a supposed law of nature, expressed in various humorous popular sayings, to the effect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
If Covid has taught me anything, it’s to appreciate everything I have. No matter how big or how small.
Our moving journey has literally come full circle and it too has taught me to be so thankful for what we already have. From putting in an offer on 30 acres, drawing up the plans to our dream house, meeting with a builder to running into red flag after red flag resulting in a retracted offer on the property. From keeping our house on the market to move closer to Brad’s office on the other side of town and getting a contract to not finding what we are looking for and seemingly making compromise after compromise to make a house work for our family. Then going the rental route to find apartment shortcomings and houses that require a yearlong lease to having what we thought was the right house come on the market which we put an offer in on just to beaten out by a sight-unseen no-contingency offer.
Things weren’t going so smooth with our home’s contract either. The buyers were making many requests and lack of communication from their agent made for some interesting interactions. Throughout this process, we prayed to God to give us clear direction because with everything happening, we just weren’t sure what we were supposed to do. And we learned that sometimes when we ask God for something, the answer is “No.” We heard it loud and clear Friday, September 11. So our prayer changed to be that if this was his will for us to stay and wait for different timing, we asked to be able to get out of our contract. We talked with our agent and she was so supportive. We received a text from her at 9:30pm on Thursday, September 17 that the buyers’ agent had just sent a release of contract and no longer wanted to buy our house. God is faithful in every season. So here we are, full circle back where we started and we couldn’t be happier about it. Here’s to more memories in our home.
July 5 | Looking at Land
Brad has already dreamed about one day owning a piece of property one which we could build a house and raise our family with more space to enjoy the outdoors. The longer we have been married and now having kids, I’ve been able to embrace this dream and could totally picture a home like this for us. So for the last year, we have looked at different pieces of property with our real estate agent. This summer we saw several listings hit the market that we felt were worth looking at.
So after a busy 4th of July helping friends at their fireworks stand, we met our real estate agent on Sunday morning to look at several pieces of property. The first piece of land was hard to picture because of a creek that went right through the middle. There is also a proposed high school to be built beside it. The thought of sharing a property line with teenage skippers was not appealing. So off we went to the second piece of property. We drove down a mile long wooded driveway that opened up to a 2 acre pond and a beautiful piece of partially cleared land. The views were incredible and I could totally picture our family there, especially watching the girls run around. Our agent also couldn’t believe that it was still on the market after seeing it for the first time with us as well. We expressed our interest and planned to put in an offer the next day once I had talked with our bank.
July 6 | Making an Offer
First thing Monday morning, I called the bank our agent recommended for land loans. It didn’t take long to receive the pre-approval and get the green light to put in our offer. The sellers countered our offer the next day, which we accepted. We were officially under contract on 30 acres of land – a dream come true! Or so we thought at the time.
Part of their terms included a 25 day due diligence window. There was a lot we needed to get done between the appraisal and perc testing (a test that must be passed to ensure that the land where your desired homesite is to be can handle the house). Covid was also going to make it interesting, as many requests like these were delayed. Having full time access to the property now, we went back out there that night to start figuring out where exactly we would put our house, which we would need to stake out for the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to perform the perc test.
July 7 | Purging and Packing
After a picnic dinner the night before at the property, we spent this night at Home Depot picking up some storage bins to start packing up the house to celebrate going Under Contract on the property. I needed to declutter some areas of the house to prepare for listing pictures and getting our house ready to go on the market. It was such a surreal feeling to know that we were really moving out of the house we had lived in for the last 6 years and the home to where we brought our girls after they were born.
July 8 | Brad’s Birthday
To celebrate Brad turning 32, we went for a Ranger ride on the property, put out the stakes to mark our home site and gave him our present. He loved his new ‘Girl Dad’ hat!
July 9 | Listing Meeting
Our real estate agent came by to discuss listing our house and to schedule the photographer.
July 11 | First Builder Meeting
We hit the ground running the first week of being under contract on the property. We had already turned in our paperwork for DHEC to come out to do our perc test, our bank had ordered the appraisal and we had our first meeting with a potential builder. He came as a recommendation from our agent as well as the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Central South Carolina. We had initially picked out a builder when we started the land hunt last year, but they did not build on the side of town where our property was located. So we made an appointment with Delk Construction. George lives in the neighboring town and has been in the industry for years. After our meeting where he met us out at the property, we stayed a little longer to let the girls do some fishing in the pond, something the sellers had invited and encouraged us to do.
July 16 | Goodwill and Good Riddance
On this day, we made our first of many trips to Goodwill as we cleaned out and packed up our house to prepare for listing pictures. We also had a meeting scheduled with another builder, Covert Homes. John was extremely knowledgeable, matched the style of home we were going for and is very strong in his faith. After than initial meeting, we felt like he was the right match for us.
July 18 | DNR
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is one of the hardest places to get a hold of on the phone. Luckily, Brad knows someone who works for them and was able to reach out to him. He came by to take a look at our pond to gauge its health. He said it looked great and gave a few recommendations on some things we could do.
July 19 | Another Day, Another Ranger Ride
Brad had been busy out at on the property prepping things for DHEC. Whenever they were able to come out there, we would have to show them the property markers in each of the 4 corners. Through all his work, he found a piece of hardwood perfect for a future mantel. We could totally picture our house out on the property. Exactly how it would sit. How the sun would set on the back right corner of the house. It was going to be so pretty!
