We have been house hunting for a few months, but really got in gear about month ago. We weren’t sure whether we wanted to stay in Hendersonville or move closer to my husband’s work. As many of you know, I love the ability to bike all over and I enjoy the opportunity to use public transit if it is close and available. Okay, you probably didn’t know the last part, but my time living in Germany made me appreciate that in lots of places, a car can be unnecessary.
We met with a realtor based on a recommendation from my fellow Alaskan transplant friend that lives here locally. He took down our search criteria and started looking for us, finding us a few neighborhoods that we hadn’t discovered before.
As the weeks have gone by, I’ve become more unsure about leaving the Hendersonville area. I love the church we attend and I knew that if we moved too far away, I wouldn’t attend as much or we would find another. The other dilemma is my husband travels a lot for work. I teach Hypnobabies, and need a sitter once a week if he isn’t available. With three kids, babysitting can get expensive if one of my family members are not able to watch them. My family all lives in Hendersonville. My heart kept pulling to stay in Hendersonville, although we kept looking at other areas of town.
I want to show how God’s timing is much more perfect than I could have imagined.
Sunday, April 6th: Sitting in Sunday school, my husband on one side of me, my new church friend Leah sitting on the other. We are listening to Doug, the preacher talk about the bible reading for the week, him making jokes and a room full of people laughing together, I turn to my husband and say, “I want to stay in Hendersonville.”
During the worship service, we are writing a check to tithe, we hadn’t been doing it as much as we should have and my husband said we should give more than we normally do. I wrote on the envelope, asking for prayers as we search for our new home, wherever it was meant to be.
Monday, April 7th: Dumping of the bike happens, but I’m grateful that my Dad’s girlfriend is close by and is able to come immediately to help me out. Living close by to family is a blessing.
Tuesday, April 8th: I worked on our taxes, trying to finish them up. As I check my entries for my husband’s w-2, I discover I made an wrong selection on a drop box. That mistake would have cost us significantly, thousands in fact. I am thankful for the correction and it gives us more money for a future home.
Wednesday, April 9th: I can’t sleep, so I’m perusing realtor.com’s app and I see a house in the price range we had hoped for, near my mother’s house, four bedrooms, 2 baths on a large lot. No picture on the house, but for the price, I knew we needed to see it. I emailed the listing to the realtor. The house had just went on the market and is an estate sale.
Thursday, April 10th: Our realtor, Matt, is able to schedule a showing for that afternoon. Fortunately my husband is in town this week, so he is able to go with us too. We like the house, it has a new roof, new HVAC, windows are in good condition. The house just needs updating. That night, after dinner, we drive back over to look at the house. Other people were looking at it, so we drove around the neighborhood, trying to assess if I could feasibly ride a bike out of the neighborhood. I wasn’t so sure I could. We go back to the house and go walk around the back yard. Liam was in his pajamas, but he wanted to see it in the dark too. We snuggle together in the chilly air and look at the lights around town from the top of the sloping yard. I contact our realtor that night asking to see it again in the morning. I called my brother asking if he could come with us to give us cost estimates on improvements. He is pretty handy, check out his projects he has done at his place.
Damon and I said a prayer that night together. We are not in the habit of praying together..yet. We asked for guidance on what to do.
Late into the night, I do some internet searching on the property. I get onto the county GIS site and check to see the plat, making sure that the above google images are correct. On the GIS site, I see who owns the property. Since it was an estate sale, I google the man’s name + obituary. I picture pops up of a friendly looking man. I read his obituary, was sad that the man had passed but I was thankful I was able to read a little history.
Friday, April 11th: We get a call from our realtor. He tells us the house has three offers on it already and the listing agent would be taking all offers until 3:30pm that day and presenting them to the estate owner.
