A dose of empathy

Let me tell you a little story about never say never…… Last Wednesday I was looking at houses for a client, and found one that had some pretty cool features. I sent it to them for a look, and they really didn’t like it; and it was priced on the high end of market value. On Thursday, I got an email saying the price had been significantly reduced. And, I did the thing I’ve only done 2-3 times in my 10 year real estate career- I called the hubs to meet me there…. He walked in, and he knew exactly what I was thinking. “This is our house.” Not wanting to make a rash decision, I had one of my realtor friends come look at it and make sure it was worth what we were paying. She gave it another resounding “yes”. I said I would NEVER move from our house until my kids were grown.

This house isn’t a fancy house. As a matter of fact, in terms of bells and whistles, our current house is a fancier house. Our current house is a much newer house. But, this house had some things our hearts truly long for- acreage and a fantastic location within minutes of our beloved downtown Franklin. In fact, it was only minutes from our current house. This house also had a fabulous space for our kids to grow into teenagers and bring their friends over. It’s a big house. Not that our current house isn’t big enough- but this house was considerably bigger than our current house. Folks, who know my heart, it had 4 dining areas. A bistro area in the kitchen, a breakfast room, a formal dining room, and a kitchen area in the basement. I was in dinner party heaven. I immediately saw my house full of people at Christmas.

So, I did the very thing I tell my clients to NEVER EVER do. I started pursuing a house before getting lender pre-approval (Disclaimer here- I know mortgage guidelines and have a running idea of what is needed and knew we were okay, and a few lenders in my back pocket.), we put an offer on a house without even a remote thought of selling ours, and we entered a multiple offer situation unwilling to go above list price or remove our financing or inspection contingencies. I started working like a bat outta hell to get our ducks in a row. Let’s just say 2 self employed people need a whole lot of documentation to prove they really make good money. And, praise the Lord we don’t cheat on our taxes, because that would have made the process a whole lot harder. I was a little nervous about the situation, so I drove all the way to KY to sit at the foot of my mother’s grave and pray over our decision. Considering we are so happy in our current house, we had no desire to move, I wanted to make sure this was truly the right thing. And, on the way back from KY I got the call that we had won the multiple offer situation.

And, that’s when the party started getting real. I had this burden in my heart because we hadn’t told our kids, family or friends we were buying a new house. I was so excited, but I know not to count chickens before they hatch. We wanted to make sure everything was a go before we shared the news. We went to the house again and made notes as to what we needed to plan to do rehab wise. We fell in love with what this was going to be.

And, then we had the home inspection. And, my guts just started turning inside out. Pretty much everything that could be wrong was wrong. As I often say to clients who are buying older homes, “they’ve just put lipstick on this pig.” The house had been remodeled, but it was just a mess. We had contractors out to look at it and give estimates. More than anything, we wanted to stay with this purchase. But, through the process, we had prayed that God would make it crystal clear what we should do. And, yesterday without hesitation, but with plenty tears, I said “Jeff, I am out.” We just couldn’t commit to the months and tens of thousands of dollars this house was going to involve. It would mean we had to stay in our current house for 4 months or so while the work was being done there, plus the expense of the work. And, while we’ve been fortunate to save decent money, that would have wiped us out. And, no house is worth putting our financial future at risk. So, I cried some more and called the agent, who I adore, and told them we were done. I hated it for the family who desperately needed to sell this house. We had already connected with them on an emotional level. But, this wasn’t an emotional decision- it was a business decision. And, we had to make the right decision. Lord, knows I’ve made plenty bad ones.

And, although this didn’t work out the way we wanted it to…. And, I feel like I wasted $1000 on inspections for nothing…… I didn’t sleep for a week…… I’ve been stressed and emotionally torn to the max….. My kids are wondering what is wrong with me, and I haven’t been able to tell them….. Through it all, I am thankful. This experience has allowed me to see this process from the other side of the street. Something I haven’t done in 12 years. This process has allowed me to empathize on a deeper level than I have recently with clients walking through multiple offers, negotiating inspections, and trying to decide to take that leap of faith.

The two songs that has been in my head this whole week are Colton Dixon’s “You Are” and Mercy Me’s “Even If”:

YOU ARE: When I can’t find the words, to say how much it hurts; You are the healing in my heart; When all that I can see is broken memories, You are the light that is in the dark;

You are the song, you are the song I am singing; You are the air, You are the air I breathe in; You are the hope, You are the hope I am needing; You Are.

And when my circumstance leaves me with empty hands, You are the provider of my needs; When all my dirtiness has left me helpless, You are the rain that washes me;

You are the song, you are the song I am singing; You are the air, You are the air I breathe in; You are the hope, You are the hope I am needing. You Are.

If I had no voice, if I had no tongue; I would dance for you like the rising sun; And when that day comes, and I see your face; I will shout your endless glorious praise.

You are the song, you are the song I am singing; You are the air, You are the air I breathe in; You are the hope, You are the hope I am needing.

EVEN IF:

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Good thing
A little faith is all I have right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Pardon my French, in a post where I just posted Christian lyrics, but 2017 has been a bitch. It’s probably God protecting us from ourselves that we aren’t moving. I even said before this got started, my sanity probably couldn’t handle that. But, many things I’ve prayed for just haven’t happened. God has changed our course more times than I would like to admit, because you know I’m not a change course kind of girl. God can use us anywhere and in any situation. And, while I wasn’t looking to leave our neighborhood, because these are truly my peeps; I’m really sad that I’m not going to have a rocking yard with an amazing pool and walkout basement anytime soon. So, back to finding joy in our house with dozens of kids spilling colored gatorade on my brand new porch cushions. And, there is much joy in this house. And, I am beyond grateful to have it. But, I’d also be grateful to have last week back, and my $1000 back. But, moving on with more empathy for my clients and the stress of purchasing and inspection periods and all things I just push around on paper.

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