July 20 | Bubble Wrap Surprise
This was a busy day! We had listing pictures which proved to be a lot of work shifting furniture and bins around even though I had already cleared counters and shelves. Brad had also placed an order for more bins to use for packing as well as some bubble wrap. He had everything delivered to his office and called to warn me about the size of the bubble wrap that had arrived. He ordered an amount that we thought would come packaged in smaller portions like what you’d buy at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Boy, were we wrong!
July 22 | Meeting with Square1 Design
John Covert connected us with Mark Bostic, owner of Square1 Designs to help us put our home plans down on paper. He was so warm and easy to work with. He even came to our house for our initial meeting. After talking him through our ideas and giving him a rough sketch, he seemed to have a good grasp on what we wanted and we couldn’t wait to see what he put together!
July 24 | For Sale!
On this Friday, our house officially hit the market!
The appraisal was also completed on the property, which checked out and Brad met with a Well company. We had a long list of stuff we wanted to have quotes on and answers to within our due diligence and were checking them off one by one.
July 25 | Two Showings
Within hours of our house being listed the day before, we received several showing requests. So that morning we packed up our family and went out for a few hours.
I pulled back up to the house with the girls about 2 hours after the last showing had come by and was ready to get them down for a nap. As I got closer to the house, I noticed that there were a couple of cars out front and several people standing in my front yard looking at the house. At first glance, I thought maybe it was someone who saw the For Sale sign and was extra brave to just walk into the yard for a closer look. So I did a loop around the block before coming back by assuming they would have moved along by then. Wrong. This time when I drove by, I saw that the front door was open – they were now in my house! So I pulled in the driveway and texted our agent. She was furious and immediately started making some calls. Several minutes later, she responded saying that it was the first showing back for a second look, the agent just didn’t request to go back. So I backed out of the driveway, drove another slow loop around the block, they still weren’t out, so I then drove a nearby cul-de-sac, parking at the stop sign where I could see our house. A few minutes later, they walked out, discussed a few things in the front yard and then got into their cars. The agent’s husband had been waiting in the car so he obviously recognized my car. The drove up to where I was sitting at the stop sign and wanted to talk. Rolling down my window, the agent asked if we had a contract yet and told me that her buyers loved our house.
During the day we followed up with DHEC. We had still not been assigned. Our agent’s partner has a direct contact at DHEC that we were hoping could help expedite our file, but unfortunately he was out sick at the other person in-office that did perc testing had moved to a different territory in the state.
That night we received our first offer on the house! It was super exciting until we heard what it was. They offered 18,900 less than asking and wanted for us to pay all of the closing costs. We countered back at full asking price because we had only been on the market for 24 hours.
July 29 | First Draft
First draft of drawings came back and we were so impressed! We did a little reconfiguring of the master bathroom, pantry, half bath and laundry room and sent it back for revisions.
July 31 | Ahead of Schedule
This day turned out to be fairly busy. The day before, we finally got the call we had been waiting on – our perc test was ready to be completed! We got up that morning and met the guy at the property. Brad had to dig down 10 feet at the location for our future home and the location of our metal shop. The guy would observe the soil at various depths to determine if the land was suitable or not. We left with a thumbs up and just had to wait on the paperwork to be sent to us giving us the official approval.
Once back home, we did a bunch of cleaning and yard work because we had an afternoon showing. We also needed to go to Charlotte to pick up our boat from getting some routine maintenance so we timed everything so that we could get cleaned up and leave prior to the showing and then make the drive to get the boat. The showing was set for 3:15pm so Brad came in from the yard at 2:45pm to take a shower. I had just finished getting ready and the girls were in the family room playing while we prepared to leave. All of a sudden, I heard the door chime sound and immediately thought 2 things: either Laney had opened a door or the showing was early and people were walking into our house. I quickly came out of our master bedroom to see both girls in the family looking towards the front door. I heard a voice say, “Is your mommy or daddy home.” At that point, I was walking around the corner to see a masked agent peeking in from around our front door. She said, “I’m here for the showing.” I looked at my watch (2:50pm) and said, “Yes, at 3:15.” She said, “Oh I thought I had it scheduled for 3.” I told her to give us 10 minutes and we would be out. We finished gathering our things and jumped into the car. Off to Charlotte we went.
We late found out feedback from the showing – the husband liked the house, but the wife did not aka there would not be an offer coming from then.
August 3 | The Most Stressful Day
We set off first thing that morning towards the other side of town to meet with someone to pick up a new Little People toy I had found on Facebook Marketplace for the girls. We ended up meeting in the parking lot of my favorite Target in town, so of course we ran in to grab a few things we needed. The outing quickly turned stressful between some calls I had with Brad and some texts I was getting from our agent in regards to her communications with land sellers’ agent.
We had asked the sellers to give us an extension on our due diligence because of some of the waiting we were having to do to get the last few answers we needed on things but their agent basically said no – regardless of Covid, we had plenty of time. We also were still getting conflicting info regarding the ability to have metal shop and a house on our property. Luckily we found out that our due diligence was being counted in business days and not calendar days so we technically still had a couple of days left.
I’ve never blown through Target so fast. I’ll never forget trying to work through some of it with Brad on the toothpaste aisle. To make matters worse, by the time I got to the register, the gallon of milk I had under Morgan’s stroller had leaked all in the basket. Yay.
Long story short, we had initially planned to purchase the property, build a metal shop and live there for a year or two, save a little more money, work on house plans and then begin building. However, our county doesn’t allow 2 homes on one property so we weren’t going to be able to work the timeline we wanted.
Brad called the Planning Department as well as the Zoning Department and left messages for them.
