Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Home of Our Own

Jason, Janelle, Daisy, & Deuteronomy Shives' new home
(click pics to see bigger).
Story at the end. It is long , but very interesting!
Living room
Master Bed looking out to lake
Master bath
Family room
another bedroom
2nd bath
the view =)
I think we will cut down that tree that is covering the house.

God has blessed with a home of our own, and at an amazing deal too! Good things come to those who wait. When we first were going to move to Orlando (April 2007) we had signed on the dotted line to purchase a 800 sq ft 2/1 condo with no covered parking for just over $150,000. Praise the Lord we backed out because the monthly payment was too high, and it was not close to Jason's work. So we rented for 1.5 years and continued to look here and there for homes, as prices continued to fall.

Then in April of 2008 we almost bought again, and this time in a much higher price bracket, since we were both making good money. But Priase the Lord we didnt buy then, because Janelle took a significant pay cut in Aug 08, and we would probably be another foreclosure statistic right now. It is funny that we told our then real estate agent, Heather, that we would be willing to drive further to work if we could be on a lake, she basically laughed and said that would have to be our second home, after we were making more money (at this point we were looking at houses over $300,000 too!).

Then in Nov 2008 we found a 3/2 house that was "waterfront" (retension pond) for only $100,000. Although it was spoken for by the time we called the next morning, it sparked in us a drive to find something we could own for not much more than rent.

Almost every Sunday from Nov to Jan 18 we looked at homes. We made offers on 3 of them, but thankfully did not have them accepted.

Then Jan 19th happened. after having seen everything in our price bracket and location, and as we were going that afternoon to look at ones we had skipped over, Janelle decided to check back on a house that we hadnt seen inside, because of tenants. This one was located on a canal, and was priced at $145k. So I typed in the street name into and low and behold there was another house on the same street for a little more money ($159,900). After a little invetigation, I discovered that this house was not on the canal, but on the lake itself! and the pictures of the inside were georgeous! and it had a 2 car garage! So i immediatelly added it to the list of ones i wanted to see and sent it to our real estate agent, Martina. Then almost as immediately called Jason and simply told him, "PRAY, I just found a house on a lake for $159,900." he agreed to and then i proceeded to tell our friends Tim & Sunny Arakawa (Tim was interviewing at Florida Hospital) about the house.

So the afternoon come and Martina took us to see some more houses, but we were eagerly waiting for the lake house. Then the moment arrived and we pulled in the driveway. The outside looked like many homes we had looked at so far, but then we stepped inside...

It was more beautiful than the pictures, completely remodeled inside with cherry wood floors and a never been used before kitchen (the owners manuals were still in the appliances). And then we saw the view! it is not a huge lake, but a skiable one, and the best part was that there are no home on the opposite side! so we looked out at the lake and the beautiful nature around it!

So we immediately told Martina to call to make sure it was still available, she told us not to be heart broken if it wasnt. She called the listing agent, but got no response. The home was a short sale, which means it could take months for the bank to accept your offer, and during the whole time can accept other offers too, this is usually very discouraging, but for the lake house it said the 159900 was a preapproved price, and that was good news. But Martina found out the preapproved price was actually $179900, but that the buyers had backed out because it took too long. We were ready to pay $179900 for the house, because we liked it so much, but God didnt want us to have to do that.

EIther that night or the following night Martina called us with good news. She said that yes the preapproved price was 179900, but that was months ago and the bank was fully aware that the listing agent, Billy, had dropped the list price to 159900, and even better that if we offered the full list price that the listing agent would put the house as "sale pending" so no other offers could be made!! We jumped at the opportunity and we had a signed offer to martina that night.

Then came the waiting. Billy told us that he would have the seller's signature in 2 days, and the banks in 2 weeks. I checked with our loan officer, Matt what the rates were that morning and he said 4.875 with a 1% fee! I wanted to lock in that rate so badly, but couldnt without a contract. So we waited. The seller took 5 days to sign the contract, because he wanted to make sure that we were willing to pay an extra $3000 at closing, if needed and because we had put that we wouldn't pay higher than a rate of 5.5% and he changed it to say "prevailing rate." we agreed, but in our hearts did not want to pay the extra money or higher rate, and so the contract went to the bank. It took the seller 5 days, instead of 2, so I was afraid the bank would take 5 weeks instead of 2!

Since we technically had a contract, so on Jan 26th we could have locked our rate in (which had risen to 5%), but would have had to close in 30 days. Martina advised us against doing that because the bank did not have to accept our offer, and then we would have a mortgage and no house. So i listened to her and waited patiently.

So week number 2 came and went, and we heard nothing and interest rates continued to rise. Week 3 came and went and we heard nothing.

