As many of you know, we sold our home of 8 years last April and moved into a rental home. We didn’t buy right away because the market was so hot, and we wanted time to decide whether to build or buy our forever home. One week after we sold that home, my husband left for Thailand for 16 days, and I got to work making that rental feel as homey as possible. I swapped out light fixtures, hung drapes and artwork, and even put up woven shades in place of the rental mini blinds. I poured my heart and soul into that house as much as I could as a renter, and for the time we were there, it truly felt like home…a place of peace and rest and tons of natural light, which will be missed sorely.
Here is a glimpse of the changes I made in order to help our rental feel like a home:
What a difference decor makes, right? We thoroughly enjoyed all the light that streamed into this front room every day, and after a very short time, we didn’t even notice the things about that house that bugged us initially. It was cozy, inviting, and beautiful, and we were content to be there for as long as we needed.
God had other plans.
Longing For Home:
Right after we moved into this sweet neighborhood, I would try to walk my dogs each evening, which allowed me to walk past the charming houses, and drool over the manicured landscaping, clapboard siding, and mature trees. I loved those walks. I even shared a photo of this house on Instagram, letting locals know that such a sweet home was for sale!
One walk was particularly emotional for me. I remember welling up with tears as I passed by these sweet homes at dusk, silently confessing to God that I didn’t know why finding our forever home was so important to me, but based on those unexpected emotions, it was.
You Want Me to Do What?
I truly did feel content in the rental home we were in, but as the months passed and the house we now call home sat on the market, a thought began to percolate. It was an unwelcome thought, but there it was, suggesting I do something extreme and mildly embarrassing; write a letter to the homeowners and make an offer. My answer to that thought was a definitive “NO”. I’m a romantic and a dreamer, so I don’t always trust the Hallmark movie scenarios that play out in my mind, and this had “you’d only see this in a movie” written all over it.
No, I would not write a letter.
After three days though, the percolating thought began to boil over. After five days, I could no longer ignore the pull toward this house. I finally caved because I thought, “I’m leaving for New York in 3 days…just write the letter (read about my design trip to New York here). They won’t get back to me because my offer is way below asking price, and that will be the end of that.” At least if I wrote the letter, I’d be free from thinking about it, and that became the reason I finally penned a 5-page letter and took my dogs on yet another walk. I wanted to be done with the whole annoying, embarrassing thing.
The next day I received a phone call from the homeowners’ son about my offer. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I couldn’t believe I had really written that letter! I figured that was a good time to let Jeff know what I had done and ask if my offer was something we could afford. Before I knew it, we were making plans to go tour the home to make sure we even liked the floor plan.
When we met the homeowners, we immediately connected with them because I had poured my heart out in that letter and it resonated with them. They also happened to be the parents of some long-time acquaintances of ours. They told us they had received several typed letters via real estate agents, so when they pulled my handwritten letter out of their mailbox and read my heart in words, they felt we were the buyers they had been waiting for.
The “Dear John” Letter:
It would be nice to say the rest was history. However, the homeowners had a purchase price they felt they needed to be at in order to go into retirement comfortably, and we respected that. While I was away in New York, my husband spent four days talking to lenders, and every which way we cut it, we were $10,000 apart from the number they wanted to be at. At this point, Jeff, the girls, and I had all dreamed of living here, fixing it up, and enjoying the sweet neighborhood we had fallen in love with. We couldn’t believe we were so close and yet so far away.
So I wrote another letter.
This time, it was a “Dear John” letter officially telling the homeowners we could not pursue the purchase of their home any further because of this $10,000 chasm between us. I was completely prepared to walk away. I only wanted this house if it was meant to be. Once again, I didn’t let my husband know I had written this second letter, so while he was still trying to figure out how to make the numbers work, the homeowners’ son called me and said they wanted this to be our forever home so they were dropping the price by $10,000.
I couldn’t believe it. I wrote a letter and we bought our forever home!
The Rest of the Story:
From that point, it was 21 days until move in, and we actually closed while we were on a plane flying home from Boise. As soon as we landed, Jeff and I immediately got to work and painted all of the common areas in our new home. We took the whole house from dark brown to bright white, which was no easy feat given the 20-foot, vaulted ceilings. We moved in November 1 and haven’t looked back! It feels like we are finally home.
Buying this home has been quite the whirlwind, but through it all, God has continued to remind me of that evening walk full of emotions. He has shown me that though I didn’t understand those emotions at the time, He was allowing me to feel them in order to draw me to this house. If I hadn’t been longing to find home, I never would have listened to the not-so-subtle nudging to write a letter and experience a story only God could write.
We are humbled and grateful for this home, and personally, I am beyond thrilled that it’s chock full of projects! My husband isn’t overjoyed about this aspect, but he’s happy because he knows how much home improvement projects make me happy. I can’t wait to share all of our plans with you guys, the progress along the way, and the best part of any project, the before and after photos! As always, thank you for following along this journey. I know you have a plethora of bloggers to choose from, so I appreciate your presence here.