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The house that almost wasn’t, part 2

So last time, I left off with the acceptance that this house just wasn’t meant to be. I grieved a little bit but was able to pull myself together and move on. I also felt bad for being selfish, when here this family trying to sell the condo must have been just as crushed as we were, especially since they put a lot of time and money into making the necessary repairs for us. Our mindset became that something better just had to be out there for us and now just wasn’t the time for this to work out.

But then, Josh got a phone call.

Apparently, our real estate agent was just beside herself with what had happened. And of course, the deal fell through for her too and that’s her livelihood. So she spent days on the phone, online, talking to people in her office, just doing anything to find a solution to this problem. It turned out, one of her co-workers knew another mortgage broker at a different bank who was promoting a new type of loan that isn’t really well known by agents yet.

Basically, it’s the same as an FHA loan, only it’s conventional, not federal. We would still have to put 3.5% down but it would be accepted by this condo association and the perks were we would not have to pay PMI (mortgage insurance) so our payments would be lower too. I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe everything that happened after this was the plan for us all along.

Josh and I talked it over and I have to admit, part of me just wanted to say no. After the ordeal we had been through up until this point, I wasn’t sure I was ready to even attempt this whole process again. But we decided to try, on the condition that neither of us got excited about anything until we had the keys in our hands.

It was brutal.

We had to start all over again. We filed a contract extension with the sellers which was easy because they wanted this to work out as much as we did. Then we had to apply for a new loan, re-send all of our info that we had sent to the other bank, take online tests, print out certificates, get our tax information, bank statements and everything together. We signed, faxed, scanned and emailed so much that I was ready to just give them a blood sample and be done with it.

Also, the broker was a little wishy-washy with us, which did not inspire much confidence from me. They took forever to tell us whether or not we’d been accepted into the loan program (you can’t make more than a certain amount of money). Then we waited…waited…waited, faxed some more paperwork and then waited some more. Just when we thought they were calling to give us good news, it turns out they needed more things signed.

But finally, everything went through and we ordered another appraisal even though we had just done one a few weeks prior (and did not get refunded for it). Oh well, if it worked out it was worth it, right? We both had a good laugh over the fact that the two appraisers came up with different amounts, a difference of $7,000 I think! How does that happen?

We still didn’t get too excited until after the underwriter’s report came back — that is where we got caught up the last time.

Then we waited almost two more weeks to find out if we were even going to make it to closing. Just to give you a timeline, we first put an offer on this house in late April. We found out we “lost” it May 17th, we started the process again about a week later and then found out we were “probably” going to close in late June/early July. Really, a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things but to us it felt like an eternity, especially because we had to go through the process twice. But I have heard of people getting hung up much longer, even a year! So I am glad that didn’t happen to us.

Anyway, as soon as we found out everything was in order, we breathed a sigh of relief. Closing was FINALLY scheduled for July 1st and we had a final walk-through the night before. Everything looked great, all the repairs had been made so just one more sleep and it would be ours. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.

We showed up to closing at 10 a.m. that Friday and it was so surreal. I was so anxious that I didn’t even eat breakfast, which is the opposite of how I usually am (I’m normally an emotional eater). Everyone who has ever bought a home that we know had warned us how grueling closing was, how much you’d have to sign (“Don’t use your right hand the day before,” Josh warned) and how everything you had to do up until that point was nothing in comparison.

Well, our experience was totally different. I only remember signing a few things and we were there less than an hour. Perhaps it’s because we had to go through the buying process twice or because we were just so happy to finally be getting this place that it didn’t seem that bad. And for all the wishy-washiness leading up to closing, the lawyer handling the deal had everything ready to go and sped right through it. Closing was definitely the easiest part of this ordeal.

We ended up not having to put as much money down as we originally thought and our mortgage payments ended up being less than we are paying for rent right now! Throw the condo maintenance fee on top of that and we only went up $30 a month total. If it hadn’t been for the original deal falling through, we could have been paying a lot more than that. It was hard to grasp at first, but it all ended up being worth it.

We walked out of there, got in the car and immediately updated our Facebook statuses to tell the world that we were officially homeowners!

For the past few weeks we have been gradually bringing stuff in, we’ve cleaned, painted, replaced a bunch of stuff. And you know what? That first condo we looked at (across the street from us now) is still for sale and we’ve heard the house flipper guy is mad and had to lower the price. Hmm…

We truly believe that we were meant to get this second condo and this second loan. Even though parts of the experience were very hurtful and frustrating, we made it through much better off. We both believe that God is in control of everything and was looking out for us the whole time. We had just recently starting giving to the capital campaign at our church even though we had very little wiggle room in our budget.

But finances are the one area of our lives where God says to test Him (Malachi 3:10). We have in the past and we did again. God has blessed us, not just through us finally getting the house or getting a lower mortgage payment but also blessings that have come from family and friends. I believe this came about because we stepped out in faith with our giving and because we (eventually) graciously accepted that the original deal was not going to work out and found contentment again. That should never be a motive in what we do, but I do believe it to be true.

