You may be thinking, “What in the world took Stephen and Elisabeth so very long to close on their house?” I’ve wondered that myself! We looked at the house in late March, bid on it the end of March, but then didn’t close until June 4th. First of all, I’m learning that the wait is not entirely unique in the real estate game. However we did have several road blocks that popped up to hinder our progress.
Please know that we absolutely LOVED our realtor, Sergio Horcos, and our lender, Jim Roberts of True North Mortgage. These two guys were amazingly prompt with their help and proactive in aiding us to reach our goal. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking to buy a house in the Phoenix area. Sergio lives in Wickenburg, but he came to Phoenix anytime and every time we needed him. He was definitely our advocate in this slow process.
Although we placed the winning bid in the online auction at the end of March, we didn’t get the final contract from the seller until April 26th, just 4 days before the first-time-home-buyers tax credit expired. Just in time! Then we applied for a US Department of Agriculture loan because the house was still considered to be in a rural area since the data was based on the 2000 Census. Unfortunately, the USDA loan program ran out of money just as we were approaching our first closing date of May 26th, so we had to reapply for a loan through the Federal Housing Assistance program. This meant requesting an extension of our closing date to June 4th. We were somewhat fearful that the seller would refuse to grant us the extra time, and after all that waiting, we would lose the house. Thankfully the new closing date of June 4th was set.
We weren’t sure we would be able to close on June 4th until about 10am on June 4th! Talk about a nail-biter! On Thursday, June 3rd, Stephen, Sergio and I went to the title company early in the morning to sign all the closing documents which we thought were in order. When we got there, we found out that the bank had not yet sent all of its documents. God was at work though. I think that since we were there in person, the title company pushed our case through and they were able to get our docs from the bank, prepare them and have us sign them in less than 2 hours. Usually this process would’ve taken 48 hours at least! God is so good!
That wasn’t the end of the suspense though since we had to send the docs to the seller and the seller’s agent for signatures. The seller’s agent had been notoriously slow and unreachable throughout this entire process, so we were very doubtful that they could send us the signed docs in 24 hours. Also, the lender needed a copy of our 2009 tax documents directly from the IRS in order to process the closing. The IRS couldn’t find our tax records and we didn’t find out about the problem until really late in the process!! Stephen took off work on Friday morning and waited over an hour at the Phoenix IRS office to get a copy from them and hand deliver it to the title company.
My Friday morning, June 4th, began with fervent prayers that God would work a miracle and allow us to close that day. After finding out that my prayer had been answered, we were hit with the reality that we were moving–the next day! Thankfully the bulk of our stuff was packed and ready to be moved at a moment’s notice since it had been sitting in storage for 9 months. Our things at the condo were another story altogether, but it wasn’t too bad considering that the condo was fully furnished. We popped by our new home that night to make a list of things we needed to do and things we needed to buy.
Saturday was about 110 degrees, but our committed friends pitched in and came to help us weed, install a new lock set on our front door, paint our door, wash grimy fingerprints off the continents of walls at our house, clean cabinets, scrub bathrooms, shampoo carpets, move furniture, haul boxes, and countless other tasks. Sergio even stopped by to check on us and to congratulate us as first-time home buyers.
To make the move go a little more smoothly, I had made signs labeling each room so the men would know where to put things. Under the room name, I listed cleaning tasks that needed to be accomplished. We girls loved crossing off tasks as we finished them (crossing things off a list gives me such a sense of accomplishment–I think it’s a Manka girl thing), and it was helpful for me to know what still needed to be done in each room.
In the kitchen, I labeled the cabinets and drawers according to where I wanted things. (It also came in handy for Stephen and me to find things after they were put in the cupboards since our kitchen is HUGE!)
I was amazed that the majority of the house was cleaned and we were able to get all of our furniture and belongings from the Horkavys’ garage moved in. It was a tiring day! Don’t worry, I let everybody else do the lifting of heavy items. Baby and I mostly cleaned and directed.
We spent Saturday night at the condo and then had a second moving day Sunday afternoon and evening. After church more friends came over to finish cleaning and help us move stuff from the condo. I was crazily throwing things in boxes as we frantically tried to clear everything out. Stephen and I finally got the last of our belongings moved and to our new house in the wee hours of the morning. What a great feeling to know that all of our worldly goods were in one place!
We were both too stunned by God’s goodness to absorb the reality that this beautiful home was now ours.
As we unpack, we fall further in love with our home. How in the world did we fit all of our belongings in that tiny cottage in Indiana? Somehow we managed it, and I know we’ll be probably doubling our collection soon with baby items! A friend of mine already gave us a high chair, so we’ve barely begun our baby furniture quest.
Right now our front room won’t be used much since we gave away our dining room table before moving. My piano is out there, so it will be fun to practice once we get it tuned. The first bedroom will be our guest room, the second is an office/guest room, and the third is our nursery. We spend most of our time in the den and kitchen, but we do love our master bath and bedroom suite!
Please come by and visit us if you’re in the Phoenix area. We’d love to show you what God has done, and we’d love to have you stay with us. Our door is always open!