Sunday, October 28, 2012

What?! You're Moving?!

Yep. That's pretty much how we feel about it, too.  So what happened to precipitate this sudden event?  Let me tell you the story.

It all began last December when I felt God nudging us to consider the idea of moving to North Carolina in early 2013.  Philip and I immediately realized that if we were going to be able to easily sell our house here, we needed to renovate the master bathroom, which was original to 1986. Now, we had painted and changed out the fixtures in the bathroom (these pics don't show that, this was from when we bought the house), but let's face it, the tile (almond, octagonal!) screamed "1986" and was not going to sell well in this market.

So, immediately after returning home, Philip began gutting the bathroom.  It took six months of hard work on many nights and weekends, but it was worth it.  The bathroom is gorgeous.

Our bathroom turned out so well that it became even more obvious that the other upstairs bathroom was also stuck in the '80s.  Here's the before pic (from when we bought the house).  Again, we had painted and updated fixtures and it was actually a really cute bathroom, but it was still very clearly dated.

So, this summer, Philip began work on that.

Yes, we used the same tile...figured it was easier that way.  He refinished the vanity rather than replacing, and we left the original mirror, as well.  But even so, looks fabulous.

Ok, so enter early October (and mind you that neither the boys bathroom - above- nor the outer part of the master bath were totally done yet) and we had a conversation with some friends who God has dramatically moved out of the area.  It sparked some conversation between Philip and I about whether or not this house was going to meet our needs and vision for our family long-term.  We concluded short-term, yes, long-term no. We discussed whether we could make additions or modifications to the house that would allow it to meet our needs and concluded that while two of the issues could be rectified, they all could not.  But even so, we didn't plan to do anything about this at that time.

Then, a few days later I was at AWANA to observe a class and had some time to kill and wound up in conversation with a friend.  The conversation turned to remodeling projects and the possibility of us eventually moving.  I described some of the specific things we were looking for in a house and she said, "You know, my neighbor's house sounds similar to what you're describing and they are looking to move in the next few months.  Maybe you should come see the house."  As I said to Philip that evening, no one in my life has ever before said to me, "Maybe you should look at my neighbor's house," so on the chance that this was a divine conversation, I went to see the house the next day.

I could see that the house had the potential to be what we were looking for, but it will need some remodeling (especially the master bathroom), so I almost didn't even call Philip to have him come look at it because I just couldn't imagine that he would want to take on another project after we had basically JUST gotten our house the way we wanted it!  But, it was Columbus Day and it was slow in the office, so I called him, he came and looked and felt strongly that just maybe God had opened a door for us.

As previously mentioned, we had thought about moving out of state, but although Philip had spent several months checking the NC area where we were considering for job options, nothing ever opened up. We talked about whether or not we felt peaceful about staying in Northern Virginia, and specifically in Ashburn. We both feel strongly that God has planted us here for a reason.

So, we contacted the sellers to let them know of our potential interest and to talk about pricing.  Neither of us would be using a real estate agent, which would save them a tremendous amount of money and if their price reflected that, it would not be a financial challenge for us to purchase the house, primarily due to the incredibly low mortgage interest rates right now.  They came back with a reasonable price, and while we didn't commit to buying the house at the time since we still owned our home and it was nowhere near being ready to show for sale, we had further conversation with them, but just let things lie.

We decided that if there was a possibility we'd be moving, we'd better get to work on our house fast.  We also began to specifically pray that if this was God's plan for us, that He would bring us a buyer before we had to list our home with a real estate agent. So Philip finished the bathrooms in record time and I ordered a storage unit so we could declutter the house.

During this time, I was really struggling with doubts about whether or not this house was really right for us, but God's message to me was 1. Trust and follow my husband (who was 110% FOR the house!), 2. Trust Him to bring us a buyer and 3. Trust that He was going to do something amazing if we just asked!

The weekend of the 19th, my in-laws came down and we four spent two serious days working and cleaning and the result was unbelievable.  Only God could have enabled us to accomplish what we did.

We had meanwhile listed the house on (without a realtor) and on the evening of Oct 21 we received a call from an interested buyer.  I spent the next day frantically finishing the cleaning and organizing and literally as he arrived at 4:30, I was dusting the last table.  He left in less than 10 minutes and we thought, "bummer, what a dud." Well, an hour later we received a call from his real estate agent who stated the man wanted to come back with his wife and the agent to see the house again and probably put in an offer.  We were stunned.  They returned and were serious about the house, but still deciding between property and one other, but we realized we should probably get our house on the MLS as quickly as possible to see if we could solicit any other interest.

By 9:30 the next morning we were listed on the MLS through an agent-free listing service and that afternoon another couple came through who really liked the house.  By 10:30 that night we had two great offers.  The next day, Wednesday, 5-6 more people came through and we got another offer.  On Wednesday, we also agreed to a purchase price and terms with the home we had looked at in Ashburn. After some countering between the first two we'd received, on Thursday morning, Oct 24, we accepted an over full price offer on the house.  We were amazed and grateful and back to being amazed.

The couple that is buying our home is the first one that came through and they had been looking for eight months. Ours was the first home that the husband liked. Wow. How cool.

In 2.5 weeks we had gone from having no clue we might be moving any time soon, to having ratified contracts for the sale of our home and the purchase of another.  ONLY God could have done that!

Amazing things about this process:
1. God brought the house to us; we weren't looking
2. He brought it at just the right time that Philip was able to quickly finish the bathroom projects.
3. He enabled us to get the house ready for sale in an incredibly short period of time.
4. The days we were prepping the house and had the house on the market were gorgeous and the boys spent most of their time outside (Instead of this week with rain and a hurricane!!!).
5. The timing of this coincided with Philip receiving a bonus from work that helps us get an amazing rate on our new mortgage.
6. God brought the buyer to us on the exact day we were ready for them and we had the house sold in less than 3 days.

God has already given us a wonderful home that we have enjoyed for the past 5.5 years and one that we have worked hard to make our own, but His Hand has been so obvious throughout this process, we know without a doubt that it is Him that is moving us to this home in this place. We have no idea what He's up to, but we trust that His plans for us are perfect and can't wait to see what He has in store for us.

We will close on both homes right at the end of November and then move into the new house on December 1.  We plan to do the move ourselves, so we are accepting all offers of help! :)

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