We also received our second draft of house plans. The master bathroom still needed some attention but we were mentally tapped out for the day. Brad and I were both internally feeling like we were fighting against what was meant for us and trying to make something work that we weren’t feeling that good about anymore even though we hadn’t yet had this conversation.
August 4 | Formal Dining
Nothing like some more stress cleaning around the house. We had another showing. The feedback great and they were going to think about it. We later received another update that they had decided they really wanted a formal dining room, a room our house does not have.
August 5 | Zoning Department
We once again had another morning showing, but it apparently wasn’t a good fit for them because we never received any feedback from the showing.
After calls to our county’s Planning Department and Zoning Department, we finally got some answers that afternoon. We could have both buildings on the property. We would need to permit them at the same time and then build them at the same time as well. We also confirmed that it would be ok for the metal building to be completed first we just couldn’t necessarily disclose that we would be living there temporarily. This was something our builder was willing to help us get around. Not that we like cheating the system, but it was recommended to us to have the plumbing put in for the shop and then covered with a thin layer of concrete when the floors were poured that could then later be busted out to finish out a small kitchen and a bathroom. Our builder would then quickly get everything framed and finished for us to them begin working on the house. It was all becoming a little much.
August 6 | Inconclusive
We had received the approval from DHEC on our homesite, but did not receive the paperwork for the metal shop site which was crucial since that’s where we would need to live while building our house.
This was the day Brad also decided to pull all of our belongings from the property. We had been leaving our Ranger out there as well as a trailer and some equipment Brad had been using to do the necessary work needed to prep for DHEC. Now that everything had been completed, it was time to move it … especially since feelings of uncertainty were starting to creep in.
On the way to the house, two of Brad’s tires on the trailer blew out leaving him stuck on the side of the road until he could get them changed out. What a day.
August 10 | Budget Meeting with our Builder
Our neighbors kept the girls for us and Brad and I were able to enjoy a little bit of time together to go over and meet with our builder for pricing info with our plans. Everything pretty much lined up with what we were thinking but we were still trying to figure out if our heart was still in the project with everything we knew up to this point.
August 11 | Retracted Offer
For at least the last week, both Brad and I felt like we were trying to make something work that wasn’t supposed to be part of our family’s story. We had given up countless hours of our time for meetings and phone calls to collect every piece of information to learn everything we needed to in order to make sure this piece of property would be everything we wanted it to be. We learned so much about the process, how financing works for land vs. a regular mortgage and how then a construction loan comes into play. We had also learned that the property did not have the ability the have internet pulled in. That was a major red flag amongst especially with Brad to do more working from home. Some of the property’s past was a little unsettling too.
With one day remaining in our due diligence, we knew what we needed to do. We drove out to the property one last time to be sure we had removed everything (though Brad had moved the big machinery and things about a week prior that he needed for the DHEC testing) and said good-bye. The girls threw a few rocks into the pond, one of their favorite things to do out there and then loaded up to leave.
We decided to get Mexican take out on our way home. On our way to the restaurant, Jeremy Camps’s Keep Me in the Moment came on the radio and it felt like such a sign that we had done the right thing. Here’s some of the lyrics from the song:
Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
It gave us such peace knowing that something else was waiting for us.
After we picked up dinner and were headed home, I called our realtor to tell her our decision.
August 12 | Pushing Pause
The day after we retracted our offer, I spent some time following up with everyone we had lined up to use along the way of our building adventure. I shared with then what had transpired and that we needed to push pause on our project as we had to retract the offer on the property. Everyone was very supportive and completely understood. Those who do a lot of work in our county said it wasn’t uncommon because of some of the restrictions.
August 13 | Hitting the Road
We had been planning a trip to Florida and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
We were all due for a change of scenery and a moment to take a breath after all of the craziness. Brad worked a half day and once he was back home, we loaded up and headed to Jacksonville, FL to visit with our friends and meet with their new baby, Forrest Jr.
August 14 | Headed West
After we spending some quality time with friends and after Brad helped Forrest with a few electrical projects around the house, we headed west… across Florida’s panhandle to Destin to see my Brad’s parents.
August 15 | Second Look
We were in Destin not only to visit but also to help with the final leg of Gigi’s campaign for Walton County School Board. On this morning, Brad and his Dad went to go wave signs in Freeport while the girls and I accompanied Jeri to pass out campaign shirts to those who would be waving signs on election day at the various voting precincts.
While we were in Florida, our agent was still busy back up in Columbia showing our house. This day we had a couple come back for a second look, though it never turned into anything.
August 16 | Open House
To refresh our home’s listing, our agent had scheduled an Open House for the Sunday we were out of town. It brought 6 couples through the house along with one scheduled showing for just after the open house. Several of the families schedule second looks for the following week.
August 17 | Beach Day
While our home was being shown back up here in SC, we had planned a beach day. This was really our only day while in Florida that didn’t have something scheduled so we were taking advantage of this by enjoying a family day. We loaded up the golf cart with everything we needed and set off for the beach. After some floating and play time in the ocean, we shifted up to the pool for a little while at the Hilton Resort. (Brad’s parents have a membership there which makes it so nice for beach access since they live on the bay side.) The Hilton has the best poolside restaurant so once we were finished swimming, we made our way there for a late lunch and a few cocktails.
