Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Story of Buying Our House

So yeah. Buying a house is a crazy, crazy process. Especially when you are first time buyers trying to learn the ropes, and a job change and interstate move is in play as well (mortgage companies don't love those things, apparently).

Anyway, my husband flew up to Kansas City in early April for some job interviews, and while he was up here he arranged to meet up with a real estate agent to look at a few properties and get a feel for the market. The week before his trip, our agent (Tina) sent us a link to all the listings in our price range and target neighborhoods, and told us to pick our top three for their outing. I was pleasantly surprised (thrilled really) to see just what kinds of houses we could afford. There were some seriously nice options in our price range, and it was hard not to start day-dreaming about what it would be like to live in one of these beautiful homes.

We sent Tina an email Friday night with a list of our top three choices, and she emailed back Sunday morning saying two of our choices were already under contract, so could we pick two new ones? We looked at all the new listings for that day, chose two more, and by Monday morning one of those was gone as well.

Basically, what we learned is that this was an extremely fast moving market. We didn't make an offer on any of the houses he saw during that trip (per the mortgage lender, we couldn't make an offer on a house until my husband had accepted a job and had an offer letter in hand), but we kept a tight watch on the listings. It became a morning ritual for both of us to pull up all the new listings over breakfast and try to guess which ones would still be on the market the next day. Anything that was half way decent was usually gone in a day or two, so this was usually an extremely depressing ritual. There were several houses that I would even have considered "dream home" status, and it was hard not to get hopeful or get my heart set on one.

Nathan had his own set of favorites. There was one house in particular that he really, really liked, mostly because of its location. This neighborhood was ideal as far as cutting both our commute times down to 30 minutes each, but it was a super nice neighborhood so most of the houses were well outside our price range. He was so excited to find a house in the area that was within our range (just barely). I did not share his enthusiasm for this particular house (which we called the Blue House for obvious reasons), because while most of it was lovely, it was a split level with a rather disappointing kitchen, two things I considered deal breakers. But these disagreements didn't matter, because this house too was off the market within a matter of days.

My husband received several offers from his round of interviews, and it took a few weeks of negotiating terms and weighing pros and cons before he finally settled on one and accepted an offer the first week of May. We had originally planned to wait to do our serious house-hunting until we moved up to Kansas City at the end of May, but I was starting to feel some pressure about making an offer earlier than that so we could get settled sooner. Also, the Friday after he accepted his job offer, there were two really, really awesome houses that went up, and just knowing that we could actually make an offer now meant I didn't really want to let them slip away. So we called Tina and my mother-in-law and had them run out to these neighborhoods to take a look at these two houses. The first one, while nice, ended up being quite a bit smaller than it seemed and also not in a great location, so we ruled it out, but the second house was amazing! My mother-in-law fell in love with it, and because we Face Timed through her tour, we could see how it was even better than the pictures showed online. The kitchen had been entirely redone and was simply beautiful. There was a large yard, a mud room, a formal dining room, four bedrooms with an extra sitting room/office off the master suite, builtin shelves around the fireplace, and it was within walking distance of the elementary school. There were a few things that weren't perfect (namely, location, it would've been a much longer commute for me), but everything else was so amazing (especially the price!) that I was determined to make it work. I convinced Nathan that we should make an offer, even though neither of us had seen it in person. So Friday night (the day this house went on the market), we submitted an offer.

To make a long story short, we ended up in a major bidding war for this house, and it was super stressful and overwhelming. The owners were supposed to pick an offer by Friday night, which turned into Saturday night, but come Sunday morning we still hadn't heard anything. The longer they kept the house open, the more offers they got, and the more pressure we felt to keep resubmitting higher and higher bids, which neither of us felt good about. Basically, it was turning into a mess, and we were both getting super discouraged. It didn't help that Tina kept telling us stories about how all her other clients were in bidding wars too. It felt like there were twenty buyers for every house on the market, and we were just never going to be able to compete.

And then!

Sunday morning Nathan was perusing the new listings (per our usual habit), and what should he happen to see but the Blue House! The one he'd loved so much that had been on the market a few weeks earlier. Apparently the offer had fallen through and the house was back on the market! But what to do? We still had an open offer on this other house. Plus, nobody had actually seen the Blue House in person. But there it was, back on the market the first weekend we can make an offer, and it was the house he loved so much. Also, for whatever reason, the house was relisted under it's old number, meaning it looked like it had been on the market for over forty days, which is kind of a death sentence in a fast moving market (if a house has been up longer than a week, something is wrong with it).

