Sunday, June 4, 2017

We Bought A House!


Remember this post? Well, what a swirl of a couple of weeks since it has been! I really had no idea, as in absolutely no idea, just how stressful selling a home and buying a home would be when it's not being coordinated or assisted by an employer, as our prior five moves were. I was also surprised to discover that although we thought we were somewhat flexible about what home we bought next as long as it had a backyard view, turned out we were actually quite picky about the type of home we saw ourselves living in.

Selling our home here turned out to be quick, but still stressful. We had lots of showings out the gate because the market here in Orange County is red hot, and people are eager to buy while interest rates are still low. We began receiving offers by day four, and when all was said and done we think we received nine offers altogether - we honestly lost count in and amidst all the counter offers, the best and final offers and the really, really best and final offers. Craziness!

So when it was our turn to try and buy a replacement home closer to the ocean, we were rather nervous. We looked and we looked, but nothing felt precisely right. If it had proximity to the ocean it didn't have enough square footage. If it had square footage, it felt too far inland to really feel coastal, in spite of the lower temps and cool ocean breezes assuring us it was. If it was a fixer, it was too much of a fixer. If it was turnkey, it wasn't necessarily my kind of turnkey. If it had a view it had a tiny kitchen. If it had a large kitchen it didn't have enough bedrooms. And so on and so on and so on.

Who knew we were so picky?

So as we drove down last Friday for yet another day of house hunting with our realtor, we were feeling a bit perplexed about what to do next if we couldn't find our forever home. Right out the gate, however, we started seeing homes we actually liked. Not a one of them was absolutely perfect, but they were each close enough, and we began to relax. We could do this after all!

As we drove into one of the last properties we were going to tour, I began to get both nervous and excited. The neighborhood was beautiful, the homes were lovely, the ocean was within site in the distance - what was our realtor doing bringing us here? There was no way anything here was in our price range!

But then we drove up to this adorable-on-the-outside, ugly-duckling-on-the-inside of a home tucked into a long, quiet cul de sac, and we were instantly smitten. As we waked up the driveway and into the home I started ticking off checkbox's in my head - three car garage, front yard patio, quiet street - even as we entered and I started identifying all the things that needed updating - bad carpeting, wobbly stair railing, ho hum bathrooms, wallpaper in every bedroom. As we walked into the, surprise!, large, beautiful and newly updated kitchen, my heart started beating faster. And then, as we walked outside to the tidy, smallish backyard, it positively exploded. The views were incredible - open wilderness behind us, and a slice of the ocean to our right. Immediately the quote from Jerry Maguire came to mind, 'You had me at 'Hello.''

Open wilderness behind, Pacific Ocean to the far right.
I immediately knew I simply had to have this house, there was no going back now that I'd seen it. So we did what every nervous buyer does, we checked comps, checked our bank account, submitted an offer, and nervously waited. The first call from our realtor was to assure us that our offer had been submitted, and that the homeowners had received and read our submission letter (yes, there is such a thing as a submission letter in a hot market, where you pretty much throw yourself on a sword and beg the homeowners to pick you to purchase their home), and that they loved the letter. Next was a call to let us know that there was one other bidder, and we'd both be receiving counter offers. Next was the counter offer from seller, and our acceptance. Next was a full day of nervous waiting. Had we done enough? Were we still in the running, or should we reset our expectations and get ready to start thinking about a runner up home to bid on? And then the call we been waiting/hoping/dying/dreaming for - we were the winning bid and the home was ours.

It's been a full 24 hours since and I still haven't come down from my cloud. The list of to-do's is urgent and long - we have short 30 day escrows of both sides of the equation - but we'll just take it day by day until we get through it all and come out the other side. That's the plan at least, wish us luck!
The trail to the beach from our new home.

The coastal park at the end of the trail,
and where I'm already envisioning us walking day after day after day.

8 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Tamara! The hardest parts (selling and buying) are done. The rest of the process is just logistics and less nerve wrecking. The trail, open wilderness, and the coastal view look beautiful. You go girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just looking forward to sleeping again - I've been getting by on about four hours sleep for over a week due to the highs and lows of this process. Here's to settling in and returning to normalcy!

      Delete
  2. Congratulations! The location sounds wonderful as does the house. Happy moving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like Happy Moving is an oxymoron! But, oh yes, the location makes me so, so very happy. We hit every item on our wish list, which we've never, ever been able to do during any prior move. Being retired was key I think, in that we were able to completely devote ourselves to house hunting day after day until we hit on the one that was right for us, and then move fast when we did so.

      Delete
  3. I guess this answers my email question from last night! Yay! So excited for you! Let's take a walk to the beach!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, what fun that would be! A bumpy ride ahead to get there, but once we do it will all be good.

      Delete
  4. OH MY GOSH!! How exciting. You found your forever home and recognized it almost immediately. I am so happy for you! That view, the kitchen, the cul de sac lot! All within budget? What a gift. Loved reading this...my heart was in my throat until I read yours was the winning bid. Meant to be!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will need a good amount of updating to get it up to snuff, but we should be adding value as we do so in that the house was quite underpriced compared to other recent home sales in the neighborhood. The prior owners, bless their hearts, were 90 years old at point of move out, and they went directly to assisted living. We know they really struggled to keep the house maintained over the last few years, and we look forward to bringing it back to life. It has a wonderful layout, and we look forward to turning it back into a swan. :-)

      Delete