House of Miracles

by Rachel Blackburn in


We bought a house!  After 4 and a half months of blood, sweat, tears and MANY conversations with God, we have our house!  

It all started back in August, when I got a call from Portland offering me a job.  We had been praying for a job for me in Portland, Oregon for a year or two, and along with that we had been praying for a fixer house that we could make considerable money on that Michael could work on.  He had decided that he really loved renovation and wanted to make it his career.  Specifically, we prayed for a house in a nice neighborhood that we could afford that had essentially been lived in by an elderly lady for many years.  We wanted it to have been reasonably kept up but cosmetically out of date - pink carpet, wall-to-wall wallpaper or wood paneling, etc.  

We were SO excited when we got the call for Portland.  We called a few realtors who had been recommended to us, and two of the three never called us back.  Odd, we thought, but we were happy with the third one and she had a whole lot of experience, so we went with her.  

That was the first miracle, because our realtor had just been contacted a couple of weeks before about selling a house owned by a family trust.  The miracle being, one of the two trustees who was in charge (it was a large estate) worked for a realtor.  But not our realtor.  She called our realtor on a whim and asked her to sell the house.

Why?  Not for any logical reason.  But God knew.

The house had been owned by an elderly lady and was full of interesting things like pink, orange and forest green carpet and awful wallpaper.  She had cared for the house as best she could, but it needed a new roof and some dry rot fixed before it could be sold.  Otherwise, it had solid bones and was in a good neighborhood.  The sellers were eager to be rid of it and would likely be ready to sell soon.

We contacted our realtor and told her we wanted a rental that was a fixer in a good neighborhood for almost no money.  She didn’t laugh...not quite anyways!  Instead, she asked us if we would be interested in flipping a house.  She had a fixer with good bones in a fabulous neighborhood in our price range, and it was very close to where I would be working.

We bit.  

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Be careful what you ask God for - you just might get it!  He DOES have a very refined sense of humor...

The next 4 months were spent agonizing over when these people would get around to wanting to put the house on the market.  Michael combed the listings (few though they were!) every day.  Well-meaning people started to advise us to look elsewhere or rent something.  We went to a few open houses, including one on the same street as the house we were hoping to buy.  Basically, we discovered that there was absolutely no way we were going to be able to afford to buy in any of the areas we liked, including the area this house was in.  

The sellers that had been in such a hurry to offload this property took their sweet time.  They had to have an estate sale first (the lady who had owned the house was a collector and had SO MUCH STUFF it was incredible).  Then the holidays hit.  Then they thought they wanted to sell it for 30-60k more than we had originally been told it was worth, so an appraisal had to happen.  Then the roof had to get done and the chimney rebuilt.  Through it all we were on the edge of our seats.  We had been living with Michael’s mom and there was not a lot of elbow room.  That, and we simply wanted a place of our own.  

About three weeks before Christmas we were finally able to go see the house with our realtor.  It was not on the market yet.  We already knew we wanted it, because we had each visited it twice the weekend of the estate sale.  

No, we were not stalking the house...mostly. 

We excitedly wrote an offer for what we thought the house was worth, because the appraisal hadn’t happened and there weren’t really any comps.  Our realtor met with them the next day and they said they wanted to sell it for more than she thought it was worth.  So our offer didn’t get presented.  It was a letdown, but we had somewhat expected that by this point.

So what did we do while we waited for the appraisal?  We upped our loan pre-approval amount to what the seller wanted to ask for and fine-tuned our budget.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The appraisal was supposed to be back the Monday before Christmas.  Monday came and went.  Tuesday came and went.  Christmas came and went. 

A couple of days after Christmas the appraisal came in.  The house appraised for exactly what the seller wanted and for exactly what our loan pre-approval amount was.  Coincidence?  No way.  

So we did what any sensible, slightly desperate prospective buyer would do.  We offered full price.  

And we got the house.  On New Year’s Day.  Before it went on the market.  Before it could be snapped up by a cash offer.  In a neighborhood we couldn’t afford.  With pink, orange and green carpet, wallpaper and wood paneling.  On an amazing lot.  A mere 6-9 minutes from where I work.

God is good.

He will continue to be good as we face the challenges that renovating this house will bring.

Come join us for the journey!