Open doors

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to embrace letting things happen. Taking the chance on something and then letting go. It’s not that I necessarily believe that everything happens for a reason. I certainly believe that in everything there is a lesson to be learned but I have a hard time narrowing life down into such a (seemingly) trite statement. It’s more that I hold to the belief that there is enough opportunity–second, third, and fourth chances–out there to try again. It may not be immediate, and it might not look exactly the same, but I know there’s always more that life has to offer.
When we bought our first home, we weren’t the least bit prepared. We didn’t have our documents in order, there was no pre-approval letter–we had never even met with a lender. We thought it would be fun to start attending open houses, get a sense of what we liked and didn’t like, which neighborhoods appealed to us, and begin dreaming of what could be. It was only the second open house we attended when we walked into our home and knew, instinctually, that it was ours. But how could it be ours? We weren’t even ready to buy a home!
We went back to our apartment that evening and couldn’t get it out of our heads. That was our first home. We just knew it. So I did the only thing I knew to do–I wrote the sellers an email telling them how much we loved their home, how we knew it would be the perfect place to raise our family, and how, even though we didn’t have anything in order, we would meet with a mortgage lender right away. The sellers had already received a couple of offers and were anxious to sell as they were preparing to move to CA.
There were many, many close calls during those months waiting for our offer to be accepted, then for the house to be appraised, then inspections to go through, and finally for closing to complete. We were anxious but we also knew that all we could do was walk through one open door at a time. Even though we would have been disappointed to lose the house, we knew it wouldn’t be the last. It might not look the same, or be in the same neighborhood, but there would be more.
The final open door we walked through was the front door to our home after we signed the papers at closing. I still remember that day and how surreal it all felt. In the end, everything went our way–and we were so grateful–but we couldn’t have pushed it or made it go faster. We just had to take it one step at a time.
It has been a dream of ours since we got married to eventually build our own home. We loved the idea of designing everything from scratch and moving into a brand new house that was uniquely ours. We never had a timeframe for when it would, or could, happen. It was just something we thought about when we looked to the future.
This year, however, we started to wonder what that timeline might look like. With the real estate market the way it’s been, we began talking about selling our home, finding some land, and planning our build. Turns out, it’s expensive to build a home. And it’s also really hard to find property in the area we want to live. After meeting with builders and realtors and lenders we decided to focus our search on the land and go from there. We actually had our eye on a plot in the perfect location–just down the street from Ava’s preschool, close enough to restaurants and grocery stores but far enough to feel a part of the country. I can’t even count the number of times we drove by. I’m sure the neighbors started to feel a little nervous. We began dreaming of what it would be like to live there, to wake up to the sunrise over the fields, to greet the horses next door and raise our own chickens and goats (I know nothing about this but in my dream, I was the total chicken/goat expert).
Turns out, we kept running into closed doors. I was trying to learn as much as I could but I couldn’t find anyone to answer my questions and my head was spinning. We lost out on the land before we could even make an offer. Before we could even think to make an offer, actually, and none of the other lots that were available came close to that one.
Until this week. On Monday morning I opened an automated email that listed a piece of property in our ideal location, just 10 minutes down the road. When I looked through the pictures, my mouth dropped. It was even more perfect than the one before. I contacted our realtor, drove by that day, then took Cory by at night. The second we drove up, Cory declared, “We have to buy this.” When we walked the property the next day, we realized it had everything we wanted. Five acres, cleared and fenced, surrounded by fully grown oak trees and newly planted apple and pear trees, and even a cute little playset and chicken coop. I was halfway to becoming that chicken expert!
We put in an offer that day–along with another heartfelt letter–but found out on Wednesday that there were two others we had to compete with. We submitted our best counteroffer and then waited. It wasn’t enough to blow them away but it was all we could do. We knew it was exactly what we were looking for but we also knew it wouldn’t be our last chance to make our dream come true.
Late that night, we received a call from our realtor that our offer was accepted–thanks in large part to our letter. (Lesson learned: writing works!) We still have all the normal hoops to jump through–appraisal, surveys, closing–until it’s officially ours but we’ll take them as they come. One door at a time.

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