I am just feeling so incredibly thankful and overwhelmed right now. As we move into our new home this weekend, I am confident we can look back on this whole experience and see that it has been an amazing ride. And this was just the beginning.

The house that almost wasn’t

Hi friends! Sorry I have been away from the blog for a while, it’s been crazy on my end. We are moving into our new place this Saturday and it’s all so overwhelming. But we’ve had some amazing help from family and friends and I pretty much just apologize to my husband at the end of every day because I know I must be driving him crazy.

Anyway, we are very happy now with our new home and how it is coming along now, but it was a long, not so pleasant road to get here.

Just a few months ago, we weren’t even looking for a house. We thought we would stay in our apartment for a couple more years, save up some more money and then start looking. But one fateful night, my husband was checking a realty company website and a condo in my parents’ neighborhood popped up. It was exactly what we wanted: a 2 bedroom townhouse with a basement and in the same neighborhood as my parents? Yes, please! The price was also good so we immediately scheduled an appointment to see the place. We also looked at another place in the same neighborhood but it was smaller, more expensive and had no basement (my husband wants his “man cave” and we would like to have one since we have tornadoes here sometimes).

We went to see the place and it had a couple of small water leaks but other than that the place was in great shape and the owner had done a lot to fix it up and make it look really nice. From the surface, I fell in love with the place. It was cute, had great space and in a perfect location. This was our first time in the whole home buying process so we didn’t know what we were getting into. We made a low ball offer to the seller to get things started and he was so irate with us that he countered above his original asking price and had some words for us with his agent who passed along the message. I was pretty hurt (I’m too sensitive) and got mad at Josh because this wasn’t even on my radar before. And now I was crushed.

But after some tears and deep breathing, we did some more calculating and decided to go back and check the place out again just to see if we really wanted to walk away or try to work with the seller. Turns out he was a house flipper trying to make a big profit. When we got there, the 2 small leaks had become huge and we noticed a lot of other things that looked good on the surface but as my dad said: “He sure did shine this place up really nice.” We had removed our beer goggles so to speak. This place would be problematic for us, the romance was gone.

In a bizarre twist of fate, another condo on the same street was about to go up for sale but hadn’t yet been listed. Our agent asked us if we wanted to take a look at it and I reluctantly agreed. At that point, I felt defeated and just wanted to go back to reality in our apartment and revisit this discussion at a later date. It was almost the same condo, only much more lived in. It belonged to an older lady who had lived there for almost 25 years before moving to a home. It needed a lot of updates and work. At first, that felt like a major drawback but then I realized it was our opportunity to make it our own. So we went for it.

Working with this seller was so much more pleasant. Instead of a house flipper, this person was trying to help relieve a family member’s financial burden and so he was very motivated to make a deal. After some bargaining, we agreed on a great deal we were all happy with and we were one step closer to owning our first home. Our loan was approved, inspection appointments were made and everything was falling into place. I finally quit worrying and starting embracing that this was going to happen this time.

The home needed some repairs per the inspector but everything else passed and then the appraisal was completed. Have I told you how much paperwork we had to sign in all of this? Sheesh! We were scheduled to close the week before Memorial Day!

Then came yet another fateful day, Tuesday, May 17th, a week before we were supposed to be closing. Josh was off that day so I decided to take a day of vacation so we could spend some time together. It was a fun day! We decided to go to Home Depot and price some things for the house and get some ideas of things we wanted to replace and look at paint colors. After this, we went to the movie theater to see Thor. As we were waiting outside the theater for them to clean, Josh’s phone rang. It was our mortgage broker. It was bad news.

I still don’t know what went wrong and for a long time I wanted to blame someone, but somehow EVERYBODY missed the fact that this particular “phase” of this condo association does not accept FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans. So basically, we never should have gotten as far as we had. Our stuff made it all the way to the underwriter before this little oversight was caught. What choices did we have now? None, unless we could suddenly come up with 20% to put down for a conventional loan without any of it being gifted to us.

Being on the other side of that phone conversation was awful. Watching Josh’s facial expressions alone made me realize what was happening. He didn’t even have to tell me. We left the theater, got a refund for our tickets and made the long drive back home (10 minutes felt like an hour). It was over, again. The first place didn’t work out and then we found something else and now it was pulled from beneath us too. I never really got mad or felt like God or the universe was against me, I just felt so severely disappointed and frustrated, especially with people. This never should have happened. And again, this wasn’t on my radar a month prior, why were we doing this to ourselves again?

A few days went by and I was pretty depressed. I really wanted this place and there was literally nothing we could do. We looked at a few other houses online but nothing we felt good about and so we decided to just keep looking but go ahead and have our landlady write up a new lease for our apartment. I prayed a lot, did a lot of yoga and had some amazing friends lifting me up and things got better. I was ready to move on and put this behind me.

…To be continued…