August 18 | Election Day
The big day had arrived! It was election day! My mother-in-law, Jeri had been working SO hard for months on this campaign. That morning Brad’s dad left to go teach at school, Brad and his mom left for the DeFuniak voting precinct and the girls and I enjoyed a leisure morning doing some shopping at the outlets. We definitely had to go check out the Disney Store outlet. Afterwards, we drove north to DeFuniak to pick up lunch for Brad and Jeri. After we ate together, Jeri was pretty exhausted from it all as well as the heat. So I offered to stay if she wanted to go back home with the girls for a nap and that’s what we did. Brad and I stayed until around 6:30pm waving to voters before we drove on back to Destin to hear the results together. The news channel called just before the results were in to ask where Jeri was going to be. We knew between that and the current tally with the number of precincts that had reported thus far, that she had won! The final word came shortly after, the news arrived and she gave her victory speech, thanking everyone who had helped get her to this point.
August 19 | Headed Home
With the mission completed, it was time to head back home. Brad had a work commitment first thing Thursday morning so we needed to get on back. As we drove home, there was an afternoon showing back at our house and our agent had called to schedule one for the following morning. That was going to be interesting!
August 20 | Unpacked and Uncomfortable
Because we had a showing so quickly after returning home, I knew I needed to get unpacked and put everything back in their places. When I went upstairs to the put our luggage away, I noticed that the air upstairs was a little warmer than normal. Hmmm.
August 21 | Agent Feedback
We were consistently hosting showings but still no offer. On this particular day, we had another showing and definitely knew something was up with our upstairs AC unit but there wasn’t anything we could do about it yet. Our agent received feedback regarding the air temperature upstairs and recommended that we not set the thermostat for 90 degrees for a showing. That made me chuckle because who in their right mind would have it set that high?! I told our agent that we had an appointment for the following week to have the unit looked at.
August 22 | Listing Appointment
Brad stayed home with his migraine and the girls while I walked a house over in Chapin with our agent. This neighborhood was very appealing to us because it had boat storage as well as a private boat ramp! We could be on the lake in 10 minutes on days we wanted to go vs 45 minutes to over an hour like from our current house. The house had fairly good flow but had a basement that we didn’t really need for a bonus area, a small deck off of the kitchen with a ton of steps down to the yard and the back yard was a disaster. It sloped and was mostly just mud. Not ideal at all. We crossed that one off of the list and kept hoping something else in that neighborhood would pop up.
August 24 | RIP
Well we got the official word from the ac company that our upstairs unit was dead. The coil had ruptured and leaked everywhere. Due to the age of unit, the parts needed to repair were no longer made and we would need to replace the unit.
We also had a last minute showing schedule for that afternoon. Apparently the buyers only had a small window to look at homes with their agent and wanted to add ours to the list.
Through some additional playing on Zillow, Brad sent me a house he saw in Lexington. We inititally were focusing on finding something like we currently lived in – a custom build located in a custom built neighborhood. Most of these similar homes we were finding in Chapin, our top choice area we wanted to be in for Brad’s commute as well as schools, were priced for top dollar but still needed a bunch of renovations to remove outdated finishes and give it an open floor plan. Therefore, we opened our search to a couple of surrounding areas and when we still couldn’t find what we were hoping to see, we started to look at track homes. Not that there is anything wrong with them – we just didn’t see ourselves living in one … until now. The house Brad sent me was so cute for a track home and had the floor plan and size we were looking for. I messaged our agent about it to see if she could set up an appointment for us to see it. She texted me back soon after and said that it was actually under contract – apparently the agent had not yet pulled it down and was using it as bait for other properties he had listed, which he isn’t supposed to do. The house had been under contract for a week and had the typical contingencies. For that reason, we asked if we could still be allowed to see it. The sellers agreed and we scheduled a showing for Wednesday afternoon since they only allowed for showings after 4:00pm.
August 25 | Offer!
We had a couple come back for a second look at our house. They currently lived in a two story home in a nearby neighborhood and were looking for a ranch style like ours. While they were at our house, I drove to Lexington to look at the house we would be walking through the next day. It was near a fairly congested intersection and backed up to the elementary school but as a whole it was an ok neighborhood and the house itself was so pretty.
That evening we also heard back from our agent regarding the next day’s showing at the house in Lexington I had driven by earlier in the day. The sellers’ agent obviously had needed to mention to the current buyers what was transpiring. Realizing they could potentially lose the house if we came in with a no-contingency offer, they removed their contingencies and our showing was canceled. You’re welcome, sellers.
That night after dinner, we basically decided that if we didn’t have an offer on our house by Friday, it wasn’t meant to be and we would just stay put.
A little after 8:00pm, my phone rang. It was our agent and I immediately assumed she had an offer for us since she normally would text me. The couple from the previous day had put in an offer. Knowing that the older couple from early that morning were probably going to put in an offer as well, our agent followed up with them and another couple who had said our house was their top choice. There was a chance we were going to get 3 offers at once on our house all of a sudden! Our agent gave these other 2 buyers’ agents until 11:00am the following morning to have something submitted.
August 26 | Under Contract
After our showing fell through on the house in Lexington, we began trying to find that same floorplan in another neighborhood. You’ll never believe where we found it! Back in the neighborhood in Chapin with the boat ramp! Prior to countering any offer on our house, we wanted to see it that morning to see if it was the one and then potentially put us on the same closing timeline as our house. Our agent was able to get us a showing so we met in Chapin at 11:00am after I took the girls on a quick trip to the zoo. After walking it, the bedrooms were going to be too tight for the girls and the backyard was tiny. Also beyond the property line, the land sloped way down into the drainage creek that dumped into a drainage pond down the street. Had it been level to make the illusion of a larger yard, it may have been a different story. But it was a no for us. We then had to make a decision on a counter for our house because we had been given a 12:00pm deadline that our agent was able to extend to 1:00pm. The older couple had decided that they didn’t want to get in a bidding war and bowed out and the other couple didn’t seem phased by the other offer coming in so we never heard from them again. So at that point, we submitted our counter.
