It’s official. My husband and I are buying a house! Not just any house, an adorable little beach house with ocean views! How did this happen? How could we possibly afford such a gem? It all boils down to a simple miracle.
In December, we were blessed with an incredible amount of work for my husband and a very generous year end bonus from my work. And, to be honest, buying a house was the last thing on our minds in the Christmas season. If it had been on our minds, we likely would have not bought a new computer, a new camera, and new smart phones!!! Holy smokes…if I could have just known! Anyway, despite all of that fun stuff, we had fortunately put away a small fortune over the past two years for our “house fund.” And, luckily, it turned out to be just exactly enough to get our foot in the door.
But I’m already getting ahead of myself. Back to Christmas. One of the hardest things was for me to, for the first time ever, pay more in tithing than we did in rent in the month of December. I could not believe what that meant! And I also could not believe just how hard it was to let that money pass from my bank account into the Lord’s hands. Tithing has never been a hard concept for me, because I have always believed that the Lord can do more with that 10% in helping others than I ever could just spending it on myself. However, I distinctly recall having a hard time remembering my testimony of that last month. Faithfully, dutifully, I decided to let the check go from my cold, stingy fingers and into the bowels of the church, into the safe custody of the Lord.
And that is when the magic began.
Something occurred to me for the first time a few days later. One of my hobbies is to browse through real estate listings on zillow, just to see where interest rates and housing prices stand. However, it had literally been months since I last searched, and up until this point, Brigham and I were exclusively searching for multi-family properties (so that we could do the rental income property thing).
As I was considering, seriously considering what life would be like for two inexperienced renters who know nothing of real estate, and have zero home ownership skills, to suddenly become landlords while still managing our hectic lives – it suddenly became the most ridiculous thing to consider. To be perfectly honest, it seemed like that would become bad stress for our marriage. So, I switched my search to see what was out there in our price range for single family properties. And then, I started to notice that there were lots of properties near the beach at really affordable prices! And I love me some beach! The first house we went to see had a beautiful listing, but when we drove by, it slanted about 15 degrees. Down the street there were more homes just blocks from the ocean, but the nicer they got, the more the price tag went up, or the more affordable they were, the more work we’d have to put into it.
And then, as if the heavens opened, I discovered “the one.”
Immediately, I emailed the listing agent and asked her to show us the property. She (Beth) emailed us back promptly and let us know that there was already an offer on the property. I was really bummed to hear that, but I went to a lender to get pre-qualified anyway, just in case something opened up. Well, something did open up! After New Years, the original buyer actually walked away and would not respond. Beth called me up and Brigham and I rushed over for a showing. We were in the house for about 15 minutes, checked NOTHING (didn’t even turn on the water), but it didn’t matter, it was LOVE at FIRST SIGHT and we were ready to put in an offer about 15 minutes later.
Later that week, we checked into interest rates and learned all about the lending and financing end of things. We got multiple quotes from multiple lenders (which I highly recommend – one quote was $21k higher after 30 years) and I got advice from multiple attorneys (I happen to be lucky enough to work in a building with many attorneys). About a week after that, we got word that the bank and the seller (the house is a short sale) approved our offer!
This morning, we had our home inspection and we were thrilled to find out that the previous owner took immaculate care of the property, which is highly uncommon for a short sale. We also learned from our real estate agent, that she turned down an ALL CASH offer on the house because “she had a good feeling about us, and wanted to work with us” – I mean, holy smokes! This just has fate written all over it. Also, the seller purchased the property for almost $100K more than we offered about 5 years ago, and put about $50k (according to the inspector) into sweat equity and upgrades. Lastly, interest rates being at the 3.5% region all time low made this deal what I affectionally call “A NO BRAINER.”
The home is beautiful. It is just the right mix of charming, convenient, and beachy, while still having tons of potential so that we can customize it and make it our own. (Hence, my ridiculous spamming of whoever follows me on pinterest with tons of house pins) And Oh, the VEIWS!!!
This house is a tithing miracle. That is all there is to it!
So, without further ado, here are the “BEFORE” pictures of the home. About 3% of me doesn’t want to post this blog post, because it is not 100% final, and I don’t want to jinx anything. We still have to sign and finalize the closing – however, if everything goes according to plan, by this time next month (I’m optimistic) we will officially be home owners! And I’m just going to focus on the glass being half full!
Front Deck/Front Door
Backyard fence, patio, garden boxes (how cute are these!!)
Kitchen Door/Back Door
Kitchen (other side)
Living Room view into Mudroom
Mudroom/Front Entry Area
Bedroom 1 (off of Living Room)
Office/Closet/Room off Bedroom 1
(those doors are closets, on both sides of room)
Up the Stairs
Original Parquet floors (which the inspector told us are priceless) on second floor.
Upstairs Bedroom (2) with a view of ocean
Other Upstairs Bedroom
Basement Bath/Laundry unfinished
(house comes with appliances~!!)
$1,000,000 view from upstairs bedroom window (where we plan to put a deck in the future)
Lastly, this is what is going on down the street (less than 2 blocks away)!
All this, for just $250 more than what we are currently paying to rent a dinky little apartment in a junky neighborhood. Like I said, it’s a miracle.