In the first post of this series, I explained how we came to make the decision to uproot our lives and move to West Virginia. Two months of the stress connected with finding jobs, selling our house, finding a new house, and cleaning out 19 1/2 years’ worth of stuff had taken its toll, but we were soldiering on.
A week before my husband was to start his new job — and facing a 500-mile round-trip weekly commute until we could get moved — we got our final offer from the mortgage company. Our new loan amount would be 25% below the initial pre-qual.Now, I’m not one to cry about much of anything, but on this day I came close to bursting into tears. By now we knew what the market was like and I started picturing us living in a shack by the interstate. I was completely devastated and had no idea how we were going to make this work.
Frankly, if that’s the original number they had given us, there’s a good chance we would not have started this journey in the first place. We would have taken some time to reassess and chart a more reasonable path forward.
But now we were locked in. My husband had quit his old job and accepted an offer at the new company. When I started looking at houses online, I found myself looking at neighborhoods where I really didn’t want to live — neighborhoods deep in the woods, off back roads, or across from multifamily units that worried me.I know I sound like a total snob, but here’s the thing: I loved the house we were living in. We were comfortable there, the neighborhood was quiet and safe, shopping was convenient, and while I wanted to be closer to Son #1 and his family, I didn’t want to end up living in a place I hated.
I started the mortgage process all over again by putting in applications with two other companies, but we never got anywhere with that. Frankly, my self-employed status seemed to be weighing heavily against us, and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about that. The fact that I’d been self-employed for 25 years and had tax transcripts showing my income didn’t seem to matter much.
So, my husband left to start his new job,and I was left to wonder how the heck all this had happened.On his last day of work for the week, after a 12-hour overnight shift, my husband drove home the next morning and we greeted him by pointing out the giant Bradford Pear limb that had fallen in the middle of the night, stretching across the creek into our neighbor’s yard. So, instead of going to bed, he ended up in the backyard with Son #2, trying to at least get the limb back on our property.
In the meantime, we were still showing the house but had gotten no offers. I was tired of constantly having to scurry around to make sure everything was sparkling and neat, and I was tired of having strangers traipse through our home.
Several days later, while my husband was again away at his new job, we had a huge thunderstorm that left our backyard looking like a war zone. More huge limbs down, branches, twigs, and leaves everywhere, and Son #2 working 12-hour days, 7 days a week, leaving no time to help clean up.
Then three things happened.
First, Son #2’s boss offered to hire a tree service to clean up the damage in our yard, despite the fact that my son had already given notice, having gotten an offer from the same company my husband had gone to work for.
Second, my husband found a house online that he really liked. And it was in our price range! It looked beautiful in the photos, but I had become leery of internet real estate photos, so I was only cautiously optimistic.
The third thing that happened was our realtor on the sell side suggested we put the house up for rent instead. To my surprise, that was fine with the buy-side mortgage company, and it didn’t take long for interested tenants to start showing up.
After that, things moved very quickly. My husband put a contract on the new house, and it wasn’t until 4 days later that I got to see it. We got a tenant for our old house, and even after paying a management company, we’re actually making a profit.
It took a while before I could actually accept that it was happening, but on July 17th, we loaded up a truck, rounded up the cats (yes, some blood was shed — mostly mine), and made the drive to our new home. In the meantime, however, something else had happened.
(To be continued)