Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tina's coming!!! Tina's coming!!!

I'm so unbelievably excited that my best friend Tina is on her way out to see me!!! Ok not quite on her way, but she'll be heading out of Seattle in about four hours!! Whoohoo!! I can't even believe I'll have her all to myself for four whole days! (Thank you Jay!!!) Plus, she'll be the first one to see our new house! I'm getting a little carried away with the exclamation points. Deep breath. I'm not quite sure what we'll do, but I have a few ideas in mind. I was able to get Friday and Monday off from work, so I can really hang out with her. And if you know Tina at all, then you know I'll have some fun pictures to post after her weekend stay. Maybe we'll need to go buy Yahtzee for old times sake - back in high school we could sit for hours on end in the backyard playing this game. I recall one very bad sunburn I received after playing Yahtzee with her one lazy summer afternoon. Ahhh, those were some good times! It's hard to believe how much life we've already shared together - marriages, kids, homes, moves....its nuts! She has always been such a loyal and faithful friend, and I know that I can count on her being with me through so much more life together. Your the best Tina and I love you - now hurry up and get on that plane girl!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Doug Is Ours!!!

Whoohoo!!! Now Jason and I can really celebrate, because our adoption of Doug is complete! We had always dreamed of owning a home in East Nashville and now we do - I can't even tell you how excited we are! It took 16 days to get through all the negotiations and counteroffers once we found out through the inspection that the foundation would need to be redone. But thankfully it worked to our advantage that the seller was leaving for a 2 month backpacking trip to Asia and really didn't want to try to sell the house while he was out of the country and into the winter, so that gave us quite a bit of leverage. Plus we have a check that the seller cut us to get the foundation completely repaired, along with some other minor things that we'll finish up before we move in.

Here's a picture of Doug taken off the realtor's site, its not the best picture and we plan to repaint the trim and porch a different color, but you get the idea of our cute little 1920 country home, that we have affectionately refered to as "Doug".
The house has been completely remodeled on the inside with new tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, refinished hardwood floors in the dining room and living room, 10 ft ceilings, all new fixtures in the bathroom, all new appliances in the kitchen and all new cabinets, soapstone countertops and backsplash. There's a huge fenced in backyard with a big shady tree and a small shed, which will be perfect when we get our two labrador puppies this fall!! Doug has three bedrooms and two baths, original windows, I could go on and on...its just too darn cute! I can't wait to start moving our things in!
These other pics are also off the realtor website and they're very dark and small, but I'll be going back this weekend to get some pictures of the inside myself, so you have a better idea what it all looks like!!

I can't believe its actually happened and we're finally homeowners!! Yippee!!! Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next.


--Reinhold Niebuhr

During this last week we discovered through our house inspection that the foundation is pretty messed up. We've been praying about it, but basically if the seller does not cover the cost of repairs to the foundation, which will be close to $9,000, then we walk away from this house. Supposedly the seller and his agent are talking about what they're going to do with this issue and hopefully we'll know something more today, but for sure by tomorrow. We just have to believe that if it doesn't work out, than its for the best and God has a better house for us in mind. We named our house Doug, to try to stay as unattached as possible. I don't think its working.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

House Hunting

Some rumors might be spreading around that we have bought a house - this is true, though we are trying to keep from freaking out and doing cartwheels until the inspection is complete on Thursday. It is an old house and anythings possible. Once everything is settled, and the inspection clears, the loan papers are signed et... we will post up pictures of our new home!!

It's been a crazy last few weeks to say the least. The market is flooded with houses out here in Nashville and its a buyers market from what we've been told. We have spent countless hours online looking at different homes, neighborhoods, driving around and checking them out, its been so exhausting! Jason has been amazing by dedicating any spare moment he has during the day driving around to see them all and checking them off our growing list of potential homes. We've seen a few together on the weekends or on my lunch breaks, but its really been Jason who's been really after it. At the very start of this whole search, we thought that this house might be the one. It was $160,000 (yes, that's not a misprint) 3 bed/2 ba home with a huge bonus room, cathedral ceilings, we thought it was perfect for us. At first there was already a contract in place with another couple, but it fell through and we were given the opportunity to buy it. We started seeking counsel from a few friends of ours that were Realtors and realized this was not a good investment because it would likely not appreciate because of the area it was in. So we passed on the house, a bit bummed but trusting that God would lead us to not only to a great house, but a good investment opportunity as well.

