What I learned in the nine years it took to sell my house
About 10 years ago, we were selling our house to move about an hour away to the bigger city where my husband’s office was. At the same time we were doing that, I was pregnant with our first baby, so we had a bit of a deadline. First we had the house for sale by owner and sold it. Then the buyer backed out. We decided to list with a realtor. We told the house again. And again the buyer backed out.
To say that we were discouraged is an understatement. I was especially struggling with it because I have anxiety issues anyway and the added pregnancy hormones didn’t help. We even ended up in small claims court a few months later with one of the buyers over earnest money. It was ridiculous.
Of course going through the process also had people criticizing my home, because that’s what happens when you sell any house and especially one built in 1960. I was discouraged and beaten down. I didn’t understand why God not only shut the door once, but twice and then slammed it shut extra hard for good effort. Why were we having to stay put and make my husband drive 75 minutes away (one way) each day while dealing with a newborn? It wasn’t fair!
As time went by, I realized that I needed to let it go. And I needed to change my thoughts, because it was starting to consume me. I worked to shift from thinking about how discouraging it was to making myself say, “God, thank you for keeping us where we need to be.” Soon I meant it, because that was the other thing. I really DID believe in my head that He had shut the door on our move for a purpose. My heart was just struggling to get there.
Eventually, it got better, but I still had a bit of real estate PTSD. As time passed, we decided to just stay put and not move out of town. My husband was getting to work from home more often, we had a second baby and I had some new health struggles that made being in the same city with both sets of our parents a huge positive. I really was grateful to still be in our house.
But, I still had that little voice in my head telling me that I’d just always live in that house. Going through getting my hopes up for moving again just didn’t seem worth it. I would tell my husband that I was going to just live in that house until I die unless God dragged out of there by force. (I can be a bit dramatic…)
So at the beginning of 2015 when my husband suggested we go and talk with a local builder about possibly building a house in the school district where we wanted our kids to go, I laughed. I was just like Sarah was with Abraham when he told her that she’d have a baby in her advanced years. I told him I couldn’t get my hopes up and be disappointed again. I had made peace with our house and if we were supposed to stay there then I didn’t want to have that peace ruined again. I didn’t think I could handle more disappointment.
We talked with the builder. We ran numbers, and despite all my hesitation, we decided to move forward with selling our house. This time we weren’t looking to leave the city where we had grown up and both of our sets of parents live, but we were looking to go a bit closer to the interstate to make my husband’s commute easier when he had to go into work and be in a school district that we liked. I did a lot of praying and talking with God. I finally had a peace and a glimmer of hope. I felt like God was confirming the move and promising me that I would one day live in that new house.
So, we did got our house organized and put it up for sale by owner near the end of March 2015. We had a few people interested, but as time went by and life got more hectic with some challenges that happened in April, we decided to list with a realtor. And so we did in May. We signed up for six months, which would take us up until the beginning of December. I wasn’t all that worried, because God had promised me He was on it. I also, though, wasn’t incredibly hopeful that it would sell. I just made peace that no matter what happened, I’d leave it in God’s hands and be OK with it.
In that entire time from March until December we had zero offers. Nada. None. We had some showings. We had open houses. And we had no interest. I told my husband we had to be done to have a break for Christmas. We did so. We intended to put the house back on the market in the spring of 2016, but life got in the way. I had more health struggles. Life was just challenging. In the back of my head, I remembered God’s promise, but I’m not sure I fully believed it any more.
Then came 2017 and as the months passed, my husband pushed me into listing the house again. As I prayed about it, God reminded me that when He makes promises, He doesn’t break them, so I needed to move forward in faith.
We made a few more changes and updates. We rented a storage unit and moved out some furniture. I knew from the beginning that we needed a realtor and I had one in mind who had followed up with us time and again. So when we were ready, I called him. We got the house on the market in July. At the end of August, I had surgery with a specialist about five hours from our home. We left the house ready to show. Sure enough, the day after my surgery, just after we checked out of the hospital and headed to our hotel, we got a call that we had an offer.
I was overwhelmed, but we ran the numbers and it was a good offer. We accepted it, but also accepted that the buyer wanted possession on at closing. We weren’t sure how that would happen since I couldn’t lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for a couple of months, but we trusted it would work out.
I felt peace about it all. The buyer’s last name was Buckles, which was the name of our dog who passed away in the middle of the house selling business back in May of 2016. I knew God gave me that as an extra sign we were doing the right thing.
With help from our family and friends we got packed and moved out within a month. Most of our stuff went to storage. Some of it went with us to move into my parents’ house until our new home was built. We lived with them for six months before being able to move into our new home in April of this year.
It was a nine-year process to get to this house. It wasn’t the house I thought I’d have when we started the process. It wasn’t where I thought we’d live. It wasn’t anything I dreamed of. And yet, it is perfect. It isn’t a mansion, but I don’t need a mansion. I call it my dream home, because it is. It is better than anything I had imagined. It fits our family well. It fits our needs. The location is terrific. The school system is a bonus we didn’t even need because our daughter got into an excellent school through the local university that allowed our son to go there as well when he started kindergarten.
It was a wait. It was a long wait, and I wasn’t good at being patient. I’d love to say I knew all along when God kept closing the doors that He had something better in store. My head knew it, but my heart didn’t feel it. I felt discouraged and downtrodden so often throughout the entire process. I was ready to give up and not dare hope or dream for more. I didn’t see where I was going. I have a feeling if I’d been an Israelite wandering through the desert for 40 years with Moses, I’d have been on the Committee of Complaints and Doubts.
But, you know what? God showed up. God knew nine years ago exactly where He was leading us. He knew what would be best for our family before we could even begin to think of it. He knew. I’m left in my new house in awe. I’m left praising God! I’m left trusting Him. And I’m left marveling at His gifts, which are truly beyond what I deserve. I am thankful for His grace and mercy.
I share this long story because I want to encourage you if you are in a season of waiting where you’ve been praying, waiting and spinning your wheels. Even when we know waiting is God’s will, it can be so very hard. I have another much, much more serious situation that I’m waiting for an answer to. It’s been three and a half years and so far we don’t have an answer, but I trust God has a plan. He always does even when we can’t see it. He has a plan even when we whine and grouse because it doesn’t look like we thought it would.
My friend, if you are in a season of waiting right now, know that God hasn’t forgotten you. He isn’t hanging you out to dry or leaving you flailing in the wind. He is with you and He is working in ways you can’t even imagine. He does have plans for you and hope for your future (see Jeremiah 29:11). He has plans for your good and not your decimation. He is there, my friend. Just keep hanging on and watching for Him.
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