It’s happening again! I was presented with a door. That’s how I like to think of big life decisions. My opportunity. My choice.
Do I open the door? Do I step through? Or do I stay on this side of the door? Safe. Safe from fear of the unknown. What do I do? I think of how many times I may have been presented with a door and I didn’t open it. Fear is a powerful thing.
I think of the times when I did attempt to open the door and something would happen that stopped me from stepping through. I had thought the time was right but something told me “No, not this one. Not this time.” So, I backed away.
Then there are those times when I felt pulled through the door…let’s say ‘guided’ through. That seems less harsh.
So Here It Is Again
I’m going along with my life, feeling relatively content yet not quite. I keep poking at the edges of home ownership. Twice, I have come close. Twice, I backed away committing to myself to just let it go. I’m not young anymore. I’ve owned homes. There are advantages to renting. I haven’t mowed a lawn or shoveled snow for the last five years. Owning a home comes with commitment and obligations, so I was resting back into contentment with my comfortable rental space.
And then it happened.
My daughter and her family moved to a larger home to make room for their growing family. I help pack them up, unpack them, clean out cabinets. All of that. I would say almost immediately I was drawn to the view from their kitchen window. It was the most beautiful back yard. It reminded me of a small English garden. It wouldn’t be long and I would meet the neighbor. She was somewhat embarrassed with how the yard looked. She hadn’t spent as much time on it as she’d liked. Her husband had been ill. As much as I could, I praised her for how it didn’t matter. It was such a peaceful, beautiful space.
How did it happen that I found out that she was actually moving out? Her husband had passed away and her children worried about her living there on her own. How did I hear about that? It turns out that there is another neighbor who cares for little kids the same age as one of my grandchildren. This person reached out, almost daily, saying “Bring your grand daughter. Bring her to play.” And so I did. As it would happen, she was very close to her neighbor. She was saddened by the knowledge that her friend was moving. I was as compassionate as I could be but also felt bad for my own daughter. This neighbor was going to be fun to know – a lovely grandma type for my grandchildren to grow up next to.
How did it happen that my interest in this house became known to the owner? Apparently, my son-in-law mentioned something. All of a sudden, the owner is asking me if I was the lady who was interested in buying the house. This took me by surprise. I loved the garden like backyard. By looking at the house, though, I assumed that 1) it would be too big for one person, 2) it would surely cost more than I could ever afford. I was clearly surprised by her question and minimized its validity. Still, I would look across from my daughter’s kitchen window and dream of what it would be like if I were the grandma person next door. I could see it. I could see them playing on the patio. I could see myself teaching them how to plant flowers and water the gardens. I longed for a dream like that to actually be possible. It made me sad because I assumed that I would never see that dream become reality.
When I finally did dip a toe in the water to actually say that I might be interested, I was told that, as I had assumed, the house was going to be priced out of my reach. I resigned myself to simply being happy that I still lived close enough to care for my grandchildren three days a week and there are so many advantages to renting.
But then I get a phone call. It’s the daughter of this lovely lady. She said, “I heard about your interest in buying my mom’s house. We like your story. We’d be willing to drop the price.” Would I be interested in the house if it came at this reduced price?
The Door Had Been Opened A Crack
My first reaction was, of course, excitement…followed quickly by fear! Slam the door shut! Quick!
I didn’t though. I took a deep breath and figured that there were many opportunities to close this door. I didn’t need to rush it. I mean, after all, I would probably not qualify for a loan or an inspection would probably find that there were costly repairs that would need to be done. I assumed that, given time, I would learn that this was still out of reach, but then…
This Scrolled Up On Facebook
May you lean into the change and cycle you are currently going through or being called towards. May you find the courage to trust yourself and shout YES to the burn of transformation. May you let go of all the no longer essential parts of yourself, and ignore the fading, fear-filled voices. Because this is where you cross the river. This is where you stop being the scared person you once were. This is where you shoot out of the cracks you’ve fallen into. This is where the waiting ends and a new voice is birthed. A voice you recognize as your own, the new you. And there’s no going back, because no one’s gonna save you, except you. May you lean in. May you lean in.
Tanya Markul, Thug Unicorn
And this may have been the sign that I needed. So I decided it was ok to ‘lean in’. And I picked up the phone and started making phone calls: a mortgage company – “Would I qualify? What would an inspection cost? How much would it cost to hire a lawyer to write up an offer to purchase?”
And so it began.
Potential Roadblock #1 – Maybe I won’t qualify for a loan
I sent all the necessary documents to prove my income and assets. I had no downpayment. Still, they said I would qualify for a loan. Pre-approval letter attached to the email response.
Potential Roadblock #2 – Inspection may turn up additional problems
I learned that writing a offer to purchase typically is done first and then the inspection but the lawyer was a cost that I didn’t want to incur if there were expensive problems with the house. I wanted to know before I wrote the offer. The inspection was expensive but not as expensive as paying a lawyer so let’s do that first.
The inspection took over four hours. I was next door taking care of my grand daughter. He came, luckily, during her nap so we could really talk. My first question, “Are there any red flags?” He, of course, didn’t want to go there first but insisted on going step by step through everything he looked at and what he thought and then, in the end, he said, “basically there are no red flags.”
So now, I know that I qualify for the loan. There are no issues with the house. So what next?
Potential Roadblock #3 – Will an offer be accepted?
So what offer would I make? Would I offer them the price they want? How do I know if that’s reasonable? My daughter suggested that I ask the realtor that helped them buy their house. My concern was that I didn’t want to go through a realtor. My daughter insisted that she would simply give me advise, no obligation. And that is just what she did. In the end, she actually indicated that she would list it for the amount that the owners suggested they wanted so that was a good sign but wait a minute…if the house was listed for that amount with a realtor, then there would be fees paid for that assistance so then I had a bargaining chip.
In the end, after talking it through with a mortgage person, I was able to understand the overall costs of a home purchase: closing costs, prepays, and downpayment. Oh my goodness, this is where I needed to take a deep breath. Remember, I don’t have a downpayment.
Well, the mortgage company came up with an option that required only 3% down. I could afford that. Then, after working the numbers over and over again, I figured out what what kind of offer I could make that I could afford.
And they accepted it!
No More Roadblocks!
And so this door is wide open and, step by step, I stepped through that door. I am buying a house! This house with the beautiful English garden, this house that looked too big for one person, this house that would probably be too expensive, this house that I could see myself in before I ever stepped in the door.
And all I can think is…this must be fate!