Oh my- I can not believe it has been 3 weeks since my last post! And for once I have had a lot to say- but things have also been so crazy that I just haven't had time to sit down and spill it out. Because I haven't written any of this down before, the story has gotten long and must be told for memory's sake.
So, it seems very likely that we will move over the summer and we are even currently in contract on a house. Here is the story of how it all came to be:
We have actually wanted to move for years. We outgrew our little shoe box (as I not-so-affectionately call it...) when the girls were born. But the timing and money were never right. We tried to sell while I was expecting the girls and Kenny was getting ready for Kindergarten- but there was not a lot of interest and we found a school for him to go to so we decided to stay since we could at least afford to live here.
Over this past year, we have been strongly considering moving again. While the boys are in a good school- especially considering where we live, it no longer really suits Kenny's needs specifically and we have felt the need for a better environment- both school and neighborhood-wise- for our children. We began to seriously consider moving this summer and began to make preparations for our house including fixing the bathrooms and painting. We weren't sure where to begin exactly or what to do, but we were talking about it at least. It became clear that, due to the market in this area, we would have to rent out our house instead of selling it (unless we had $20K to take to closing, which...well...not even close, I'll just say).
Earlier in the year I had submitted the application for the girls to go to the same school the boys go to. I have to apply through the district lottery because it is not the school we are assigned to. So, I was shocked when we received the letter that the girls were on the wait-list. I seriously could not believe it. How could they wait-list us when we have two children at that school?! I think right then was when I decided we would do what we could to move. I still wanted a back up plan though and talked to the principal to find out if there was anything he could do about getting them in. He said not to worry, that it would probably be fine and he would make some phone calls. But I still felt there was no guarantee and that maybe this was our chance.
Over the next couple weeks, we talked to both a couple that could help us rent it out and buy a new home and also a realtor. After prayerfully considering what both had to say, we decided to allow the realtor (Scott, referred to us by Amy- he is her brother-in-law) assist us in buying the house. He also has connections and information on renting out the house. By the time we met him, we had been pre-approved through a mortgage broker for a new loan and Scott had sent us some homes via e-mail that we may be interested in. When we met with him on Friday, May 4th, we developed a plan. It was determined that it would be easier to rent this house AFTER we had left it for two reasons. 1) It wouldn't have all of our stuff in it and 2) we could refinance this house to a lower payment- but we can't do that till after buying a home or it messes up the credit and could cause problems for the new loan. So, since we had been pre approved, we decided we should start looking. We decided that night to look at 2 houses that had struck our interest. One of them was definitely not the answer. It was a house right down the road from my parents house that Aaron and I have always admired. But going inside, it was easy to determine it was not the house for us.
The second one we completely fell in love with. We really liked it before we even went in and just loved it more when we visited it! Surprisingly, it is not a whole lot bigger than this house- only about 300 sq foot bigger. I had said that because the market is down now, it would be the time to get that bigger house we had not been able to afford before- yet this house is the one I fell in love with. I found as I looked on line at least at bigger houses, they really didn't "speak" to me- but this one did! And while it is not huge, it is bigger than this one and would fit us all just fine. I have never been one to want much more than I need anyway.
It is a cape cod style built in 1929 and totally updated with little to no outdoor maintenance needed and updated bath and kitchen with beautiful woodwork all the way around. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and is two doors down from the schools. It is only about 25 miles from our current home so we are still close to family and friends. Here is a picture of the outside (I won't post indoor pics until it becomes ours since it is not our stuff inside....)
We decided even though we hadn't looked around much that it just felt like home and was totally "us." We could see ourselves there and were imagining where we would put things. The house had only been on the market 5 days and had already had 2 showings the day before and 2 more scheduled the next day. Not the type of house that was likely to last. So, we decided to not risk losing it and put an offer on it. The sellers counter-offered and we accepted!
Everything has fallen into place so very easily and so much quicker than expected. We are looking at closing in mid-June.
But then, we had the home inspection yesterday and it did turn out some problems. Nothing too major but things that do need fixed that could be deal breakers if not remedied. We expected some things since it is an older house, but didn't expect much since it is kept so immaculate. But there were some troubles. Here are the biggies 1) Out dated wiring in the attic that needs fixed/ replaced as well as one of the bathroom fixtures. 2) the 1/2 bath they advertise in the basement doesn't even work and the 1st floor tub runs slow. 3) Mold on the basement walls- it would just need professionally scrubbed and sealed and it would be fine. 4) Possible high radon- apparently very common in older houses and nothing anyone can do about it- it occurs naturally in the ground and seeps up through the foundation. We won't know the levels until Friday. It is fixed by pipes being inserted under the ground that pump it out away from the house. (I had not heard this until a couple days ago but apparently Radon exposure is the 2nd largest cause of lung cancer aside from smoking....) So, at any rate, it is all fixable- it will just cost a fair amount of money that we shouldn't have to pay. So, if they agree to remedy it, then all is well and the sale will continue. If they don't, then we may walk away and have to restart our search. I really hope they remedy it and think it likely that they will! First of all, I think they would want to keep the sale. Secondly, if they refuse to fix and we walk away, then they will have to report those things on the property disclosure- making others less likely to buy until it is fixed. Third, the current homeowners seem to be "well to do" from what information we have gathered and should be able to afford it. Fourth, they know Aaron's uncle that lives in this same town- and know Aaron is his nephew and will hopefully keep that in mind....
So, once we move, the plan is to refinance this house, get the bathroom finished (hopefully before we move...) and painting done. Hopefully the refinance is done by August and then we will use property managers to help us get a renter in here. Our new house is priced low enough and interest so low that- with the old house refinanced- the two mortgages actually aren't horrible. Not that we could easily afford it, because we can't- but it makes it a little less scary. Plus, with using property managers, they will take care of advertising, background checks, etc- which also makes it less scary and more likely to get good renters. I am NOT a risk taker at all which is why this is so scary, even though it also feels surprisingly right. This is likely just about the biggest risk I have taken in my life. I always choose "safe" but I guess the time as come for a little courage and a lot of prayer. And that is just it. I have really been praying a lot and with they way things have moved along, I feel we are being led in this direction. Even if things don't work out with this house (which I really really hope they do....) then I know we are at least being led somewhere and we will follow and I have faith that it will all work out. All I know is we have had a good realtor, good mortgage broker, a good inspector, good credit and God on our side that is taking this big thing we were scared to death to do and making it manageable to where we actually may have found our ticket to a better area.
Oh and one last thing.... now that it seems highly likely we will move, the principal called today to say he got the girls in. Sigh.... I am relieved to know the back up is there, but I also feel bad knowing I made him work to get us in (though I don't think it was any tougher than a single phone call...) and now it is likely none of my kids will go there. But that is part of what makes me think this is God nudging us. If the girls had been instantly accepted before, we wouldn't have worked so hard to move and would possibly have ended up wimping out and staying yet...another...year... in our 5 year house that has turned into 11 1/2 years. I couldn't believe they had been wait-listed but maybe it was for a reason.
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