Here We Go Again

On Saturday, we put in offers on two different houses (#8 and #9).

Today, we received a counter-offer on home #9 and after some discussion, we accepted that offer. We’ll now begin the process all over again.

  • Option period
  • Home inspection
  • Earnest money to title company
  • Possibly more negotiations if something is found during the inspection
  • Yada, yada, yada

House #9 does have everything we were looking for.

  • Quite a bit smaller than our house in Illinois
  • Open floor plan (although I would have liked it to be a tad more open)
  • Outdoor living space being a nice extension to the indoor living space
  • Minimum of three bedrooms
  • Room for hubby’s home office
  • Grassy area for the dogs and a little room for growing some vegetables

Unlike the Tuscany home, #9 needs very little work. Pretty much everything has been upgraded. We’ll need to replace flooring in the living room, the carpet on the stairs and I’m going to want to paint the upstairs media room and turn it into living space with a sleeper sofa for guests. It will be a nice area for the girls to play as well.

We’re also more excited about the location of #9. It makes hubby’s commute shorter than the Tuscany house would have been and IMO, it’s a very nice town in the DFW area. It is also closer to our DFW family, which is important to us.

And we can’t forget the nice mailbox. Now for the story behind that statement.

While looking a houses a few weeks ago with the girls, we were quite thrilled with a house we saw. There were many things we liked about it, other than the location, which is very important. However, Naomi was excited about one feature in particular– the mailbox. It was in that moment she exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted my own mailbox”! LOL!!! We had no idea!

As we’ve looked at houses since then, there have been a couple that didn’t have a mailbox sitting in front of the house and I immediately thought of Naomi and how disappointed she would be to get a house without the mailbox she’s always wanted.

While it’s exciting to be taking the next step toward home ownership, the last four months have begun to take its toll on me mentally and emotionally.

Moving across county is a major stressor. Living in an RV for the last 4+ months is a huge change and while I do enjoy it, there are aspects that are challenging. It would be very different if we were moving from place to place, but we’re staying put in one place while we sort out our more permanent living situation. There aren’t many kids here and the kids who are here are on the other side of the park, which means the girls aren’t able to easily make friends. I would also like to be settled where I can get to know the area and our neighborhood. To open up an opportunity to establish my own friendships. There is a level of loneliness that has become more and more difficult to ignore. I’ve tried to open up social opportunities for the girls and me during the week, but those opportunities not been as plentiful as I had hoped. Getting more settled with room to invite people over will certainly help.

Finding a house to buy and then terminating the contact. Going back out to look at more houses and then finding two of interest. Working toward the purchase of our next home has been stressful as well.

It has been a build-up of a lot of things that caused me to tell hubby today that I need to take the girls and go away for a while. I need some time away to regroup and restore myself mentally and emotionally.

So tomorrow morning the girls and I are heading to California to visit with my sister and her family. We’ll spend some time at the beach. We’ll go to Universal Studios so Lili can experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We hope to stop at the Grand Canyon on the way there or on the way back. It’s an opportunity to do something out of the norm and chance to take their education on the road for a little while.  Something I have longed to do since we began homeschooling.  It’s also a great way to regroup and re-energize while waiting for the first phase of our home adventure to begin.

When I return, I hope to have some wonderful stories and photos to share of our adventures. Until then, here are some photos of the home we’re now trying to purchase.

Round 2 and Round 3

Since our Tuscany house didn’t work out, we headed out today with our realtor and looked at 9 more houses. I’ve lost count, but think we’ve looked at about 20 houses in all at this point.

We seem to find a house we like, but the outdoor space isn’t what we’re looking for. Primarily, all the yard has been taken up by pool and our dogs need a place to potty. I have also wanted to find something that has enough yard space that I can establish a couple small key-hole gardens. It really is difficult to find, at least in our price range.

If we find a house that has the pool and yard space we desire, the house seems to be lacking. That seemed to be the norm as we were looking today.

Until we walked into house #8.

It wasn’t in the door long before I knew I wanted to put an offer in on the house.

When we walked outside and saw the pool and yard, I verbalized the fact that we were putting an offer on the house.

The icing on the cake was the park and large fishing pond with fountain that was our view over the fence. From the house, we could easily see the park, which had a nice playground.

Was the house perfect? Absolutely not. All the carpet in the house needed to be pulled up and we immediately knew we would replace it with hard wood floors.

The ceiling needed some repair from a previous leak that had been repaired. The yard needed some sprucing up, but it had nice shade in the front and some in the back. There was plenty of room for the dogs and some space for key hold gardening.

