Now that it’s crunch time and we are trying to move a house, it seems like the perfect time to sit down and write, and update where we are.
We love our house. We’ve lived here 8 1/2 years, which we’ve realized is both of ours longest uninterrupted time in one home. Chris picked it out and signed the contract all in one weekend trip to GA by himself while I sat very pregnant in CT. We love our location…the fact that 3/4 of our kids came home to this place, and that there are memories of my MIL here. BUT, we have 4 kids, no basement and 2 1/2 baths. The bathroom is the killer…4 kids in one small bath has tested my sanity more than a few times. We have schemed and stewed on how to expand, but at the end of the day we wanted a little more space.
Not NEEDED. This is totally #firstworldproblems and as we brought up the idea of moving to our kids made sure to emphasize just that. We consider ourselves incredibly blessed to have the home that we do. BUT….
As we considered what the future held after adoption, welcoming others in was high on that list. We’re not sure if that would be through foster care, or unofficially fostering kids our kids come into contact with as we enter the middle school and high school phase of parenting. We just felt like the next step to loving others intentionally would require more space.
There’s a phrase I’ve had placed on my heart for a year or so now, and it’s “If you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” We realized we wanted to build a longer table, but had no room to do so.
So we started keeping an eye out. All over, really. We looked at other school districts, and even downtown, but kept coming back to the practicality and love for where we are. There’s a neighborhood literally across the street from ours we’ve always adored. Some of our kids best friends are in there, and some of ours! We’ve been keeping a close eye on the homes that hit the market there for awhile now.
In November, there was this house that seemed oddly cheap in that neighborhood, so we went to take a look. That was a headache. The owners took forever to schedule a time, and then refused to leave. When we went to view it, it was…special. There was not a square foot of the floor we could see. They were in the home, the home was trashed, there were bras all over the place, and bags of prescription drugs were littered about. We couldn’t go in one room because someone was sleeping (it was afternoon). My husband thought I was crazy, but it was love at first sight. Because POTENTIAL. When we went to make an offer, we found out the house was a short sale (a big no-no to not disclose that up front), and the lady didn’t entertain our offer. Which really stunk, but we just kept praying about it.
We looked at a few more houses, but just felt like we were supposed to wait, so we did. I basically stopped thinking about the house.
A few weeks later, days away from being foreclosed upon, the owners were interested in offers now. I was elated! We agreed upon a deal and submitted it to the bank for approval. This of course, was a week long process, with Chris out of town. I prepped our house to put on the market in two days with four kids. I was exhausted, but ready for go. All to have the bank shoot down the deal because it wasn’t going to be closed upon before their foreclosure date (I think the bank was just done dealing with them). I was devastated. I knew (after stalking the neighborhood for a year) that a house with a large kitchen, the layout we wanted, a basement and a yard wasn’t going to come up again any time soon.
I didn’t understand why God brought the house back up and let me work that hard just to have it not work out. I was really frustrated. Actually that’s putting it mildly, I was flat out ticked. If you’ve ever tried to get a house ready to show, maybe you’ll understand my frustration, especially as I did it with 4 kids, flying solo.
Looking back though, I think it was a heart check. Did I just want to include God in my plan and my agenda, or did I want to be all in with His plan, even if it meant staying put? Apparently I needed a few months for that heart check. Make sure I wasn’t just wanting a bigger house, but wanting what God would allow us and compel us to do with that space.
The house went to auction and we didn’t hear anymore. We assumed we wouldn’t as bank ownership and transfers can take at least a year to process.
I kept thinking about it though. There were so many little things I loved. The back porch (our current home has an amazing back porch with a fenced in backyard and we didn’t want to give that up), the BIG kitchen, the fact that the basement door had a lock already installed on it (in case we invite in any older boys, it gives an added layer of safety to our girls), it has two Japanese maples in the front yard (Chris loves those trees!), and the address is my husbands birthday. The layout is exactly what we wanted, and has a bathroom for the boys and the girls. The more homes we looked at, the more I knew that was the house.
As we started into February, we kept looking at homes, as it was basically the perfect time to sell. As I refreshed my realtor.com app each morning, guess what popped up mid February? The house. WHAT?! We made a crazy low offer, because in the midst of leaving, the owners had trashed the house and taken all the appliances, some carpet and other fun stuff. It needed A LOT of work. But again…POTENTIAL! The bank shot us down. We thought we’d give them time, since no one was going to pay their asking.
The next week, another house in the neighborhood that hit all of our “wants” came on the market. It hit MLS On a Thursday, but due to scheduling conflicts, we weren’t able to get in until Saturday morning. Chris loved it. I liked it. We put an offer in late that morning for close to asking. By the time we submitted our offer, there was already another one on the table. Most sellers choose to go to a best/highest offer scenario…for some reason, they did not. They only negotiated with the first offer until they got what they wanted. We were pretty bummed (Chris more so than I…I didn’t love the kitchen, and it would have needed some updating without a budget to do so).
At that point we decided we were done waiting on the bank. We wanted to sell our house that spring, and so we made a higher offer to the bank. We countered a bit and finally agreed on a price in late February. There was drama at every turn with inspection and appraisal, contractor bids and quotes, but on April 6 we finally closed on our new home, giving us about a month for our contractor to renovate the home before we move in.
There’s been a long list of to-do’s there, rip out carpets, install new ones, refinish the hardwoods, paint cabinets, install new sinks/faucets/appliances, paint every inch of the home, etc. They will still be working as we move in, which should be interesting. But at some point this weekend our primary residence will shift to our new home, which we have lovingly called our #buildalongertablehouse
Because we believe it will be a space for us to welcome others into. A space where we can love more intentionally. From our own kids and family, to our neighbors, friends and other people we are trusting God will bring into our lives. We aren’t wanting more space just for us, but to leverage for kingdom purposes.
I’ll have an update on the selling our home process, which God totally showed up in soon, but for now, here’s a before picture of the #buildalongertablehouse :