One of the things I like most about our realtor is that his preferred mode of communication is texting. As an introvert, this is truly a dream. So, when he called at 6:30 PM 2 days before closing after a very positive conversation via text not 3 hours earlier, I knew something was up.
Will and I had packed up the last box and said goodbye to our memories and our neighbors earlier in the day. Utilities were set to be shut off in less than 48 hours. We had gathered the house keys and garage door openers. We were ready for closing.
And it all came to a screeching halt. After being preapproved for the mortgage and after 6 weeks of getting everything lined up, we found out the buyers were not going to be approved for their loan.
The next 24 hours were a lesson in the legalities of the real estate industry and in patience and faith. We learned about the rights of sellers and buyers and about the mere symbolism of hand money. We learned that a lot of people can not do their jobs and have no consequences. We learned that we had no move, financial or otherwise, and had to wait for the buyers to pull out of the deal or find a new lender. We had to make the decision that no matter what happened, we were going to continue on with our plans, trust our realtor, and have faith the house would sell, whether to these buyers or someone else.
This turn of events was our first real roadblock in the process of making this change in our lives. Putting the house on the market had gone incredibly well, and because we were not technically moving anywhere, we were able to strip down our belongings to the bare minimum, essentially staging our house and giving buyers an understanding of what they could do with the space.
As soon as the market reopened after COVID, 2 homes in our neighborhood went up for sale and sold immediately, so we knew the market was hot. Our house hit the market on a Wednesday with the stipulation that showings would start on the weekend. In 2 weekend days, we had 14 showings. We were flabbergasted. We ended the weekend with several bids and felt on top of the world—until 2 days before closing.
Within 24 hours of the call from our realtor, the buyers had secured a new lender and we received many assurances that this time the mortgage would be approved. We had no choice but to have faith that it would all come together, albeit a month later than planned.
With the knowledge that we were going to be homeowners for at least another month and that there was still potential that we would have to put the house back on the market if things fell through again, we ended up going to back to the house again. And it was one of the hardest things I have done throughout this whole thing. In my mind, I had said goodbye to the nearly 7 years I had spent in that house. I had said goodbye to Little Bird’s nursery where I had spent so many hours rocking her and watching her grow. I was ready to move on to the next stage in our lives. Yet here we were. The moment we walked in, we were hit with the unfamiliar smell of a house that is not lived in. It is not a bad smell, but it is stale and a little musty and it definitely did not smell like our house. As we went up the stairs, Little Bird pointed at things that were not there with a look of confusion that was impossible to explain away. Yes, we were in a familiar place, and no, it no longer felt like home. I could not get out of there fast enough. Cate was now home and the house now felt like a financial burden and a reminder of all the uncertainty that had once felt so certain.
Because we made the decision to carry on with our travels and not attend closing, we filled out all the paperwork and finalized everything on our end well before the closing date was even set. We gave our realtor the authority to attend closing on our behalf, and we then just had to wait. I must admit, sending the paperwork off felt like a huge win, even if we were still reluctant to feel like we were through this challenge.
A week ago, we received confirmation of a closing date and again made all the preparations still outstanding on our end—calling utilities, having my parents go back to the house to oversee one last task, and mentally preparing for everything to fall through.
We knew what time the final walkthrough was and when closing was set, and those 2 hours felt like days. I let Daisy take me on a meandering walk, smelling all the smells, and I tried to immerse myself in work without constantly looking at the clock. Will had taken Little Bird out on a fishing adventure, so he did not have to endure my stress pacing or snacking. When our realtor finally called, I fought back tears of relief as he told me it was all done and how everything went. To celebrate, we cracked open the bourbon (for Will) and scotch (for me) and burned all of the house-related documents we no longer needed. It was so cathartic and freeing. Finally, we have closure.