‘Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.” – W.E. Hickson (1803 – 1870) English educational writer
Well, of course, we only remember the last two lines if we remember this verse at all. My mother often used it as a life lesson that she abbreviated to, “If at first…” letting me fill in the rest when I faced challenges or failures. She always said it with a wry smile.
I have had innumerable experiences that have reinforced this lesson. But as they say, it’s the things we learn and re-learn that are often the most important.
My great house adventure is the latest reminder. Now, it is not at all the kind of obstacle that many have overcome, or that I have overcome in the past. But obstacles come in all sizes…and the lesson is still there.
First, a quick context [regular readers can skip this paragraph 🙂 : Doug and I are retiring and buying the first house we have ever personally owned. As a minister, Doug has been provided with homes/parsonages or, in Presbyterian language, manses, our entire married life. So, I had only a vague understanding of the elements of what is involved in real estate, house shopping, negotiation and arriving at a contract, due diligence periods, home inspections and the whole mortgage process.
As I wrote last week, on our very first day of looking at houses, I thought we had found the perfect house. I thought we had hit a home run basically first time up to bat. But boom we hit a wall. Despite amazing efforts by our agent, Kris Cuddy, the deal would not come together and we had to walk away. Another life lesson reminder.
So, back to the drawing board! I am a researcher by nature and I can tell you I think I have now looked on-line at every house in the area near Raleigh we were interested in. I checked for our basic criteria: we wanted a first floor master, and slightly less critical a fence or at least a fencible yard. That was must have. I hoped for a few could choose from that I could love. I looked at hundreds of houses. Some were too big, some were too small, some only had second floor masters, some had a first floor and a second floor master. I started to feel like Goldilocks on steroids.
I had a phone app that pinged every time a new house in our price range was listed. I kept lists, contrasted features: this house a great kitchen, that house a nice yard and fence, bonus rooms. tile floors versus linoleum, hardwood versus laminate! Just right in houses is a lot more complex than rocking chairs, porridge, and not too soft beds!
Our agent has been a trooper through it all with me. Last week, Kris and I looked at eight houses and we found two favorites…just right in two different ways. Not perfect, but close and I could imagine us living in either of them. I thought my brain might explode.
So, Kris took me back for another look at the first house that created that sense…and we hit a glitch, but she drove me through the neighborhood. I loved the house, many of the features, but when we left to go directly to our son’s house, OnStar told us 45 minutes. This was the first time we hadn’t stopped at other houses on the way. 45 Minutes. Rationally it seeped in, and I realized the distance from our kids eliminated all my second guessing. It was just right in size, but it was too far.
…and then there one….THE one.
It didn’t have a bonus room, but it had a Wow factor, a big fenced yard, and so many features that are perfect now and for the future. It is 25 minutes from our family. After talking to Doug, we agree to make an offer. It felt in that moment and still feels right now, just right.
And this time, everything has been so smooth…not exactly easy – lots of signing and signing and signing and getting every form in order, but clearly moving forward for us and the seller. I’m no longer obsessively looking on Zillow every time my phone pings…I’m even sleeping well again.
There are many parts of this adventure still to come. Doug’s retirement event is looming with lots of family traveling and descending on our house right while we pack up. But our home, our very first home, our forever home is waiting.
So, this Goldilocks can settle there in her own bed…no bears at the door! Well, there is the closing but with the best real estate agent to fight off any potential bears who try to rear their hoary heads then, no one will eat us! (Once again, moving to Raleigh call Kris Cuddy!)
So, my life lesson reminder is a composite one this week. If at first you don’t succeed, try again…until it is just right! And if you keep trying, and you work hard at it…it will be.