If you had asked me a month ago, I wouldn’t have a clue I’d be writing this post. Life is funny like that; sometimes your entire world can be flipped upside-down in a split second.
Since December 2013, when we first built our subdivision house, it really ended up being the house that built me. (Wait… that’s a country song.)
It’s taught me so much about how to work with what I have, how to test my patience and my capabilities, and it’s a place where Robert and I have learned so much about ourselves and each other. I put my heart and soul into this place, and for me, whenever I walk into one of our rooms and see one of our projects we did together, I think about the day we made it.
Like when others might see our DIY window trim in our living room, I think about the fun dance party our little family had while painting and caulking it. Our DIY wood beam always reminds me of our major meltdown that happened in the middle of installing it because we got so frustrated trying to make those darn puzzle pieces of ginormous plywood fit together. It’s those things you think about in hindsight and giggle because you realize how much those moments shaped who you are.
But even with all of the wonderful memories this house holds, Robert and I always hoped for a little more elbow room. We always knew this wasn’t our forever home and hoped for a house where we wouldn’t be so squeezed in tight with neighbors in a subdivision. I sort of feel guilty for wanting more, but I just knew this wasn’t our grow-old-together house. We missed the simple things like… trees, for instance.
Robert and I both really started looking at houses about a year ago. We were never all that serious. It was just “fun to look”. We kept working on our current house to make it really fit our style and our functioning needs until we’d be ready to sell waaaaaaaay down the road.
And then, it happened. The perfect house. I was scrolling online looking at the MLS listings a couple of weeks ago on a whim, like I sometimes casually did, and there in our little suburban town we already loved so much was this beautiful ranch with a gigantic front porch, a massive workshop (hello, DIY), and 4 acres of woods all around it at the very top of our budget.
It still needed work, but we were eager to get our hands on it. We knew the value of our house had increased quite a bit in the past three years, and we knew properties in our area sold very quickly, so we jumped at the chance- put our house on the market immediately, and put in a contingency offer at asking price on the ranch house.
Within 24 hours, we were able to accept an offer on our current house above our asking price (what?!), but our offer on the “perfect” one wasn’t accepted. We were devastated. Since then, we’ve now learned that there were a couple of red flags in inspections, and it’s very likely that we avoided a big financial loss, but after that life-altering weekend of dipping our toe in the real estate pond, I was heartbroken.
We’d sold our house to buy the other, and we ended up with no house at all. So then, that left us scrambling, knowing we’d have to be moved out of our current house in just over a month with no idea where we were going to live. I felt completely foolish. All I knew was God had a plan in all of this and that kept me grounded.
The silver lining though was we were now in a better position for an offer getting accepted since ours was officially under contract. (There’s always that beautiful silver lining, you know?)
We looked at several other options- we’d thought of buying a foreclosure that needed some work, then thought about buying some land and building a brand new one. But even after touring bank-owned houses and researching building options, neither one seemed to fit. (Our real estate agent deserves a giant cupcake for putting up with me.)
I’d found an absolutely charming house built in 1940 that had been fully restored, but it had a tight floor plan and had no workshop or garage, which was going to be a challenge. And the weirdest problem of all- the work was already done, which meant there wouldn’t be very many DIY projects to do. And I mean… it’s no secret that we’re kind of addicted to the home improvement projects.
In those two weeks of obsessive house hunting, I lost count of how many times I cried. And I couldn’t begin to tell you how often I prayed. But it’s always those times when I’m challenged and completely at my wit’s end that God always surprises me and shows up in a huge way just to prove to me like He always does that HE is in control… and not me.
Heartbreak after heartbreak and dead end after dead end, Robert and I finally found THE house. The one that had everything we ever hoped for and MORE!
It’s an old brick colonial in a well established, quiet neighborhood with a big yard and huge old oak trees. It has FOUR bedrooms, perfect for a growing family (or at least what we hope will grow one of these days… because no, this isn’t a pregnancy announcement type of post), a big garage with tons of storage and work space for Robert, an office for me, a playroom for Olivia, hardwood floors and plenty of character needing just enough love and care to make for some incredible DIY projects, a fenced in backyard, a huge covered back deck, oh, and a salt water POOL! What?! We’d never ever imagined a pool could even be a possibility. The cherry on top- it puts us 20 minutes closer to both my parents and Robert’s parents, who are all so important to us.
And it cost way less, $45,000 less, than that original “perfect” ranch house that started this whole real estate game for us in the first place. So we put an offer down and it was ACCEPTED!!!
I can’t wait to post pictures of the “new” (old) house once we get in there. It’s going to be an entirely new adventure since we’re so used to working in our newer builder grade rooms, but this is where we’ll be able to “remove the training wheels” and challenge ourselves even more.
So for the next month, Robert and I will be packing and moving and traveling (for the Lowe’s makeover) and preparing the new place for our next chapter. We got to meet the buyers of our current house, who we know in our hearts are meant to be here to love it as much as we have. And we’ll be officially closing on and moving into the brick colonial in April, which means we’ll be living with my parents in March. (Thankfully, there’s that whole guest bedroom makeover I’m working on there to keep me occupied.)
We had no idea all of this would be happening so quickly and that we’d have a million different things fall in our lap, but we’re already so thankful for every new opportunity we’ve been given this year.
I’m so thankful for a God who answers our prayers with “no” because He has a better “yes” for us planned down the road. I’m so grateful for the new adventures that await us, and I can’t wait to see what He has planned for us next.