Monday, September 22, 2014

Five years in our home sweet home.

Five years ago today, Brett and I met up with a friend at Hexter-Fair Title Company so we could buy our house. The closing process involved a lot of ink and paper, but it was a breeze compared to the months it took to get us there. After about an hour of signatures and handshakes, we had those precious keys.

Later that night, we tiptoed barefoot onto the freshly shampooed carpet just to BE in our new house.
I was still taller than Ryan and Katie back in 2009!
Our house! It was a long time coming, but it was so good to be HOME.

Finally getting into our place was especially sweet because of what we went through along the way. When we first decided to sell our Watauga home, we had a buyer relatively quickly. Contract in place, we started shopping for our own new place in September 2008. We found one we really liked and made an offer.
Tim, our dear friend and real estate agent, in new house #1.
We thought it was perfect for us: three bedrooms and an office upstairs, a spare bedroom (for my office) and formal living, dining and family rooms downstairs. It was farther away than we’d hoped, but we’d be near friends and have access to a community pool.

Then our buyer had issues. We were able to extend our contract on the house we wanted, and since we were certain(!) the delay was temporary, started moving our mounds of stuff into storage. Then our buyer’s financing fell through, and the deal was off. Sadly, we gave up our contract on the five-bedroom home we wanted so badly. We also had to stay in our old house, just without most of our stuff!

Fast forward a few months. We had a new buyer! Or not. She backed out.

The third time was the charm. Finally we had a buyer with solid financing, so we again began our house-hunting in earnest. We looked at dozens of houses in a variety of neighborhoods, but when we saw our house, we just knew it was the one. The only hitch? It was a short sale. It could be months before we would get into that house. Were we willing to ride out the wait? It took about 5 minutes to say yes, this house was worth it. It was closer to our schools, which meant the kids could stay with their friends (thanks to open enrollment), and my commute wouldn’t be as long. Plus, the office was just right for Brett, and the game room—the massive game room!—was made for his many game consoles. We thought the first house we wanted was perfect for us, but this one was even better! Even without knowing how long our wait would be, we knew we loved this house.

So on Aug. 14, 2009, we moved out of the only home our kids had ever known. For the next six weeks, we lived with Brett’s parents, in a Holiday Inn Express, at a friend’s house, and then back at Brett’s parents’ home. Because of our nomadic lifestyle (which came just as the school year was starting, naturally), we were ecstatic when Sept. 22 arrived and we finally got those precious keys.

Now that we’re five years past that date, I’m again reminded how generous our friends and family were throughout that process.
  • Brett’s mom and dad didn’t just open their home to us; they treated us like royalty! Of course, you’d expect nothing less from these generous people, but I can’t even count all the ways they helped us through that tough time. And hey, it’s hard to feel too out of sorts when Nana’s cooking for you!
  • The North Richland Hills Fire Department, Farmers Insurance, and Holiday Inn Express really came through, too. Don’t know that story? Oh, it’s a good one!
  • Our friends Jim Bob and Dana provided a nice respite between hotel and home. They were in the process of moving to a nearby community, so they let us house-sit for them. After a week of the four of us sharing a hotel room, it was wonderful to have our own rooms and an actual kitchen while we waited for our closing date.
  • By listening to me vent, my friends at school kept me sane! When our closing date fell on picture day, one of my responsibilities, they quickly stepped up to cover my duties.
  • Did you read the fire department story? No lie, it’s worth the click.
  • And then there’s Tim. As our friend and real estate agent, Tim helped us throughout the long, arduous process, giving up many nights to deal with contracts and showings and questions and phone calls. When our closing date finally came, he may have been happier than we were, just so he could finally be rid of our hassles! We’re so thankful for his wife, Amy, too, for her willingness to share Tim with us throughout our misadventures in real estate. Oh, was Tim thrilled for us! Every time I saw him after that date, he’d ask the same thing: “Y’all still likin’ your house?” We lost Tim just three months after we moved in, but he has to know: YES! We still love our house! 
In five years this house has seen its share of crises, but there have been more smiles than tears, more laughter than anger, more love than tumult. Today we celebrate the friendships and faith that helped us get here.

(For more tales of our transition time, check out these Project GOOD posts.)