Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I've been waiting to write this post for a long time, and now that it's here, it doesn't seem quite real. We finally closed on our house in Florida, I mean I'm pretty sure we did. I wasn't there. There were so many snags along the way that made the whole process pretty stressful, especially not being there.

For the first month on the market, there wasn't enough interest at the price we had set, so we lowered our price by $10,000 and got an offer the next day. We went back and forth with four or so counteroffers and were all happy with the outcome, even though it was less than we wanted.

Then we thought the deal would fall through with a low appraisal, but they still wanted the house. We were losing even more money than we had thought, but just wanted to get rid of it.

Then there was the inspection which found evidence of termite damage, which we had never seen before. That's not something you want to hear. I don't know about you, but when I hear "termite damage" I panic just like I do when I see a house that has to be tented, like the whole house will be eaten away from the bottom up . Luckily it was relatively minor, about $250 worth.

Then there was a water leak notice from the city, which left us baffled as to where it was or how bad it was. For all we knew there was 6 inches of water throughout the house. If only we had been there! That one turned out to be an outside leak, I think, that would be taken care of by the buyers.

Then there was "an exposed nail in the roof", which would have taken Jared about 15 minutes to cover with tar. But oh yeah, we weren't there. That one was only $50 to fix with a contractor. Duh.

Then there was the whole air conditioning fiasco. Blast that air conditioner! We had it replaced about 6 years ago, so you wouldn't think it would have any problems. But alas, it had problems. Not always, just in the last couple of years. It would still be blowing cold air, just not very strongly sometimes. On really hot days, which are plentiful in Florida, it just couldn't keep up. We had several people come out to "fix" it, only to find it was not actually fixed. I hated summers the last couple of years. I loathed that air conditioner! Is it dumb that the air conditioner is one main reason why I wanted to move? Yeah, probably. Anyway, before we left, we decided to pay for a $500 home warranty because we knew the AC would have problems. And it did. The people came out and "fixed" it three or four more times throughout this process and still, I am not convinced that it is fixed. I just hoped that the buyers would not get scared off by this. But the warranty is good for the owner for the next year. If I were them, I would get the whole thing replaced for free. So glad we got that warranty!

Is this making our house sound like a total dump?

Yeah, probably.

It is a 27 year old house so things are bound to happen. But it really was/is a good house. No, really.

Where was I...

Then there was the violation from our HOA which said that our garbage can was left in plain view. The garbage can that the city delivered and left in the middle of the driveway. Yeah, that one.

Then there was the other violation from our HOA stating that our weeds were out of control and we couldn't close with a violation on our house. We'd been having a lawn company come mow our yard, but nobody was weeding, so I can imagine how bad they were--which is kind of a bummer because I just planted tons of stuff right before I left. Gratefully, two of my good friends went over in the sweltering, sticky heat to pull weeds for a few hours. Now that is true friendship! I'm so grateful for them. They said it looked great when they were done, but again, we wouldn't know.

The inspector would though. I talked to him the next day and he said that yes, the weeds were indeed gone, but that they had pulled out some of the plants, so we were given yet another HOA violation. Ridiculous! Especially since it was in a 10 inch strip that never had any plants from the time we moved in until the month before we left. And we never had a violation before. This stuff would have been so much easier if we had been there. I called my friend and she planted $10 worth of flowers so we could close the next day.

But did we close the next day? No. We kept signing extension after extension because of their bank not processing the loan. One of the worst parts about it was that in the contract it stated that they had to have a loan commitment within a certain time, and if they didn't get it from the bank, it was not their fault and could walk away with all $5000 of their earnest money. So even though they had done everything they were supposed to, the bank would not give us the loan commitment letter. The best the bank gave us was an approval letter, and in it was the phrase "this is not a loan commitment". We weren't sure if we should just string this out, paying our mortgage again and again with the chance that they could leave the table at any time, or if we should put it back on the market. We felt so vulnerable about the situation, but were amazed and comforted that the buyers still really wanted the house.

This is longer than a birth story...

After they had passed the original close date, we found out about the small leak in the roof, which caused us even more stress. I was imagining water dripping into the house, moldy drywall breaking off the wall, thousands of dollars of damage and basically a deal gone bad. If only we had been there! How could you trust a contractor to come fix your problem if you don't even know how extensive the problem is? Luckily, it was not that bad. Just one nail that had allowed water in slowly over time. Thank goodness. The buyer almost did walk away until they found out how minor it was.

It was stressful until the very last minute, when they hadn't gotten the closing funds wired to them yet on the day of closing, and finally when we found out that they thought we had not paid off our second mortgage (which we had--months ago), 15 minutes before the end of the day. It is still hard for me to really believe that the closing actually happened, that we don't own a house in Florida anymore, that we will actually get money from it instead of constantly pouring money into it, that we are indeed... homeless. At last! I keep imagining that we will find out something else that has gone wrong or caved in or broken or leaked or overgrown. But the new owners have the keys. It's their house now. It's their air conditioner and water leak and roof repair. I have no idea who these people are, but I imagine they will have a happy life in the house that we were so happy in for 8 years.

It was truly no small miracle that it finally, amazingly closed. I have felt the hand of the Lord in the whole process moving to Utah. I have felt comforted, especially a week and a half ago when I was in the temple. I know that Heavenly Father knows the beginning from the end. He can see it so clearly, even though it is impossible for us to. I feel like He just needs us to show a little faith and hold on until His purposes are fulfilled, and that He can give us real comfort in the mean time. I have been praying and praying for this to happen the way it is supposed to happen, and feel such gratitude that it finally did. I also feel so grateful that Jared's new job paid for all of our closing costs. We would have owed them a little money if it hadn't been for that.

Now we can focus on the down payment for the new house and watch it be built relieved in knowing that we can move in with only one mortgage, for the home we will actually be living in.

I've never been so happy to be HOMELESS! (Jared keeps informing me that people that rent are not actually considered homeless people, but I still like to say it.)


HeatherWasHere said...

Oh my goodness, finally! I am so happy for you, that you can relax and just concentrate on one house. You are a good example of trusting God's timing and his directing of your paths. GREAT news. :)

Stephanie Black said...

That's just crazy! It is so nerve-racking selling a home in FL when you can't be there. We went through it too, although not with so many problems. :) Good luck with the new home and I'm glad all that pain of selling your house is over for you!

Marinda said...

YAY! you sold your house! now you can focus on your new house and get excited! i am happy for you. now send some people over to buy our house so we can both be homeless!

Steve Frahm said...


Lynette said...

I seriously miss you guys. We've left Utah but next time we are in town, we should get together for lunch. Congrats on the house!