As John puts it, “it’s been a bit stale” around here. Once again, I apologize. Yes I got busy with life again and I was in the middle of things that I couldn’t write about out of some strange superstition I have, but once again I have returned and I’m ready to start saying what’s on my mind and catch you up with everything else one post at a time.
So the biggest reason I have been all quiet on the Blogging Front is that we moved again. It was not the elaborate logistical challenge of moving across country (which was only six months ago) but a more manageable in-town move into Our new house. When we moved to NC the plan was to rent for a year and start looking for our own house in the fall. But then Spring came as did the For Sale signs and John an I found ourselves adding Redfin and Zillow apps to our phones and checking them as often as we checked the afternoon weather forecast. I must admit I dragged my heels on the whole buying a house thing. I kept on saying not yet, we need to get to know the town more, and really figure out what we wanted out of house. Since the houses are much different here than in SoCal we weren’t sure where we would “fit”. Also I did want to stick to the plan and buy in 2014 and I convinced myself that my constant Redfin surfing was just fact gathering and research. The research led to me the conclusion that we should start officially looking.
I looked up some local realtors through the internet, unfortunately this town does not use Yelp as much as San Diego, so no one had a customer review that they had not hand picked. I was planning for us to buy the house on the sly without telling any of my family whet we were up to, but after a not so good feeling from a “highly recommended” relator I called my cousin and asked for a recommendation. She put me in touch with the guy who had help them find their first and second house and sell their first house as well. My Aunt and Uncle also used him when they bought in South Carolina, I think he can now be considered the official family realtor. He (unlike many residents) grew up in Charlotte and knows this town like the back of his hand. He is a riot and can keep you entertained on a long day of looking 18 houses in a row. The house buying/selling process is very different than what I experience in San Diego, so I was happy to have someone who understood and explain it to me. He liked me because I was no nonsense about house hunting, I could look at a house and if I didn’t like it leave without seeing the whole thing. Some of his clients would just keep on looking and bad mouth the house for another 10 to 15 minutes. I didn’t see how that was worth my time.
Originally it was just me looking at the houses with our Realtor. John trusted my judgement and through online searches and our Realtor’s insight we had an initial list of around 20 houses. We discussed what we wanted at lest a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom (there was no way we were going back to one bathroom after knowing life with 2.5) with a good size yard, a garage, in a good area, maybe with a wood burning fireplace, or screened in porch. The Realtor and I set out at 9am on a Wednesday morning and by 3:45 with a half hour lunch, I had whittled the list down to 3 that I wanted John to see. It was very House Hunters.
Did they chose House #1- the split level with the hardwood floors and the small pool? House #2-The small cottage without a garage in the great part of town? Or did they chose House #3 the newer construction with all kinds of upgrades but a small backyard? We chose House #3, but we didn’t buy it.
We put in an offer, which even though it was below list price our realtor thought was too much. It was a very good offer and he expected she would answer within the hour-she didn’t. Instead she waited a day and change the listing to a “multiple offer situation” and wanted our best offer by the weekend. Not to mention wanted a really long escrow and the option to rent back and some other things I don’t even want to bring up. We withdrew our offer, though I doubt she let the other people know. We didn’t want to deal with this BS when the house had been on the market for over two months without a single offer.
So a few days later we hit the road again looking at potential houses. It was probably one of the most rainy days we have still ever seen here, but our Realtor was at the helm and got to ten houses in a few hours without incident. John fell in love with the first place we went, but I had reservations. The second to the last house we went to that day was the one we ended up buying. Like I mentioned it was raining like crazy that day. The sky was rumbling and dark, it made you just want to curl up under a blanket with a hot cider and forget the world, but when we went into the house that would be ours, that feeling drifted away. It felt really good in there. The walls in the entrance were painted a neutral light beige but it reflected what little bit of light was coming out of the sky without a single light bulb on. In the rental I had noticed the darkness from the trees being filled in was starting to get to me after week three of no sun, so I thought a place like this might be good for me. The kitchen a family room were equally lovely and the mater bedroom windows faced the forested area behind the property. So now I wake up to this view every morning
We went to another house, and while it nice it was not what we had just seen. So we made an offer and were in escrow by the next day. I am thankful we moved on buying a house when we did because soon after we closed they started raising the interest rates on home loans. I really like the house, still getting to know her and I haven’t fully bonded yet, but that takes time.
We moved in as soon as we could because we had my little sister Firefly coming to town a few days after we closed. Though I couldn’t unpack everything before she got here we were able to set up the guest room and bathroom so she had a comfortable place to sleep off her jet lag. I’ll talk about her visit in my next post.