Thursday, September 26, 2013


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.

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 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. 

Until next time,
x's and o's,


Dana@Mid2Mod said...

It's a shame your prospective buyers kept looking after they promised you they'd wait till you found a house. I don't know when "your word is your bond" got dropped along the wayside.

Betty2Tone said...

Sorry you had to go through all the stress for basically nothing, but maybe that's just what was meant to be ;)

Barbara said...

Honestly, while living mortgage free would have been awesome, I just don't think the buyers held up their bargain. THEY came to you, then they went back on that. So a whole lot of work for a whole lot of nothing.

If it happens again, demand a check up front, move into an apartment and find the perfect house. Besides, right now isn't a good time to be buying - sellers are being big jerks, like the lady you mentioned.

I paid 210 for my house, the market crashed and I'd be lucky to get 150 for it today. So there you go. I'm stuck too. But think about 5 years from now!!

PS: I understand, very well, the "too tired to stir for three minutes". I am too tired to stir for one minute. And I have a feeling I'll be tired for a long, long time.

Jennifer said...

Wow. What a ride! Can't wait to see your pics.

Linda said...

I sincerely believe in "it was meant to be." I look forward to your photos of Ireland. We had a great trip there over 25 years ago. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

Unknown said...

:( I'm sorry about the way everything turned out.... But on the plus side your house is absolutely amazing so you get to enjoy it a bit longer! I cannot wait to hear about Ireland and see what I know will be amazing pictures!! :)

Anonymous said...

The benefits of this drama is that you got to tour... for free... a lot of mid-century homes. In the end, not only are you in a beautiful gem of a house, but it's less moving stress for you! Secretly, I was hoping you'd stay in your home because we all know you'll take care of it wonderfully! Thanks for taking us on this journey with you!

Lauren T said...

I am tired just reading that! The market really is so crazy right boss just bought a house and was in a bidding war with two other people and paid over the asking price to get the house. I'm sorry that the sale and move and mortgage-free lifestyle didn't work out...but the Ranch really is a lovely house, and at least now you can enjoy fall without the stress of a move looming over you.

Anonymous said...

cant wait to see!

tailfin said...

Wow, that's too bad that your potential buyers backed out, but it sounds like they may be in for a lot of trouble & expense. I can't wait to see photos of some of the places you looked at. And I'm curious what your dream neighborhood is? (I grew up in Nashville & probably will be returning in the near future.) I know Nashville has some fab 50s neighborhoods, but most of the homes have been remuddled over the years.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I bought THIS house for the wagon wheel light in my kitchen! And a few weeks ago I found another one, smaller, that was perfect for my entry/mudroom! I got it for five bucks.

Sometimes things are meant to be. When we were house hunting, we saw this one online but it was so over our price range, it wasn't even worth going to look at. We were sad. We thought it was our dream house. We found another one that we loved. An old Victorian. But then we lost our buyers because they couldn't get a mortgage because of something crazy, too long to go into. The banks are nuts. The seller of the Victorian wouldn't wait for us to find another buyer even though I am the queen of selling houses. She wouldn't believe me. So we started looking again. And lo and behold, we stumbled upon this one again online, but this time it was priced much closer to our price range. At least close enough to make an offer. Which was what we did and after some negotiations, got not only a fabulous deal, but a new septic tank that had been installed (a BIG ticket item here in Jersey, like thirty grand) while we were in contract on the other house. We found another buyer almost immediately and all's well that end's well. Plus I got that light. You'll see. Things happen for a reason.

I cannot wait to see your pictures. said...

What a rollercoaster!!! On the bright side, you do have a GORGEOUS house that you get to enjoy for longer!

We went through a bit of a rollercoaster this spring when we thought we might sell. We got an offer through the "make me move" feature on Zillow that wouldn't have even netted us what I put down on the house in 2006. It was so disappointing! I fell in love with a house that I still think about... Our next dream houses are out there somewhere!!

SUZY8-TRACK said...

I have to admit, I love your house and am glad that you are staying put. Perhaps the market will change and your dream home will come up for sale....hopefully without all the drama!

Sara In AZ said...

If anyone understands this crazy, crappy real estate market it's me. I totally get what y'all went through and I know that it is no fun at all...yeah, you get to see A LOT of houses...but in the end even that becomes tiring and you just want the whole thing done with.

I am glad you at least have a FAB house to stay in and that you don't 'have' to move...but you never know - your dream house could pop up at any keep your eyes peeled!

Fingers crossed my search will be *done* SOON too!!!

Cara said...

Whoa, when I read your first blog post about this I was thinking "If you somehow find an even better house than yours and your potential buyers also spot this same house, wouldn't they possibly be interested in it too??" I guess so! I'm going to guess you got the better end of the deal because, yeah, moving is a pain! The fact you didn't want to immediately put an offer in on the Awesome Fireplace house makes me think it wasn't your true dream home. When it is meant to be, I am sure one will find its way to you and hopefully with a lot less drama.

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

Ugh, houses are exhausting aren't they? I think that's why I was away from my blog so long. Sorry to hear you had all that drama which seems to have come to nothing. Our original sale and the first house we were going to buy fell though, but it genuinely was all for the best in the end, even though it didn't seem like it at the time.

Kelli Davidson said...

Whew! Girl, I'm exhausted just reading this tale. Bless your heart. Makes you appreciate the old home place, huh?

Laura said...

I am not gloating, really I am not, but I am so glad to be done with that mess. My experience was the reason I've been saying "they are only carrying me out of here feet first or in a strait jacket" (though knowing me either is just as likely). The previous owners of my house priced it initially something like $35,000 over what the market would bear, didn't have a single offer for 19 months even as they dropped the price gradually, and then got insulted when I gave them a solid offer for a going market rate. They would rather have become out-of-state landlords than sell to me! It was a hostile negotiation when it didn't have to be, but I got it in the end. I don't think I have the stamina to go through it again in a lifetime!

Jen said...

Just reading that leaves me physically & emotionally exhausted. I'm sorry to hear they backed out...and then bought a house you two liked...but maybe it's all for the best. You do have a BEAUTIFUL home that you love, and you can enjoy it some more until the Perfect House In The Perfect Area DOES pop up. And who knows? You have to have SOME built-in sales assistance with the blog here.

Also, you get to rest. And not move into another house right now. So there's that. ;)