I knew that for me to know if this house would be a possibility, I had to ride the bike to it. So I loaded up all three kids, and rode as close to the library as I could and rode from there to see how the ride would go. I had to huff and puff a little at the end of the ride, but it was doable. We arrived a few minutes early for our showing. There was another family looking at the house and a man was standing outside near a uhaul truck. He sees us ride up, and comes over to us, “wow, that is quite a bike!” Immediately, I notice that the man looks like the man from the obituary picture. I ask him if he is the son of the home owner. He says he is. He tells us a bit about his Dad, how he tried to get his Dad to know Jesus before he died, he hoped he reached him. He told us a nice history about his father, some of his own upbringing, the history of the house, while we waited for the other family to finish up looking. At one point, the son said, “I don’t know why I’m telling you all this stuff.”
When the other family left, my husband helped him guide the uhaul up the driveway. The son had some stuff he needed to load from the garage into the uhaul. Soon after my mom and brother arrived. We looked over the house again, talking numbers while the boys ran in and out of the house. We chatted with the son frequently while we were looking around. My mom discovered that my step sister had sold stuff to the home owner through her high school ROTC program. By the time we left, we were pretty sure we would make an offer.
We knew our offer had to be competitive with there already being offers. We went home and talked, then came up with our offer. I wrote a letter to the son and our realtor included it with our offer. I made sure to tell him why the house would be great for us. I included a photo of our family so that he would know it was from us. (Thanks Ashley K. For telling me about these types of letters.) Our realtor submitted our offer around 3pm.
Somewhere between 5:30 and 6pm, our realtor called and said that when it was all done, six total offers had been submitted. From those offers, four were thrown out, leaving ours and another. We were the only ones that had included a personal letter. We had until noon, Saturday, to come up with our best and highest offer.
That night, I went and hung out with my friend Holly. We met at the Opryland hotel and had dessert and drinks. It was a great distraction for me and I was able to relax and chat with my friend. When I got home after 11pm, I saw my husband had had some fun with Excel and running numbers. I was thankful that he was taking the time to do his own calculations, as I’m normally the spread sheet person.
Saturday, April 12th: I had a hard time sleeping. We talked numbers for 2.5 hours before we came up with something we felt comfortable with. We said a prayer together as a family in our bedroom. Our offer was resubmitted and the owner had until 7pm to reply. We would walk away from the property if our offer was not accepted. We had the mantra of what is meant to be, will be.
I was a ball of nerves. My stomach twisting and me trying to keep my adrenaline down. I had to teach at 2pm, for a new Hypnobabies series. I normally have my phone on alarm only during class, but kept it to vibrate for a bit. Our realtor sent a text that our offer was strong. I texted him back saying, he should go through my husband until 5:30 as I wouldn’t really be able to talk. I call my husband after class, no answer. I texted the realtor, asking if there was any news. Our realtor sends a text, “Did he give you the news? ”
My husband calls me back. I say, “Any news? Did we get the house?” …..”We got the house!” Then you hear the boys in the background start cheering.
Now, we wait for the home inspection to make sure that the house has no foundation issues or anything else that we could see.
So why was this perfect timing?
The listing going up and me seeing when I did. Most homes in this area are under contract before we could even get a showing.
Not having submitted the first offer. By us knowing there were multiple offers, it allowed us to make a different offer than we might have otherwise.
Having the son be at the house when we were going through our second walk through. I don’t know if it helped, but I know we were the only ones to submit a letter with our offer. Getting the chance to talk to the son, allowed us to feel better about the homes care and condition and allowed me to personalize the letter more. Plus, we were able to make a connection when he talked about his dad and Jesus.
The fact that my husband was not traveling this week, and that my brother and mom were able to come look at it too. I did not feel comfortable making an offer on a house without my husband there, and this one went so fast because it was priced lower so that the son did not have to do the updating on the house (something he told us while we were chatting. He also said he liked people that were upfront and straight talkers. It made us know that a clean offer with little to know contingencies would probably be preferable to him.)
So that long story is to say, “wow, it really is in HIS hands.” Blessings galore right now.
When I asked Liam what color he would like his bedroom painted, he said, “blue, green and a picture of Jesus, like at church on the walls.” My mind thinks, “what? Where did that come from?” While I didn’t promise a mural on his wall, I’m pretty sure we can get him a picture of Jesus if he wants.