August 27 | Crash Boom
At this point, we were pretty tuned into Zillow and were scrolling the listings all of the time! And by now we were just trying to find anything we could no matter what area, since the Chapin thing wasn’t going the way we had hoped. There was a neighborhood in Blythewood, near where we live now that was expanding with a track home builder. Some of the homes looked very nice with significant lot sizes so we figured they were worth a look. After dinner, we made our way to the garage. I quickly realized that something was out of place … one of the lights in the garage had fallen on my car. It had just missed my windshield but I thought it shattered my sun roof. Luckily it didn’t and what I saw was just all the dust that came down with it. I then loaded the girls and slowly back my car out of the garage so that Brad could get up on a ladder to take the light down since it was still hanging by the wires. Our garage was pretty full from shifting things around with preparing to move and because we had single entry garage doors, I had to be sure I did rub my front end on anything. I wasn’t even paying attention behind me. Brad had parked a trailer in front of our fence a few days prior which didn’t allow for him to pull his truck up as far as he normally does. You can see where this is going … I backed right into the tailgate (that was down) on his truck. Luckily I was going super slow and did nothing to his truck but I gave my tailgate a boo boo and cracked my taillight. Ugh. This was not a good night. Once we all calmed down, we left to go look at those houses.
August 28 | AC estimate
We decided to get several quotes on our new AC unit because the first one that came in was about double what we were expecting to pay. The company that came out on this day was basically trying to sell us on a contractor grade unit which we weren’t interested in. Our objective was not to screw over the new buyers. This guy also said “September 31st” so I pretty much crossed them off of the list after that anyways.
Our agent also had shared some exciting information – our mortgage lender actually has a lake house that he rents out during the off season and we could go look at it if we were interested! It finally felt like something was going to go our way! We went by to go to look at it and it was perfect. It was right on the lake, in a cove with two docks, a playground and a completely fenced in yard. I called our lender to talk to him about it, our plans and setting up a time to see it.
August 29 | Canceled
That morning, we were all up and getting ready because we needed to be on the other side of town first thing to see the lake house. While we were doing on, I got a call from our lender. I assumed he was confirming that we were still going out there before he made the trip too. He actually called because we both had forgotten to talk about the pet policy. Turns out they (he owns the house with other family members) don’t allow pets, so there went our hopes of renting a lake house for less than what we currently pay on our mortgage.
Brad had some things to do for work so he went ahead and still headed out for a little bit. I decided to get a few errands done with the girls. It was taking us longer than usual to get ourselves together, but it worked out because just before we were about to go get in the car, the doorbell rang. Not expecting anyone and assuming it may be a package I took my time getting to the door. Once I got close, I saw through the window a man standing on my porch. I opened the door and asked how I could help him, assuming he was about to try to sell me something. At that moment, a lady came walking down our front walkway. He said he was there for the showing. I’m sure the look on my face was priceless. I told him that we were already under contract. He was so confused before finally turning around and walking off, which then made the lady so confused as to why she wasn’t getting to go in the house. I’m just glad we hadn’t left yet, because had we been gone (I’m assuming he rang the doorbell first because my car was in the driveway), that would have been an interesting showing for them. My house was a disaster with packing and I had let the girls go crazy with their toys again since I wasn’t having to clean for showings. They would have walked around going “What the heck?!”
Our buyers also removed their sale of home contingency on our contract because their buyers had to retract their offer. Apparently, the home they were selling had foundation issues come back on their home inspection that they were having to address. Yikes.
August 31 | HelloFresh
Through all of the chaos, we signed up to try HelloFresh to help save my sanity. I was so impressed and every recipe we had that week was so good!
September 1 | Apartment Appointment
We scheduled one last AC quote to be able to make a final decision on what to do. Apparently, we saved the best for last. They came as a recommendation from our agent and gave us the best service and the best pricing. If you live in the Columbia, SC area, I highly recommend using Lever HVAC for your heating and cooling needs!
With the days ticking away, we knew we needed to get some sort of rental locked down. Our first choice for an apartment was a complex basically right on the lake. I called and they had one 3 bedroom apartment that would be available on 9/28 which was perfect since we were closing on 10/2! The guy gave me all of the info and schedule a tour for us for the following morning at 10:30am.
September 2 | Communication Casualty
That morning, Brad met me and the girls at the apartment complex for our tour. We walked in and I said we were there for the 3 bedroom tour. We were given the key to take our self guided tour, saw the apartment, deemed it exactly what we needed and went back to the office to sign the papers. We asked for a printout to decide if we wanted to sign for a 3 month or 6 month lease. When I was given the sheet, the move in date listed was 10/10. I asked about the 9/28 moving date and was told they had nothing sooner. I then realized the sheet that had been printed was for a 2 bedroom. When I asked for the 3 bedroom pricing sheet, the girl that had stepped in to help as well looked at me confused and said they didn’t have a 3 bedroom. What?! I went back through the conversation I had with the guy sitting across the office right then and was told they had one left. Apparently he had failed to tell me on the phone that I could have submitted an application free of charge to hold our spot for 72 hours. Late that night before, 3 applications had come in for the apartment and someone was approved for it prior to us getting there. When I say we were furious, that’s an understatement.
