In The Seller's Court
Now the ball was in the seller’s court. The agent had another appointment and had to leave; but we stayed for probably another hour, walking the land and talking to the seller. He showed us where the septic, water lines and shutoff valves were and answered all of our questions. He even loaned us the original blueprints of the house, which allowed Candace to get a jump-start on space planning the interior.
He indicated that if everything was as the agent had said, he would approve the contract and sign the papers. Now that was all fine and good; but as Yogi Berra would say, “It ain’t over till it’s over”. We left hopeful, yet anxious. Until those papers were signed, we didn’t have a deal. So we waited. And waited. And waited.Finally on Tuesday afternoon, we got the word. The papers were signed. Our offer had been accepted!
Our Turn To Scramble
Now it was our turn to scramble. Our offer was written with a contingency and if we were going to pull this off we needed to sell our house in Clear Lake – and fast! The contract said we had three months to close. Three months! That may sound like a long time; but let me tell you, it is not.
We had several friends that always said, “If you ever want to sell you house, call us”. So we did just that. The first was a single lady. She had been to our house before; but came over for a viewing, this time with an eye for detail. She called us back that evening and said she had decided that the house was just too big for her needs. Bummer!
We left a phone message for our other friends, Cynthia & Marv. “Our house is for sale, are you interested?” When they got back with us the news wasn’t good. They felt that they couldn’t buy due to other financial obligations. Marv had just graduated from Chiropractic College and was awash in student loans. They felt the timing just wasn’t right to take on more debt. Ouch!
By now the rest of the week and weekend had gone by. We were losing time on our three-month deadline and needed to get going. We were now facing the reality that we would have to list our house with a realtor, place some stuff in storage to un-clutter the place and go through the daily ritual of keeping things spotless to make it appealing to potential buyers. Aaaargh! This was not an exciting proposition; but when you want something bad enough, you do what you have to do. On Monday morning Candace made the call to a realtor to list our place for sale.
A String Of Little Miracles
Then began a string of little miracles, none so big by itself, but when pieced together resulted in a fantastic finish. When Candace called the realtor, she was out of town at a convention and would not be able to meet with us until Thursday evening. What at the time seemed like another unneeded delay, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
On Wednesday morning we got an email from Cynthia & Marv. They were rethinking the situation. As Cynthia put it, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO!” Marv was going to the bank to give it the old college try; and far from being rejected, came away hopeful. He survived the initial visit and was asked to return with previous years tax returns and other information. Good things were starting to happen! It wasn’t a done deal yet, but it was looking good. It was looking real good - good enough that we canceled our Thursday evening appointment with our realtor.
Over the next several days, the little miracles continued. Everything clicked and all of the little ducks lined up in a row. There were plenty of things that could have gone wrong – but they didn’t! Things that needed to happen happened. Here’s just one example.As part of the loan application and approval process, Cynthia needed her son to sign some affidavits. The why is not important; but this seemingly small event was crucial to the deal. So what’s so miraculous about getting a few papers signed? Cynthia’s son is in the US Navy and was to be deployed to the Persian Gulf. For reasons unknown, his deployment was delayed by one week and he came home to Houston on liberty. He was in town and able to sign the necessary papers before he returned to San Diego. Several days later he shipped out for a nine-month tour of duty. Sometimes timing is everything; and in this case it was perfect. Just a few days made all the difference in the world. Was this coincidence or a little miracle? You decide for yourself. My vote is on the miracle.
The Big Gulp
So now the sale of our Clear Lake home was underway. One down; but another biggie loomed on the horizon.
Although it was not a part of the contingency, we also decided that we needed to (gulp) sell our place in Tennessee. Selling our Clear lake house was a no brainer - we were ready to move! But selling the Tennessee place - that was another matter. We had put so much of our plans and energy and emotion into that place. Why did we buy it in the first place? We loved that place! How could we sell it? The questions and emotions ran deep; and we soul searched long and hard. Was this really the thing to do? When we bought the place, it seemed so right. If God didn’t mean for us to be in Tennessee why did that deal work out where others had failed?Candace finally determined, and it made sense to me, the Tennessee place was our rock to hold onto during all of the other stressful times. It was the glue that kept our dreams together when chaos was all around us. Without that Tennessee place we would probably have given up our dreams long ago. It was God’s way of saying “There is something waiting for you. There is a goal to strive for. Don’t give up!” We needed that rock and that glue; but now it was time to let go of the past and move on to the present, which would take us to our future. With that realization, it became an easy decision and we instructed our Tennessee realtor to put the property up for sale.
Then things began to move at lightning speed. We soon found out that Cynthia & Marv were approved to purchase our house. All that remained was to get some inspections done and schedule closing. And before we knew it, we were homeless, closing the sale on March 31.