Then on Feb 18th some bookshelves for the new house arrived on our door (that janelle had ordered without asking jason, sorry babe). Jason gets upset, and janelle promises to take them back if they dont get the house. So Jason goes back to work and I have the daunting task of getting 3 large boxes into the garage. while i was doing this i left my phone in the house. So i finally get them in and check my phone to find that Martina had called twice and send a text message to call her ASAP. So i did and she asked if Jason was home (it is always something important when she asks that) and then she says "do you want the good news or bad news first?" I said the bad news. She almost yells, "there is no bad news, they accepted your offer!" I of course get very excited, thanked God, and called jason.

The next call was to Matt at our bank, and guess what rate we were able to lock in? 4.875 with 1% fee, the exact rate I had told God I would be ecstatic with, maybe i should have said lower! So we had 30 days to close and Matt said the bank needed 3weeks (Mar 16). We wanted to close even earlier so we got everything in very quick and they agreed to move it up 5 days to the 11th. So everything was set except for the appraisal.

At our CREATION health study on Friday night the 6th we excitedly told our friends we were closing on Wed and the lovely and talented Nadine gave us beautifully embroidered towels as a house warming gift. Little did we know what was waiting for us on the answering machine... so we finally listened to our messages pretty late Sat night and heard Matt tell us that the house had only appraised for 147900 and to let him know if he could help in any way. I didnt know what our options were at that point, and decided to call Martina right after witness 4 fitness in the morning. I had bad dreams that night.

In the morning Martina ranted and raved about how bad a job the appraiser did, and that there was no reason for it not to have appraised for the sale price. So she, bless her heart, spent 3 hours on Sunday preparing a document that showed the errors the appraiser had made and comparable sales for houses that were waterf/lake front. the appraiser had even underestimated the square footage.

Monday morning Martina sent that document to the bank, who sent it to the appraisal company. We went back to waiting, and waiting. We missed our 11th and 16th closing dates waiting to see if they would change the price, and our contract on the house expired the 18th. Martina let us know that there were back up offers on the house, so i dared not think of asking the bank to accept a sales price of $147k. So on the 16th I took matters into my own hands. the problem with the appraisal was that our bank would only fund 95% of the appraised price, leaving us with a difference of $12,250. So i went where all good children go when they need money - Mommy. Mommy reluctantly agreed to let us borrow the extra money and we rushed to get the money wired into our bank account. We just had to close by the 18th. Later that day Matt informs me that the appraiser did not budge a single dollar! We were all shocked.

So 2 scenarios are now running through my mind. 1. this is God's way of lowering our monthly payments by taking an extra (interest free) loan from my mom. 2. this is God's way of telling us not to buy this house. This is right when 2 other Advent HOPE leadership couples had also had problems closing on their houses. how were we to know which it was? well we did much more praying and later that night Martina said the unthinkable. She wanted to ask the bank for an extension on the contract of 1 week AND that they take $147,000 for the house. I told her to go ahead and try, but i did not tell Matt, in my mind we were still closing on Wed with mom's money. Tues went by, no word from the bank. Now it is the 18th our last day under contract. I get a call from Martina while jason is completing his motorcycle class. She begins by saying, "I have bad news...! there is no bad news, you are going to have your dream house at $147,000!!! and they extended the contract for 7 days." Of course there was more screaming,excitment, praising God, and calling Jason.

Martina said the title company would need 2 days to close, but our rate was going to expire after the 19th and rates had gone up significantly, so we would have to pay a couple hundred dollars to extend it. That's nothing compared to the $12,900 that Martina had just saved us, but money is money. So Matt went to work and said he taught on his end that we could close tomorrow, the 19th. I asked Martina to see if the title company could be ready as well.

We closed on the 19th at 4 pm!

What a miracle how it all came together at the last minute. Thank you God! And because the purchase price was less, the down payment/closing costs were less, the monthly payment was less, and that extra $3000 never showed up. Mom was grateful to get her money back as well =)

Everyone at the closing was so excited for us, the listing agent even came by to congratulate us and tell us that we MUST be at the bottom of the market for the deal we got and that he would have bought the house if we didnt!

Martina gave us a gift card to Home Depot, and reminded us how we almost went with a different agent because Martina was not part of a program that wouldve given us $600 cash back. At that time she promised us that we would not be sorry for using her, and she was right! and you know what is amazing? Martina got less commission because she stuck her neck out for us, isnt that awesome? selfless. reminds me of Someone else.

So now we have a 4/2, 1680 sq ft, 2 car garage house, on a Lake for LESS money than we wouldve paid for the condo in 2007. Did I mention that the man we bought it from paid $410,000 in 2006 before remodeling it! So friends, come visit us, we have an extra room for you =)

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

New additions

Introducing (Officially) Daisy & Deuteronomy

We adopted them from the Orange county animal shelter in Nov and we have been pleasantly surprised at how well behaved they are and how they get along.

Don't breed or buy while shelter pets die!