So, here's where the story gets really crazy (in my opinion). We're at church, still thinking about our situation and trying to figure out if we should pull our bid on the other house (which the owners were still showing, even though they had like twenty offers!) and try to pursue this Blue House, when Nathan sits down next an older man in our ward that he's pretty good friends with (they served in the bishopric together). This man, who shall remain nameless, happens to be incredibly wealthy. Like, billionaire kind of wealthy. And trust me when I say that we don't know that many billionaires (he's the only one, I promise). Anyway, this man leans over to Nathan in Sunday School and says, "Hey, I have a meeting tomorrow up in Kansas City. I know you guys are house-hunting right now, would you like to fly up with me on my private jet and take a look at some houses?"



I just don't even know what to say about this. I still can't believe it happened. I mean, what?

I remember talking to my mom on the phone that night and just being like, how do I even say the words that my husband is getting a free ride on a private jet? This is NOT the kind of life we live. This is SO outside of the ordinary for us. Also? Can we talk about timing? This house, this Blue House that my husband had been stalking for a while comes back on the market the weekend we are eligible to make an offer, and then that day! That very day! He gets an offer for a private jet ride just in time to see this house in person (from our billionaire friend who just happens to have a random meeting in the town we're moving to)? The signs just kind of felt undeniable.

I made him take a picture from inside, just so I could see. This is likely the closest I'll ever get to a private jet. And I've no idea who the man in this picture is, some random employee of our friend who was flying up for the meeting too.
Anyway, we pulled our bid on the first house (broke my heart, but it relieved a ton of stress), got Tina to rearrange her schedule, and Monday by 11 AM Nathan was touring the Blue House (while I Face Timed from Houston), and by Monday at 4 PM we had put an offer in.

By Tuesday morning, it was accepted.

No bidding war. No other offers. Just a simple miracle.

So I'll just say again that this would never have been my first choice house, mainly because I judge every house by the kitchen, and this kitchen was disappointing. Also, it's a split level, which is the most annoying floor plan ever (no offense if you live in/love split levels, but honestly, who thought this sort of house design was a good thing? How did it become so popular? I do not understand). But everything else about it is extremely lovely. The kid bedrooms are adorable, it is spacious and well taken care of, and honestly it is the least offensive split level design I've ever seen (it actually has curb appeal). After Nathan promised we could paint the kitchen cabinets white, I really couldn't come up with any strong objections. And after our offer was accepted so easily, I just couldn't deny how right it felt. This was our house. This was the house meant for us. This was the perfect house.

I didn't get to see the house until the very end of May, during our final walk-through before closing, and seeing it in person really sealed the deal for me. It's like Nathan told me, what the pictures don't show and what really makes this house great is the location. Our neighborhood is incredible. Like, just incredible. And as far as splitting our commute times, we couldn't have found a better location.

Everything about this story feels like a miracle to me. And every day living here has confirmed it even more: we are meant to be here. We are meant to live here.

It's amazing to me how everything has fallen into place. At the beginning of the year, Nathan and I felt so much anxiety about our future. There were so many question marks that had to line up perfectly, and everything felt up in the air. First I had to get accepted to grad school with funding, then he had to get a job, then we had to find a house. All of those things felt so huge and hard and uncertain, but each one just fell into place so easily. So miraculously.

Now the last question mark we need to figure out is our childcare situation. I still have no idea what we're going to do, but at this point, I'm just waiting for the next miracle to happen. I'll let you know when it does.

(Also, I'll post pictures at some point, maybe when we're a little more unpacked and settled.)


  1. What an amazing and crazy experience! It's so cool how things come together like that. And I love your attitude about waiting to see the next miracle happen.

    1. I always wonder if these stories sound as miraculous to other people as they feel to live through them, but yeah, it's pretty amazing to me how all of this is working out. And the next miracle has already happened, so I'll have to tell that story soon!

  2. Such a cool experience! I love it when big decisions are obviously guided--it takes a lot of the pressure off. And man, that ride in a jet...I can only imagine the timing of that offer, ha ha. My dad lives in KC, and there's a lot of cool stuff your way (we go out to visit every couple of years). Can't wait to see some pics!

    1. Fun that your Dad lives around here! Let me know the next time you come out this way to visit, maybe we can meet up!

  3. Oh wow incredible, amazing story!! Certainly clear what you were meant to do ;-)

  4. I just got around to reading this story. That is incredible! You are being watched over. :) Having just gone through a similar process, minus the bidding wars, it absolutely takes heavenly intervention--I think--to get these things done! :)
    I have to agree with your feelings on split level homes, by the way. Our last home was split level and I do not miss it. So glad you found a great place to be!

    1. Honestly! I don't know how any can buy a home in a crazy market without luck or divine intervention or whatever you want to call it! And yeah, split levels are just the worst.