Our Home Buying Story

For those of you that have been following along, you’ll know that we found a home recently! We are SO excited to have the house hunt over with it was quite a grueling and awful process in a very competitive market – for those of you who have gone through it…bless you. I’m convinced our finding this house was a totally a “God thing” because the house we landed should have gone for a lot more than what we got it for…and how in the world we were the first to make an offer on it after it being on the market for 20 minutes…need I say more?

Photo of us out for dinner in Florida celebrating that we finally purchased a home!

Here’s how the home buying process went for us (attempted cliff notes version):

I had been observing the housing markets for our top three residency rank list cities for a while…like many many many months prior to finding out where we were going. I did this out of nerves and a tendency to try and envision what life would be like should we land in any of our top three cities. I knew that if we landed in Dusty’s number one spot (Rochester -Mayo Clinic) we’d be up for some stiff competition when it came to finding a house. We knew this based on what we’d heard from others, our budget, city size, and the houses that had been available for the last handful of months. Locations one and two on his rank list offered quite a bit more for your money and not as competitive of a market…so while I wanted to end up in our number one residency spot I also knew that finding a house would be tough for us! And before anyone asks – renting would be just as bad. We have two dogs and two kiddos (one due in August) and the cost per month to rent a 3 bedroom apartment or home was well beyond what a monthly mortgage would be. So we knew to rent was not going to be an option and we wanted to build equity and resale value into a home.

As soon as we found out we were for sure going to Rochester we scrambled to get a realtor, mortgage lender, and all of the crazy things that you need ironed out in order to even start seriously looking at homes. It was a whirlwind, to say the least! Not only were we already entering a competitive market but the market in our budget was very competitive because there are roughly 500+ medical residents and fellows moving into the community at the same time we are and many of which are looking for a single-family home like we were and making roughly the same amount of money. Yikes!

Most homes we looked at in our price range were in need of updates badly and a lot of TLC (like a lot), or they were in a neighborhood we weren’t crazy about, too pricey, not enough bedrooms on one floor, an unfinished basement, no backyard fence, too far from town…and the list goes on and on. The homes we did like went like hot cakes. We bid on two homes in the first few days of looking…one home would need some work on the inside but not enough to make it a deal breaker – that home sold about $25,000 above asking price, which was way too pricey for us. The second home was bid out from under us about 20 minutes before we called to place ours…that was the house I felt the saddest and most discouraged by…it was in that home that I envisioned R and Q playing in the back yard, Gus and Reo chasing squirrels, I envisioned our furniture in it and how I’d decorate…I thought for sure it would be ours – but nope! Poof, gone SO fast. We were even willing to go a little over asking price for it.

We found out quickly that there was not much time for negotiation with any of the homes we liked…we had to pull the trigger and make a decision immediately – and the hard part was we weren’t there in person to look. We had an amazing realtor who would go into the homes within an hour of us calling him…he’d go in and do a walk through via Facetime with us…he was older, knowledgeable, and super genuine about the showing – he’d tell us if there were things we would need to consider fixing, he would share what he knew and thought about the neighborhood…etc. we were so blessed to find someone willing to work hard to help us out! It’s true when they say “get a GREAT realtor!” What they mean is – a realtor that knows the market, responds to emails and/or texts, calls back immediately, and is willing to go above and beyond to help you find your home. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to shop around for realtors – and take referrals from friends!

When it came to the home we ended up purchasing – the way we happened upon it was pretty funny and again, where I truly believe God’s hand played a part in it – we had heard about the home through our realtor. He had been the one who had sold it to another resident family three years prior and he knew they were looking to move again this spring/early summer. He sent us info about the home and we glanced through the listing photos from three years ago and it was perfect. Exactly what we were looking for! Now we just had to wait to see when they were going to list it and hopefully be the first to put in an offer. In the meantime, we couldn’t assume it would be ours and we couldn’t bank on it working out so we kept looking and we kept browsing home listing websites day in and day out for a week and a half. It was one of the most nerve-racking processes we have ever experienced.

