A Home of Our Own
The listing had been on Craigslist for almost a week and half. We had been closely monitoring it because it seemed perfect. Enough room for the family in a decent neighborhood with a price we could easily afford. We had been calling the owner nonstop, trying to set up a time to see the house, but our schedules had never meshed. He was too busy and kept telling us to call him tomorrow. We had an idea of what it looked like from the pictures, but we still wanted to do a walk through.
The address was already memorized and we had the budget already planned for moving day, which we thought would be just around the corner. We had looked at furniture to replace the previous ones that were currently missing and had found out were the kids would be going to school. But we still had to do the first step and see the house. As soon as that happened, we would hopefully be filling out an application and pleading with this guy to be our next landlord.
But then we received the dreaded news. After calling nonstop for a week and a half, the guy finally told us the house was off the market. He had an applicant he was checking into. Yet, he had never even given us a chance to even see the house. We were devastated.
My family had just moved to California last year. It was a personal decision that caused a catastrophe of events that were neither good or bad. They just were. We were in the process of giving our house back to the bank because we had gotten ourselves into a bad deal. The previous owners had rigged the place to look good for sale, but the repairs made didn’t last long. Before we knew it, we were responsible for almost $80,000 worth of repairs and lacked the ability to do it. With the crash of the housing market, the house wasn’t worth fixing; we would never get our money back.
So, like many other people out there, we started the process of foreclosure. It was a joint decision. We figured in the economic crisis around the United States, we would not be looked down upon as harshly if we did it now compared to later when the economy eventually turns around. The difference was, other people who foreclosed on their housed did it because they could no longer afford their living arrangements. We both had jobs and could still afford the house payment, we just couldn’t afford the inefficiency of the house (or the problems the house was having that needed to be fixed!) We always joked that we had bough ten the “Money Pit” from Tom Hanks.
Yet, as we headed out for a fresh start in California, we found a lot of forks in the road. This made us question whether we had made the appropriate decision. Every plan we had made was falling apart before our very eyes. Going back to school didn’t work; neither did finding a job right away. So we sat and waited. Meanwhile, our house sat empty as it was going through foreclosure and we were living with family.
But, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The time was coming. My husband had a job and things were clearing up. We were finally able to move out and find a place of our own. But finding a place would prove to be a difficult task. With credit out the window, and a budget on the lower end, we were looking for the impossible. We needed someone to understand our situation and someone that would have a house big enough to fit our family, but still fit our budget. Two things thatwould be pretty difficult to find.
The Search Continues
My husband and I were lucky. We had the whole day without kids (other than picking them up early so he could get to work in time!) It was our anniversary, and we were spending the day looking at houses and going to stores to price objects needed for a new house. Once we were told the house we were hoping for was gone, our mood and our schedule shifted. It was no longer necessary to price out those things we needed if we moved. There seemed to no longer be a chance we would be moving soon. So we were about to head to a movie.
That posed another problem. We couldn’t agree on a movie. He wanted blood, guts and gore; I wanted funny and romantic. The problem was, an anniversary type movie was not available right away and the later one would cause us to run late, therefore making my husband late for work. So, we decided no movie. Instead, we drove around the neighborhood to see if there were any other houses for rent we might be interested in.
We went back toward the school. The idea was to find a house close to the school. With only one vehicle currently, I still wanted to have the ability to get to and from the school if needed. We drove aimlessly around. There were several houses for sale, but finding a house for rent was like finding a diamond in the rough. The ones we did find were either out of price range or had already been rented out, even though the sign was still out front.
With our heads held down in defeat, we were about to give up. That was when my husband saw it. A small For Rent sign. It was hardly noticeable. I was through calling numbers and said maybe it was better if we didn’t find anything at all. We would have more time to save and once the first came around, plenty of houses would probably be available again. But he called anyway. He was curious.
Within a half an hour, we were looking at the house. As we walked through the front door, my mouth dropped. It had a huge formal living room that looked up toward the loft on the second floor. As you walked to the back, the kitchen was a cook’s dream come true. Plenty of cabinet space and it even included all the appliances. That was a huge relief since we no longer had a refrigerator, stove or microwave. The house was big enough and it was in our price range. There was four bedrooms, one of which was a huge master bedroom with an attached bathroom. Each kid would have their own room. The catch would be if these people would rent to us.
As we left, my husband called the landlords. With no answer, we were back to playing the waiting game.
5 o'clock somewher
It was almost time for us to pick up the kids and head back home. My husband had to get ready for work yet and our day together was just about over. As we were heading back, we got a phone call. It was about the house, so we detoured to meet our potential future landlords instead.
We met them and talked about the house and various other things as well. We found out how long they had lived in the area, what some of their hobbies are, and told them a little bit about us as well. We seemed to click right away. We were upfront with them and told them our background. We didn’t want them to be surprised and not rent to us. As we left, they gave us a hug goodbye and let us know they would tell us their decision by Monday. We were excited and nervous. And of course, back to the waiting game.
Ready to ride...
The Next Day
My husband and I decided we were going to celebrate our anniversary the day after, so we headed to Knott’s Berry Farm to ride the big rollercoasters - sans kids. We weren’t really expecting any calls, but that didn’t stop them from coming in. That was when we would get the call that would change everything.
The landlady has a hobby. She likes to go to estate sales. Since we informed them we would have to almost completely furnish the house, she called to let us know they had seen a washer and dryer for sale at a local estate sale. She wanted to know if we needed one. My husband told her no. That was the one piece of furniture we actually had. Of course, it wouldn’t give us a place to sit, but at least we would have clean clothes.
“So, I was wondering if your family needed a washer and dryer,” she said. “If you didn’t already have one, we were thinking of buying them for you for the house. And by the way, we decided you can have the house!”
We were estatic! After living with family for the last 9 months, it was time for us to be on our own. We needed our own space and we needed to get into our own routine. We also wanted our own stuff that had been in storage since we moved to California. We were grateful and happy.
We will be moving Oct. 1st. Now all we have to do is wait it out and before we know it, we will have a place of our own.