Why We're Never Moving Again...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why we're never moving again, you ask? Because we found our dream/perfect/amazing/beautiful/forever home!!! That's right... we bought our dream home! And we're never moving again!

Sorry to let down all of our followers who were anxiously awaiting our basement built in desk... but I think this is so much better!! Before I start unloading new house pics/DIY projects, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share our journey to our 'forever home'!

It all started back in Kansas. My husband and I lived in a few apartments until purchasing our first house in a suburb just south of Kansas City. At the time we really thought that was it. Our forever home.

Kansas 'Forever' Home (sorry for terrible picture quality)
Fast forward two years and we started to feel that something was missing. A back story is important here; You see, I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago and each time we visited my family it made me miss it/them more. During the summer of 2013, while we were home celebrating {R}'s 30th birthday, we decided it was time to look into moving back to Chicago. As soon as we were back in Kansas I looked into job openings within my company and saw that there was a position available in my home town. Coincidence? I think not. I applied and after one interview I landed the job! Turns out they were in desperate need so only gave me nine days to move! But what about our house? This is where the craziness begins. In just one week I had landed a job in Chicago and had 9 days (9 DAYS!) to be moved and ready to start.

The next week was as whirlwind, to say the least. We quickly got our Kansas house ready to put on the market. Then, it came time for me to make my move. My husband escorted me to Chicago but had to be back in Kansas to continue working until our house sold. Our house was only listed for 24 hours before we received multiple offers above asking! To question our decision at this point would be silly. All signs pointed to real life serendipity. We accepted the best offer, packed up the rest of the house and we made the final journey to Chicago! (Not mentioned: Tears standing in our empty house, filling an entire moving truck to then realize we didn't have enough space, renting another moving truck to finish packing only to realize there were just two of us and we needed to drive our car up too, calling my Dad who hopped on an emergency flight to Kansas City to turn around and drive a truck back to Chicago. Phew. I'm tired just re-reading that!)

We did it! We moved to Chicago! And this is the part of the story where we were 'homeless'.

Lucky for us, living in Chicago meant being surrounded by family. So, we moved in with my Mom until we found a house. During this home search we were struck by the harsh reality that is the Chicago real estate market ($$$$). We also realized how lucky we were to have the house we did in Kansas. We had sacrificed a dream house to then turn around and search for a true 'starter' home. It kind of felt like taking a step backwards. Still in the honeymoon phase of our move we were content buying a quaint home in the suburb where I grew up. And we lived happily ever after...

Our 'starter' home

NOT! While we did live happily (most of the time) it did not feel like it was going to be ever after. It did not take long for us to realize that while our house was okay for the two of us it just wasn't suitable house for the growing family we desired. So, we started the home search again.

I mentioned earlier that the Chicago housing market is expensive. To put it in perspective; If we were to pick up our house in Kansas and place it in my hometown it would cost at least 50% more. Of course, it is Chicago and there is a lot more to offer but we started to realize that we may never find the home of our dreams again.

Enter DREAM home.

My Dad, who is keen on real estate, and I would often share new listings and most of the time I would roll my eyes and reply; 'seen it, hate it'. Then, my Dad sent me a listing that I hadn't seen. It was in a suburb I didn't often look at because it was a bit farther west of the city than I had wanted to move (I commute to the city daily). After quickly scrolling through the online listing I could not find one thing I didn't like about it. I am sure my Dad was knocked out of his chair by my response; 'I LOVE IT!'. Normally, I call my realtor and try to schedule same day showings (since the housing market is so crazy you have to get in as soon as possible!) but the owners were still living in the house so we had to wait [2 long days] until the weekend. That didn't stop us from scouting the neighborhood (quick tip: When looking to buy a home always scout a neighborhood at morning, afternoon and night). We drove to the house that night to take a look. If you've ever been on the house hunt you know that most of the time pictures make a house look a lot better than it actually is. I can honestly say that the minute we drove by this house I got chills. The house was more beautiful in person than the pictures and we had only seen the outside! It was no surprise that the inside was just as breathtaking. We soon learned that the current owners had actually built the house just 10 years prior and no detail was forgotten. It was the perfect house.

