer. I actually fell asleep and then at about 9:15 p.m. realized I had a voice message from the agent that had showed us the place on July 4……. WE GOT IT!!!!
DH came home that night and I don’t think we came down from the clouds for three hours. He started making plans for his shop that night, we talked way into the early hours.
Ever since then we’ve been signing a big slew of online paperwork. A couple of days ago we met with an inspector at the property, he found a couple of minor issues but nothing we can’t deal with. It was fun looking at the house again with the idea that we’re so close to being able to call it ours. On the way home DH told me, “You done good.!!!”
The new house is about the same size as our current one. But the lot is bigger. Room for a dog that needs to run (safely) and room for the DH’s awesome shop. I get the basement for my quilting studio. Might even have a second laundry area down there.
You’ll notice that there is no fence around the property. Once we close, that will change, the HOA here is much more flexible than most of the other neighborhoods that we have visited. DH’s top priority (other than planning how he’s going to set up his awesome bad ass shop!) is to come up with a plan for a fence and submit it to the architecture committee for review. We have already scoped out the neighborhood and found examples of what we’d like to do.
Needless to say, my quilting time is going to be a bit limited over the next few months ;-) But, here’s a glimpse of where I’ll be setting up my studio: