Househunting: disappointment (part 2)

start here with Part 1

Perry had been casually looking at homes for sale over the past several years, but once we decided to seriously consider the idea we very quickly started searching for possibilities on the internet.  I knew a larger house would be nice and we really wanted 4 bedrooms, but I really didn’t want a huge house.  Just a little more living area so we could entertain large groups indoors when necessary, another bathroom, and another bedroom, right?  I told Perry that I thought 2,000-2,400 square feet would be ideal.  It would be double the size we had now, and I just couldn’t imagine we needed more than that. Anyway, who wants to pay to heat, cool, and maintain a monster of a house?  Perry thought more would be nice, but was willing to look at houses in that range too.

Together we prayed that God would guide us and make His will clear to us, either opening doors wide in front of us or slamming them shut.

We very quickly scheduled 2 showings.  We were unsure about the first.  With 2,400 square feet, it sounded big and the photos looked spacious, but in real life it didn’t look and feel nearly as big as I expected.  The price was right and it was in a very good neighborhood, very close to work and church.  But the layout seemed tight and choppy, and 3 of the 4 bedrooms were tiny.  There was one huge bedroom – the converted garage – but the rest of the house just didn’t feel like a big family home.  Perry thought we should consider it, but I just couldn’t make myself like it.  We moved on to the second showing.
This one was not so pretty and polished.  It was a grand sort of house on a half acre lot, but it smelled a bit musty.  The carpets were old.  The countertops were dated.  The kitchen had just one small wall oven and no good place to install a full sized range.  But as we wandered around, each sure that the other would hate the place, we both fell in love with the split level layout and the multiple living areas, the rural feel of the neighborhood, the 4 bathrooms and the 2,700 square feet.  We realized it would have its challenges, but we were ready to take them on.  It immediately felt perfect to both of us.

We were sold.  We wanted that house.  It was just a hair higher than our target price range, but not much of a stretch – and there seemed a good chance that the seller might negotiate a little.

That afternoon we talked to a lender and learned that to qualify for a loan we needed to wait at least 3 years from the date of our short sale.  We weren’t sure, but thought it had been about 3 years.  A little checking revealed that we were just 5 days shy.  The lender told us in no uncertain terms that we should wait to make an offer until we were outside that 3 year window.  The house had been on the market for 5 months so we weren’t terribly concerned about the brief wait.  Actually, the timing seemed perfect: it would be wise to wait just a bit anyway before jumping into a decision like this.  Was God opening a door?

While we waited, we did some calculations and decided that although we could make both payments if necessary, we really hoped to rent our current home.  There are some very sticky issues with the property line and the neighbor’s title that would make it difficult to sell, but we’re not too far from paying it off.  We knew it was a longshot, but we wondered if my brother and his wife might be interested in renting it.  He was living 90 minutes away from us, very close to his employer, but he had expressed interest in the past in living in our neck of the woods, near our other brother and the old family homestead.  Was there any chance he would want to live 90 minutes from work?  Probably not, but we decided to ask him.  I laughingly told Perry we were setting out a fleece to see if God really wanted us to have The House.  We didn’t need my brother to rent our house, but it would certainly put our minds at ease.

To our complete and utter surprise, they didn’t just want to consider renting a home 90 minutes from work; they were delighted at the prospect of living out here and wanted to buy it.  He told us he had been wracking his brain for a way to move to the area, and this was his idea of perfect.  We agreed to give him a heckuva deal and he agreed to work out the problems himself in return.  It seemed clear that God was opening a door before us!

Over the next 5 days, we did due diligence: we researched crime rates for the neighborhood (lower than the average for San Antonio) and checked for registered sex offenders in the neighborhood; knocked on the neighbors’ doors to assess neighborhood friendliness; scheduled a second showing to take a closer look and took some of the kids to get their opinion (they absolutely loved it); called the local utility companies to find out what we could expect to pay for water, trash and electricity/natural gas; continued to peruse other listings and drove by dozens of prospective homes with and without our children to see if anything else grabbed us; and even scheduled more showings for those that couldn’t be ruled out by driving by.

Day 5 arrived, and we were still sure we wanted The House.  Nonetheless, I spent Day 6 doing more drive-bys.  Day 7 was going to be the big day: we scheduled the last round of showings for the homes that still looked like good possibilities, and agreed that we would make an offer on The House when we were done that afternoon.

The realtor greeted us at our first stop with sobering news.  The House – the home we had already mentally moved into – had gone under contract just one day ago.  My heart hit the floor.  Thoroughly deflated, we looked at the houses we had scheduled, but the rest of the day was equally disappointing.  Every house felt small and crowded, or the neighborhoods were just wrong.  None seemed right for us and our extended family and our Tuesday potluck crowd.

cont’d here: Househunting: Perry considers changing his name (part 3)


  1. OK, but I’m thinking you still got that house; we just need to wait till part 3!

  2. I agree with Ashley R. You might want to make a back-up offer. Just because the house is under contract does not mean that the deal will work out for the current prospective buyer. Of course you should keep looking and making offers if and when you find houses you like while you wait.

    I am sitting in a house right now for which we made a back-up offer, in a market where it was almost impossible for us to find a house. It had been on the market for 6 months, so we thought we could get it without competition, too. Then another offer came in, a day or two before ours. The house was smaller than what we thought we wanted, but the waiting time (3 months, in our case, it was a short sale) helped confirm that it would be a good one for us.

  3. I’m sorry! I know how hard that is :(. We had 2 big beautiful houses fall through on us at the last minute a couple years ago. We now live in a 600 sq ft cabin (we have 4 children) in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and will be here for another year + and, for now, we absolutely LOVE it!!! After the houses fell through my husband got the chance to quit the stressful job he hated and come up here to seminary. It really has been a blessing! We have a wonderful seminary family and my husband is getting a topnotch education, and our life now is much better than it ever has been. It’s just neat to see how God works!

  4. Ya know, you can still make a back up offer on any pending house. It’s especially a good idea if it’s done right after it goes under contract. As a broker myself, I’ve seen it work out that the back up offer ends up getting the house due to some fall out/fall through of the first buyer. Good luck!

  5. I don’t want to give platitudes… Yes, I know you *know* it’s God’s plan, and He ‘does all things well’… but that is still hard to go through.
    I pray for peace for you all 🙂

  6. Ah yes, but I’ve seen too many house hunting shows. I just KNOW this house turns up to be yours! How could it not be!

  7. I am sorry it did not happen. I am sure that the Lord has a better home just waiting for you to find. Keep looking. When we brought our home years ago we looked at more than 100 homes. We drove our realtor nuts I am sure. But we knew what we wanted and what we did not. Some things can be changed, but somethings about a house can not be changed….so keep on with the prayers and keep the eyes open. Good luck.

  8. Know how that feels…and when you are dedicated to not living outside your means, it can be harder to live and make decisions when your heart wants something so much…We’ve had SEVERAL houses fall through our fingers and currently have our house for sale…anyone know someone who needs to buy a house near Altoona Pa?

  9. Oh, you’re killing me with suspense!!!

  10. We went through a similar heartbreak last summer. The house we fell in love with was built in the early 1900s and had all the charming character you’d expect from a house built in that era. The day we went to see it our kids were running gleefully through the big back yard, exclaiming over the big, beautiful trees. When we got the news we hadn’t gotten the house I cried. I completely understand what you’re going through. Praying for your family that God continues to guide you clearly and give you peace about his direction and timing.

  11. We JUST went through the exact same thing. I already had decorated the “perfect” home we had found after searching and searching and even moving in with my folks due to us selling our previous home and having no where to go. We waited and waited and found the home God had planned for us. Took a while but we found it and we have now been in it a month. God has a plan. I do know how hard it is after mentally “moving in” hugs!!!

  12. We have been there and are still there. 🙂 We are living in a 1200 square foot attached house with four kids. However, we love our location. We would just like something with a bit more living space, another bathroom, and OUTSIDE space! Thus far, we have fallen in love with and really hoped to buy 4 houses and had them all fall through. One we even had inspected and were told it might have asbestos in it. :/

    We are working hard to trust God. It’s a balance–trying to be CONTENT where we are, but not shut ourselves off to God’s leading.

  13. Been there. Done that. And then saw God deliver in the most amazing way. I can’t wait to hear what He did for you all!!

  14. Meghan V. says:

    You do very well a story telling and leaving us in suspense until the next chapter! 😀

Don't just think it: say it!

%d bloggers like this: