Wednesday, May 6, 2009
It's REALLY Happening!
I actually signed the documents yesterday for buying a house! I've not posted much at all about it because it's been such a stressful time. It took over two years to come this far with several bumps along the road.
It was actually four years ago, I think, when I first found a house I wanted to buy and realized it was a possibility. Unfortunately, that house was snatched up faster than I could put two thoughts together. This was back when you could buy with no money down and a first and second mortgage.
Next, came the adoption process and all the out-pouring of money associated with that, along with a new transmission, rebuilt engine and four wisdom teeth surgically removed without insurance. This means: REALLY, really poor!
Fast forward to this exact time last year...
The Still Small Voice of the Holy Spirit told me to go look at a house. It took four times hearing the voice before I did, but when I finally did, I was amazed. It was exactly what I needed for living and working. Remember, I work at home, daycare and my sewing pattern business, which has been in storage since last year. I tried so hard to buy it, submitted an offer, tried to get financing, but it all fell apart for several reasons. But the seed was planted. I knew exactly the kind of house to be looking for.
I live in an old island community full of Victorians, Queen Anne's, Colonial Revivals, Craftman's, etc... They were all built over 100 years ago. Some are about to fall down, but others are gems.
I got an excellent realestate agent through a referral from one of my daycare moms and we went on the hunt. My specifications and price range were very exacting though, so pickings were slim, very slim. My agent finally seemed to give up at the same time I did so I was diligently looking to rent. Now, who would rent to a single woman with seven cats? How about a single woman with seven cats and a daycare business? Turns out, the cats weren't the issue, it was the kids. I offered three people one year's worth of rent in advance and they still wouldn't rent to me. Things were getting bad for me here in my little 700 sq. ft. apartment. I was getting more daycare kids, mixing toddlers and babies and it was HARD! The only thing that kept me going was the thought that I need this level of income to keep up with my adoption.
Then, late one night, on a Monday, before I went to bed, just before midnight, in fact, one of the automatic emails of new listings my agent sent me came in. I opened it and saw the picture. It looked like THE HOUSE, but I was very tired and discouraged and went to bed. First thing in the morning I knew I needed to look again because there were features that I recognized as crucial to my needs. I looked again and read the fine print and the golden key popped out - Interior access to the finished basement! Basements here aren't like basements in the midwest, they weren't intended to be used as living space so most have very low ceilings and can only be accessed from the outside. However, sometimes, people raised the houses and finished the basements or dug down or both. This is one of those and I recognized that despite the country records calling it a single level 1010 sq. ft. home with only two bedrooms and one bathroom.
I arranged to see it that day, Tuesday. I couln't believe what I was seeing when I went. It was everything and more that I'd needed! Best of all, it had been very well maintained and even had a new roof put on only four years ago. Because it was in such great shape, it changed all the financing and I was able to qualify with some special help. If it had needed a new roof or had more dry rot or anything bad, I would not have been able to qualify.
I put in my offer on Thursday, only to find out that the owner lived out-of-town and it would have to be mailed to them. Meanwhile, Friday, my agent left for England for ten days! On Sunday afternoon, I found out that there had been the first open house and that another offer came in. I sat down and wrote a letter to the owner. On Monday I was told that the owners would make their decision by 4pm Tuesday. Meanwhile, my letter was read to the owner by her realestate agent with her adult children present. On Tuesday, I waited by the phone in agony of suspense. Four o'clock came and went. I decided to go to my ice skating lesson instead of go insane waiting. The minute I got home (I didn't stay at all for practice) there was a message from my substitute agent. I called her and she asked how I was. I nearly screamed, but controlled myself and replied, "That depends on what you have to tell me." She said, "Then you are going to be very happy. They accepted your offer!"
After I got off the phone I got down on my knees and gave thanks to Heavenly Father and cried like crazy.
Apparently, my letter was the decisive factor. From what I was told, halfway through the owner's agent reading it, all the family members and the owner were crying. I was exactly what they were looking for. It's a special house because the owner raised 6 (I think) kids there. She's now 80 years old and the stress of all of this was harder for her than me and it was brutal for me. She's been in the hospital for over three weeks now. Please pray for her. I hope that she'll have some quality time with her family in her new home with them.
I bought a mini video recorded today. As soon as I get the keys next week, I will make a video walk-through tour and give more details about the house. I'm anonymously famous in my town for buying this house so quickly. My agent is dynamite! I don't think any other agent couldn't have moved this fast, especially preparing to leave the country for ten days with two children (she's English and it was her father's 70th b-day). After we were thick into the process with my offer accepted and the financial stuff starting to get straightened out, she finally admitted to me what a long-shot this was. Again, it was my letter and the fact that all the snags happened after the offer was accepted. They were normal snags, but distressing ones in that they treatened the whole deal, and the owner's family didn't want their mom to have to go through this again if I pulled out of the contract so we were re-negotiating as the appraisal, etc... came in, right down to the wire. I'm glad the underwriter for the loan came through because I cannot think how I'd feel if something dreadful happened to further stress this little old lady who chose my offer based on my letter to her and her children.