wonderfully made: Starting over

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Starting over

I feel like this blog has officially come full circle! I started this blog almost 4 years ago after we found our first home. Today, I'm posting about finding our second home! 

Obviously I haven't been blogging regularly so many of you don't know the ins and outs of our house hunt. We always had a goal to stay in our first home (in Richardson) for 3-5 years. I started looking at real estate casually last summer when we had been here for 3 years and it gradually got more serious as time went on. Still, Mark and I didn't see anything in the last year that we wanted to make an offer on. It was kind of scary. Also, in an ideal world, we wanted to be able to buy our next house while we still had our first home. In reality, that wasn't going to work! North Texas didn't seem to really feel the effects of the housing crisis in 2008 and had already begun bouncing back when we bought our home in 2013. It's gotten crazier and crazier each year. We patiently watched our home value climb higher and higher and heard horror stories of our first time home buyer friends make countless offers on homes just to be outbid by $40,000 and 36 other offers. It's crazy! 

After inventory started to heat up this Spring, Mark and I quickly decided that now was the best time to sell our house to avoid any unneeded stress and timing with the baby coming. We hoped that we could take the equity/profit from the sale of our first home to pay the majority of our down payment on our next home, so we got our house ready and it went on the market on April 21. We decided to clear out for the weekend so we could have as many showings as possible, only have to clean the house once, and avoid the stress of the process. My parents graciously let us stay with them for the weekend and we were glad we did so! There were 17 showings on the first day and two open houses over the weekend. We were told it was a madhouse of people and it showed when we came home to SUPER dirty floors. We ended up with 14 offers, all over asking price, and ended up accepting an offer that was 50% more than what we paid for the home 4 years ago. We were so relieved (and blessed)! We knew this part would be easier than finding our next home, but never imagined how easy it really would be.

The hard part was finding a new house. When asked "What area are you looking in?", we would sigh, take a big breath, and ramble off a handful of cities. See, Mark and I had just happened to pick Richardson 4 years ago because the price point was right and it was within a decent commute of both of our offices. We never had any ties to the city before we bought and had just ended up here. The majority of my family lives in Arlington and Fort Worth (west of us about 45 minutes - 1 hour) and especially after having kids and staying home, I've wanted to be closer to them since we see them more often now. However, we quickly grew to love Richardson and our church family and friends so we started to feel pulled in two different directions. Our family would give us a hard time about living in Richardson or Plano and our church friends would give us a hard time about moving anywhere more than 15 minutes away from them. It was/still is really hard! I made pro/con lists, tried to reason my way one or the other, and mostly just prayed and prayed and PRAYED for direction on what the right answer was and where we would end up. I STILL don't know what the "right" answer is, but I believe that my prayers were answered and we were simply led to the home and city that is right for us, right now. 

First, we made a hesitant offer on a home in Plano. The house was nice enough but needed new carpet and a few 'fixes' to make it work for us. The yard needed an overhaul and it didn't have the fourth bedroom we wanted so we would have had to convert a room into our office. We low balled them with our offer and sort-of hoped they wouldn't even accept it. Well, they didn't. They didn't reject it, but they wanted us to come up in price. With no hesitation, we said "thanks, but no thanks" and walked away from that house. The next day, a house came on the market in north Arlington. I was hardly looking in that area anymore because I thought we would probably rule it out, but I looked at the listing that was emailed to me out of curiosity. When I flipped to the first picture of the interior of the house, I said "uh oh" to myself. It was exactly what I had been wanting, stats-wise and also style-wise. Each flip of the picture got me deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole and I immediately sent it to Mark with the caption "OMG! Why isn't this in Richardson???" Either way, he and I both liked it and were open enough to the idea of living in Arlington for me to check it out the next day. 

You see, the theme of our whole house hunt was that we weren't going to find the perfect home. We were told to be 'reasonably in love' with a house but not to expect it to blow us away. And during all of that questioning of where we would end up, all I kept saying was that we just want the right house, no matter where it is. Seems backwards for some, but we had narrowed down our location for certain reasons and after that point, we just wanted the right home! Our must haves were a second living room, a large backyard, mature trees, and ideally 4 bedrooms. I anticipate being home a lot more as we get older and add another child to the family and I just want my home to be my haven. Anyway, this house was perfect. It had been purchased 3 years ago by a couple our age and they had completely transformed it. New floors, new paint, light fixtures, landscaping, bathrooms, counter tops, pretty much everything had been updated and it was all updated according to our tastes! It was double our square footage and had the room count (and more, including a dining and breakfast room and a DREAM laundry room) that we kept searching for and had come short of, until now. 

Mark and I had already talked about making an offer the night before I saw it. We knew we had to act fast in this market so he had basically given me the 'go ahead' to make an offer without him seeing it. So, that's what I did! We put in a solid offer with instructions to our realtor to persuade them to accept it before the weekend (and more offers came!) and said our prayers. Somehow, someway, it worked. Our realtor was blown away that her persistence worked and the sellers accepted our offer less than 24 hours later (even with other offers on the table and a weekend just beginning!) We ordered our inspection for the same day (highly unheard of) and Mark finally got to see the house in person. He loved it, too! It was everything we had been talking and dreaming about for the last year.

Crazily enough, after almost a year of wondering, questioning, and hesitating on putting our house on the market and jumping into the house hunt, we successfully sold and bought a home in a week's time. We didn't have to put in multiple offers, go over budget, or settle for less than what we wanted. Also, although we were open to some small renovations depending on what house we found, we feel super lucky that this home only needs paint in a few rooms (we like the colors enough to live with them in most of the house. I have visions for kids rooms, though!) to still be the home we are wanting. We will be moving when I'm 35 weeks pregnant so we are so thankful that there won't be projects looming over our heads! I think we just needed to trust and take a leap of faith. It all worked out exactly how it was supposed to. 

Of course, I'm still nervous about moving to a different city. This new house will put us 30 minutes further away from our friends. I don't know anyone in the area that I can get with for play dates or girls nights. I don't know where the parks are or where to avoid or where to take walks. It's a little daunting. But I think we will figure it out. Like a friend in our church class said: "Oh, you're moving to Arlington? It's a good thing there are roads between here and there". It's really that simple! There are roads. We will work it out. 

On the other side of that coin, we are about 5 minutes from my grandparents, 30 minutes from my parents, and just 19 miles from Mark's work. He also still has the option to take mass transit, which he enjoys and is a big perk for our bank account and his commute. We'll be in the middle of the metroplex instead of on one end or the other so we'll be able to make trips to see friends and family without it being a day-long ordeal. 

So that's the story of house number two. We learned quickly that searching for your second home is WAY more difficult than looking for your first. We also learned to just trust in the process and that our prayers will be answered. Thanks for following along for all of these years and for making it through this long post. We can't wait to see where this house takes us!

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