We then sat in the parking lot scrambling to look up other apartment complexes nearby with a 3 bedroom available in time of our closing date. We were finding that like houses, most people want to be settled prior to the school year starting and most were already booked since apartments don’t have as many 3 bedrooms as other smaller units. Other places were either out of 3 bedrooms, not offering a short term lease, or charging inflated prices because they only had 1 or 2 units left. I found 1 affordable option in Lexington with one other person scheduled to go see if that afternoon so I drove straight there with the girls. Brad had to get back to work and couldn’t go with us.
Once there, I asked a ton of questions and did the tour. The unit was so cramped compared to what we had just seen and it felt like nothing was going to compare to the unit we had just seen on the lake.
After that fiasco, I decided to take the girls to Target on that side of town because we still needed to get their school supplies. I promised the girls we would get a cake pop from Starbucks on the way out. As we checked out, I noticed the Starbucks area looked a little dark. Sure enough, the Starbucks was randomly closed midday on a Wednesday. Laney was so upset but knowing we would pass one on our way home, I told her we would get one. The girls had been troopers all day thus far. Once at the other Starbucks, I decided I was going to treat myself to trying a Pumpkin Crème Cold Brew. I ordered the cake pops when it was my turn in the drive thru and then order the cold brew. Of course, they were out, so I turned back to ol’ faithful, the caramel macchiato. What. A. Day.
September 3 | Getting Serious
There seemed to be a small surge of listings that popped up on Zillow and with us continuing to widen our criteria to other listings, we had compiled a little list of homes that we wanted to see on Saturday. 2 homes were Charleston style with no yard, 1 was at the higher end of our price range but with an amazing kitchen and family room, there were 2 lots on the lake with dumpy trailers on the land that had potential, a track home on a cul-de-sac and a house in the same town as Brad’s office with a weird floor plan and a pool. To get out of the house, the girls and I ventured to go look at the first 3 on this list.
September 4 | Beware of Buyers
This morning I took the girls to Open House at their preschool while Brad worked from home as our new upstairs air conditioning unit was installed.
As I was pulling into the driveway once we got back home, I noticed that 2 cars had pulled up to the front of the house. Not expecting anyone other than the workmen who had already been at the house I wasn’t sure what was going on. My first thought was that someone else had randomly showed up for a showing even though we were under contract and then I wondered if they were our buyers. I called our agent who had obviously just spoken with the buyers’ agent. They had tried to schedule an appointment within the appointment for the home inspection (that wasn’t until the next morning) to come in and take measurements for furniture. They already knew we were having the new unit installed so I’m confused as to why they thought we wouldn’t be home and that they could just come on in. They were obviously upset things weren’t going their way. Brad and I tried to determine how we could shift some things since I was in the middle of packing bins so that they could come in for a few minutes, but when he tried to go outside to talk to everyone to eliminate the back and forth, the buyers wanted to nothing to do with that and just stared at him. So then Brad tried to explain that we were holding off on filing the paperwork for the new unit so that they could put it in their name after closing to take advantage of the 10 year warranty. Still nothing. We pretty much knew after that that they weren’t going to be easy to work with. We had contemplated asking for a closing extension since their house was back on the market and since we hadn’t found anything to move into yet, but we decided we wanted to be rid of
them asap if this is how they were going to be and decided to stick with the timeline.
That afternoon, we had an appointment I had set up to see another rental house on the lake. It was just around the corner from our lender’s house and a little more expensive, but still potentially a good option. Unfortunately, this house required a 12-month lease which is something we didn’t want to commit to with still house hunting and wanting to quickly jump on something that did come available.
September 5 | House Hunting
Our buyers scheduled their home inspection for the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, so we went house hunting to make use of the time. The first 3 homes were in a neighborhood that had just raised their HOA dues and we were 0% interested in paying over $800 per quarter so we crossed those off of the list even though 2 of them had good potential. We canceled the showing for the house near Brad’s office because we just couldn’t get past the weird layout and decided to forgo looking at the two lots with the trailers because that was just going to be too involved. We had already driven the street and it wasn’t what we expected and it was going to require some work on the dock, ramp as well as redrawing and combining lot lines. The last house we looked at was the one we were most excited to see. It had the size we wanted, the open floor plan I didn’t want to compromise on, a mud room area, a 3 car garage and was on a big cul-de-sac lot. However, when we pulled up to the house, our jaws dropped. Right next door with a fence line hugging the front corner of the front yard was a little cemetery from the 1800s. We looked at the house and deemed the floor plan perfect for our family but we just couldn’t get past the neighbors. I looked back at the listing and the sellers’ agent definitely has a sense of humor. In the listing description she put ‘quiet neighbors’ hint hint.
September 6 | Cherokee Trail
After loving the one house so much from the day before, we turned our attention to trying to find that floorplan in another neighborhood. A new subdivision was just being cleared in Lexington and would be building this particular floor plan in it as well. We drove through it to scope out the lots that appeared to still be available and found the perfect one in a cul-de-sac. Since at this point we knew we would be going the rental route, we technically had the time to wait on the house to be built. We sent our agent the lot number and she went to work. We found out later that day that they had not yet opened up that street of lots yet and that it would probably be about 6 months or so from now before they did. They were still looking to fill other streets first. It also appeared that with it being a prime lot, they would charge a premium and lottery it off so there was no guarantee that we would be able to get our name on it. We couldn’t win for losing at this point.
