We had looked at so many houses. For nearly three years, every weekend was spent at Open House events, to the point that our children thought that going to Open Houses was our special Sunday family tradition. In spite of our dedication to house-hunting, none of the hundreds of houses we looked at were right for us. More than a few were downright awful. We made the reluctant decision to give up and stay in our current home.
The following Sunday, my husband Dan went to a car flea market in New Jersey. I had recently discovered I was pregnant so I opted to stay home and read the Sunday paper.
As I was flipping past the Real Estate section, an ad caught my eye. It was as if someone had held a magnifying glass up to it. It loomed larger than the surrounding ads as if it was deliberately meant to attract my attention.
4 bdrm, two bath farmhouse. Recently updated. Village Commercial zoning. $189,900. Open House today from 12 – 4.
This was exactly what we’d been looking for, and almost in our price range of $180,000. Still, I’d never heard of the town before. It was probably too far away from my husband’s work. I decided to take a nap and forget about the house.
Sleep didn’t come easily, though. It felt as though someone was literally shaking me awake. At least you can go look at it.
I got out the map and looked up the location. It was easy enough to get to, even in the years before Google Maps and GPS navigation systems. I figured that it couldn’t hurt to go look at the house, even though it would probably be one of those run-down properties that looked as though it should be torn down and rebuilt. My husband Dan referred to these types of dilapidated dwellings as “505s.” He joked that for such homes, you’d need $5.00 for the gasoline and $500 to pay off the fire marshal. It’s amazing how many homes we saw for which a fire could only be an improvement.Just as I was about to go out the door, Dan came home. He barely had both feet inside the door before asking, “You found a house, didn’t you?”
I don’t know how he knew but he did. In fact, he had left the flea market early because he had a feeling that I’d found a house I wanted to see. Was some unknown force at work here? Normally it takes an act of Congress to get Dan to leave a car flea market.
The house, despite being over 160 years old, was the nicest we had seen in three years of looking. It was a farmhouse style with an addition on the back but retaining all of the charm of a home that’s been around since before the Civil War. It had an open front porch and a fire place (two of my wish-list items), and the four bedrooms we desperately needed.
When I saw the walk-in closet in the master bedroom, I swear that I could hear angels singing. Plus, with Village Commercial Zoning, Dan could park his utility body truck in the driveway without any complaints from the neighbors or the township.
This house was perfect for us, but we only had $180,000 to spend and those funds would be available only after the sale of our current home. Could we sell our current house in time to buy the new one?
The real estate agent advised us to make an offer of $185,000 or higher since it was currently “a seller’s market.” That was real estate-speak for you don’t have a prayer of buying this house unless you offer asking price.
We refused to take her advice and instead opted to submit our offer in the amount of $180,000. I wasn’t at all surprised when the sellers accepted it. I just knew they would.
We listed our current home immediately. We needed to have settlement on our current home before we would have the funds to settle on the new house. Settlement for the new house was tentatively scheduled for November 24th, the day before Thanksgiving. Oddly, we had settled on our current house the day before Thanksgiving thirteen years prior.
An endless parade of people looked at our house. Just when it seemed as if we were running out of time to sell it for the November 24th settlement date, a young woman submitted an offer to us. It was only $2,000 short of our asking price and, conveniently, would give us the exact amount needed for the down payment on the new house after paying off the old one.
Since our buyer had no home to sell, she agreed to have settlement on November 24th (in the morning) so that we could settle on November 24th (in the afternoon) for the new house. Aside for some uneasiness at realizing we would effectively be homeless for three hours in between settlements, everything was falling into place for us.
Even the tasks of packing up the contents of our old house and moving were timed perfectly for my pregnancy. We moved when I was four months’ pregnant: right after the I’m nauseous all day, why do they call it morning sickness phase and just before the God, I feel like I’m the size of a small country phase.
We’ve lived in our house for ten years now and we’re still amazed at our good luck. Not only did we find the exact house we needed, but all of the details fell into perfect place, one right after the other. I’m not sure why, but it’s always felt as if we were meant to be here; as if this house had been waiting just for us.
Finding Home. What could be luckier?