Saturday, December 3, 2016

You Know You're Having a True Real Esate Adventure When . . .

Your realtor tells you yours was the case study for the “Intricacies of Buying Rural Properties” class. Intricacies is such a . . . diplomatic word.

It takes three banks to find underwriting for an unusual property with no comps.

The standard length of time for an appraisal is 45 days.

The official records show buildings on the property that don’t exist.

It’s For Sale by Owner. (Thankfully we have had a wonderful realtor who has helped both sides the process along).

Showings before we had our house officially on the market.

The assessed tax value for the property we’re buying is over two times the sale price.

Prepping a home of a family of seven to be show-ready!

You’re buying a property in the “wild, wild west” where no building permits were required during construction!

Three or four showings scheduled within the first hours of listing.

Coordinating inspections and surveys while living 8 hours away.

Owner lives 2000 miles away.

Four days from listing to contract on our Greeley home.

You’re buying an “as is” property.

The kids and I had been at the nearby park while a prospective buyer was at our house. After what I thought was a reasonable length of time, we returned to find some people with our house info in hand, looking at the house from inside their vehicle.

“Are you our five o’clock showing?’ I asked.

“Uh. . . No . . . “they replied.

“Well, do you want to see the house?” I asked.

“Yes. Is that OK?”

As I began to show them our house, the real estate agent (not ours) was wrapping up the scheduled showing.

A couple of hours later we had an offer followed by a contract later that evening. Which was it? The people from scheduled showing performed by the professional? Or the folks of the street shown around by little old me? Yep, you guessed it - the folks off the street are our buyers!

It will have been eight months from initial call to closing on the place we’re buying.

You have your selling and buying perfectly coordinated . . . until an appraisal goes awry and you find you have inadvertently sold your house out from under yourself.

The craziness requires three extensions to the contract.

Shingles. Not on the roof; on the side of your torso making even the thought of mere movement painful.

You try to coordinate work (for Todd) and school transitions when you don’t know WHEN you’re transitioning!

In short, the pattern has been coming up to a wall thinking “Well, that’s the end of that!” only for the bricks in the wall to rearrange themselves into an opening. There has been a lot of hurry-up-and-wait and how-will-that-work and what-ifs and maybe-we-shoulds . . .  and are-we-crazy??!! But we keep praying about it and have decided to trust the Way Maker. That, after all, is the greatest adventure.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mountain View Adventure - The Backstory

The seeds of this adventure were planted in conversations that started with “Wouldn’t it be cool if . . .” and ended with some variation of us having a place where people could come and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and where our family could work together to practice hospitality. Perhaps 20 years serving at a retreat center gets in your blood!

Of course the internet is great fodder for dreaming along these lines. Todd would find properties and opportunities online and say to me, “Hey, what about this?” We would discuss its merits, its potential; imagine the possibilities. It’s fun to dream! On one such occasion this past June, Todd found a 15 acre property with three homes including a lodge that had been used as a bed and breakfast near Mesa Verde National Park. It just so happens we were planning to go to Mesa Verde on our family vacation.

“Want to see if we can check it out while we’re down there?”

“Why not?! We’ll be only 15 minutes from there.”

 We pulled up in our loaded-for-vacation mini-van and the seven of us climbed out. The daughter of the owner was to show us around. As she showed us the three homes (all needing some TLC) and lovely wooded property with a stream, she told us about her family. Her parents had five children and had a dream of running a bed and breakfast on a place with enough property for the kids to eventually build their own houses. They had run a successful BnB during the late 80’s and early 90’s but then the dad developed Alzheimer’s. The kids went various directions and, while the property was still special to their family, they were not able to keep up with it. Mom and Dad moved to Florida and various family members took part in looking after the place.
After some elbow grease and sweat equity, this will be the home of Mountain View Lodge.

It struck a chord with me that the original family was so similar to ours – five kids and a dream.

After the visit, we talked about the place. It needed work, but had a lot of potential. The view of the mountains was lovely, the proximity to a national park was ideal, and the deer bounding through the property certainly did not go unnoticed! However, could we afford it?
Kids playing in the creek on the property.

When we returned from vacation the following week, we called our realtor and friend, Mike, and ran the idea past him. The property was for sale by owner and we would need some help to navigate that. We were surprised when he told us the current market value of our home. We crunched some numbers (OK, “we” meaning Todd!) and it looked like if we sold our home, we could afford the Mountain View property. (Mountain View Village is the name the family had given the place.)
View from the front porch – hence the name!

While it looked do-able on paper, I struggled with the thought of leaving our home (which we love), our neighbors (whom we love), our kids’ schools (which we love), and our church (which we love). We had just begun to lay down roots here! On top of all that, it’s been so wonderful to be so close (2.5 hours’ drive) to my parents and extended family.  Could we leave all that behind? Would that really be the right thing to do?

We decided to prayerfully walk down the path and see where it led; see what doors would be opened and what doors would close. And here we are, further down the path, with a contract to buy Mountain View and a contract to sell our house. But more about that real estate roller coaster later.