Once I was thinking about transferring jobs (read March/April of this year) and that the likelihood was growing that I would be moving to Baton Rouge, I started looking online at houses for sale. Everything I loved was out of my price range and everything in my price range needed a tremendous amount of updating. After a couple of weeks of frustration, I realized that this was becoming consuming to me. All I wanted to do was look at houses that I couldn’t afford and be upset by it. When I finally prayed about it, God made it abundantly clear that I needed to look for a place to rent.
After I interviewed, I would search online for places while in Kansas City and then drive around after hours looking at neighborhoods when I was in Baton Rouge for work. Place after place would get marked off the list. I did find a couple of apartment complexes that would be ok but they were expensive and didn’t have good availability. Plus I really wanted to live in a house.
On my last trip to Baton Rouge, I found around four houses to drive by that were for rent and in my price range. This was one of my quickest trips to BR – I left KC at 8am Wednesday morning, landed in New Orleans around noon, drove to Port Allen and had meetings until 6pm then had meetings from 6am to 11:30am, drove back to the airport to catch a 3:30pm flight back to KC, landing at 10pm. Only one house that I drove by that Wednesday night was one I would want to live in so I called the listed realtor at 9:30pm and asked to tour the next morning on my way to the airport. She agreed to meet me at the house.
The house was new – 5 years old – in a gated one street subdivision. Two car garage. One story. 3 bedrooms. 2 bathrooms. Builder grade everything. Not bad to rent. I called my mom on the way to the real estate office to put in an application and she suggested I ask the realtor about running some numbers to purchase the house since it was also for sale.
By the next Monday I was pre-approved for the list price on the home and had submitted an offer on the house since the mortgage payment would be several hundred dollars cheaper per month than the rent payment. The sellers did not really want to negotiate and after several counter offers, we had agreed on the purchase price but not on the closing costs and status of who was getting the refrigerator. I was frustrated and called my mom for some advice.
This was a Wednesday morning and I was meeting her and my Dad on Friday in Boston for a fun weekend prior to speaking at an annual conference held in Boston starting the following Monday. Mom asked me what my plan B was if I wasn’t going to buy this house? I told her that God must have one but it’d be nice if He would share it with me because I didn’t know when I was going to be available to go back to Baton Rouge to look for a place to live. She started asking me about our plans for the weekend – I was supposed to be planning our activities for Boston since we were leaving in two days. Meanwhile, she’s google-ing houses for sale in the same zip code as this house.
After a few minutes, Mom asked if I had seen this house on Barrett Lane – it was 200 more square feet and $25k less than the house I was negotiating and way cuter. I hadn’t looked at any other houses for sale in the area because God had taken that from my heart months before. She told me that I should buy this house she had just found. I hung up with her and called my realtor.
I’m sure my realtor thought I was nuts but she agreed to find out more information about this house on Barrett Lane. A few hours later, she was facetiming me from the front door and taking me on a walking tour of this house. It was adorable. Terrible paint colors but adorable.
She asked if I was going to try to fly down the next day on my way to Boston for a tour. Her face fell when I told her no. She thought that I had loved it. I told her I was going to buy it without touring it in person. I think she dropped the phone at this point. First time homebuyer who isn’t going to tour the house and lives 900+ miles away.
When she called me back later to work out the numbers, she told me that there were two other offers on the house but the sellers were willing to accept my offer before making a decision the next day. Apparently the house had been under contract before but the previous seller’s financing fell thru so they had re-listed 5 days prior. This house wouldn’t have even been listed when I was searching for housing (for rent or sale)!
I came in over asking price and asked for them to leave all the appliances. They accepted my offer and by the time I was in Boston, I was calling for home insurance, set up the appraisal, and waived the home inspection (one had been conducted 30 days prior with the previous buyers which I accepted).
August was a blur – I’m sure I’ll post about it in the coming days/weeks but suffice it to say I only spent 4 days in Kansas City and two of those days were to pack the Uhaul I was driving across the country.
We had to close after my first day of work (apparently the bank wants you to be employed when they write a big check on your behalf). The sellers were less than helpful in providing me with access to the house prior to closing and in setting up when closing even was. In fact, when I started driving on Thursday August 27th, I didn’t know if I would have to live out of the Uhaul truck until Monday August 31st. But God is a good provider – the sellers moved out of the house Saturday morning and I was able to get the truck unloaded that afternoon. Grass was high, house was dirty, sellers took stuff they weren’t supposed to (the flag pole that was one of the big motivators of me buying the house in the first place) but I was in.
Closing was chaotic. I am very thankful my Mom was able to come with me. The sellers brought their twin 18 month olds would screamed and ran around the entire time. I write and execute contracts for a living so I read every line of every page in the entire process – much to the seller’s dismay. By the time we were done, I had bought a house and was ready to celebrate with a margarita!!
Here’s a glimpse of my new home. More to come.