Saturday, August 9, 2014

Well, that was easy...

A little background before I share the story of this last week...

We purchased our first home (this home!) almost three years ago in the fall.  Our plan was always to stay here for about 5 years or so, depending on how life progressed.  And, oh has it progressed!  When we moved in, we immediately made this home everything we wanted it to be - we put in all the little details that we knew we would enjoy and I got to decorate to my creative heart's content!  We didn't take it slow, most likely because we have been so used to living in spaces for a short time - usually about a year or two.  Those "short" times have added up to our first decade of marriage!  What if every space we lived in I put off decorating and making our own?  Then, we would have spent the last ten years never feeling at home in our little suites, apartments, and first house.  We're glad we did our upgrades as soon as paid off not only for us, but also for the sale of our first home (more on that!)

For the last few years, this house has served us exceptionally well.  But, of course, with a growing family comes the desire for a bit more space.  Not that we NEED it.  "Need" is such a relative term!  We are always aware of our tremendous abundance - the vast majority of the world live in conditions far below what North Americans would ever consider acceptable.  We love to give; we love to serve; we love people.  We have always dedicated this home and all who enter it to the Lord.  He is the One who ACTUALLY owns this house, and who actually owns everything.  Nothing we have is ours - it's all His.

All that to say, we have what some of our friends refer to as a "revolving door"!  We're constantly entertaining, having people live and stay with us, throwing parties, and welcoming people into our home.  After all, that's what we want to use our house for - to bless others, warm others, provide a refuge for those who need it.  With our newest addition - little baby Annelise Virginia - we don't have a guestroom anymore.  We also don't have a floor plan that has allowed for the large parties we love to host.  Hence the motivation for a change...

David and I have a long list that makes up our "dream home."  After weeks of discussion, deliberation, viewing lots, considering building, arguing, praying, and of course pinning (lol!), we finally thought we would find a realtor (Jennel Youssef with Remax - a sister of a friend whom we met at a child's birthday party) who could actually show us a bit of what's available.  Never in a million years did we think that the events of this last week would unfold:

- Friday, Day 1: casually viewing houses (have been for a few days).  Our long wish list is 99% met by a random viewing.

- Saturday, Day 2: view many more houses.  David wants to know more about what's out there and what's available.  Erika is along for the ride, because she thinks that 99% checked boxes is pretty darn good.  But, they're still not sure, because it wasn't the plan to actually BUY a house and MOVE right now!  Plus, the 1% problem is that the house is on a busier street than they had hoped...will that be a major deterrent?
- Sunday, Day 3: Nope, turns out that one deterrent is doable, considering the perfection of the house.  We decide to put in an offer on the house, negotiate a price, and have an ACCEPTED OFFER by the end of the day!   WHAT!?  We are buying a house!?  Much prayer.  Our greatest desire: If God doesn't want us to have this house, He will stop it from happening.  We don't want to live somewhere He doesn't want us to be!  

- Monday - Wednesday, Days 4, 5, 6: Working on removing subjects, including SUBJECT TO SALE of our current beloved home.  We have to decide on a listing price, which is difficult.  We poured a lot of money into this home, but don't expect to get it back in our neighborhood tend to go for low prices (hence we are here!).  Upon finally deciding a price, we're worried it may be a bit too high...but we're hopeful nonetheless.  
So many emotions, so many thoughts!  Suddenly our house feels so much more valuable at the prospect of losing it.  We continue to pray, continue to question, continue to discuss.  We love this neighbourhood!  We love our neighbours!  We love our little first house!  What are we doing?!  On top of managing all of our previous commitments to this week, and continuing to care for a newborn (who, by the way, has been awake and stayed awake since 4 am all of these days!), we have mounds of phone calls, contracts, emails, meetings...the list is endless.  Oh, and don't forget the packing up, decluttering, depersonalizing, cleaning, and staging of our house!  Whew!

- Thursday, Day 7: Our real estate agent puts a sign on our front lawn.  The house will not actually be listed for sale until Friday (privately for estate agents only) and then Saturday (publicly on MLS).  She figures that the sign will build a little excitement for the weekend.  Oh, and today is our 10 year wedding anniversary!  We also have a photo shoot of the home this day...don't know if you've ever done that, but it's a little difficult with two napping children!  By the end of the day, we already have a request for a showing in the morning - yippee!

- Friday, Day 8 10:00 am: our first showing.  It's in the morning, so we run through our quick and easy checklist for staging the house and rush the girls out the door (deep breath: shut all toilet lids, make sure there are absolutely no dishes or crumbs or specs of dust anywhere, open all curtains and blinds, turn on lights, take out all garbage, make sure all laundry is put away, put on music, light a candle, have a plate of cookies ready, pick up the dog poop, clean the floor, PERFECT know, no biggy...)  Meeting with our mortgage broker, grocery shopping, and breakfast out.  The first showing results in an offer!  We're thrilled!
- 2:30 pm: our second showing.  Wake the girls from naps (sadness!) and rush off again...repeat above list.  The second showing results in a second offer!  We're amazed!
-  5:30 pm: our agent informs us that a third party wants to view the house in an hour, and then they will write us an offer just after viewing.  The third showing results in a third offer!  We're dumbfounded!
- 7:15 pm: get Evalie Rose down for bed, and begin negotiations.  Our agent's phone is still ringing off the hook for requests for viewings.  Pray for God to give this house to the people who need it most; pray for direction and guidance and clarity; pray for the new owners that they will be blessed to live here.  Three realtors present three offers - all for over asking price.  After hours of prayer, discussion, and lots of phone calls, we accept an offer for significantly more than we ever dreamed our home would sell for!  Surprisingly, we didn't just go with the "highest bid" but we went with what we believed was the best overall offer.
- 11 pm: evaluate feelings, kiss each other, kiss our babies, and thank God for this wonderful whirlwind of a week!  Now for sleep...which happened to be through the night as baby finally didn't wake up at 4 am!  

As I write, we're awaiting removal of all subjects - which is to happen this coming week.  Lord willing, all will work out and we'll be moving in a month!  So, there's our crazy house-selling house-buying story!  What a wonderful adventure :) 

(Pictures by Lara McAllister with Red Wagon Photography (no longer in business) January 2012)

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