“Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences, but rather it is a tapestry of acts that culminate in an exquisite sublime plan.”
My husband and I recently decided we wanted to start the process of looking for a new home. We have been living in a tiny two-bedroom condo for the last several years, one we bought shortly after the recession for an amazing price. As I reflect, we weren’t even planning to buy the condo. Back then, we were a newly married couple looking to move a little closer to the hustle and bustle of the city. We met with the previous owner, a sweet, recently widowed retiree, with the intention of renting. While we were walking out the door, she casually mentioned the condo had been on the market for over a year prior to her decision to rent it and that she was still open to selling….you know, just in case we were interested. We sat at a nearby Starbucks that evening and made a quick decision to put in an offer. Was it merely a coincidence to walk into that place (with no intention of buying a home), mere days before she was about to take it off the market? It’s not always typical to meet the owner of a home before your purchase, but I remember the owner telling us at closing that we were “meant to” walk into that condo. She told us she was so happy to have had the chance to meet us and know that we would take care of the home she had shared with her husband in retirement prior to his passing.
That being said, our little two-bedroom home needed a fair amount of work. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into our condo (here's-looking-at-you can of paint dropped on the carpet a few days after closing – don’t worry, we’ve since replaced the flooring). At purchase, the interior was a complete throw-back to the 1970s and needed a lot of updating. As a newly married couple, we didn't exactly have tons of money to throw at the renovation, so we did a lot of the work ourselves and recruited many friends and family for paint “parties”, kitchen and bathroom demolition, and other odd jobs. We have devoted many hours to this home and I have so many fond memories of our time here. This was our first major purchase as a couple, the place where I laid my first baby to sleep each night, and it has been a lot of fun to see its total transformation over the years.
Yet, we knew the time would come when we would outgrow this 900sq ft home. The housing market in Charlotte is HOT right now and most homes are flying off the market. Feeling a little unsure about our options and direction, we decided to reach out to a real estate agent who attends our church, Jennifer Vick, with Jennifer Vick and Co. We worked very closely with her and her team, including our amazing buyer’s agent, Lizi Cruz. (By the way, I want to give a huge shout-out to the entire team from Jennifer Vick and Co., who all provided excellent service and guidance through the buying/selling process and operated with the highest level of professionalism). We discussed the potential sale of our condo and described what we were looking for in a new home. We didn't have too many must-haves…..we wanted a three to four-bedroom house and it was critical that the house be one-story. With some of the uncertainties regarding Taylor's mobility in the future, we both feel strongly that a one-story will make it easier for her access the entire house. We also wanted the home to be in a good school district and a walk-able neighborhood.
We met with Lizi one Friday evening with the intention of exploring a few neighborhoods. There are several great schools in the area, so this outing was truly meant for exploration and to help us narrow our search to a few neighborhoods. Whoa nelly……some of the ranches we looked at needed a LOT of work. They were old, with strange lay outs, and though some of them were well-maintained, we were most definitely going to have to put some work into each of them. We weren’t afraid of another fixer-upper, but let’s be honest, life is a little different now with a child under three and major renovations feel a little more daunting. After seeing the fourth major “project,” I was feeling a little discouraged. I also wasn’t loving the feel of some of the neighborhoods. Was there a home out there that would meet our needs and wasn’t a complete gut job?
House #5 had been on the market for a "whopping" three weeks and there were no pictures online (usually not a great sign) but the one picture online revealed an aqua door…..AQUA! If you know me personally, you know I LOVE aqua! We pulled up to the most adorable, white, painted brick ranch with not only an aqua door, but aqua shutters as well (be still my beating heart!). It was so quaint and charming from the street. A few steps into the home, I knew we would be making an offer. Our new home has been completely remodeled....there is no stone left unturned. Fresh paint on the walls, pristine hardwood floors throughout the house, open concept living/dining, updated kitchen and baths, and a cute little backyard with lots of potential for a deck and garage. Although it is not technically an “accessible” house, it is very open and will make it easy for Taylor to maneuver her walker through each room. And an added bonus, an induction oven that does not get hot to the touch…..what a wonderful feature for a family with a child with special needs!
I came back to the house alone the following day for a second look and unexpectedly met both the listing agent and, interestingly, the owner of the home. The owner casually mentioned she had renovated the home for her son and granddaughter who had been planning to relocate to the area, but unfortunately, her son was unable to make the move back to Charlotte. We chatted about the house and the great schools, and somehow, Taylor was brought into the conversation. I ended up sharing a little about why we were looking only at one-story homes. The owner was very quiet as I spoke and never really said much after that. I left feeling a little awkward and uncomfortable. Did I say too much? Did I make her feel uncomfortable by mentioning Taylor's diagnosis and issues with mobility?
We met with Lizi later that day to prepare an offer and she said, 'you made quite the impression on the owner today.' I couldn't tell by Lizi’s tone if that was a good thing or a bad thing, especially after leaving the home earlier in the day feeling so uncomfortable. 'Well, you already know that the owner renovated the house for her son and granddaughter, but apparently the owner's granddaughter has some sort of special needs as well and she was specifically thinking of her granddaughter's situation when she remodeled the house.' My heart melted and tears welled up in my eyes. I have no idea what type of needs her granddaughter may have but some of the small details clicked for me….the induction oven in the kitchen, the large birth around the island in the kitchen, the open-concept, and a grandmother’s love poured into every detail of the house.
We did NOT intend on finding a home we loved that night. It’s borderline MIRACULOUS, given the market in Charlotte, that this (fully-renovated!) house remained on the market for three weeks. I truly believe that God (speaking through the color aqua, of course) led me to request a showing of this house, despite having no pictures and limited information. I believe strongly that God meant for me to meet the owner and for us to talk about Taylor. I know the owner was extremely disappointed that her son and granddaughter were not able to move back to Charlotte, but I hope that she now knows there is a family that will reap the benefits of her hard work and attention to detail in this home. And I also believe the personal connection we made helped soften her heart when another offer came in immediately after ours and she decided to give our offer preference.
Things have also worked out amazingly well with our condo. It is now in the hands of a young professional, who had twice before made offers for units in our complex. Each offer was rejected in lieu of others. He made an offer on our condo the first day it hit the market, SIGHT-UNSEEN, due to all of the renovations we had completed. We had an opportunity to meet him at closing and he expressed how thrilled he was about the condition of the condo and that our unit was his favorite out of all the units he had seen. Coincidence? I don’t think so. This young man has been persistently going after homes in our community and ended up with his favorite one out of the bunch, just in time for us to make a seamless transition into our new home.
I read a devotional recently (not sure of the source) that questioned why, if we are told to take everything to God in prayer, we would be so disbelieving that God would actually answer our prayer? Why would we be surprised when God responds through another person or a life event? I can choose to think that I have met all of these people by accident or choose to believe that it really was just the color aqua that led me to request a showing at our new home. I can choose to think that it was mere coincidence that elements of our new home were designed for a child with special needs….but I just don’t believe ALL of these factors are happenstance or coincidence. Sometimes there is a purpose and a plan behind the seemingly everyday coincidences of life and sometimes we are being guided and nudged, ever so gently to move in a certain direction.