So, we Bought a House…

That’s right:  Missy and I are officially new home owners!  Wanna see it??

Our New Home

Not what you were expecting?  Ok, so before you come running over to commit us to the nearest psychiatric hospital, thinking that raising three babies at once really has made us crazy, I can explain.

The Background:  As you all know (and if you don’t, you can read about it here), our original plan was to build on a piece of Cindy and Steve’s property in West Des Moines, {which, as it happens, would be somewhere immediately south of the house Missy, the girls, and I currently reside in}.  Actually, if you want to get technical, the original original plan was just to buy bigger house, but that was before either of us had any real idea how much supporting three newborn babies would cost.  After the girls arrived, we packed up shop at the townhome, moved into our temporary quarters here at the Florer’s, and had hoped to begin construction sometime last fall or this spring.  Move, sell, and build.  Simple as that, right?

Thanks to miles of red tape, local zoning laws, and costly details, it turns out…not so much.  After multiple meetings with the city planners of West Des Moines, we discovered that building anything other than an addition onto the Florer’s house would be close to impossible. This left us dejected, once again…and ready to start over and search other options, including moving back into our townhouse.

Yet God works in mysterious ways.

A man known as “Bones” lived across the street from the Florer’s.  He was a nice guy, but he kept to himself most of the time, and we usually only ever knew he was home by the light in his window.  Bones had fallen into poor health as of late, and aside from a few chance encounters with him throughout last summer, he was nowhere to be seen.  Finally, after months of silence, a demo crew showed up at Bones house earlier this spring and began emptying it of all his possession.  Following some investigation, we found out that, sadly, Bones had passed away and that his house was in foreclosure.  Thus, a new opportunity presented itself.

As per city code, we could not build a new house on Steve’s property…or anywhere close it actually, as all of this land was not zoned appropriately.  Yet there was/is no law against us finding and purchasing an existing house and remodeling it to suit our needs.  It just so happened that the house we found was (literally) right across the street from the Florer’s.  There is also no law limiting the amount of remodeling that can be performed on said existing house…even if it means ripping the whole thing down and starting over again.  Basically, as long as we don’t dig a new hole for a new house, it can be done.

Bones’ house went on the open market soon after we discovered that it was in foreclosure.  In the two days it spent there, the driveway was rarely empty, as prospective investors, buyers, and flippers constantly streamed in and out.  It was a true “hot property.”  So, despite the house itself being dilapidated from years of neglect {as Bones’ health grew worse, the house increasingly fell into disrepair}, Missy and I quickly made the decision to make an offer.  The location was perfect, the lot itself was way bigger than an average lot, and perhaps the most important thing…the price was great.

A day later, the bank accepted our offer.  Technically, we offered, the bank countered, we counter-countered, the bank countered that offer, and then we accepted.  We paid our earnest money, signed our purchase agreement, and waited for the title to clear.  Once the title finally cleared, we signed on the dotted line, and officially closed Thursday, June 2nd.  Just like that, we were officially new home owners!

Actually, I like to say that we were new property owners; our new property just happened to have an old house on it…an old house with existing city water, septic, and electrical connections, as well as an existing driveway easement to the street.  All things that we were missing on the Florer’s property that prevented us from proceeding with our original plan.

What about the townhouse? 

15202 Greenbelt

Six months and one price reduction later, we still have not had any offers on 15202 Greenbelt.  We even held an open house once, but not a single person stopped by to walk through it.  Despite the good location and great price, the masses were just not interested in purchasing a town home…shocking, I know.  However, they were interested in leasing it.  We had not indicated anywhere that our place was for rent, yet the calls kept pouring in from interested tenants.  So after ignoring them for five months, we finally listened.

So after some last-minute shuffling, and at the same time we were closing on our property last week, we were also solidifying a contract with our new tenant as well.  We became property managers and new property owners almost on the exact same day…and we’re still trying to wrap our minds around it all!

+  +  +  +  +

So…now what?  We’ve officially started the process of interviewing builders and remodelers, trying to determine whether it would be less expensive to demo and rebuild or salvage what we can and renovate the existing structure.  We would like to get started as soon as possible, so that we can be in our own space by year’s end.  Needless to say, the final product will end up looking almost nothing like the picture above {exactly what color is that, anyway?!}.

House Plans

So currently, as Missy likes to say: “we own two houses, but we don’t live in either of them.”  Go ahead and add that to the list of things I never thought would happen to us 24 months ago.  This whole ordeal is new and exciting to Missy and I, but at the same time…stressful.  We still have three one-year-old’s that need our undivided attention most of the day (as if you forgot), and we always feel somewhat guilty when they can’t have it.  Regardless, we understand that this short term loss is for long term gain, and in the end they will appreciate everything that we’re going through now is for the benefit of our family.

Honestly though, it just feels good to have some sense of direction moving forward.  Even though we’ve been fully settled into life at the Florer’s for months, we’ve never been able to shake the lingering feeling that we’ve just been visiting.  We’ve got boxes and possessions scattered across three different towns (storage lockers, garages, houses…); the sheer amount of which has caused more stress, headaches, and unnecessary arguments than they’re worth.  It all seems like a lot of stuff, but again, if we had our own shelves, closets, and basements to put it all into…I doubt that it would seem like that big of deal.  And now that we finally will, well…let’s just say Missy and I are breathing a small sigh of relief.

So that’s our big news!  Your continued support, thoughts, and prayers are always welcome, and as always, we promise to keep everyone updated every step of the way!

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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

18 thoughts on “So, we Bought a House…

  1. This is so exciting! I can’t imagine the roller coaster of emotions that you two have been on through the last year and change. It’s great to see God bring it all together.

  2. HIP HIP HOORAY!!! I can’t wait to come over for painting parties! : ) I love to decorate! Love you both, and so happy God is continuing to guide your path to an amazing life with three beautiful, little girls.

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