With our Clear Lake house sold and our Tennessee property on the market, we began the process of arranging the inspections, financing and insurance on the ranch. This was a new adventure and learning experience all unto itself.While all of this was going on we rented our old house from Cynthia & Marv, with them chomping at the bit, waiting to move out of their apartment into their new home. Understandably everyone was getting a bit antsy.
Buddy Can You Spare A Dime?
When I began searching for financing our ranch, I figured it would be no big deal. Interest rates were low and our credit was good. This should be easy. Hmmmm. Seems like I’ve said that before.
If you ever decide to purchase rural property, let me assure you, it can be totally different from buying a nice house in the suburbs. When I started calling around about financing, I knew right away that something was up. When I asked about financing a house with acreage, some places responded with “Oh we can’t do that”. Others would respond with dead silence – the verbal (or in this case, non-verbal) equivalent of the deer in the headlights stare. What the heck was going on and why was this such a big deal?
Finally, someone informed me that it had to do with the value ratio of the land to that of the house and other structures on the land. OooooooK. Gee, we didn’t have this problem when we purchased in Tennessee; but then several years had passed, and this property did have more acreage. Apparently this tipped the land to structures valuation ratio enough that it was working against us. Good grief!
So where could we get financing? A call to our real estate agent secured names and phone numbers of a couple of new sources. With a bit more phone legwork I got the finance ball rolling. Next I called our insurance company of ten plus years and ran into a similar situation – they would not insure a rural property. This was easier to resolve, as I emailed several of our alpaca ranching friends and got recommendations from them. A few more phone calls secured several quotes and a company was quickly selected.
Hurry Up And Wait
While I was securing the financing and insurance, Candace had taken care of arranging the inspections. Ahhhh, all was well. With that done, all we needed to do was wait for closing. And we waited. And waited.
Actually the wait was not that long, although at the time it seemed like an eternity. Closing was postponed several times and there were several other bumps in the road along the way. We were sweating it a bit; but as they say, all’s well that ends well. We closed on April 17, which was the final day of our interest rate lock. We moved in about a week and a half later, on April 28.
Our Prayers Answered By An Awesome GodWhat’s most amazing about all this is that from start to finish, it happened in less than 3 months! Just think about that – 3 months! That’s pretty incredible. And all of this happened because through others, God inspired us to think and dream big.
During our Tennessee property search, we had prayed for guidance and protection. We did so again this time; and once again our prayers were answered and we were divinely blessed. Our God is truly an awesome God!!
A Few Loose Ends
At this point I’ll bet you are wondering about a few things. Maybe you’ve got questions. For instance . . .
“Did you convince your company to let you work 4 days a week and/or telecommute?” Unfortunately the telecommute thing was tough to sell; and for now I’ve given up on that. But I am working just 4 days a week, so I always have a nice 3-day weekend.
And, “What about the commute? Are you driving across town every day?” Well I do commute some; but not every day. For five months I actually rented a room in our old house from Cynthia & Marv. But times and circumstances changed. Cynthia’s son was returning from his tour of duty and “my” bedroom was needed. But they recommended someone else – a 76-year-old widow (who just happens to be the mother of Cynthia & Marv’s loan officer). She was looking for a tenant and now I’m renting a room from her. So I still have a place to stay some nights, if I decide that I don’t want to make the cross-town trip.
And finally, “What about the Tennessee place – did it sell?” As I am writing this, we have an offer in-play and are doing that offer/counter-offer thing. In the meantime, the place is still being shown to other possible buyers. Hopefully soon, I can update this and tell you that it has sold to someone that loves it as much as we did.
So Here We Are
So here we are. We have our place in the country and all of our Alpacas have a home together. The fencing and water lines are in and we’ve done some other spruce up and repairs. There’s still a lot to do; but things are humming right along and we are now ready for ranch visitors.
So are you ready for a road trip? Give us a call or drop us an email. Come see us and meet the alpacas!
Back To Our Future
If you’ve read “Our Story” all the way from beginning to end, maybe you’re wondering “What about the cabins?” Well, they’re still in our long-range plans – someday. We still want to share our fun world with you. But for now they’re just not in the picture – the finances just aren’t there. So if you ask when or how, I’ll just have to answer with a comment I heard someone else make long ago. “In God’s time, on God’s dime”
Thanks for reading “Our Story” and sharing our dream. We hope you found it informative and entertaining. Most of all, we hope it inspires you to search for, find and follow your own dream.
They say that fact is stranger than fiction and “Our Story” certainly qualifies. There is a song by the Grateful Dead that has absolutely nothing to do with Alpacas, Llamas, cabins, or for that matter, any other part of our business. But somehow the chorus of that song seems to fit our situation. The chorus goes:
“Sometimes the light’s all shining on me. Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me, what a long strange trip it’s been”.
A very strange trip indeed. We hope your trip, your journey, is as adventurous and fun as ours has been and still is. While this chapter is over, “Our Story” never ends. For us, this is just the start - this is only the beginning!
It's finally here! Click here to read the Update to Our Story.