We sat at the table with the realtor and discussed the offer a bit and then headed out to see home #9 about 5 miles down the road from house #8.

The realtor had scheduled the viewing and by this point, we were running late and not sure we could see house #9. When we pulled up, we discovered the homeowners were back home. Oops! Our realtor spoke with the homeowner, who very graciously allowed us to come in and take a look.


We were very impressed as we walked in and began looking around. The house is one of the smaller houses we’ve seen and it needed new flooring in the living room, but everything else was very nice.

Then we walked out to see the pool and yard. It was this point we were sold. While a larger yard would have been nice, we just couldn’t ignore the fact that this was everything we had been looking for. It had space for the dogs and some space left over for a key-hole garden. The pool was gorgeous as was the attached hot tub. There was a very nice pergola with a nice bar and plenty of room for an outdoor table and chair. It also had an outdoor television.


We headed back in to look thru the rest of the house. Off the living room was a 1/2 bath with a door that lead out to the pool area. No walking thru the house to go to the bathroom. The bonus was the doggie door in the bathroom door.

The carpet on the stairs is not our style, but it appeared to be in good shape.

At the top of the stairs was a bonus room that the seller’s had converted into a media room.

There were also three bedrooms and two bathroom upstairs. All very nice, with wood floors.

We headed back outside to look at the pool area again where the sellers were waiting for us to finish our walk-thru. We had a nice chat with them and found that Mr. Seller and his brother did all the pool and outdoor living space. They own their own business installing pools and outdoor living space. Based on what we saw, they do good quality work. I also found out that they go on two cruises a year. Since we like cruising as well, we immediately began to click. They shared a little bit about themselves and told us they were selling because they were building a house nearby. They were a very nice couple and hopefully they enjoyed visiting with us enough that they’ll accept our offer. Yes, we put an offer on a second house today.

In the State of Texas, buyers can put offers in on multiple properties. It increases our chances of having an offer accepted and moving forward with a purchase. If both offers are accepted, then we get to choose which house we want to pursue. It’s a nice benefit to buyers.

After house #9, we had four more listings to see. Unfortunately, we were just done. We had found two houses we liked enough to put offers on and by this point we had been looking at houses for just over 5 hours.

Now we wait to see if either offer is accepted and while we do prefer one house over the other, we would be happy with either one.

Back to the Drawing Board

During the home inspection, the inspector found damage to the roof from a recent hail storm.  We had a roofing company out to inspect further and it was determined the roof needed to be replaced. A request was sent to the seller to have the roof replaced and this morning our agent was told the seller will not be doing anything more to the house. As such, we have walked away from the deal. We were willing to take on the cost of upgrades, which would have been a very good investment of our money. We’re not willing to take on the expense of replacing a roof. The seller carries insurance on the house and hail damage is a covered loss. The total expense would have fallen on our shoulders and it’s not an expense we want to incur. So it’s back to the drawing board.

Tomorrow afternoon we will meet with our agent and begin looking at houses again.

The girls are disappointed, especially Naomi. She was very excited about the room that would become her bedroom. It had a loft and she had big plans for playing in that loft. Now she wants us to find another home with a loft. I told her it was doubtful we would find another house with a loft, but who knows.

Lili is only mildly disappointed. She asked why we weren’t buying the house, I explained and she is able to accept that explanation and move on with the attitude that we’ll find a better house. Hopefully we will.

So good-bye Tuscany house. It was fun planning and dreaming, but it was not meant to be.

A Hunting We Will Go

To date, I’ve looked at 13 houses.

Here’s my favorite so far.

This house is the same age as the house we sold in Illinois. It’s a 4 bedroom 2 bath home and about 1300 square feet smaller than our house in Illinois, which is a good thing.  This house needs to have some repair work done and definitely needs updating.  It also doesn’t have much yard space, but a little space could be created with some work.

Unless we can come up with $50,000 – $100,000 more, we’re probably not going to find  ‘everything’ we desire.

House-hunting in the DFW area is a tough gig, but we’re inching ever closer to our next home.

House Hunters Weeks Style – Open Houses

It was a beautiful spring day in the DFW area today, so hubby, the girls and I headed out to check out open houses – one in Fort Worth, one in Carrollton and one in Plano.

I was very much looking forward to finally walking thru some houses instead of just driving by, but what I didn’t anticipate was how much I would learn from our house hunting adventure.

Lesson 1 – I really do not like houses built in the 1970’s around here. Not that there isn’t a 1970’s house I might like out there somewhere, but all three houses we looked at today were built in the 1970’s and we didn’t like any of them. As we move forward in our search, we’ll be looking at some newer houses which are much more to our liking.