At this point, we started enlisting help from Heidi who works with Jason at Mortons by night and as a realtor by day. She has a gorgeous home in East Nashville, which is the most appreciating area of the city. But at the same time she's also on a block that I just couldn't see myself living on with Jason having to work nights. We went with her to see a couple houses near her home and these two thugs looked at us like - "what?" Um, nothing...just passing through, we'll be out of your hood shortly! NEXT! In 5 or 10 years her neighborhood will probably clean up a whole lot, but I didn't want to wait that long to find out. Then we drove out near Inglewood, which is also a lot of older homes and in an up and coming area. This house wasn't bad, and it had a very cute Hansel & Gretel look to it, but it had been poorly renovated and the upstairs master bedroom had no closets. Plus, it was the second house off a really busy street that looks a lot like Lake City Way. Uh, not so much. Closer, but still not quite it. But I did love the reading nook in the corner of the master bedroom upstairs, isn't it adorable? This house was $170,000. Then last Friday, we went together to see another house in Inglewood with Heidi that was really cute. The outside was simple and modest, with the white picket fence, and the inside was just gorgeous. It was so clean and everything was brand new.

I loved the kitchen, wood floors, tile and bathrooms! It was also 3 bed/2 ba, but you had to go through the office to get to the master bedroom, and that would have been kind of a pain. We loved everything about this house, but it was definitely priced a lot higher than the other houses in the area and probably would not appreciate a whole lot. As we stood in the house we looked at each other and said while shrugging our shoulders "we could live here". It was definitely the closest we had come to finding the ideal house and we thought we could sacrifice a few things to make it work, such as there was barely a dining area and we have quite a large dining room table. As we're getting ready to leave, Heidi looks at us and says, "Well there is this house that just went up on the market today on Douglas Avenue in East Nashville. It's a little higher than you were looking at, but we could stop by if you want." Without a whole lot of expectations, we were like "Sure, why not". So we get in the car and head over to Douglas Avenue, which might I add is one of Jason's favorite streets in East Nashville and we have talked about wanting to live there if we ever could afford it. The renovated houses on that street are selling between $280,000 to $400,000! (Which I know to all you Seattle folk that doesn't seem like a whole lot, but out here the market is drastically lower and $500K will buy you a mansion!). This is an area that Jason and I would often drive through and dream about. To be clear, there's scary East Nashville and gorgeous East Nashville. The whole area is divided up into subdivisions. Some subdivisions like Lockland Springs are mostly renovated and the houses are between $350K - $600K. Then there's other subdivisions that aren't quite there yet, but have the potential, like where Heidi lives. The subdivision that this house is located in, is Eastwood Neighbors. I would say this area is half renovated, with a ton of new renovations currently in process. So we arrive at this house, and it looks ok from the outside. It's not painted the best colors, so it appears drab. We go inside and our mouths fall to the floor! Absolutely adorable! Original refinished hardwood floors, plenty of windows, tons of character, fully remodeled kitchen with new cabinets, tile, counter tops and back splash. All new stainless steel appliances, all new carpet and paint. The bathrooms have all new fixtures and there was a huge fenced backyard! 3 bedrooms & 2 baths. So stinkin cute!!!

We went home that night and I didn't sleep hardly at all. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Jason got home and we prayed again asking God to direct our steps. On Saturday we went back to the house with Heidi and the Seller was there putting on a brand new door and watering the lawn. We went inside and walked around again making notes - right then we decided we were going to do this and make an offer on the house! For a change, I was all of a sudden the one that was calm and Jason was nervous! Are we really going to do this??!! This was the first time either of us will have owned a house. So we sat at the little table and filled out the contract and then proceeded to drive all around East Nashville in search of a copy machine, so we could give the Seller our offer. It was quite humorous actually and we eventually got our copy made and Heidi gave it to Nick, the Seller. She told us that he had two days to consider our offer before he had to give us an answer. Jason and I then got in our car, took a deep breath and left for the grocery store near our apartment. So while I wait in the car on the phone with Tina, Jason runs into the grocery store. As he's in there Heidi calls Jason on his cell to tell him that the seller has counter-offered, but not above what our limit was!!! So he gets back in the car with me and we start driving off like we're heading home. Then all of a sudden he turns back toward the freeway and I say to him, "What are you doing?" He looks at me and says, "What do you say we go buy us a house?!" I'm totally confused - what? He explains the seller has counter-offered but its not beyond the limit we had set, and we're to head back downtown to meet Heidi to sign the papers!!! YIPPEEE!!

It all happened very fast and I still can't quite believe that it's soon to be ours!! God is so good and if all goes well, we'll be moved in to our new home before the holiday season. After everything has been cleared, and we head back to the house to look around again, I'll be sure to take pictures for you all to see!!