Have you ever been out somewhere and bumped into a old friend that you haven’t seen in a while?
You have this electric eye contact and the next thing you know, you’re in the middle of a deep conversation, happily sharing the latest happenings in your life. Then afterwards, you wonder why the heck you lost contact in the first place because this person is someone you really enjoy?
Well that’s how I feel about YOU and this little old blog of mine.
It’s hard to believe it’s been four big, fat weeks since my last post—my longest break ever---so today I thought we should bump into each other. Do a little catching up.
Tell me. How’s your summer going?
Lots of relaxing? Reading? Traveling to cool places?
I sure hope so.
Our summer has been …well, let’s just say…interesting.
I certainly thought I’d be in our new home by now, slathering white paint everywhere and sharing my photos with you, but isn’t that how life goes?
The good news is that after being here in Huntington Beach since mid-March, we’ve figured out that we want to live in a neighborhood with easy bike access to the ocean.
Well, actually, I was more focused on the house and square footage, but the men in my family all said in various ways, “Hey, if we’re moving all the way to Huntington Beach, we have to be close to the ocean.”
And since the downtown neighborhood with the charming parks, tree lined streets and cool vibe are out of our price range, we are limited in our areas. Plus, living in a tiny condo has reminded us that we want square footage, and did I mention we’d like a fixer upper that doesn’t need too much fixer upping? With a reasonable price tag too?
I know. It sounds like a lot but our wish list hasn’t been the issue.
The main problem is that week after week there haven’t been ANY homes for sale in our chosen neighborhoods. I mean ZERO. The last two homes that have come up, were both too close to a loud, busy street.
That’s really it. Lots of homes everywhere else-- in fact we made an offer in another area that didn’t work out —but nothing for sale in our preferred areas.
It’s downright strange if you ask me.
Although there was This ONE House that came to our attention.
not it, but looks verrry similar
Did I tell you the story about the house with the black Dutch door?
(If we were together, this is the moment I’d refill your wine glass)
It was a Friday evening and we were meeting our realtor over at this house that wasn’t even on the market yet. Hooray!!!! It turns out our realtor met a homeowner in one of our favorite neighborhoods who was willing to offer us a private showing; she had decided to sell after her divorce and wanted to avoid the hassles of listing her home on the market.
As we walked up to the house the first thing I noticed was this black Dutch door. The top was swung open and I could see a warm, yellow glow from inside and the first thought I had was, “this is SOOOO cozy!”
And the second thought I had was, “I want a home with a Dutch door!!!!”
The pale, yellow house was in a quiet cul de sac and there were lit candle lanterns on the ground as we approached. The owner was a stylist for a Pottery Barn-like store and she had wonderful taste. Beautiful hard wood on the floors and warm wood cabinets in the kitchen with granite counters. Not my choice but still lovely. And even though there were glaring issues that needed to be fixed…like a missing bathroom upstairs ( the three bedrooms shared the master) we were ok with it.
You know how it is when you tour an open house. You immediately think of all the changes you could do to make it yours.
The seller’s best friend was showing us the home and she was outgoing and chatty, telling us about the close-knit neighbors and all their block parties and wine tasting and general friendliness. As Michael sat on the floor petting the seller’s old Lab, she showed us photos of her pretty, blonde daughters who were the same age as my boys. And we found out all about their schools and jobs.
Does it sound perfect? Pretty much. Plus our realtor had assured us that our price was right on.
So… a happy ending right?
Actually our realtor did reassure us about the price. But the seller had evidently had a change of heart because we were WAY off and so was the deal.
Three weeks later Mr. M got a text message from this homeowner. In the interim we had parted ways with our realtor (we had no written agreement with him) and decided to pursue a home on our own and the short version is, she was willing to negotiate her home with us.
Hooray again. Sort of..because by this time we’re cautious. But we agreed on a price and she proceeded with the termite and home inspections, tentatively setting the closing date to mid July.
However, in-between a few positive text messages (she preferred texting to phone) we got scant information. Her messages were vague and confusing even though she was a realtor herself.
So even though our boys were loving the fact that this house was walking distance to the ocean…Mr. M and I were getting nervous.
Finally she sent us a reassuring text telling us to expect the contract the next day. But the next day it never came. And at that point, we knew.
The following day when I sent her a text message (this texting was feeling very odd) her response was immediate. She was sorry to have wasted our time but she just couldn’t sell after all. Her son was upset about moving and with the divorce, she felt like it was too much for him.
When I showed Mr. M the phone screen I don’t think we said anything for a whole minute. Were we discouraged? For sure. Confused by the way it played out…definitely.
At this point this deal had stretched over weeks, an infinite amount of time when you’re waiting on a house. And this was also our third failed offer, I felt impatient and discouraged.
But the worst part? We were back to square one with no new houses on the market.
Only… you won’t believe what happened next.
As a favor to anyone still reading this long, blathering post I’ll cut to the chase.
We are officially in escrow right now on an entirely different house…
and guess what?
It has a charming Dutch door.
I know, isn’t life fascinating?
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