Thursday, March 2, 2017

Watching and Waiting

Through the fall, I kept watching Zillow, but honestly, everything was now compared to what I thought the house from June could be.  (I mean, I had probably 15 pages of graph paper drawn out of floor plans, remodeling lists, and more... so much for having put it out of my mind, right?)  I kept trying to figure out a way to buy it for their opening bid and still be able to remodel it, but it just wasn't going to work.  I had peace and trust though, that God would lead us to a good house that would be a blessing to us for a long time.

Having done my research, I knew the house was in redemption until November 10th. So, my expectation was that it would get listed sometime in November, December, or January, for the asking price at the auction.  I had also figured that we'd need about $30,000 to remodel it and repair all the damage.

One Saturday morning in late October, we were all rushing around getting ready for the last of the soccer games for the season.  I heard my email ding, and quickly checked. It was an automated email from the bank announcing a new foreclosure listing in Derby.  It was THE house.  And I screamed out loud when I saw their listing price.  It was... you guessed it. $30,000 less than the opening bid at the auction. I could NOT believe it.  I sent it to my realtor immediately and sat in disbelief.  We set up a showing that afternoon as soon as we could, and we had a contractor ready to go to go with us to confirm  estimate on the remodel.

At 3 that afternoon, everyone gathered there.  My parents, realtors, contractor, everyone walked through it, taking our time. I remained convinced this was just a gift from a good God to us, and no one seemed to have any major reservations.   So we put a full price offer in.

But you know how big banks are.  They picked up all the offers that had come in over the weekend on Tuesday and looked at them.  They let us all know (I have no idea how many there were) there were multiple offers, and we had until Friday to give them our *best* offer.  Paul and I stewed on this, and thought, and prayed.  Should we play the game and try to outbid what we think others will offer by a few hundred dollars? Or do we offer as much as we can legitimately see paying given its condition and what we want to do?  I really, really wanted to do this.  There was something so redemptive about taking a house like this in a sad state and bringing life and beauty back to it. It's why Chip and Jo are so popular! :)  Plus, on the financial side, even with the remodel expenses, our investment would be well under the value of the house.  And our mortgage would be thousands less than if we bought a ready to go home in town.  On top of that, I will have gotten to pick out every last detail of it!  I was motivated. So we decided to give them our truly best offer.  We upped the ante a good bit.  And, we got the house. :)

But there were some unexpected hiccups along the way.  First, when they came to turn the water on so the house could be inspected, the water heater sprang a leak, and so the bank just decided to shut the water off and say no one could turn it on until after closing. This caused us to lose our first loan option: they would not loan for a house without water.  Thankfully, our realtor had connections and was able to get us in with a local bank that did in-house loans that was willing to take the risk.  So then we were back on track.  The inspection came back that it was a strong house with good bones, lots of life left in the heating/cooling, no major problems.  So that's another step down.  But, then the appraisal came in below our offer.  This could have been bad. The bank could have chosen to cancel the contract and re-list the house.  But, they decided to take the appraised value instead and keep moving forward.  This was great for us! :) It cut our buying price down a few thousand!  The last hurdle was with the loan.  The loan came through fine, but the PMI company (mortgage insurance) felt they were assuming too much risk in this situation.  We decided to plead our case.  I sent them my list of improvements and bids from contractors, proof that we had the funds to pay for them in cash, , and statements from inspectors cleaning up some questions they had.  We had to cancel our first closing date, but in the end, they decided to give us the go ahead, and we were able to close before the end of the year.

There are just so many moments in those six weeks where I saw God swing doors open and set up best case scenarios for us.  We were walking confidently into it with a perfect peace! (And, good thing I'm obsessive and already had copious Pinterest boards full of ideas and products so we could get started with the remodel ASAP! The contract required that we take occupancy within 60 days of closing!)

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