Or, Our Offer Was Accepted

Hopefully (knock on wood), our house-hunting roller coaster is over because one of our offers has finally been accepted on a wonderfully weird ranch-style home in Apple Valley, California. I’m so excited and relieved to be moving forward and putting down roots after relocating back and forth across the country as a US Marine Corps family for the past fifteen years.

Our road to our forever home, though, has been a bit bumpy.

House #1

Gayhead

After our first round of searching and seeing houses with our shiny new real estate agent, this home was our absolute favorite. An investment company had gutted a 1950s home and remodeled it from the inside out, even adding a pool. It had two master bedrooms and an office with French doors leading onto the covered patio. I fell instantly in love.

The only problem was, the house was listed $20,000 higher than any other comparable home in the (not so nice) area. We’d be living in the nicest house on the block. For example, the yard next door was a junk and salvage yard. So, we made an offer for $15,000 below asking price. Though the home had been on the market for more than a month, the investment company refused to even acknowledge our offer. We had to walk away.

House #2

St Timothy

This gorgeous home we dubbed “the mountain house” because it sat under tall, rocky hills was our second (and more realistic) choice. It didn’t have a pool, but it was very well cared for and the acre lot was nicely landscaped from front to back. Bonus, it was in an excellent neighborhood.

We put in an offer for full asking price plus 50% of buyers’ closing costs. The owners verbally agreed. We were in!

Sometime that night, another offer came in. We were using a VA loan, which required the sellers to shoulder a bit more of the costs as well as a 45-day escrow. The new offer was a conventional loan. The couple accepted the other offer, and we were out of luck for the second time in one weekend.

House #3

US Hwy 18

This was my husband’s favorite. It’s a beautiful home, inside and out, with lots of clever design features that make it a superstar. Covered patios, wireless speakers in every room, and remote controlled security gates, for example. Plus it had a pool.

We made an offer for full asking price on Friday. That night, the sellers’ agent let us know they wouldn’t respond to offers until Monday. So, we waited. On Monday, the sellers’ agent said we’d have to wait until Tuesday in case better offers came in for them to choose from. On Tuesday, they said, “Oh, by the way. This wasn’t in the listing, but the sellers just installed new solar panels on the house and owe $40,000. The buyers will have to assume that loan on top of the home loan.”

We had to walk away. My husband is still upset about it.

House #4

Anoka

I admit, by this time I was feeling frustrated and disappointed. Three weeks of going out, seeing houses, making offers, and waiting on pins and needles had frayed my nerves. House #4 was no one’s dream house, but it was perfectly suitable. It had two master bedrooms, a family room, and half an acre of land on a corner lot. Also, it was about $50,000 cheaper than the first three properties. It had also been on the market for two months, so we assumed the owner would be happy to receive an offer.

We made an offer for full asking price plus 100% of buyers’ closing costs. The sellers’ agent got back to us the next day. Though it wasn’t mentioned in the listing, the seller would only sell the home “as is.” He refused to pay a cent, though our VA loan requires the seller to pay for certain reports and any lender-required repairs necessary to fund the loan. I was so desperate, I said we’d still buy the home if he simply agreed to pay for any possible repairs the lender required (with the chance there would be none), but he said no. We had to withdraw our offer.

House #5

2016-06-17 12.15.21

This was the first property we saw on our house-hunting trip that day, 3 and a half weeks into the process, and I fell immediately in love. We all agreed it was perfect for our family. It boasted an acre of land, two master suites, a covered patio, new windows throughout, and a living room the size of a skating rink. On top of all that, it was built in 1965 and has the strangest, kookiest interior of any house I’ve seen. It’s full of little nooks and cubbies, plus built in bookshelves, desks, and vanities unlike any I’ve seen. At each subsequent home we saw, we used House #5 as a measuring stick. After seeing five additional homes in our price range, this was still our favorite.

We made an offer for full asking price on Friday and crossed our fingers. Unfortunately, the seller was out of town and wouldn’t be available to consider the offer until Monday morning. So, we waited. On Monday, the seller gave us a verbal acceptance, but he is the executor of a family trust (that owns the house) and he needed to run the offer by his siblings to get their okay. He’d let us know Tuesday if he’d officially accept our offer or not. Another day of waiting and worrying and hoping this was finally it and we’d have a home to call our own.

Our agent called Tuesday afternoon with good news. The seller had accepted our offer, and we were in escrow! It’s still early in the process and I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m starting to make plans for our sprawling ranch style home. The yard has no landscaping to speak of, so I’m considering fruit trees, shrubbery, and decorative rocks. The interior has wall-to-wall carpeting, but with the desert heat and sand I prefer tile. The kitchen is “dated” (the kind word our agent uses to mean old and in need of remodeling) and I’d like to install new cabinets and countertops. But I’m so excited to get started and make this home into our dream home!

 

If you have any remodeling tips or stories I’d love to hear them. Check out my Pinterest board for our home remodeling projects.

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