This is not the post I had wanted to write for my interesting post, even though I had prepared for it in my head. But this is the way our interesting situation turned out, so here it is.
The short story: We put an offer on a house, but we didn’t get it.
The slightly longer story: We found our dream house at a dream price, did everything we could to get it and were beat out moments before the deadline by someone with cash.
And for those interested in all the little details of such a story, here’s the whole thing:
Over the winter we reached a point in this house where we were both financially able to get out and feeling the need to get out due to our expanding family size. I like this house. But it’s not right for a family with young kids. And while it’s a convenient, exciting, pretty awesome place to live for a college student or for a young, childless couple, it’s not the ideal place to raise small children. So we thought it was time to start looking around the area and see what’s out there. Our ideal spot included a couple of acres, a do-able commute to Martin’s work, and an old house is a plus.
One Saturday in March we had an appointment set up with our realtor (the really nice man who sold us this house) to look at a place about 45 minutes from town. I felt so stupid going out there because I KNEW it wasn’t right for us, I KNEW it was too far and I felt like I was wasting his time and ours by even going out there. But it seemed impolite to cancel, so we went ahead and did it. It was definitely not the house for us, but it was good to talk to our realtor and tell him exactly what we were looking for. And he responded with news of a foreclosure property he’d be listing that wasn’t yet on the market, but it would be soon. He described it as a couple of acres inside our county and a house that was virtually unliveable. It sounded like a pretty sorry place, but it was on the way home so we figured there was no harm in looking and we followed him there.
The road took us through one of our favorite parts of this area, right along the river over by Fort Ouiatenon. And when we pulled into the driveway of this “unliveable” house, Martin and I just kind of stared at each other. It was gorgeous. It was your typical 1900-ish farmhouse with a new roof and new siding and a brand new wooden porch. It had an old barn and a newer pole barn and trees and pasture and a huge garden spot, complete with garden gate. We were speechless. And, less importantly, (but I still took it as a sign) the color of the house was the color I’ve always said I wanted my house to be—a wonderful light green.
He showed us the inside of the house. All wood floors. All finished original woodwork. Three bedrooms upstairs, right close together. A walk-in pantry. A huge cement-floored basement. All new windows, all new wiring… the place was incredible. The one major hiccup was that it needed a lot of finishing work (no paint on any of the walls, for example) and it needed a kitchen. But the one thing in the kitchen was an old farmhouse sink, which I of course fell in love with immediately. And the rest of the house was perfect.
The two acres it sat on had pawpaw trees, raspberry bushes, possibly grapes, maple trees, five lilac bushes, and one other tree that I thought was a fruit tree of some sort. It was the ideal homestead conveniently located right at the edge of our own town.
It took a little thought and strategic work, but we worked out the money side and were able to make an offer as soon as it was listed, last week. We planned to keep and rent our house. We were approved for a loan that would cover the improvements needed to the farmhouse. We had all the workers lined up all the inspections we needed were accounted for. It all happened fast and easily , and everything seemed to be really working out in our favor. It really seemed like our stars were aligning! (And I suppose they were… just in someone else’s universe.) We could’ve been in by the time the new baby was born.
But, the house was owned by the bank. And banks are tricky and they like their money, and they would prefer to get as much money as they possibly can. And so, when we offered the asking price, it was not accepted. They wanted more. We had a deadline of Wednesday at noon to put in our “highest and best” offer, and we did exactly that—we offered the absolute most we could afford, which was considerably higher than their asking price. We wanted this place VERY badly. It just felt like home.
And we almost had it. We were the highest offer until minutes before the deadline, when someone slipped in with a cash offer that was more than we could have afforded. We lost it by minutes.
Now, in retrospect, the workings of the bank seem unfair and slimy. At the time it seemed weird, but we thought we had a real chance at getting it and we were willing to pay our top dollar to get it. We were willing to do much of the work ourselves. We’d been planning out colors and details and our future in that house for weeks. The bank’s system of selling seemed like an inconvenience to us for having to wait so long but we were accepting of the fact that that’s how they did things—they evidently never take the asking price, always more. Since we knew that ahead of time, it seemed okay. But I feel like the time it took to get their few thousand dollars more cost us our dream house. Why couldn’t they have just accepted our offer of their asking price?! It’s just not their standard procedure. They want more.
So now, come June, instead of bringing our third baby home to a sight of fruiting trees and the sound of horses whinnying nearby, we will come home to the same old sights of the port-a-potty across the street and the thugs pushing their shopping carts around. Instead of turning my big kids outside to play I will continue to say “no, we can’t go out right now” because there are too many pedophiles hanging around outside. I’ll continue to close my windows on nice days because the smell of the neighbors’ house makes me sick to my stomach.
But it’s okay! I’m getting over it! It is, after all, just a house. (Our dream house. A house like no other… but I’m trying not to think about that.) We are still a happy little family who possess all our limbs and five senses. A house is just a material possession, right? And we do HAVE a house… we have a roof over our head, which is all we need. And it’s a nice little house! Even if we will be five people crammed into one bedroom really soon. And besides, I am a firm believer (especially when bad things happen to other people) that there are no mistakes or accidents in life and that everything happens for a reason. Who knows why we were not meant to get that place. Maybe it will get blown down by a tornado. Maybe one of the neighbors is a pedophile. Maybe the garage would’ve fallen down on one of the kids. Who knows? And we may never know. We just have to trust that it turned out exactly the way it was supposed to.
We will continue our home search. We’ll keep looking for another perfect place—possibly a MORE perfect place. And everything will be just fine in the end, as obnoxious as it all seems right in this moment.
So that is our interesting story! I was very much hoping that this post, when it was finally written, would’ve been the opposite of what it is, but oh well. I can’t help feeling a little more bitter toward the Big Bad World than I used to be, and I can’t help thinking (aside from “everything happens for a reason”) that “if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.” But, oh well. There is something out there for us… we just will probably have to wait awhile to find it!
In other news, I’m REALLY glad it’s Friday and I’m fully intending to get out on my own a little bit tomorrow. Are all four year old girls so screechy? Anja has developed this habit of screeching laugh that is driving me up the wall. I mean, I’m glad she’s so happy all the time… but my poor eardrums… I think tomorrow (or maybe tonight?) I’ll go to Barnes and Noble and enjoy a hot drink while browsing the crafting books. That sounds really, really nice.
And speaking of Anja, today after picking up the same mess for about the fourteenth time, I muttered “I’m so tired of picking up all the time.” Anja heard me and responded, “but you don’t pick up all the time. Sometimes you just sit around doing nothing.” Let me tell you, that girl and her confidence-boosting words… wow, I just feel so GOOD about myself all the time!
And for the record: When I’m “sitting around doing nothing” lately, it’s because of that damn sciatic (is that how you spell it? I still can never remember how it’s pronounced) nerve that is acting up again this pregnancy. I feel like I had a break from it with Greta… but this time around it’s just like it was when I was pregnant with Anja. Does that mean I’m destined to have another self esteem wrecker? I’m not sure I can take more than one. (Although this morning after I finally rolled out of bed and joined Greta and Martin downstairs, Greta told me how pretty I looked as I was huddled over my coffee barely able to open my eyes yet. Her sweetness often makes up for Anja’s more salty opinions of me.)
But geeminy, these girls. Just now I dressed Greta’s doll for her and then told Greta that her baby looked adorable. She burst into tears and screamed that I wasn’t supposed to say that.
Yeah, I definitely think it’s time for this mama to get a little alone time.