September 8 | Home Appraisal
It was the Tuesday after Labor Day and we had our last item on the to do list for selling our house – the appraisal. Once the guy was finished, he basically gave me the unofficial thumbs up that the value and the sales price would work in everyone’s favor.
I then spent about 2 hours of the afternoon while the girls napped trying to find other rental options. Most of them were dead ends because availability only opened up after our closing date.
Not long after I finished with my calls, I got a notification on my phone form Zillow. A house had just hit the market. In Chapin. In the 10/10 school zone. Near the lake. In a small subdivision we had driven past and said “Why can’t something go on the market in there?” We couldn’t believe it! I called Brad and he said he had just seen it too. I immediately contacted our agent to schedule a showing for the next day. The pictures for the house weren’t even up on Zillow yet so we were basically walking it sight unseen at this point. That night, I remember feeling so excited and like a weight had been lifted that maybe, just maybe we had found the house!
September 9 | Big Day!
It was a big day! It was the first day of school and the first day ever for Morgan! They were so excited and drop off went really well! No tears from either of the girls.
After leaving them, I finally got the Pumpkin Crème Cold Brew that I had been wanting to try and took Koda to the vet. Not realizing that I couldn’t take her in but rather only drop her off, I left her to get some errands done until she was finished. I treated myself to a walk through my favorite store, Ivy House as I also shopped for my mother-in-law’s upcoming birthday. As I’m walking through the store, I get a text from our agent. She had sent a forwarded message from the sellers’ agent for the house we’d be looking at that afternoon that said to please be on time because there were showings at 4:00pm, 4:30pm (us), 5:00pm, 6:00pm and 7:00pm. My jaw dropped. I immediately assumed that we could very well be in a bidding war by the end of the day.
After a successful shopping trip, a treated pup and school pick up, I got everyone home and fed some lunch. I put the girls down for quick naps and then back up again to make our hour trip to Chapin for the showing. My stomach was in knots driving over there to meet Brad. I had Jesus Jams pumping through the car and was just praying that if this was meant to be, it would work out. We were about to get off of the interstate when my agent called. I thought she may be calling to say she was running a few minutes late but instead she told told me an offer had just come in … sight unseen. I was speechless! I immediately called Brad and he was just as disappointed as I was because I know he was hoping to not get into a bidding war if we could help it. But this house was priced so low for the area that we knew it would go quick. They were only asking $83/ sq. foot which was like $40 less per sq ft than everything else on the market.
We walked the house and it definitely had some quirks but it had great space and the perfect template for us to do some work and really make it what we wanted. Especially with the price! The backyard was awesome, the lot was big and it checked every box. We had enough bedrooms, a bonus room, great outdoor space, room for a pool and the master closet had an island in it! What?! There was even a little Mickey Mouse sticking out of a purse in the master closet. It felt like a sign. This was it! We wanted to make an aggressive offer since we didn’t know where the sight unseen offer came in at, so instead of naming a price, we offered $500 over the highest bid up to a certain limit and offered to pay all of closing costs.
We had heard that the sellers’ agent had requested for any offers being made to be submitted that night for the family to discuss the following morning. It was a military family and the husband was overseas, therefore they had to wait until timing lined up to be able to talk.
September 10 | Retail Therapy
I’m surprised I even got any sleep the night before. We had spent much of the evening brainstorming all of the renovations and that house already felt like ours. I couldn’t wait to get started and turn it into our dream home! The text came around 8:45am. We didn’t get it. They had accepted the sight unseen offer because it didn’t have any contingencies. We were crushed.
Luckily for Brad, he was headed to go play in a golf tournament for work to get his mind off of things. He encouraged me to pack up the girls and go out of town for the day for a change of scenery so we set off for Charlotte, NC for some retail therapy at SouthPark Mall.
Prior to leaving, the buyers’ agent had arrived with a painter and a window guy to give quotes on some work for the buyers as well as an AC guy to check the unit we had just installed. Apparently, they didn’t want us screwing them over even though we had told them we upgraded the unit from a 1.5 to a 2 unit. This agent hadn’t been the nicest, so I definitely wasn’t in the mood to deal with her on this particular day. She puts on the face but you can definitely see the “I don’t care” right through it.
I had run to UPS first thing to mail my mother-in-law’s birthday present before coming back home to grab what we needed for our day out and got back home at the time everyone was supposed to be arriving. However, it looked like everyone had come early. They had all parked in the driveway and there was guy sitting on a bumper smoking a cigarette. I texted the picture to Brad who relayed it our agent, who then followed up with the buyers’ agent to please ask him to not do that when he would be walking through our house. She of course never addressed it and looked at me at one point with a half you know what “Sorry.” But we both knew she didn’t care. When I walked into Morgan’s room for one last diaper change, I couldn’t help but notice that one of her blinds had been ripped off of the wall, was laying on the floor and her curtains were in disarray. Apparently the agent had “accidentally” done that trying to get them out of the way to see the pin hole of light that was flagged on the home inspection. I was so over it all and left.
The girls and I had the best day being distracted from all of the chaos and found some cute things at the Disney Store. I also scored my new favorite jeans from Loft. Once back home, Morgan’s blinds were up but obviously no one taught them to leave them things they you found them.
