We are officially under contract!!! And what a story this is. I am not sharing photos until we close and take possession which actually is not going to be until the beginning of July as the sellers needed a little extra time to move. Dont worry, I will share all the pictures and details once that time comes and we actually move in. It will fly by for us and hopefully you guys! First, here is the story along with some pictures of my favorite Colonial homes I have snapped while driving all over town. Raleigh is constant architectural eye candy!
The story of finding our home in North Carolina is an amazing story of grace, trust in The Lord, and allowing God to take the lead-even when that proves to be the opposite of what we wanted.
The Letter House
When we first visited Raleigh in March, we also put letters in neighborhoods that we liked as we drove around. Read the MOVING POST HERE. While we had 3.5 acres in Indiana, we were pretty sure that we would not find this anywhere near the city so we had resolved to at least try for one acre. We thought a neighborhood with large lots was our best bet to be close to the city/in the city but also have some trees or woods for the kids. There are so many beautiful neighborhoods here with large wooded lots that we felt it was a win win! The day before we left Raleigh, I immediately received a response from a lovely couple who wanted to sell their large home in order to downsize.
It was one of my favorites where we had left a letter and the gentleman had responded with a price that was in our range. We talked initial details about the home and if we could see it before we left. Unfortunately, they were not able to show it but promised to send pictures. On our way home they sent interior pictures and the next day they sent exterior. We LOVED the potential of the interior. It was all brick, 6 bedrooms, and 6600 sq ft which was far far larger than we were looking for but we do have five kids and homeschool as well a working from home husband. The yard itself was an acre but was not ideal since it was a triangle lot and the back yard had the triangle tip but if the sides were wooded enough-it still might work.
During the fast and furious FIVE weeks of prep and moving from Indiana, this home kept me going. It was the first move after all, where we didn’t have anything we were certainly going toward but more of a leap of faith in the change we needed to make. It was hard to leave our beautiful home in Indiana with its beautiful land and the newly renovated kitchen. The layout of “The Letter Home” was so good for our family that it felt like it was written for us. It had a space for a library, school room, large island and so much more. It was built well with solid wood cabinets and crown molding throughout the home. It was however, distinctly 90s from the kitchen to the bathrooms. It would require removing dated wallpaper (even though wallpaper is having a moment again-this was not) and tile. While it had a beautiful layout and good bones with tall ceilings, it lacked charm. That would all have to be added in with molding, color and yes the kitchen would need to be updated (countertops, ovens, sink and range). The home had a beautiful blue stone patio and grid pane windows in most areas. It did however, have a two story living room which I definitely don’t like but it was still well done as can be. So the bottom line is that this home had potential.
We were in contact with the owner through our move and we agreed to see it about 10 days after we arrived as they would be out of town. During the wait we saw about 5 or 6 different homes and were AMAZED at the frenetic pace of the market. It was absolutely overwhelming to see how fast homes were moving and how many were way way over-asking price. We felt more and more “The Letter Home” was an excellent price and that it would be a sure way to avoid the market craziness. But…still we wondered about the yard. We had so loved having land for the kids to wander around on and play and love. We were going to go see it in person and felt that would resolve any second thoughts.
The home was better in person than the photos! It did not feel overwhelmingly large but all doable updates. There was a lot I would want to update over the years for sure but they all had such a lovely layout. The yard itself was better than we envisioned (since our hopes were not high). So while it was NOTHING compared to our land in Indiana, we thought it could be doable. We did not want to rush the sellers as they still had to find a home. They told us they would be in contact once they did. We knew nothing was a done deal until its in contract but felt confident. A few short days later they called and said they found a home and would like to put an offer on it but would need us to sign a contract first. YES! We wanted to make it official. So he was going to his attorney the next day.
That night my husband asks if we were SURE on “The Letter House”? I about killed him-just kidding, mostly. What?! It is the night before we are supposed to SIGN THE CONTRACT???!!!! Why would you ask that again, now? Of course, this starts a long discussion about the trade-offs and yea I still had my doubts too about the land. I go over all the ways we could make the backyard better for the kids-trampoline, playground, etc but there is also that 88 page Homeowners Association that rules EVERY single detail from shrubs planted in the front to shrubs in the backyard. But still it would be so much easier this way and the home is fantastic and the location is close to all we wanted. We had stopped looking at Real Estate Listings (though we were still on the portal with our realtor because you never know) and this discussion led me to panic looking at homes with land. I found one home with land that could work but pics thus far had more often been better online than in person (but not always the case). It was however, a moot point because they were not even accepting showings until the open house in 5 days. What could we do, tell “The Letter House” sellers that we need to see one more home because we might not want your home???? Still though, that land looked lovely and the home was beautiful-actually MORE my style than “The Letter Home.” I was unsettled, unsure and ultimately I did not know.
