Last year, the owners of our beloved townhouse rental decided to sell it as soon as our 2018 lease was up. We began searching for a way to buy it, as this home has served us well for many years. But as the months passed, it became clear that while staying would be the easier short-term option, it wasn’t the best long-term decision. However, we had no idea what that better decision was. As the weeks passed and the Seattle housing market became increasingly more challenging, the solution became even more elusive.
One day in January, I drove out to an open house in the next county on a whim. Asking prices, bidding wars, and taxes weren’t as bad across the county line; it was worth a peek. This particular open house was in a town some friends lived in, but I’d never really visited before. As I got closer, I realized it was in a huge, planned community that was still growing. Multiple builders building houses, schools, parks, hiking trails, and eventually retail, commercial, and dining spaces. The whole place felt right, like I belonged there. I loved the house itself. I started exploring the grounds, feeling more comfortable with every discovery. I Googled the address of a dear friend, laughing out loud when I realized I could literally see her house from my parking spot. I sent photos and descriptions to my husband who agreed: we would fit well there. This could be the answer we’d been searching for.
There was only one problem: most of these houses were enormous – far more square footage than our small family of two would ever need – and priced accordingly. I took this photo of Mt. Rainier from the neighborhood coffee shop that afternoon in January as a sort of heart’s prayer with absolutely no idea how to actualize it.
We began a whirlwind of researching, networking, scouting, and praying. For months, nothing happened; it felt like a losing battle. Prices were climbing further out of our reach with every passing week.
And then, an unforeseen opportunity: a smaller builder wanted to test the market to see if there was any demand for smaller houses in this highly-coveted neighborhood. They announced a limited number of smaller floor plans for smaller price tags. The response was fierce. These homes started selling lightning-fast; 12 lots sold in a single day.
But all that networking we’d done months prior? It paid off. Within a matter of hours, we got multiple phone calls from realtors we’d never even met. “Drop what you’re doing and get down here RIGHT NOW.”
So we did.
On Wednesday afternoon, the builder announced 19 new lots. We had no broker, no secured financing, and no realtor. By Friday morning, after a sequence of major life decisions in what felt like a split-second, we had a broker, the best financing we could’ve hoped for, an entire team of realtors, and a house. We were under contract for the 16th sale, with two couples literally standing around the corner, poised to strike if we changed our minds. The remaining three lots sold within the following two hours.
Our builder recently broke ground on our foundation; we close in the fall. It’s the perfect size for our small family, and we get to choose all our finishes. Our friends are right down the street. The timing works out better than expected, and by some miracle, it fits into our budget.
I’m still in shock; this is more than I even dreamed.
Believe me, we are under no delusion of the degree to which our lives are about to change. From becoming first-time homeowners, to the extended and unique challenges of new construction, to prepping our townhouse to be listed this summer, to the adjustments of moving to and commuting from a new county (neither of us is leaving our existing jobs). I plunged into an overwhelming case of Buyer’s Remorse for about a week afterward.
But once the clouds parted and I was able to face my fears with reason and faith, my outlook shifted to one of immense gratitude. We both have a profound sense of peace for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Any place we could have chosen would have its own pros and cons; this particular pro/con list fits us well. We’re ready for this next chapter. Sometimes the thing that scare you the most end up being the most worth it.
Stay tuned, because I intend to document this entire crazy journey. I have grand long-term plans for the interior design of our new home, but so many other aspects of this endeavor will be brand new to us. If nothing else, it should be greatly entertaining. I mean, we high-fived each other after we recently bought our first ladder, so…
Home-ownership, here we come. Here goes nothing!