Lesson 2 – The east side of Fort Worth is about as far west as we’re willing to go. The house we looked at today was on the southwest side of Fort Worth. We left that house headed toward house #2 and it took us right by hubby’s office. It was quite a commute and it was Sunday afternoon with good traffic flow. I don’t want him to have to make that commute, so I’m quite certain he would prefer not to make that drive if he doesn’t have to. Not that it was much further than the drive he’s making now, but the goal is to get him closer to work and we can narrow our search radius.

Lesson 3 – I am really liking Carrollton and Plano. Not that I liked either of the houses I saw in either of those towns today (see Lesson 1), but I really like the feel of Carrollton and Plano as I drive around those two areas. It makes me want to explore them more.

Lesson 4 – I learned a bit more about hubby’s commute today and we will narrow our search even more to areas that will help him avoid the worst part of his daily commute.

While we may not have found a house we liked, our house-hunting adventures taught us much and that makes today a big success.

House Hunters, Week’s Style – The Search Continues

I’m so happy to looked more closely at the demographics around the DFW area and now have my search tool all set up thru our realtor’s site.

Each day I get hits on new listings in the areas I’ve chosen and I’m finding a common trend.  It seems the houses I like most are pretty consistently in the same two places – Carrollton and Fort Worth.  For a matter-of-face, the majority of houses I like are in Fort Worth and it wasn’t an area I had really considered before.  The demographics are good and it’s not a bad location for hubby’s commute.  It is certainly closer to many of the things the girls and I enjoy doing down here and that’s a big plus.

Because Fort Worth is now on the list, I’ve started researching it a bit more and here are some interesting facts about the city.

  • Fort Worth is the 16th largest city in the United States and the 5th largest city in Texas.
  • Fort Worth is home to several world-class museums such as the Kimball Art Museum, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art. There is also the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History as well as several museums celebrating their cowboy and cowgirl heritage such as the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
  • The city has some outstanding colleges as well. You may have heard of some, like Texas Christina University, Texas Wesleyan University, University of North Texas Health Science Center or Texas A&M University School of Law.
  • Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, American Airlines, Pier 1 Imports and Radio are some of the multinational companies headquartered in Fort Worth.
  • Fort Worth has quite a bit of history and the city was originally established as an Army outpost protecting Texas settlers during the Mexican-American war. It became a popular stop along the Chisholm Trail, eventually becoming a trading and cattle center where it earned the nickname “Cowtown”.
  • Fort Worth suffered some big losses along the way including economic disaster and a tornado that tore apart a large portion of the city.
  • However, from 2000 – 2006, Fort Worth was listed the fastest growing city in the U.S. and one of America’s Most Livable Communities.
  • It has a humid sub-tropical climate and is in Hardiness Zone 8A (important information for those of us who want to garden). The hottest month of the year being July with an average high of 94 degrees and the coolest month of the year being January with an average high of 55 degrees.
  • The Fort Worth Zoo is named a top zoo by Family Life magazine, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. It is also listed as one of the top zoos in the South by Southern Living Reader’s Choice Awards and has been ranked as a top 10 zoo in the United States.
  • Fort Worth is also home to the world’s largest indoor rodeo.

There is a lot more history and information I could share, but I’ll stop here and save more for later should we decide Forth Worth is the place we want to call home.

In the meantime, the girls and I are planning to trip to Fort Worth tomorrow to check out the zoo and maybe drive by a couple of the home listings that interest me.

If you are familiar with Fort Worth and have anything to share, please leave a comment. I’m always interested in hearing other’s thoughts.





House Hunters, Weeks’ Style

Being a diverse family, it’s important to us that we live in a town that has good diversity. So over the weekend, I spent a fair amount of time looking at the demographics of several towns in the DFW area. As a result, I eliminated some towns that we had previously been considering and we are now looking at some areas we hadn’t previously considered.

Hubby and I are also set up on the realtor site which enables us to set our preferences and look at all the houses in the areas we’re considering. I suppose it also takes our realtor off the hook in searching for new listings and I’m absolutely fine with that. After all, I tend to be a control freak and being able to search through listings provides me more control. It’s a win-win!!!

Since we’re not quite ready to make a purchase, I’m just going to share photos from some of the houses I like so far. No specific details on the house, just photos for your viewing pleasure.

I really like the arched doorway and wood floors.

Pool with pool-side fire pit?!!!  I can imagine some relaxing evenings in the pool by firelight.

Office space for hubby is a necessity.

Pool with hot tub would also be nice.  Having a covered patio area is also a requirement for us.

More to come another day.