After the house fell through, we were a little discouraged, but both Rich and I felt confident that God had a house in mind for us, we just had to be patient. And really, the more time we had to keep saving up money for a house that would better suit our needs.
So, out we went, every weekend looking at houses. We toured one house that was literally right across the street from our church. It was 3 bedroom, 2 bath, clean but needed updating (Oh how I wish I took pictures of that home! The guest bath was decked out in bubblegum pink.. I'm talking the tile, the sink, the tub and toilet!). It was on a fairly big lot, but on a busy street, and we suspected there were septic issues. We put an offer in on it, but they went with another offer instead. We actually pass by that house on the way to our new house, and I can't help but be thankful that we found the house we have now.
We also looked at another house. It had a great lay out, with built-ins, and plenty of space, but the house needed work. And when I say work, I mean WORK. Like tear down everything, make sure there wasn't any mold, probably rebuild some structural issues. And, it was at the tip-top of our price range, and not livable in its current condition. I liked it, but knew we couldn't afford it. So, we kept looking.
We found another house in San Marcos, that had such great potential! We needed to fix some things, but it wasn't a complete gut job. It was on a decent lot, on a great street, and in a great school district. We placed an offer, and kept our fingers crossed. A cash offer was accepted instead, because the seller really wanted/needed to sell the house by the end of October.
Rich told Tom he wanted to look at house he had seen on our daily listing updates that was in the same zip code as the home we were renting. I knew we didn't want to live in the same area as our first house, so when houses came up on the listing that were in the same zip code, I just skipped over them. I told Rich about it, and he replied, "Lets just take a look at it." It turns out that the house was right on the very edge of that zip code zone, and actually in a great little area.
The house was on a 1/3 of an acre, with a very overgrown yard. It was a cute house from the outside. On the inside, it was pretty old. The kitchen was small, and there was only one full bath, which had a walk-in jacuzzi tub for the previous elderly owner. There were hardwood floors through out, with carpet over some of it, but they all needed to be refinished. At some point, an addition was made to the house. Logically, the location of the addition made sense, but the way the house was set up on the inside did not (wait until you see the pictures below). There was a pool, with a pool house, and a sun room. I could tell that Rich was excited about it. He called his parents to come by and take a look at it, and my sister and her husband came by too. For whatever reason, I could not picture our lives in that house. In the other places, I could, and it was what helped me to make the decision to move forward with an offer. Not with this house. I think part of it was that I felt they wanted more for the house than I thought it was worth. We would have to redo a lot to the house to make it live-able. It was built in the 50's, so I knew there were likely plumbing and electrical issues that would need to be addressed. Maybe part of it too was that God didn't allow me to project what our lives would be like in that home, knowing just how much we'd end up changing it to make it the new home it is now. Either way, I wasn't that impressed.
As we were leaving the house, our realtor's wife, Penny, recognized one of the neighbors. They used to be childhood friends. Tom spoke with them for a few minutes, introduced them to Rich, and found out some particulars about the house. The late owner of the house passed away fairly suddenly from cancer over the summer. She was a widow, and had no heirs. In her generosity, she left the profits from the sale of the house to the San Diego Zoo, and the sale was to be governed by a board of trustees. Guess who was on the board of trustees? Yup, our new neighbor friend, Bob.
We went home, talked it over, and the next day, we placed an offer on the house for $25,000 below their asking price. We both felt that the house needed some serious work. We thought it was a long shot that they'd accept it, but put one in anyway. A few days later, the selling agent let us know that they had a cash offer for $15,000 higher than our bid, which was really generous of her, because we had the opportunity to adjust our offer, and we knew the card they were holding. We felt that it was still more than we wanted to spend, and declined to to increase our offer on the house. At that point, we thought we were out of it. Then, a couple of days later, the board of trustees reviewed our bid. They came back and countered $5,000 more than our initial offer, which was less than the cash offer they had. It turns out Bob, and the other neighbors, didn't want the house to be flipped. They wanted someone to buy the house and live in it. We were shocked, and all sorts of happy! We accepted their counter.
Bob was very upfront with the condition of the house, which wasn't bad. The inspection came back good. Everything went so smoothly! I think our escrow only lasted 3 weeks, and it helped that we had everything in order from the first time we were in escrow. By early November, we were home owners!
I made this floor plan up to give you an idea of the layout. It will help make more sense when looking through all the pictures :)
The Before Pictures.... I took a lot because I knew we'd be changing a lot.
Closet in 3rd bedroom