Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A House Is Not A Home

Almost a month ago I posted that we had sold our house to the state, and had 90 days to find a new one. I also mentioned that I hoped that a house we had been through once seemed ideal. Well. We have a close friend who is a builder who walked through it with us, and his opinion is that even if we had unlimited money --ha, ha, ha-- that we shouldn't waste it on that house. His exact words were "This thing should be bulldozed."

He also walked
us through two additional houses, both of which he deemed acceptable. One of them was a foreclosure, offered at a very low price to sell it quickly. We offered 50% more than the asking, and were beaten out by a bid only slightly higher. It appears that this was our gain, however, because when our agent told us how much the winning bid was, he also mentioned that they had found mold all down the chimney, which runs between the family room and the master bedroom. THAT I would not like to deal with. (I also give myself observation points, because I had spotted a little of the mold in the corner of the secondary master closet. The door for the closet was behind the door of the room, and I expect that most of the bidders never even saw that there was a closet there, let alone the mold.)

The third house is in no way my "dream house", but it certainly could be made to do. A major drawing point is the truly dry basement, a rarity here in Michigan. Plenty of room to put a big family room down there, and there's already a fireplace. The drawback to this house is that it's a HUD home, subject to electronic bids, and it simply went on the market at far too high a price. The asking price has come down nearly 25% already, and it's still 20% above our maximum, since we won't buy anything we'd need a new mortgage on. (Ideally we'd even like to save some of our cash for repairs and updates, but we're becoming resigned to paying cash for the house and taking out a minimal HELOC for fixups.) So every day our realtor submits another bid, and every day HUD ignores it.

Since on Friday we will be down to 60 days, this seems to be a less-than-stellar plan for the long haul. So tomorrow we will be looking at MORE houses -- including another HUD house -- and probably more next week. Ninety days sounds like a long time, but man, it isn't!

I was talking to our three-year-old grandson Daniel on the phone today. We have been trying to prepare the grandchildren for the fact that Grandma and Grandpa's house is not going to be here any more. (In point of fact, 7 of the 18 houses on our block have already been flattened, and three more are empty, but that's another post.) We have been telling them that when it's time to move, they will help us by loading the toy box into the car and taking it to the new house. Daniel was telling me about this today, and then he said "Jesus is going to find a new house for you." Suddenly I have a renewed understanding of the faith of a child!

I've never felt, throughout this whole process of waiting to see if the state would be buying our house, that we'd be losing our home. Our home is where we are, and all we'll be losing is the house we keep it in. But I'm certainly ready to find the next place for home to live! All prayers are appreciated, for "the right house at the right price at the right time". And while you're at it, pray for me to have a faith like Daniel's!


HereWeGoAJen said...

Looking for a new house is exhausting. I hope you find the perfect house to make into a home.

Lindsay said...

I think we could all learn a little something from Daniel. He's a very wise young man. You and his parents must be terribly proud of him. :o)

I'll say some prayers for you. I have no doubt that things will work out. I wish you the best of luck in this tireless search!