Wednesday, January 10, 2024

House hunting

Yesterday we met with our real estate agent to view a home we were considering buying. Online, it looked like the perfect fit. We were excited to go see it, especially since it was situated in a rural part of our county.

Standing outside the home, it didn’t look like anything special. It was an older home that had been recently remodeled. Though plain, we hoped for the best. We knew from the online description it would be a smaller home and that was okay with us. Since the kids were all grown and gone, we didn’t need much space.

As we entered, our agent explained all the upgrades and recent remodeling efforts the owner had made. We were impressed with all of the amenities. They were beautiful! It looked like Joanna Gaines had come and done the house herself in the typical Magnolia style.

At only 1200 square feet, the home was very small, and we realized there wouldn’t be much storage. We didn’t know if we’d be able to fit our king size bedroom set in the tiny 12 x 12 master. But the house was cute. It felt cozy and warm.

We stood in the little living room talking with our agent. Both my husband and I were unsure if this was the perfect house for our forever home. He’d recently retired. We were pushing 70 and the yard was big. It would require a lot of physical work to keep it up. We noticed several large pine trees that would need to be taken down right away otherwise they might fall on the house. We tried to weigh the pros and cons as we listened to our agent talk.

We should have taken time to walk away and discuss our thoughts alone, but my husband and I would have been overheard anywhere in that little house. Trying to read each other’s body language was hard. Finally, I asked my husband point blank – “What do you think? Is this the home for us? Do you like it?” He was hard of hearing, so I wasn’t sure how much he’d heard as he nodded his head and smiled. Frustrated and unsure, I waited for his answer as the agent continued to give us details on what the owner was offering.

After about twenty or thirty minutes, I looked at my husband and said, “Should we go ahead and put a contract on the house?” He said we should. As I turned to the agent to give her the go ahead, I felt conflicted. I loved the inside of the home, even though it was small, but was worried about the yard. I’d seen my husband’s physical strength decline a good bit over the past few years and was very unsure about his abilities to cut down and haul off trees, cut the grass down by the street which had some deep drainage ditches, and get on a ladder to clean out gutters.

Standing outside the house, as we prepared to leave, I asked him again if he was sure this was the house we wanted. He said he liked it again, so the agent contacted the seller. The ball was rolling.

After saying our goodbyes, we headed back to our rental home. On the way, we discussed the house we’d just seen. We were on the same page about many of the qualities of the home but as we talked, I could hear concern in his voice too about the yard.

When we reached the rental house, we went inside and over dinner discussed the home we’d visited again. We loved the rural setting – seeing pastureland right outside the front door was so appealing. We loved hearing the lowing of the cows as we stood outside the home and talked with the agent. We also loved all the upgrades that had been made, but we both were concerned about the large trees that were in evident decay. They were so close to the house and there were a lot of them. They’d need to be taken down very quickly.

The more we talked, the more we realized we’d jumped the gun in our decision. I shot a quick text to our agent telling her we’d changed our mind and tacked on a lengthy apology. Before she had time to respond, I asked my husband to call and explain our decision to her. I wanted her to know how he felt.

She was gracious and honored our request to cancel proceedings on buying the home. While I’m sure she has these types of things happen all the time in her business, I was embarrassed and upset. I didn’t like making a fool of myself in front of others, especially someone I considered a friend.

I beat myself up most of the night. We should have told the agent we’d come home and think about the house before giving her our decision instead of making a rash one as we stood in the living room that day. I wouldn’t blame her if she decided not to keep us as clients.

That house, though completely remodeled on the inside, still had many flaws on the outside. It reminded me how Satan often baits us with seemingly innocent temptations to get us to do things against God’s will.

Today, since I have a clearer view of the situation, I can see our decision was a wise one. We would have regretted moving into such a small home with a huge yard. In my mind’s eye, I pictured us ten years from now. There’s no way we would have been able to maintain that property. Sure, we could hire someone, but that would eat into our meager income. Living on Social Security alone would be challenging. We’d be watching every penny.

So now we wait and pray. We are trusting God to provide the perfect home for us. We have no idea where it will be and we aren’t sure our agent will want to continue representing us, but we hope she will.

It’s hard to adult. Most times, we make decisions by stepping out in faith. But sometimes, I wish we had our parents around to bounce things off of. Their wisdom was priceless. Now that we don’t have that, we have to trust ourselves and lean hard on God.

I’m thankful our agent is a sister in Christ. She’s a kind hearted soul and is very understanding but even so, I’m sure she had to do a lot of back peddling to stop that ball we started rolling. I hate that we put her through that.

The next home we visit, we’re going to take a few days to think about unless we’re absolutely positively sure it’s the one for us.

House hunting is no fun. It can be an overwhelming and daunting task. I wish there was some sort of machine you could enter criteria into and have it spit out the perfect home at the perfect price, but there isn’t. All we can do is use the filters on Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin to see if we can find something that is close to what we want. And of course, our agent will be searching her MLS listings for us, too. (We hope! If she still wants to work with us…)

Please pray for us in the days ahead. We need the Lord’s guidance.

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