Life Lessons from House Hunting

Life Lessons courtesy of House Hunting  |  The Fresh Exchange

image via: Dwell

Mike and I have been dreaming of owning a home since the day we got married, but as self-employed we have worked hard to save all we can to make sure we always have enough to put back into our dreams of running Wild Measure. We have placed other dreams on hold for a long time, one of which is owning a house. We have been extremely lucky enough to always have a friend or family member offer us an amazing rental where we can settle in and make home for the time being, but this year we decided to truly begin the hunt. We had done a lot of saving and have done all the hard tax things with our business to show the bank that we are worth the risk, and we have placed all the ducks in a row.  We should just be able to walk in and buy a house right?

I grew up in a home where renovations happened often, and we built a few homes as well. My dad was a contractor and designer, so nothing was ever up to his bar of acceptable, but it never seemed to bother my parents. They still found great homes and we always had a great space to grow up in. It was always was comfortable, well put together, and rarely in complex disarray. Thus, when we began hunting I thought it wouldn’t be too bad. We would search for a few months, find one in an area we loved, make an offer, do some negotiation, and then it all would be done. I know there are 100 more steps than that in the process, but I figured  finding the right one wouldn’t be as hard as it is. I know Mike and I both are designers and our expectations for a space are a bit abnormal, but I feel I am being gracious and open to the idea of what a space could be with some love and vision.

Life Lessons courtesy of House Hunting  |  The Fresh Exchange

images via (from top left clockwise): Liz Marie Blog, SFGirl by the Bay, Hand Crafted Virgina, Hackwith Design House

Now, nearly 8 months later, we only have a few offers placed and some dreams dashed. In every one of those moments it has felt heart breaking, but now I know it wasn’t right. Mike and I joke all the time that finding a home is similar to finding the one you will spend the rest of your life with. You do a lot of dating and courting, but we just haven’t found the one we want to be with forever (or 3-5 years).

I am not saying all this to whine on your shoulder because I am beyond grateful to even have the freedom to think of even buying a home no matter the emotional cost, which is why I am now able to write this. I am instead writing this to tell you that House Hunting has taught me a lot. Yes, I have learned about home inspections and about gutters and other ridiculous things, but I have learned patience more than anything. I have learned to have faith that the right thing will come together and that rushing into things is never a good idea. All great things happens as they should and in the time in which they should. I have no idea where we will plant ourselves but as we yet again pack everything we own into a storage container and head north for the summer, we do it in hopes that when we return to Raleigh at the end of the summer we will feel some sense of clarity or maybe even the right home will have shown up. It is scary to leave somewhere you will return to with no idea of where home will be. I am working hard on patience, grace, and faith right now that it all will come together just as it should and that we would know some level of clarity and peace when it all does come in front of us.

We so often look so far ahead in life just watching for the answer to come around the corner, but sometimes it all comes exactly when we least expect it. Waiting and tapping our toes only brings anxiety. Sure, packing a house up in the next week is a task I am not looking forward to on top of our work load and other things going on in life, but I am really looking forward to summer up in Traverse City and to live in the sun and to allow ourselves the peace we need to make a good decision for our future.

Life is crazy. End of story. There is no predicting it and you cannot always change the reality of it all, but you can find calm in the moment. You can look for the ray of light of maybe that last evening on your front porch with friends or how the wind feels as you cook dinner and laugh with the one you love. Decisions and answers not coming when you want them can consume you, so it is best to let them arrive when they should.

All I know is in 8 months I will look back on all this craziness and laugh a little at myself and think, see you did that and you made one good decision too. Oh man adulthood, I tell you.

Leave a comment

  1. As someone who is also currently on the hunt for the perfect place, this resonates well with me. Just last night, I was feeling confused and uncomfortable with the whole home-buying process, the process of trying to find that house that feels just right in that neighborhood that feels like home. It’s a tough process, but one I know I’ll be thankful for a few years down the road. It all comes together when we least expect it + knowing that is where the beauty lies. So thanks for writing this out – at least I know we’re not alone!

  2. Exciting!

    I just bought my first house in Spain – it was exciting and scary to drop so much money into something that can be so permanent, but it was just what we were looking for (and also the first one!). Can’t wait to start decorating and making it our own!

  3. I can’t tell you how badly I needed to read this! We sold our home in Winston-Salem to move to Durham/Chapel Hill in February, and we’re STILL looking. Made a couple offers, lost out on a bidding war, and last night we withdrew another offer because it just didn’t feel right. Thank you for sharing your thoughts–glad to know I’m not alone. You’ll find the right place, as will we! Good luck.

    1. Man house-hunting in this area is a little insane, but you are right patience is the name of the game right now. It all will happen as it should. 🙂 Good luck!!

  4. This just confirms my feelings of waiting til the time is right (it helps that we’re currently living in NYC which ain’t gonna happen). In the meantime, we’ll keep saving and dreaming of one day finding a little home back in the South.

  5. I found this such an interesting read! My husband and I own our own business, and have always wanted to buy a house further down the road. I’d be really interested in learning more about how you’ve been able to make your business something that the banks will take a risk on!

    1. So we worked with our accountant and bank to set everything up properly to look good and not so risky. Basically Mike and I are now w-2 employees to our company and receive a specified salary. Once you have had the business open and making decent profit or about 2 years you can begin the process really. Really a bank is not going to look at your business, they want personal tax returns and pay stubs and you accountant can help you have those. It costs some money (joys of owning a business), but to get a home (which you get tax breaks on for owning) it kind of all shakes out in the end. I would talk to your accountant and see what they can help you with and what they suggest.

  6. i’m dying to buy a home. we had an offer in, were about sign the papers (literally pen in hand) when my husband got a call telling him that they’re moving his job to another city. ah! which turned out lovely for us but now we’re in LA and it’s impossible to buy a home. unless you have a cool million laying around for a 1000sq ft condo … but with 2 babies and 2 dogs that’s not gonna happen. we’re on house hunting sites daily though searching for a house that’s in our price range. we come up empty-handed every day but maybe someday …

    good luck with your house hunt! when you find the right one you’ll know (cheesy?), and it will work out.

  7. House hunting is a wild beast. If you find one you like…yet continue to search the real estate websites, that’s probably not the one for you. Having patience to get to your goal is hard…as well as dealing with situations beyond your control. When it’s your time the whole process will go swimmingly. Good luck!

  8. I agree that buying a home can be a crazy process. My husband and I went through it a couple of years ago – walked away from one house at inspection and had another dreamy dream house snatched away because of a tiny error on our lender’s part – and we actually ended up having to stay with his mom for about six months as a result! It was super stressful. We eventually bought the ugliest, crummiest house on the market in our area and tore every single thing out of it. We literally took it down to the studs and then rebuilt it. My husband is an engineer and very handy so he installed every inch of it, floor to ceiling, including two bathrooms and a kitchen. It turned out beautifully and our house is truly OUR HOUSE now so I am so grateful for how it worked out but I can definitely identify with the way you are feeling right now. My fingers are crossed for you guys. I hope you enjoy your summer up north either way.

  9. I’m currently packing up my apartment and my life here in Sydney to move to the US. In the midst of this chaos I needed someone to remind me it will all be fine!

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  11. Thanks for sharing Megan. While I’m unfamiliar with the concepts related to owning your own business I’m all too familiar with the patience required in house hunting. We love in Charlotte and have been hunting for a while now. It can be very frustrating and has taught me a lot about myself and my husband. As lame as it sounds it really brought us closer and has helped us more clearly define what’s important to us. And we’re STILL looking… Best of luck to you guys!