Well, the house hunt is finished. It's been seven weeks of excitement and exhaustion. "Wait...what just happened?" has become the general tone of the search. In the end, we're staying at the ranch. It's not so bad as we really do love our house. Our entire reasoning behind looking for a new house was that:
(a) We had buyers who showed up out of the blue wanting to buy our house, meaning that we wouldn't have to list or show our house and..
(b) There was the possibility of making good money and having no mortgage - or if nothing else, a much smaller one. I mean, who doesn't dream of having no mortgage? Only the people who already have no mortgage, that's who!
(c) We want a new neighborhood.
Those dreams are now defunct as our buyers have just signed a contract on another house.
So it seems that our house was their "dream house" but in the end, maybe everyone has more than one dream house? Or at least our buyers did. Sigh....
Oh lord, I'm tired. Not even normal tired but illogically tired. For instance, earlier today I decided that I wanted to make a box of chocolate pudding but then looking at the instructions, decided that it was too much for me. You know...the whole "add pudding mix to milk and stir for three minutes" thing?
Totally too much.
My plan back on August 1st when this all started was to show you our potential houses as we went along - but between seeking out houses to view, actually looking at those houses and trying to keep our house in tip-top condition for the inspections, I haven't had enough time for the play-by-play. Even so, I can't wait to show you some of the houses that we've considered and some of the great features in upcoming posts. Like I've said before, I'm not going to slam any of the houses that weren't right but thankfully, we saw enough good things that you all might enjoy seeing. I have a folder full of over seven hundred photos to choose from!
Before I start those posts though, I'll give you a bit of a run-down of how the final ten days of the search went. I'm going to number the details so that if you need to take a long break in the middle for a swig of whiskey or a nap, it will be easy to come back later and continue.
1. While we were looking for a new house, our buyers got a contract on their house. We were told that they were going to rent month-by-month from a friend and didn't mind waiting on our house as we looked for our next house. Yay!
2. We continued to look at houses and saw one that we were really considering making an offer on. We'll call that house " The Awesome Fireplace House". We wanted to look just a tad more because it had some updating that we'd want to reverse, thus cutting down on the savings.
3. Since the search had been going on for well over a month, our buyers asked us to sign a contract saying that if they found another house that they were interested in, they could abandon our contract within 24 hours. We figured that was fair as it was taking us quite a while in Nashville's frenzied market to find a house. And since the market is so horrible and they were also looking for an all-original Mid-Century house, we felt sure that they wouldn't find anything that would make them move on since we'd already seen what was on the market. And since they'd said that they'd "wait forever" to get our house, we felt secure.
At the beginning of the search, I decided that I was going to take a photo of myself in the bathroom mirrors of every house that we looked at. This was my final one. I decided that I was looking more and more ragged at every house and documenting that? Torture.
This bathroom was sort of a "woodsy meets rococo" style and even though it did nothing for my complexion, it intrigued me.
4. A friend came across a for-sale-by-owner in our dream target area. Thanks to her, we got the scoop before it even hit the market. We went over and met with the owner, a daughter who was selling her family home. The meeting went great! We loved the house. She liked us. We liked her. She said that if we wanted the house, she would consider our offer first before letting anyone else see the house. Three cheers! It was a pretty little time capsule with a vaulted brick sunroom and a nice yard full of trees - one owner home and very well kept. Oh, and did I mention that it was painted soft aqua and had a hand-built brick barbecue on the patio?
When we decided to make an offer the next morning, the owner wouldn't even look at our offer because she didn't think it was enough. She subsequently priced the house about $70,000 over market value for the neighborhood, completely knocking us (and anyone but flippers) out of the running. We know that she's never going to get that price which makes that one even harder to swallow. And she stopped returning our phone calls. It was obvious that she felt insulted which totally sucks because we liked her. In the end though, you can't price a house on memories. You have to go by market value and what it will appraise for.
5. The Mister then said that we should call our agent and go see The Awesome Fireplace House for a second time. We find out that very same day that lo and behold our buyers had just put in an offer on....hello, The Awesome Fireplace House. I'm totally not joking. That was it. Done.
6. Of course, it was then that we found our DREAM HOUSE. I'm talking a day or two later. It was gorgeous and 100% original. Knotty pine kitchen, aqua countertops and original bathrooms. The yard was so pretty. The neighborhood? Super nice and ten minutes from the Mister's office. We called our agent and asked her to show it to us (because it was so amazing that even without our buyers, we were going to find a way to own it) and as luck would have it, she told us that her buyers were second guessing their contract because The Awesome Fireplace House also had an Awesome Water Drainage Issue. Kapow! We might have our buyers back!
Figuring it must be fate, we made an appointment to see that house later in the day. We drove across town and were five minutes from the showing appointment when our agent called and said that the house was in a flood zone. Now, to put this all into perspective, in 2010 Nashville had what is called a "thousand year flood". Many houses, businesses and lives were lost. It came out of nowhere and caught residents by surprise and before we all knew it, devastation. People died in their homes, cars and yards. So we all respect the power of something as simple as rain now. As luck (or lack of luck) would have it, this home had a small stream that snaked close by and on the flood maps, it was marked a bright florescent green which couldn't be a good sign.
7. Even still, we decided that we wanted to pursue this house and find out from the experts what the odds were and what flood plain designation this house was under. It turned out that the flood insurance alone on the house kicked us out of the running because we can't afford that on top of the mortgage payment. So...it....goes..
8. We then found out that our buyers had indeed gone ahead and decided to buy The Awesome Fireplace House so we once again had no buyers - and with no buyers, our bargaining power upon finding a new house would be considerably less. We looked at a couple more houses but knew in the backs of our minds that we no longer had a fighting chance in this market where houses are sold the first day (and sometimes the day before) they hit the market. We looked at our final one last night - a cute little ranch with wagon wheel ceiling light and orange countertops. Even with those perks, we knew that it wasn't the one to fight for...and with that, we realized that we don't have the fight left in us. So we ate a bunch of donuts at bedtime and called the whole house search done.
So, it's back to the ranch for us. We've decided to stay put unless the most perfect house in the history of the world comes up for sale. Of course, there are caveats: It has to be in our price range AND in our dream neighborhood. In the meantime, we're going to try and keep our house as spiffed-up as we can so that if we have to put it on the market overnight, we'll be able to do so. That means I've got to clean out closets and the garage again and look at our house with the critical eyes of a buyer. There was something very special about having buyers who seemed to love our ranch as much as we do...so maybe someone like that will come along again. Only time will tell.
And THAT is how we've spent the largest amount of our time lately. In my next few posts, I'll show you some of the houses that we looked at along the way! I mean, something good has to come out of all of this right? And sooner or later, I'll show you the vacation photos from Ireland - a trip that I can't even remember now because my mind is so scattered from this house search.