Sunday, August 28, 2016

Our 2-year house hunt

Here is the back story to our housing journey. Check out the previous posts for the details of the home we just bought.

This would have been our driveway.
Two years ago, we were praying through God's direction to move to Ohio. I love homes so I started looking at housing right away and stumbled upon a home in pre-forclosure. Through crazy connections, we ended up walking through this home during one of our visits to Ohio 2 years ago. We got to know the home owners and discussed doing a short sale. The short sale timing was not the best for the current homeowners but my heart was set on that home. This started an 18-month journey with this home. We tried buying this home on a few different occasions, and obviously it never worked out. We would think the door was closed, but then a few months later it would open again. I just knew we would end up with the home. I prayed bold prayers for this home. We walked the property many times praying over the home. We brought contractors, and appraisers and anyone else we could through the home to get a game plan for renovations and updating. For 6-months I daily drove by the home (it was 2 minutes from church) and prayed over it and our housing. It has a covered bridge for a driveway, so it became The Covered Bridge Home. The kids got tired of driving past this home, but I wanted to give them an example of circling a prayer. We didn't just throw a prayer up every now and then, we were diligent in praying for this home. We would pray for God to provide and protect. As much as we wanted this home, we trusted He knew things we didn't know and He has a plan. We had a rough experience with the only other home we had owned in Bradenton, FL and we didn't want a repeat.

I was sure this house was in God's plan for us! Looking back I clung to this house more than I realized. In October we thought we lost the house for good and it was emotionally very tough for me. I couldn't drive by without crying over it. But a few weeks later the door was opened again and I had hope. Well February this year the door was shut for good. Someone else bought the home and technically they should have not been able to purchase it (it was sold by Fannie Mae at this point they have some stipulations on who can purchase one of their homes in the first 21 days it is on the market).  We put our highest bid in (well over asking price which is unheard of in this area) and were outbid. This time I was not only sad but mad.

There was another home only a few minutes from church that we put 2 offers on over a 5 month period. The home was somewhat updated by the previous owners but we felt like it was over priced for the size of home without a basement. We offered $20k under asking price both times. First time their counter offer was way off. The second time we offered 5 months later, they didn't even counter and felt like their response was very defensive to why their home was worth the listing price. It was such a weird situation. Ironically they finally sold that home 7 months after our initial offer for only $5k more than we had offered. They had already moved out of the home and paying 2 mortgages so it didn't make sense to us, but looking back it God had another plan, that is why that home didn't work out, as oddly as the whole situation was.

We looked at many other home. One house had dog poop in one bedroom and cigarette butts on the floor of another, and we had a scheduled showing for this house that was not a cheap house by any means. A decently priced home for this area. I usually knew right away that all the homes we walked through were not for us. The covered bridge home and the one we put the 2 offers on, were the only options we really considered.

Looking back, I believe not getting the covered bridge home was the start of my grieving process of leaving KC. I am a forward facing person and we knew God called us to Dayton so we packed our family and moved. My focus was moving our family, finding a home, getting kids adjusted and settled in school and making relationships here. I was busy doing life and didn't take time to reflect on the sacrifices we made leaving the only place that felt like home for Team Southards. Sacrifices often don't feel good, quite frankly they can hurt. The whole house search process was frustrating because housing options was a constant reminder of how different I feel from this area. I had only known new Florida homes (bright, white and open) and new Kansas City homes that had a similar feel. I wasn't used to low ceilings, choppy floor plans and little windows. Since we wanted a few acres for the kids, our options were even more limited. There are homes more similar to what I prefer in this area, they are just in neighborhoods. Home prices are cheaper here than anywhere else we have lived, so we really stuck to our guns about wanting land for the kids.

In May we found the home that we would eventually purchase. You can read all about that home HERE.

A few of the lessons I learned throughout this process. Just because we say "Yes" to God and follow him (for us it was leaving a place we loved and moving our family across the country) that doesn't mean everything is going to easily fall in place and be smooth. Humans are often guilty of wanting things to be "easy." I assumed since we were obedient that God would take care of the details and it would be on my timeline. I remember nursing Stetson in the middle of the night as a newborn over 2 years ago and looking at houses online (while were praying about the decision to move). I felt God spoke to my spirit and told me that He would take care of the details of housing, I need to seek him and trust him. That was easier to do in the moment sitting in a place of comfort. That was more challenging as we have lived in a temporary place so long yearning for a place to call our own and unpack our boxes (we have boxes still unpacked waiting to be moved after almost 2 years).

The second lesson is we don't and sometimes won't understand God's decisions and plans. I had to come to a place that I trusted God even if the house we ended up with wasn't as good as the covered bridge home to me. There are so many details I will never know, but I have to be ok with that and I choose to still trust God's goodness. There are pro's and con's of the home we ended up with compared to the covered bridge. Quite frankly, I would rather have the covered bridge home, but I am not angry about it anymore. I am so grateful we have a home that we get to make our own.

So that is a reflection on the housing journey we have been on for 2 years. We are neck deep in renovating now. We weren't looking for a project, but we got one and it is fun to get to pick everything out for a home! We spent about 1 month doing demolition and just this week the framers were in and out in 2.5 days the house is starting to be put back together! More updates real soon!

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