Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday in Suburbia: Loosing a Bidding War

House Hunting Tip of the Week: Bidding Wars STINK  
Not Becoming Emotionally Attached is Harder than you Think

Here we are in March, our last month on our regular rent rate and six months into the house search, and we are still not under contract. On Monday a new listing came on the market.  From the photos the house seemed wonderful; adorable front porch, wood floors throughout first floor, neutral paint throughout, updated counters and sinks in the kitchen, half bath, and master bath, and BIG rooms.    

Late morning on Wednesday we pull into the driveway in front of the drive under garage.  The quaint neighborhood with charming house after charming house already pulled at my heart, as well as the short drive into downtown Alpharetta, an area full of good old fashioned mom & pop stores.  Walking around the path to the front porch I let out a sigh, "ah, how ideal."  The curb appeal  was already apparent and with a few flower boxes at the rails on the front porch along with some color in the flower beds this house would be a dream.

From Curb Appeal on HGTV ~ What I envisioned for the front porch.

As we entered the front door beautiful neutral wood floors spanned the path in front of us.   An average size formal living room and dining room flanked the foyer where stairs led up to the second floor.  We continued into the living room and through a small wet bar area that led us into the family room.  The fireplace is centered between large six foot windows and a door to the large back deck that overlooked a slightly small, but fenced in backyard.  The family room is open to the large eat-in kitchen, a rarity for most late 1980's homes.  The honey oak kitchen cabinets extend all the way up to the 9 foot ceilings; "dear Lord," I thought, "so much storage."  Then in a Brick Heck like whisper, "so much storage." (You need to watch The Middle to understand that whisper part.)

When I finally came out of my storage overload trance our agent let us know all the HVAC is only 4 years old and the roof is 7.  Hello jackpot.  Hello storage.  Seriously, those cabinets are glorious...they even have those fabulous little tilt out faux-drawers at the sink for sponges and such.

Past the kitchen is an interesting not-so-little surprise.  Since this lot slopped to accommodate a drive under garage, the area where the garage would have been is a gigantic bonus room - obviously gigantic as it is the size of a two-car garage, but finished like the rest of the house.  The possibilities are endless, but we are thinking a guest bedroom in the front portion and a man cave in the back.  As we return to the front of the house to go upstairs, I am already determining our offer.  Two equally sized bedrooms are perfect for our future son and daughter (what do you mean I can't choose that?), and the hall bath has a long vanity with two sinks so little Luke and Leia will not fight over the space.  (Boone wants those names, but it just isn't going to happen.)  At the end of the hall is another "bonus room" type space located over the other one downstairs.  The attic storage runs on each side, the full length of the room.  More storage.  This room will be great for my home office, sewing studio and workout room.  (Haha, workout...I should do that.)

The other end of the hallway is the laundry and master suite.  The master is a very good size, and the en suite has an updated granite vanity top and undercounter mounted sinks.  (I hate the counter mounted sinks - that caulk joint around the sink acquires so much grime!  Blargh!)  There is a little issue though; the toilet is not in a separate room, and that is a requirement for me.  However, the wing wall at the shower enclosure could easily extend to create a "wet room" for the shower and toilet.  A door with a frosted glass panel would be perfect to allow in some natural light, but still provide privacy.  Easy fix for under $800.

So, we have seen the main floor and the second floor...but we aren't done yet!  We descend the stairs and continue to where the drive under garage is to find yet another set of surprises.  First, the garage is extra wide by about 8 feet which allows space for lawn equipment.  Then, on the other side of the stairs is a whole other room!  Concrete walls were on three sides - perfect shelter for a tornado; I may be slightly paranoid.  And...it is also a perfect room for my wood shop.  I can picture myself down there constructing our built-ins for the family room.   I am sure Boone is thinking a perfect room to prepare for a zombie apocalypse... it is down here we discuss our offer...95% asking with $6K in closing.  A reasonable starting point for negotiations when taking the comps into consideration.

We submit the offer within two hours, and we begin the waiting game.  Thursday morning our agent calls to inform us that another offer was also submitted yesterday and we are now asked to submit our final.  We were rather frustrated at this point.  We were aggressive in viewing the house and making our offer quickly, and we still have competition?  I'm not going to drag out this part of the story because it makes me sad and angry; we went back and forth, we finally submitted our offer of asking price and we would pay closing.  By 10:30 Friday morning we found out this was not our house.

I still don't believe it.  We have seen about 30-40 homes at this point.  This was the only one that I was not simply visualizing how to decorate the house.  When we walked through the house I was not placing furniture and accessories and selecting wall colors for each space.  I saw our family.  I caught sight of a future with our daughter practicing piano in the living room with me in the kitchen cooking dinner while Boone and our son were in the back yard.  I know that is really jumping ahead of things since we are not even trying to have kids yet, but I am a planner, a dreamer, and an idealist.  And now...now I cannot imagine finding another house that can hold a candle to this.  Right now the clich√© statements of "it all happens for a reason" or "there's a better house just for you out there" just make me want to throw something.  That is just the reality of it.  Sure I know I just need to get over it, and we will eventually find the right house for us, but I am not there yet.  That other couple better love that house as much as we do...and they better be able to afford to maintain it. 

Okay, I don't want such a dismal end...

This has nothing to do with my post, but while listening to a message the other week on persevering grace it resonated with me.  "It is not a matter of me holding onto Christ, it's a matter of Christ holding onto me.  His grip is a lot stronger than my grip...his grip never weakens."  Steven Lawson from the series The Doctrines of Grace in John

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