It was a busy morning and we were packing to try and get things in order to head to Florida to visit my parents for a week. We saw a house online that was just so-so and asked our realtor if we could see it anyway. It was about 10:00 a.m. and he told us he’d call us at 10:30. I think Dusty and I were really just trying to encourage ourselves around the housing market…we knew deep down the house he was about to show us wasn’t the one… but maybe we could make it work? Maybe?  We did the home walk thru and felt a bit deflated – the home was the last one we were going to look at before leaving for our trip to Florida (we just wanted to be done so we weren’t spending our sunny Florida vacation days browsing websites and doing Facetime home tours)…there hadn’t been much activity on house listings for almost 5 days…so we decided that looking at something was better than nothing…in hopes of raising our spirits…and as expected the house was only OK…lots of cosmetic updates needed, huge back yard with no fence…and a narrow kitchen and no dining room. It was small – and at the ceiling of our budget… the same old story we’d been running in to for almost two weeks at this point. After the walk through our realtor told us it’d be a lot of work for our family and he suggested we be patient and see what else came up while in Florida – we weren’t thrilled with the idea but we knew if we pulled the trigger on something we weren’t in love with we’d regret it later on. So we agreed that we needed to pass on it and we went back to packing for our trip – both of us feeling overly frustrated. Dusty decided to take R into town to run errands so I could finish packing without interruption…I remember walking into R’s room feeling mad and upset that house hunting wasn’t turning out to be as promising as I had hoped and prayed it would be. And if we wanted to move into a home prior to Dusty starting orientation at the end of June…we needed to find something within the week…otherwise, our closing date would start merging into his orientation and work schedule – making for a very difficult and taxing process.

I was folding R’s shorts and packing some books into his suitcase about 20 minutes after Dusty and R left for town when my phone made a noise telling me there was a notification…we desperately needed to get on the horn with packing but for whatever reason I grabbed my phone to look and there it was – posted to Zillow! It was the home we had seen and loved a week earlier – the one our realtor had shown us and had said might possibly be listed sometime soon! I couldn’t believe it! I hurried and called Dusty, sent him the link. We noticed the family who listed wasn’t using a realtor to sell – it said for sale by owner, which was why our realtor hadn’t known it was going to be listed that day. Dusty called the owner and basically told him on the spot “We’ll take it!” The home had been listed for 20 minutes and we were the third to call. The first two callers wanted to set up a “showing”…but at this point, we knew what we wanted, liked, and what was on the market…we had to bite and bite quick! Our realtor had sold the house to the current owners three years prior and had told us it was in great shape when he sold it to them…so three years later the assumption was that it was still in great shape.

The seller ended up taking our offer and we started the process of confirming our purchase and signing paperwork immediately. It all happened super fast and was a whirlwind. Whew! We definitely felt like we won the lottery. The only downside was that the family wouldn’t be moving out until the end of June…making our closing date in the middle of Dusty’s orientation…huge bummer, but the house has everything we were looking for and then some. Sometimes, you just go with it, have faith, and know the other details will work themselves out!

We were so happy to leave for Florida the next morning knowing we had found our home. We were able to relax and enjoy the sunshine while on our trip and even sneak out for a dinner date – just the two of us. We can’t wait to move in and share some of the fun updates we’ll be making to it. I for one can’t wait to do some kitchen updates, get a garden planted, make R’s room into a big boy room, and start decorating Q nursery!

We’ll share some pictures of the home at a later date! 🙂 

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  1. Janet wrote:

    Randomly stumbled on your page and excited you are moving to Minnesota. I moved here with my family a couple of years ago from Chicago and have not looked back. We live in Woodbury, MN and if there is one thing I will tell you is definitely look into your local ECFE programs. Registration is in August and catalog gets mailed out in July, it’s an early childhood program and it’s an amazing way to meet local parents and kids and make great friends. I have met my best friends in these classes and still can’t believe this program isn’t nationwide because my kids have thrived being in them. Happy moving and hope your days aren’t too stressed. You will love MN!!!

    Posted 5.1.19 Reply