House Hunting in 2021

The year that shall not be named sure seemed to flip the world upside down, didn’t it? The world came to a stop. Prices for everything from lumber to computer parts jumped up, down, and all around. The housing market did not remain untouched, in both a good and bad way. It’s a seller’s market, as it has been for a year, but the standstill that happened a year ago supercharged the market. There was a historically low count of listings. Because of that, people that had to move had to jump on homes quickly. Often offering well over the asking price to seal the deal. And today, the domino effect from March of last year has yet to slow down.

When we bought our house in 2017, the plan was to live and remodel the house over a period of five years. Each year we tackled at least one house project, like our kitchen, slowly checked each one room off the list. We bought with the hopes that after our renovations we would be able to sell and make enough money for the down payment on the next, bigger house.

Through each project, and the addition of our children, we soon realized we wanted to sell sooner rather than later. Though we love our house, and have made it into an amazing space, we just want more space.

Begining the Hunt

The very first thing we did was narrow down what we were looking for in house number 2. We knew we wanted at least 3 bedrooms, but we preferred 4 and we weren’t willing to sacrifice a bedroom unless it was in our top choice school district. During the year that shall not be named, it became clear that we needed a separate, closed-off office for if/when Ben needed to work from home. I also wanted a guest bedroom, didn’t need it but that would be a huge bonus since my whole family lives 7+ hours away from us. I wanted a kick-ass master bath and closet, that wasn’t as important to Ben and I agreed that I could do without that if we were in our top school district. And closets. ALL THE CLOSETS.

We also wanted a nice yard. There are so many neighborhoods around here with houses on less than .25 acres. We knew we wanted at least half an acre but, again, could sacrifice this want for our #1 school district. We wanted a two car garage, didn’t want an HOA, and an already fenced in yard was a HUGE bonus.

This list morphed and changed throughout the year of house hunting. We started looking at smaller properties. We couldn’t decide if we wanted to wait for this to be our forever house or if we wanted an in between house. We stayed flexible and tried, oh my lord did we try, to remain patient.

Battling Other Buyers

If you don’t HAVE to move right now. I would honestly say don’t. The market is absolutely insane and, here in Cincinnati, houses are going up and selling within two days and often over asking.

Let me paint this picture for you. On March 6 we went to see a house that was listed for $320,000. 4 Beds, 2.5 baths, with a nice eat-in kitchen and a home office. PERFECT. We weren’t quite ready to jump right in and decided to wait a few days to decide. We didn’t have a few days. On March 8 the house was pending sale, and sold a month later for $370,000! The house sold for $50k over asking and here’s the best part: NOTHING WAS UPDATED. That house really showed us the state of the market.

Throughout the process of house hunting, we saw this happen again and again. We were not interested in battling other buyers and knew that when it was the right house, it would be simple and obvious. Spoiler alert: that is exactly what happened but stay tuned for that amazing story.

Making Offers

On April 3 we made our first offer on a house. It was listed for $385,000, and was a 4 bed, 2.5 bath home on 4 acres. Every inch was in GREAT shape. It was outdated, but as we liked to say it “had good bones.” We were in love with the acerage and Ben fell in love with the workshop in the back yard.

We offered $375, which was as high as we were ready to go without first selling our house, and wrote a gut-wrenching tale about our kids and the hopes for raising them.

The kiddos loving this mirror in one of the houses we toured

That house sold for $425k.

On April 22 we made another offer on a 4 bed house in our #1 school district. It was an estate sale and it was in rough condition. Again, good bones, but major renovations needed.

This time we offered asking.

We didn’t get it and, worse, we never heard back from the listing agent. Instead, we just saw the Contingency listing the following morning.

Made another offer on May 19, $9,000 over asking.

Didn’t get it.

And again on May 21, $15,000 over asking.

Didn’t get it.

This whole process was frustrating. After each declined offer, it was easy to feel defeated and like it was never going to be our turn. Honestly, I don’t know that I would have been half as peaceful through this whole process if I didn’t know Jesus.

My prayer, from the beginning of the search, was the He would make it clear yes or no on any house we were interested in. Through each “no” my teeth were clenched as I said thank you. He was answering my prayer each and every time. There was no doubt that it was “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.”

And then we got our outstand…”YES!”

Words of Encouragement

Even if you are not Christian, or don’t know Jesus yet (I fully intend to introduce the real Him, not the hateful Jesus some Christians try to push on others) I want you to be patient and trustful in any season of waiting. Like I said at the beginning of this post, this market is crazy. It is frustrating and it is un-freaking-believable.

With all that being said, this is a great time to sell, which is exactly why we’re selling this year and why we were going to sell no matter what. Before we got our yes, we were ready to sell and rent for a year. If you are renting right now, my advice would be to wait until things die down a bit (you’re looking at the fall probably) before you buy. If you, like us, are ready to sell but don’t have the down payment to buy or just can’t buy what you want/need right now because of the hike, rent for a bit.

Have patience. Have trust.

And some might be wonder, why would you pray about a house? If you’re thinking, buying a house is so worldly, or God doesn’t care about your house. Think and read again my friend.

Lastly, scroll to the bottom of this post for a few bible verses I turned to during this season of waiting. (These are awesome for ANY period of waiting).

Until next time,

Bible Verses for Seasons of Waiting

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalms 37:4-5

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the Lord!”

Psalm 27:13-14

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

Matthew 14:13

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