Saturday, July 27, 2013

Selling our second house through Faith and a little help from Mary

The summer of 2003 - First, we found ourselves in a financial crisis....the property value on the home we built in 1994 had nearly doubled as did our taxes.  Two of our largest referral sources for our business had left town and quite honestly I was afraid bankruptcy was looming unless we made some hard changes.  Our Accountant was convinced that we could keep the house (without bankruptcy) if we would cut all of the kids extra-curricular activities....maybe true since we had four kids!  Since the Accountant was my Dad, he knew our intentions when we built the house were to stay in it forever so he was pushing the cutbacks in other areas.  I had trouble with this reasoning because although alot of love went into the planning of this house, my kids lives were going to go forward and who knew when our finances would stabilize again.  To me....their enjoyment and learning from these activities was more important than my now overpriced home.  After all, a home is where my family and the love is - not the address.  I felt confident that we could find an equal sized (maybe even bigger?) home in an older neighborhood and fix it up but it was a gamble.  

As I sat at my vanity, doing my hair, this one particular morning, the stress was too much and I began to cry (not a crier, typically).  I was just so frustrated and lost....confused as to which was the right decision  - including the concerns of 1.) did I want to have to hear from my Dad for the rest of my life how I screwed up, AND 2.) if we listed the house and tried to keep it clean enough to show - with 4 kids - would it sell in time to pay the fast looming deadlines for the creditors?  So as I sat wallowing in self-pity I decided to ask Mary (yes, the Virgin Mary, Mother of God) what her opinion was, reasoning that she was a mother, what would she do?  

A little back story - I converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism in 2000 to keep our family unified.  I really had no problem with Lutheranism, but had agreed to raise my children Catholic and they were getting old enough to question some things within the church teachings.  Specifically, Dillon wanted to know if I was going to Heaven even if I wasn't Catholic - this seemed to be causing him great concern.  One of the big differences in Catholicism, of course, is that we pray to Saints and the Virgin Mary to intercede for us - much like when we ask a friend to pray for us.  I was not comfortable with this piece of being Catholic yet because, quite frankly, why did I need to ask for intercession when I can go straight to the top myself?  I reasoned, if He doesn't want to answer my prayers, then I must not need them answered. However, on that morning, I decide to ask Mary (a mother, like me) what to do....should I sell the "family" home or cut all the extras?... and no kidding....the doorbell rings!  It is Kern Egger, a real estate agent from across the street and she has a probable buyer for my house sight unseen!  And she is asking, would we be interested?  (She knew nothing of our financial situation or that I was considering selling!)  How could we not be interested after that direct and immediate response to my prayer/question?  I believe that would have been the spiritual equivalent to a slap on the Lord's face!  So of course...she needs to officially list it and we set an appointment for the couple to view the house. We get an official offer immediately (the highest offer recorded in our neighborhood) and they want to close in 2 weeks!  This is mid July and so we push back to the end of August, after all, we hadn't even looked at the market yet!  Within 2 weeks, after a few refusals to our offers, one is finally accepted!

Even this house quest wasn't without drama - we were trying to stay within the kids current school district and we had seen everything available.  We were just about to accept an unacceptable alternative (it had a roof and four walls but needed a new roof and lots of work on the inside) when I got online one more time and searched the area.  A house came up in the area we wanted but it had another school erroneously listed as its district!  I had our agent call the owner and a deal was made - and yes, it was a little larger than the one we were leaving - the growing kids would each have their own rooms and the girls and boys would each have their own bathroom - super nice for growing pre-teens!  Meanwhile, our house was going through the normal inspections and our buyer wanted us to fix every little thing - much of it unreasonable - they weren't buying a "new" house, they were buying a "new-to-them" house (it was almost 10 years old).  However, at the same time, we were getting bids in behind theirs and some were even for more than the appraised price, so we were able to say "no" to their demands!  We were selling this house! (Yes, I think it ALL was a God thing - every little bit - guided all through the process.)

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