I am Catholic and my faith is the most important thing to me. It has been my guiding light and my rock since I was a very young child. I prayed to Jesus that night and said:
“Lord I simply do not know. They are both good options. You know all things. I do not. While we are unsure of the “The Letter House,” we simply cannot walk away at this time. It works too well and everything else is uncertain. But IF this is not Your will, please intervene somehow. I need you to intervene some way if this is not what is best for our family.” With that prayer I went to sleep unsure of the future and yet certain we were signing the next day.
The BEST Bad News
I awoke the next morning feeling excited and could not wait to have things settled. I was sure that once we signed-we would feel much better. My husband was also excited and sure this was it. I took a shower and was getting ready when I saw a voicemail on my phone with two missed calls from the seller. I listened to the minute long voicemail in absolute shock and disbelief. They had changed their minds on selling!! The home they had found had a crack in the foundation and they had not realized just how crazy the market had become. It had left them scrambling and paying quite a bit more to stay in the area they already lived in. So they realized that they should just stay put and not sell. This lovely couple felt horrible and apologized and wished us the best. I called them back saying we were sad about it but we understood. I thanked them for their time and effort and also wished them the best.
My husband had left the apartment to take out the trash a few buildings over and when he came back I told him. He could NOT believe it either! We both thought that if they changed their minds, it would have happened far before this point and certainly not on the day of signing. We simply were dumbfounded. Even though I was bummed, I did not shed even ONE tear. I immediately remembered my prayer and told my husband about it. My husband is not an emotional roller coaster (unlike me) and so he said very calmly, “well God certainly responded in a direct way. There is a reason, we just have to wait.” I knew he was right. I knew that there was something God had planned or perhaps shielded us from even though I could not yet see it. I kept praying that day, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Of course I immediately went back to the house hunt and we asked our realtor to see the home we found that was showing that weekend. She was out of town but could send a team member although, she said the sellers will not show it to anyone until the Open House because they wanted it to sell while out of town. It made sense but I knew this was going to be a market frenzy!
The weekend came and we drove out to the neighborhood/area this was. It was beautiful. Everything about it was dreamy. We were still close to things, the area was walkable, all the homes were fantastic. I was feeling pretty excited. We were early but upon pulling up there were many, many cars already there. Sigh. This was going to be a popular home. The walk up to the house left me breathless. It was so beautiful. I just knew this was the house. The property was stunning. The home was stunning. Remember I will share more pictures and information once we close and take possession but this is more about the story of the house and not the house.
We took our time looking. We met the listing realtor and asked questions and we walked around every space twice. We loved it. The kids loved it. We told our realtor we likely wanted to make an offer. She said we had time because they have a deadline after the next days Open House. Great! So we went the next day as well and my husband asked more questions (we had gotten some information from my custom home builder father-in-law) and we walked the home and property again. This was THE house. It was everything we had ever wanted. The home worked out for us! The layout worked out for us! The property was even MORE beautiful than Indiana!!!!! We could NOT BELIEVE it. The home was my dream style. It was filled with charm and details and we could NOT BELIEVE it. Even better as of 3pm there were no offers! We thought this was smooth sailing.
But by 5pm our realtor called to say they had SIX other offers besides the one we were going to submit. Ouch. Unlike Indiana, North Carolina has no escalation clauses. You just have to give your best number and hope yours is the highest. It is a blind offer scenario and can be pretty scary. So we gave our best and then prayed. I asked all of my followers on Instagram to pray for our offer to be chosen out of SEVEN! I asked all of my friends to pray as well. Oh it felt like a long shot. The sellers would not return until late that night so it would likely be the morning. We spent that evening on pins and needles and I prayed and prayed and prayed. The next morning…
Congratulations, they accepted YOUR offer!
We received a text in the morning from our realtor that the sellers had accepted our offer. What a sigh of relief! What tears of joy! It was really quite surreal and still is. Much like our Indiana home, this unfolded slowly and we just kept trudging forward with TRUST in the The Lord. We knew that we needed to be here while house hunting but that did not stop us from daily checks on what was for sale. Yet this home did not come up until we were here and ready and actually hunting! The ironic thing-or another grace of God, is that we had stopped looking at the real estate listings after we saw “The Letter House.” If it had been available to see that weekend instead of the next one, we would have MISSED it.
Everything worked out in the best way possible and in hindsight, all those details actually show! The hands of God were visible in all the little things that went right or wrong. We just had to wait and see. In Indiana we had found a home and placed an offer. After six months of looking-it was perfect or so we thought. We ended up loosing it in a five offer deal with our offer being the exact same someone else’s and ours was not chosen. We were so sad and we not understand what could possibly be God’s plan. Yet, we knew there must be something because He had never never failed to lead us. In true God fashion, He led us to another home in Indiana that was even more beautiful, perfect and far better in every way. This home was not only much prettier but it was my dream type of fall home. If I was going to have a mountain cottage-it was this design with a post and beam construction.
We lived in that home for nearly two years when we made the leap to move to North Carolina. I had really hoped for a Colonial home since they are one of my favorite kinds of homes-if not my fave. I was hoping for best a Colonial-esque home because a true historical Colonial was not going to be on land nor as updated/large as we needed. But again in TRUE GOD Fashion-he surpassed out expectations.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19