My family and I have been on a long, long, long journey toward owning our very own home. This quest for the magic castle actually began a couple years before I met my husband. It never happened and there were boulder-sized obstacles along the way. We had to clear the debt, build credit, save our pennies and nickels…
Finally, the day came (6 years later) that we had prepared for. Our credit sparkled, our savings was plump, our debt was reduced to dust that had been swept away. We had stable work and a town that we were ready to settle into.
Enter stage left the realtor and the lender, let the drama begin.
Oh, and it did.
Scene one was a corrupt lender and hung over realtor. The heroine loses her first bid on the first house she “falls in love” with and is very upset when waiting for Monday to hear the verdict only to find a pending sign on the house when she goes online to look at it with wishes and hopes over the weekend. However, this was when she meets her now realtor at an open house the drunk realtor insisted she go to (thank you, drunk realtor, for that one decent thing). She fires drunk realtor and lender for doing a poor job and lying about how much her loan could be (they said 250K which was a far cry), along with not answering phone calls and losing the first house because of sloppy work. She got the scoop from her now BFF new realtor lady that was showing the house that she lost. Confused yet?
Scene three; Our heroine has a wonderful new realtor and lender and some peace, she is actually beginning to understand the process, people are answering her emails and phone calls. Everyone is helpful, patient…and sober.
Scene four; She finds out that they only qualify for a 130K loan in this California market where even the homes in Sacramento run an average of 350K to 450K now. She doesn’t cry in her salad but is feeling the drama inside yearning to express itself by pounding down a cake ( she doesn’t drink anymore) and sedating herself with it but instead finds that fire somewhere within and the music swells. We get the feeling that she is going to meet the challenge if it kills her, dang it! She is Mrs. Frugal after all right? This is what she writes about in all her books!
Scene five; is her searching the web night and day, searching towns far and wide, learning about fixer uppers, short sales, foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, and HUD homes, and dragging her children all over Sacramento and Sutter county out to farms and into suburbs and old, dilapidated houses. There is a moment where, what seems like, a perfect home appears and a bid is offered, no one else has bid and it just may be theirs. She begins to plan the garden and where the orange tree will go, where the couch will sit, and how she’ll drink coffee in the kitchen. She is waiting for Monday and a verdict again, looks online that weekend to adore her new home and there is a pending sign on it! This time she does cry in her salad. She cries and cries and cries. Why? Because she has very little faith at this point. She is fighting off investors with cash and other buyers with just basically more money to battle with. She has a tiny loan and inflated prices to deal with. It’s like having some pocket change and trying to find a new/used car.
The second to last scene is where we think the heroine is giving up. She’s not, she just taking a break. She does feel like they may have to wait for a housing market crash…but how long until that? She has already had to look out of town for a home. Sacramento is no longer affordable. The houses in her price range are shacks in ghettos, literally.
Our heroine gets a little funky, lies about more than normal, turns to sweets, lets her boys watch too much TV. She’s wallowing and it’s sort of gross. She does some self-realization and knows that she feels stuck. She is ready to move on and life, God, the Universe…it’s not supporting her at all!!!
Then the last, last scene. She sees her patheticness and rises from the couch to start a whole new way. The music is really dramatic and there is a montage of her cleaning, throwing cake in the garbage, putting the kids out in the sandbox, shutting off the TV, working out on the dusty treadmill, beginning the search online again, and getting busy.
One day (after the montage scene) she gets that feeling. It’s time. She looks online and sees a new house in her price range. She goes to see it and it is a mess but leads her to another house even more of a mess. She finds a craftsman house that has been sorely neglected. The yard is so trashed that the owners won’t let her go out there. There is probably 3 years of dog poop. The house smells so bad that she goes to bed that night with the smell still burning her nostrils. She puts an offer on it. It’s a low ball offer but the house needs to be boiled and rebuilt. She is trying to get creative. HGTV here we come!
As she waits for a counter or rejection she keeps searching by internet and foot. She has learned that it’s a game to be played without too much emotion. But she has already seen the four houses in her price range (not really, all of them would take all the savings and some) and now there is only one little house left that is actually far less than the other houses. She has passed it up online several times because of the backyard. Now she drives by because she’s restless and this is all that is left. It’s a charming 1940’s house that winks at her when she circles it. She calls her new BFF realtor and asks to see it. It only takes a few minutes inside to know that this house is right for her family. This is their home. The house is pleased, she is pleased. The house has been waiting patiently for her. She puts a bid on this sunny and sweet home. It’s a HUD house so bidding starts the minute her bid is entered and will end at midnight. No one else bids and she wins the house and hears the good news with the light of the next morning.
That home now has a pending sign on it but it belongs to our heroine and her family. This home has good bones but needs a lot of creative work, paint, and lovin’. It will keep the heroine busy and out of too much drama in the future.