How a house became our home!!

Remember the roller coaster ride that was us buying our home?  You dealt with the craziness and me being absent from the blog.  You were so supportive.  I can’t thank you enough.  Now I am finally sharing the story of our home.  This post is long with a lot of writing.  The process took 8 very long months and it was complicated.  So the story is long too.  I hope you enjoy it.

We knew we wanted certain things in our forever home.  Our middle daughter “Laughter” was in a Chinese Immersion program at school.  She went half a day in English and half a day in Chinese.  Her Chinese teachers speak no English to the class.  The young students pick up the language and become fluent in Chinese.  We thought this skill would be such an asset to her in life and wanted to make sure we were still in the school boundaries.  That limited our search in a BIG way.  But we felt it was important.


We also host all of the family parties at our home.  That’s at least 20 people at least once a month.  We knew we were looking for a home that could accommodate that.  We also wanted to find a house that would let each of our girls have their own room but on the same floor.  We didn’t really want to put someone in the basement.  Our whole family was so excited to go and look.


I called on a home listing and talked to the most caring Realtor.  She took the time to talk to me about our situation.  She told me why I didn’t want the house in the ad.  She was right.  Even though she didn’t unload that listing.  That’s when I decided she was right for us.  She cared more about us finding the place for us, than her commission.  We were happy to have her on board as our Realtor.  {She also had a special where if you buy a house with her she will pay your first house payment.  Free money…um yes}

She sent us some home listings.  We decided which ones we wanted to see and made plans to go out.  We brought the whole family with us that first day.  We wanted our girls to have a part in this process.  It was fun hearing their questions.  I remember explaining what a Realtor was and “Laughter” said Mom, can I do that when I grow up?  I love introducing them to new things.

We saw this house the first day we went out looking.  It was the second home we saw.  We all knew we LOVED it and it would be perfect for us.  The previous owner had a bit of an Asian theme in his decor.  So we nick named it “the Chinese House”.

The frustrating part is that this house was a short sale.  This means that the homeowner is trying to sell his house for less than he owes on his mortgage.  This is a long and complicated process.  The bank holding the mortgage has to approve the sale because they are the ones taking a loss.  In the bad economy, there were unfortunately a lot of short sales.  The banker just puts our offer on the bottom of the pile and gets to it when he gets to it.  It is not uncommon for short sales to take 6 months to a year to work out.  Often you wait for a short sale house only to have the sale fall apart.  The good news is that you can put in an offer on a short sale house but you are not tied to it until the bank comes back and says ok we will approve your offer.  At that point you have to decide if you really want that house.  If you say yes at that point then you are committed and your earnest money is at play.  Because so many people do this with short sale houses, you don’t know if you are the only offer or what another offer might be.  You may be in first position when the bank goes to sell the house, or you might be in last.  We put in an offer and kept looking.  We needed to have a home if this one didn’t work out.

In our area, the homes for sale were about 75% short sales.  We had no choice but to look at them.  Some families, and realtors, avoid short sales because they are so complicated and they take so long.  Since we had limited our search area, we had to look at short sales.  Otherwise we would have nothing to choose from.  So if we thought “maybe this could work” on a short sale house, we put in an offer.  We weren’t committed to anything yet so we waited to see what the banks would say.  Then we would truly know if a home was going to sell and for what price.  Luckily our realtor didn’t shy away from these types of homes.  I think at one point we had 8 offers in on different homes.  But we were always waiting to hear about the Chinese house.

A while later we heard some good things.  The listing realtor was sending over the preliminary paperwork on the Chinese house and my realtor said that was great news.  She said hopefully she would be calling us and saying congratulations soon.  We were so excited!!   In the mean time, one of our back up houses came through.  The bank was ready to sell the house to us if we wanted it.  It was a hard decision.  We went over to the house and sat on the floor discussing pros and cons.  It only had 3 bedrooms on one floor but there was a formal living room that could be converted.  It was smaller in square footage but it had nice upgrades.  It was fully fenced.  The neighborhood was nice and there were families out talking while children played.  It seemed like a great place to live.  We weren’t in love with the home.  It could work and it was nice.  The hard decision was do we pass on this house and wait for the Chinese house.  If we don’t get The Chinese house, would we wish we had bought this one?   We decided to pass.  We were hoping for  the home we fell in LOVE with.

Then came the bad news.  Our realtor found out that because of the short sale, the bank that was holding the mortgage was unwilling to pay closing costs at all.  That would mean another 7 – 10 thousand dollars out of pocket for us.  We sadly tried to move on.

For the next several months, we went out with our realtor several times a week.  We saw over 100 houses.  None of them were amazing.  We loved none of them.  We found a house that was a foreclosure and we could buy it and not have to worry about the short sale process.  It was a gorgeous house.  It had a gourmet kitchen that was to die for.  We got caught up in the bling and put an offer in.  But the house footprint was not laid out so great.  The living room was small and there were only 3 bedrooms on the same floor.  We put in an offer on Friday evening.  Our realtor knew the other guys and she talked to them.  They said come Monday morning they would accept our offer and we would be under contract.  Over the weekend we struggled with should we buy this house or not?  It was a gorgeous house and it could work for us.  I asked my facebook friends if they would you buy a house with a gourmet kitchen and small living room.  Everyone said Yes!!  But it just wasn’t right.  So we called our realtor and pulled out.  That was a hard phone call.  We wanted our Realtor to finally make a sale and get her commission.  Plus she knew the other guys and they were expecting to be under contract and have this house sold.  She had given them a verbal offer and we didn’t want to ruin business relationships for her.  She was so great.  She said it’s fine, you are the client.  It needs to be what you want.  She never pressured us or made us feel bad.