So we bought it, the end. Juuuuust kidding...

After the showing {R} was sold but I, being the cynic I often am, felt it was just too good to be true. While the house was perfect, it was in a neighborhood I had never considered before. Time to make a good ol' pros and the cons list. This was the moment I realized that even your dream home may come with some major compromises and this decision wasn't going to be as black and white as I'd hoped. On one hand, we had the house of our dreams, a house I honestly never thought we could ever afford in the Chicago area. On the other hand, we were faced with a longer commute, an unfamiliar neighborhood, the list goes on... Eventually, we decided that the pros outweighed the cons and we put in an offer!

Once we made our decision to move forward we were then hit with negotiations. After recently losing a bidding war on a different house (a house we thought was our dream home) we put in a strong offer only to be met with a seller playing hard ball. As a buyer, you want to feel like you are getting 'your deal'. After a few back and forth negotiations we didn't feel like the sellers were really giving us the deal we wanted and actually walked away from their 'final' counter offer. We thought the whole thing was over and continued our search. We scheduled a showing at a different house in the same neighborhood. That house didn't even compare. It was priced only slightly lower than the DREAM house but was not nearly as nice and needed a lot of work. This put it all in perspective and was a moment I imagine a lot of home buyers face... we had to ask ourselves; 'Do we stretch our budget just a bit to come up to the seller's final offer or do we walk away and risk losing the home of our dreams?' Both decisions posed risk. We decided to go back to the seller's with another offer. We matched their price but negotiated a few items that we wanted to stay in the house. Luckily there were no other offers on the table and they accepted! Now it was time for inspection.

It was no surprise that there weren't any major problems uncovered in the inspection (pros of a newer house!) but there was one problem with a sliding glass door needing repair that became a concern (doors are EXPENSE!). We had already increased our budget and any additional expenses was going to push us out of the comfort zone. We went back to the sellers who once again played hard ball, not wanting to make any repairs. It was starting to feel like we were getting hit with set backs every step of the way. After a pep-talk from my sister (which can be summed up by 'GET THE DOOR!') we went back to the sellers firm in our stance that we wanted the door repaired or we would walk (very dramatic). I don't know if it was simply the nerves associated with one of the biggest financial decisions of our lives but this felt like the final straw. We were going to get this door or we weren't getting this house. Looking back it was kind of silly that we almost walked away from this house over a door but, remember, it's all about getting 'your deal'.

Well, we got the door (this phrase quickly became a family inside joke) and we got the house! As they say... the rest is history!

I guess the real reason I wanted to share our journey was to show that there really is no such thing as the perfect home or perfect home buying process, at least not for those of us on a budget.  If I could give anyone out there searching for their forever home advice it would be that it isn't as cut and dry as HGTV often depicts. There are many situations where you do have to walk away from a home you love for one reason or another. You may lose a bidding war on the home of your dreams. But, remember, that only means there is something much better out there waiting for you. I often get caught up in wanting things to happen 'naturally' in perfect time but sometimes you have to make sacrifices and be willing to step outside your comfort zone to get what you really want (#lifelesson). Maybe that means you have to buy a fixer upper to be in your ideal neighborhood. For us it meant moving to an unfamiliar area. In the end we found a dream house that has already become a home. A home I can see us building a family in, a home I hope to create many memories in and a home where we can enjoy our life together. And so far, all those things we listed as 'cons' have quickly become non-existent.

I cannot wait to start sharing our dream house with all of our followers! Stay tuned for my first ever 'Home Tour'... Until then, here are a few pics from from closing day (can you see now why we fell in love!)

As always, Thank you for visting {R&R} at home!

1 comment

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