Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our Forever House Story

When we first moved back to Barnesville last summer we knew it would be our next to last move, Lord willing. We knew the move to the rental house would be the last one before moving into our "forever house". The house we would want to call home for the long term. The house our babies would grow up in, the house we'd send the kiddos off to college from, the house we'd become empty nesters in. So crazy to think about! But that was our hope and plan. We were ready to be settled without another move in the plans, without feeling like things were temporary, without the burden of knowing we'd have to sell in the foreseeable future. So we patiently (or sometimes not so patiently) waited for God to show us the one.

Now you have to understand that in Barnesville, houses for sale are few and far between. It's a really small town, we only have a handful of subdivisions, and there just isn't a lot for sale. For months there was only one home we really liked that was actually on the market... but it was out of our price range. Bummer. Other than that one home, there weren't really any other choices.

We considered building for about 5 minutes but knew that wasn't the path for us. We considered making an offer we could afford on the house we liked but knew it was highly unlikely they'd accept it. My husband stalked the market like crazy. We were so anxious to find the one we even considered a fixer upper. Again, for about 5 minutes before knowing that wasn't for us. Ha!

While we did have some specific wants for a new house, we weren't unrealistic. We knew we couldn't have every single thing on our wish list. We knew our choices were very slim. We knew our price range was firm. Still, we were hoping for a 4 bedroom home and an open floor plan in the city limits. A basement and a pool would be huge bonuses. =)

If you are familiar with our small town at all, you know these expectations are a little high. Most houses in town are OLD. And most don't have a basement. Or an open floor plan come to think of it. But we loved the idea of living in town because we lived in town (the city limits) in Covington and enjoyed it so much. The convenience factor was amazing and we always appreciated being just a few minutes away from everything. We had always wanted a basement and we had always wanted 4 bedrooms. An open floor plan was a must. A pool was just a huge want. So. We knew what we wanted... it just didn't exist. Ha!

Fast forward to sometime during the Fall. My good friend who is also married to my cousin and who is also my hairdresser told me about some clients of hers who might be interested in selling their house. She said she would mention us to them and let me know what they said. She also told me about a house right across the street from her that was about to go on the market. A house in town, with a pool, that we'd secretly (or not so secretly) had our eye on since we found out we were moving back.

A few weeks later, the couple she had mentioned had given her permission to give us their number and the house in town with a pool went on the market and was in our price range! We made arrangements to go see both houses within a few days of each other.

The first house we saw was the house that wasn't even for sale. Our only friend in common had just put us in touch with each other and we went from there. Totally a God thing because we never would have known about this house otherwise since it wasn't on the market. And get this, this house was in the same neighborhood/subdivision as my parents and right down the street from my sister!! We had never planned on living in this neighborhood but we also weren't necessarily opposed to it. It's one of the nicest, most established subdivisions (out of just a few, haha) in our small town that's full of newer homes... aka, open floor plans. =)

I remember being overwhelmed as we walked through the house with the owner. It was beautiful (with a finished basement!) but it was also a lot to clean, a lot to paint, a lot to take in. And it wasn't in the city. It wasn't way out in the country but it was a few minutes outside of town. We really loved the home though and were super wowed by it... but also felt it would be way out of our price range. I'll never forget the little skip of my heart when she told us what they'd be asking. It was barely in our price range! We had a shot!! Again, so overwhelmed but so grateful that it was even a possibility.

A few days later we visited the house in town with the pool. It needed some work but it had an open floor plan and a pool. Yes! We loved the great room. We loved the location. We loved the pool. But we were discouraged by the work we'd have to put into it. It also had a crazy bedroom set-up. The master bedroom was upstairs with a small bath but there was also a lone bedroom downstairs that had a hall half bath. We wanted a downstairs bedroom but we'd have to remodel to make it possible. The floors would need work, carpet would have to be replaced, we wanted new kitchen counter tops, etc. After considering all of this we knew we couldn't realistically afford to purchase the house and do all the work to it we'd want. So we moved on just a tad disappointed but also pretty excited to pursue the other house.

We ended up making arrangements to go see the house down the street from my sister a 2nd time, but this time around we took my mom and Terrell's dad with us. We wanted to show it to them to get their opinions and see what they thought about it. Terrell's dad is a real estate agent and my mom just has a good eye for details. After our 2nd visit to see this home we felt a strong pull to it. I wasn't as overwhelmed the 2nd time around. I knew the floor plan and the basement and the perks of this house were perfect for our family. It started to feel like the home was meant for us. Like the owners had done things to the home specifically for us. I started to fall in love. I started getting attached. Cue dramatic music. Ha.

In the meantime, the contract on our house in Covington had fallen through and then right before Thanksgiving we went under contract again. We stayed in touch with owners of the house we loved and they were so gracious. They said they were in no hurry and to just let them know once we sold our house and we'd move forward. They opened their home to us to see whenever we wanted. They were so amazing to work with and soooo patient. Because as you may remember, our journey to closing wasn't fast and easy.

They made minor repairs to the home. They replaced light fixtures. They painted over holes in the walls. They told us they were leaving their rocking chairs, lawnmower, and window treatments and that we could enjoy them or get rid of them. They were amazing.

I remember feeling SO terrible every time I had to tell the owners that something fell through or got delayed with the sell of our house. It just made me feel sick to have to keep putting them off. In the back of my mind I worried that they'd eventually get tired of our roller coaster and just put their house on the market. I mean we had put them on hold about 6 months! But they never once gave up on us, never once expressed any impatience or concern, never once mentioned wanting to list their house.

During our 3rd or 4th time under contract with house in Covington, Terrell started the mortgage process. This turned out to be way more stressful than we predicted but God was faithful to see us through it and the owners again were so patient. Finally we sold our house and we officially went under contract with the new house. (We also had an opportunity to see the first house we really loved that was out of our price range and God confirmed to us we'd made the right decision.)

We had an inspection done on the house (which is standard and recommended) and the only thing that came back as a concern was a small leak in the AC unit. We had planned to ask the owners to repair it and then we'd be on count down to closing. Well the very next morning after the inspection, the owners woke up to a significant leak in the basement from the AC unit and they ended up replacing the whole thing! It could have been repaired and would've lasted a while longer for us but they went forward with replacing the whole thing. Just weeks before closing! God's favor was upon us again. We were just so grateful and amazed by this provision that saved us thousands!

Now, here we are just short of 4 weeks in, and we are in LOVE. This home and this neighborhood are just huge blessings to us. God worked out every single detail from the start and we are still amazed by His plan. From the 4 bedrooms with the master on the main level, to the open floor plan, to the finished basement, to the beautiful kitchen, to the potential for a pool, we are smitten. Plus having family so close is just a bonus! This is home and it feels great. Better than great. =)

And it all started with one friend in common and a house that wasn't even for sale, a couple who wasn't in a hurry, who's patience was unmatched, who only needed to sell for the exact amount we could afford, who left us with rocking chairs on the front porch, a riding lawnmower for Terrell, and a brand new AC unit. Blessing after blessing after blessing.

Even though we love just about every single thing about this house, the most important part of it is what makes it a home, the people who live here and the memories we'll share here for years to come. Our party of 5 is what makes the walls, rooms, and perks of our home, home. We're so excited to be here. =)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

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