Back to the grind looking at houses we went.  We opened up the area we were willing to look in and kept at it.  We saw a house we would have bought in a heart beat but my realtor noticed water in the basement and steered us away.  Another house that had a mold problem.  The sellers had committed 10 thousand dollars to removing the mold and we were considering it.  Our realtor said that with mold you cannot ever be sure and since we had children she wouldn’t feel good selling us that house.  Even though she had put SO MUCH time into working with us.  As always, she had our best interests at heart.

One day I was out looking and my realtor said you know the Chinese house is still on the market.  Let me make a phone call.

 She called the listing realtor and told her that we would be willing to put the closing costs on top of the price of the house.  {which the bank had previously declined} She told the other realtor that she needed to call the bank and walk them through the fact that they would be netting the same amount of money this way.  The other realtor said ok send me an offer.  We were elated!!  The home we fell in love with was back!!  We were now in the short sale process again.

In the mean time, we had to move from where we were living.  Talk about stress.  Do we go out and buy something that we could close on and move into?  Even if it wasn’t the right place.  We needed somewhere to live.  Or do we wait for our dream home and figure out somewhere to go?

Looking at homes had become a chore.  It was no longer fun.  We decided to take a short break and wait for word on the Chinese house.

That meant moving into my parents basement.  Thankfully they were so gracious and helped us out.  Looking back, moving in with them was one of the best things I ever did.  It strengthened bonds and firmed relationships.  But it was hard being unsettled.  Not knowing where we were going to live or when were going to move.  Every couple days we were signing new paperwork.  At one point, the bank came back and wanted us to agree to lower the price by a couple thousand.  Crazy.  If someone wants to pay you more, just take it.

During this time, my realtor found some new home listings and said lets just go take a look.  We weren’t sure what was going to happen with the Chinese house and needed something so maybe one of these houses would be the one.  As we went through these houses, they all fell flat.  There was no comparison.  The Chinese house had become our home.  It was the only home my husband loved.  Other houses he said ok I could live here.  If I had wanted them, he would have agreed.  But this was the only home for him and I could see it. He was making lists of things he wanted to do when we moved in.  He went to the builders website and found the house plans.  He had them on his phone and was showing them to everyone.  He said lets stop calling it the Chinese house and call it Our home.

I knew he would agree to a home I wanted even if he didn’t.  This confirmed that the Chinese house was the one for us.  We BOTH really felt like it was the one for us.  Since I knew he would sacrifice for me, I wanted more than anything for this house to come through for him.  During this time we were taking the girls to the new church for this area.  They were making friends with the neighbor kids.  It would be hard for everyone if this didn’t work out.  We were acting on faith and prayer.

Finally the bank came back and said they would not agree to us putting closing costs on the top of the price but they would agree to pay 1/2.  In the end I think this was a better decision for us.  It meant that we had to come up with more at closing but the purchase price was going to be lower.  That meant our payments for 30 years would be lower.  Our realtor helped us get a grant so we actually didn’t have too much out of pocket.

I remember the day we got notice that we were under contract.  The Chinese house was now officially going to be Our Home.  Hubby was out at a meeting when I got word.  I told my girls and my mom.  We were so so excited and couldn’t wait for daddy to get home and tell him.  Of course, this was the night his meeting went late.  When he got home I let my girls tell him.  The feeling was AWESOME!!  A weight had been lifted.  We now had 30 days till closing.

Was it smooth sailing from there?  Yeah right.  The previous owners were really picky about letting us in for inspections.  Our mortgage officer kept calling with get me this and this and this in the next 10 minutes.  And the hubbs was on a deadline at work.  He was trying to move us on 3 hrs of sleep every night for a week.  But it all worked out.  We are where we are supposed to be and we know it.  It took 8 months from the time we put our first offer in.  For us it was so worth it.

Our home has everything we wanted.  We are able to keep our girls at the same school.  We have 4 bedrooms and a loft on the top floor and we have 4300 sq. feet to host family parties in.  We still can’t believe it all worked out.  We got more than we ever wanted and we LOVE our forever home.  Thanks for putting up with lack of posts while I went through this busy stressful process.  I got so much encouragement from you guys.  It feels amazing to be settled.  Stayed tuned for the home tour.

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  1. YayyyyyY!!!! I am SO happy to finally hear your whole home story! I am SO glad it all worked out in the end—-CRAZY! YOUR place looks AMAZING and I really really can’t wait to see the inside!!!
    Jaime from crafty scrappy happy recently posted..Crafty Scrappy Happy Me. Thursday {30} & 1 Month from Today.My Profile

  2. Randy Jon says:

    great! thanks for your patience. I’ve tried to read your full story and tried to realize about your realtor I seem , he is good too and after all you’re lucky, congratulates! and wish your bright future with your family.
    Randy Jon recently posted..El Informe de DavidMy Profile

  3. Congratulations!! I’m glad you ended up getting the house that you love!

  4. Congratulations! Crossing my fingers you’ll share this at my party! Saturdays at Seven!

    XO, Aimee
    Aimee – ItsOverflowing recently posted..Overflowing with Creativity 6/16My Profile

  5. Ashley Thomas says:

    It is a lot you went through, but my joy for you is that you finally found the house of your dreams, and now you have successfully settled. Waiting for the home tour.
    Ashley Thomas recently posted..kimkardashiantapenews.comMy Profile

  6. stop forclosure says:

    Wonderful problems right here. I am incredibly satisfied to look your posting. Thanks a lot that i’m writing about forward to contact a person. Will you generously drop me a postal mail?


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