{gratitude} home

Monday, November 25, 2013

BH and I didn’t plan on buying a home for a long time. We’d just been married for a year and half and were about to have our first baby and we started looking at getting a bigger apartment, that led to looking for a house to rent, that led to looking for a house to buy. I think if we’d been told that we were going to buy a house it would have been so far from where we were thinking that we may not have believed it. The Lord works with us like that a lot of times, pointing us in a direction, showing us the next step, and after a while leading us to a final destination that we never would have guessed. That’s how I found Ben, that’s how we were blessed with Boo Bear, and that’s how we found our house.

Once we decided to look at houses, we found a FANTASTIC real estate agent in the rural area we were looking at, Sandra Larsen. We had some very specific must-haves on our list, so that coupled with our budget narrowed down the selection quite a bit. We had a snafu with our lender and ended up switching to a different one. We looked at so many homes and put offers in on a few. One pulled out on us, we pulled out on another, a couple were short sales that were long shots from the beginning. One we really liked had only been on the market for half of a day and we put in an offer right away, only to find out that an offer was accepted just hours before. It was a lot of up and down.

Because of our requirements and budget, a lot of the houses we looked at were fixer-uppers and many of those were short sales or forclosures. Something that struck me was how many newer homes, only 10 years old or so, were in disrepair and how many of the houses had holes punched in the walls or bedroom door jambs broken from being forced in. There seemed to be a lot of anger in the houses. One exception was a home that had lovely messages in permanent marker written on the walls like, “Gene and Bob Forever” and “Love you Sweetheart”. We imagined that the couple that had lived there had been old people that had died in each others’ arms. Later we found out that they had sold the house because they had divorced.

During this whole time, Sandra was wise and kind, instructing us on what we needed to look for, how the process would work, and giving us constant encouragement that something would come up that would be more than just a house for us. We were really frustrated and about to take a break from the house buying adventure when Sandra just threw out an idea. A lovely old lady in her ward (congregation) had recently passed and her house had just come up on the market. She was going to check it out, just to see the inside and research it, she didn’t even know the asking price. She asked us since we were out anyways if we’d want to see it just for fun. We said yes, why not. Then our lives changed.

When we pulled up there was already a couple looking at the house and another pulled up just as we did. We politely waited for the others to look around so we could take our time inside. When we walked in, BH and I could immediately feel the warmth and love that had filled that home. It was an older home, complete with rusty red carpet, but it was in pristine condition. We could tell that the family and couple that had lived there had loved their home and cared for it for years. They had owned it since it had been built and lived and raised their family there for nearly 50 years. As we walked around we mused at the outdated light fixtures and the “cookie monster carpet” downstairs and check marked every single item off our list. Before we’d even seen the whole house I looked at BH and said, “This is it. I HAVE to have this house.”

It was out of our price range, but just by a little bit. We’d been really conservative in our budget so we knew we could handle the little bit extra. We left and immediately went around the corner to Sandra’s house to write an offer. We offered pretty much exactly what they were asking and went home to wait on pins and needles. They finally responded that they’d gotten three nearly identical offers and were letting all three parties submit their best offers. We upped our offer and again sat back to wait. When Sandra called again I was sure I’d die of anticipation. Two of the offers including ours were nearly identical again! I was dying. I had to have this house. I wanted to make the same feeling in that house that the previous family had created with my own family. I called BH and we decided to do one last offer and if we didn’t get it then that meant there was something better for us out there, though I couldn’t even imagine what could have been better.
The third offers were nearly identical again, but the agent noticed that our financing was from Republic Mortgage and he knew that he could count on our financing to go through without a hitch. So he counseled his sellers to pick us. And they did!

I look back now at the whole process and I see in every single step of the way that we were being led by the hand of a Father in Heaven who loves us and has a plan for us. He led us step by step to the decision to buy a home, led us to a fantastic agent who would understand our needs and look out for us, he led us through a long and sometimes disappointing home search to teach us and help us understand what we wanted, what we needed, and to help us recognize this shining gem of a home that was made for us.

We still have real ugly carpet in most of the rooms, but there is beautiful hardwood underneath that can be revealed with a bit of elbow grease. Our kitchen is still very “vintage” but I absolutely adore the wall oven that cooks like a dream and is high enough to be out of Baby Girl’s reach. There is a lot to be done, but we get to do it. We get to make it very much our own and we love it.

I am grateful for our home, I am grateful for the family that lives in it, and I’m especially grateful for another powerful expression of God’s love for us. He loves you too, I just know it.

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