September 11 | Due Diligence Deadline
Due diligence for buyers was scheduled to ended at 8:00am on this morning. As expected from how everything else had gone thus far, they waited until 11th hour, literally, to submit their repair addendum. They sent it over at 11:30pm. I work up around 6:30pm to Brad on his phone. He normally checks work email prior to getting up to take a shower but something told me to ask if everything was ok. He said no because the addendum had come over and they had literally asked for everything on the home inspection to be completed. On top of that, they also asked us to give them $6000 at closing for windows. We were absolutely shocked. The average buyer can look at a home inspection and cross things off that are minimal and can be done once you move in. Not these people. They literally wanted it all done and most of it was nit-picky things. Once we got over the initial shock, we asked for a copy of their window quote to see where this $6000 figure was coming from. Our agent asked for it 3 times and it was never shared. All that was ever said about it was that there were 5-6 windows they wanted to replace. Our agent then spoke with a local window company who said that type of job would cost half of what they were asking for. Our next thought was, because they still have not yet gone back under contract on their house, are they trying to back out of our contract since this is their only contingency left? Our agent had the same thought and asked their agent about it in a roundabout way – her response was “They really like the house, they just aren’t handy…” With the uncertainty, our agent had also reached back out the buyers’ agent for the couple looking for the ranch that initially didn’t want to get into a bidding war. They had not yet found anything and would be thrilled to know if our house was going to be available again.
With both girls at school that morning, Brad and I were able to talk on the phone more about everything. Feelings that came up when we walked about from the property were starting to surface again. We felt like we were fighting the plan. Sometimes when you pray to God for something, the answer is “No.” and that’s where we felt like we were – between a “not right now” and a contract our house. Now what? At the end of our call, we basically knew we wanted out from these buyers and were feeling like they were going to back out. We also were curious to see what the other couple may offer since the ball would be in our court to then accept it or decline it. However, the more we thought on that, the more it didn’t make sense because we still had nowhere to go. Which is something our buyers didn’t know either. We think they asked for so much because they assumed we needed to be able to sell our home to move into a new one, however, there was no ‘new one.’ So, I used up the little bit of remaining time I had left before I needed to go pick up the girls from school to call our agent and tell her that we no longer wanted to move. Whether it worked out that the buyers no longer wanted our house or we had to be the ones to initiate that conversation, we wanted out, we didn’t want to follow up with the other couple and we wanted to stay. Our agent said she completely understood and to take the night or the weekend to think it over since we had 5 days to respond back to the addendum.
September 13 | Peace
On this Sunday morning, the message from our church service couldn’t have been more spot on. The question asked was, “Where is God growing your roots?” God positions us in a place even though we may not know what He is doing. We had already made up our mind that we felt like the timing wasn’t right and that were supposed to stay, but after hearing this we felt such peace.
I called our agent that afternoon and told her we still felt the same way. She put her poker face on and we returned the addendum stating that we would fix 0 items on the list and would not be paying them $6000. Their agent said they were shocked. I’m sure they thought we would just agree to most of it if we were trying to get out. They had 5 business days to respond so now the waiting game had begun. If they decided they didn’t want to agree to that, they could walk. If they agreed to it, then we would have to show our hand and hope that they didn’t take any legal action. We were prepared to pay for the appraisal and the home inspection if we had to just to cover what they had paid in the process.
September 17 | Release Date
When I woke up on this morning, something told me to check Zillow. Not for a house for us, but to check the status of our buyers’ house. (We had their address since it is listed on the initial contract we all signed.) Every other time we had peeked at it since hearing that their deal fell through it was listed as For Sale. However, this morning it showed that the listing had been removed the day before. So I texted our agent to see if she could look in the system to determine if it had been removed if they were under contract. I heard back a few minutes later that it had been ‘withdrawn’. So that meant no contract. Interesting. I called Brad to share this tidbit of info and it gave a little bit of hope that they too had decided not to move but we didn’t want to get too excited yet.
On this particular night, we were up in our bonus room – a space we don’t enjoy enough. Brad and I were sitting on either couch and watching the girls play. We had let them stay up a little later than normal for some reason. Then at 8:50pm our agent texted us with the response we had been waiting for: our agent had just received the release from the other agent. All we had to do was sign off on it and we were home free. Literally!
We have literally done a 360 and come full circle since the beginning of July. We have learned a lot about every aspect of buying and selling since we basically covered almost every one of those bases in fell swoop this time. Phew!
As crazy as it may sound, we are overjoyed to get to spend more time making memories in this house. Yes, Brad may still have a longer than preferred commute, but the schools here are good for elementary years and we have a good routine over here with the girls’ preschool and such. So here’s to embracing God’s direction, even when He says “no.”
Land loans are very different from regular home loans.
They are only financed up to 85% and the term is either 15 or 20 years with a slightly higher rate than home loans. So even with our down payment, the shorter term made the monthly payment the same amount what we pay now on our home’s 30 year fixed rate.
Construction loan down payments are not calculated the same way you determine a down payment for a home loan. Construction loans requires 20% down which is calculated from the appraised value of the land and the size loan you are looking to get.
Houses Under Contract
Did you know when house hunting, you can technically still look at home under contract with contingencies as long as the sellers agree to it? They can’t legally accept just a higher offer but if contingencies are in play and you don’t want to offer any, they can still pick you because of that.
A Different Way to Make an Offer
When you make an offer a house, it doesn’t have to be a specific value. You can make an offer that is $X more than the highest bid up to a certain amount i.e. $1000 over the highest offer not to exceed $385000.
I have never been so mentally and physically exhausted from anything (other than motherhood) in my entire life. After having already mourned the loss of this house when I thought I was closing this chapter, it has been fun falling in love with our home all over again.
So when life hands you the Murphy’s law of moving, you stay. The buying and selling saga may be over, but giving our house some TLC with some new upgrades is just beginning!