I've heard of cases where the closing table is a nightmare. Just when folks think they have a buy (or sale, depending on your side of the table) locked down, it all falls apart when they're seated across from each other trying to close the deal. The finances or mortgage falls through or the property has a lien that isn't discovered till the last minute or there is some glitch in the paperwork. It's hard for me to believe sometimes, but we have never had this problem. Now, we have had to delay closings to complete lien searches or re-do paperwork or re-negotiate something, but we've been fortunate enough to close every time we've finally made it to the closing table. This is a true miracle because we close on properties sometimes twice a year. But I'll give credit where credit is certainly due, and that would not be credit to me. I add my two-cents' worth most times and even some times when it's not wanted(!), but the real credit goes to our team of realtors, attorneys, accountants, and counselors from all walks of life who are the best! Plus, the hubs is the master negotiator and a detail man. He earned the title of great negotiator years ago when he would secure us five-star vacation accommodations for three-star prices in our early years. I've actually had friends ask me before if he can negotiate a good deal for them! But his negotiating skills are not for sale, they are solely for the benefit of our family and business. You know why? Because it takes hours upon hours of searching, talking, haggling, and PATIENCE to be good at closing great deals. No one could afford him! Also, I trust him completely to think of all those little details that could be issues later...when all I can think of is just how beautiful I'm gonna make the place. He's a keeper.
Over the last couple of years, the housing market has changed remarkably. It went from a buyer's market back in 2007/08 to a seller's market now. It amazes us now to remember some of the houses there were available back in 2008 when the economy fell out...you could get a lot of house that needed a little work for amazingly little cash. Now that the housing market is on the rise and people are ready to buy again, the market has hit a rare "low-inventory" status, and we find people are engaging in bidding wars over the same house, with the houses selling beyond the original asking price to the highest bidder. But for the good of the economy, I'm happy to see contractors building again and people buying again. Until the inventory grows though, this scenario has made it that much harder for us to find those diamonds in the rough. But they are out there if you are willing to search, search, and search some more. Years ago before I ever even considered that renovating homes might be in our future, I remember seeing houses for sale that were practically being given away, if only you had the guts to take them on. I never, ever thought I'd have those guts, but here I am years later dreaming of all the tired, sad, lonely houses we might be able to save from an imminent tear-down. So, as in so many things that change, compromise has become our middle name. We sometimes get less house with a lot more repairs needed with a significantly higher price tag. But the upside is there may be -- just maybe -- a bonus attached that others may see as a deal-breaker or not worth the effort but we see as potential... like broken down outbuildings... acreage to upkeep... good bones as they say with layers of decades-old sloppy renovations covering them, but good bones nonetheless if you're willing to uncover them.
So today, after a grueling search (again, the hubs, not so much me), we closed on our next renovation property. Many of you have been following our journey and especially our last reno which, as you know, has been our biggest remodeling project to date. "To date" is the operative phrase here, because our new project is gonna be just as labor-intensive (if not more). As I said in my last post, it is one that I've had on my bucket list for awhile now, restoring an old house -- 125 years old to be exact. Or, who knows, maybe it's 125 years young, because they just don't build 'em now like they used to. I have a feeling when we finish with this project, this house may just live on into the next century or two. This little gem doesn't look like much on the outside but it has those good bones and a bounty of beautiful solid wood in it through and through. I simply cannot wait to have the walls torn out to the studs to reveal all that gorgeous timber and see where it takes us. Well, once again, it won't be me, but our great "team" of demolitioners (is that a word?!), aka the hubs, my wonderful son-in-law, and possibly a few other family members and friends who might be willing to take the plunge into those 125-year-old walls for a few good meals and a slap on the back! I will NOT be helping with the demolition process because, though I don't mind getting dirty, I'm not sure that my reflexes are quick enough from 15 feet above the floor if a mouse runs across my foot. Eeeek! I will, however, be nearby to give my two-cents' worth, of course.
Complete body suits and respirators, here we come...
"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them."
- Ann Landers
I hate to play checkers. And because of that, I have never learned to play chess. I find that games where you have long periods of sitting and thinking and strategizing about your next move are not for me. Maybe I just don't possess the patience it takes to persevere and win. I even get frustrated with crossword puzzles sometimes. I've been known to work a crossword puzzle and throw it down when there's just one or two words that stump me. No, I'm an Uno and Spoons kinda girl. Fast-moving to me is what games should be about. And don't even get me started on Monopoly. I know, it feels almost sacrilegious to diss the all-American family board game. But I've had occasions where I played Monopoly into the wee hours of the morning (you know it's true) before it looks like someone is gonna take the game.
Yawn. Just wake me up when it's over.
As one who will not engage in slooooooow-moving games, I must confess that patience is not one of my virtues. I try so hard to be a patient person, and in some things I am. I am patient with my newest grandbaby. After all, she is brand-new to this world and is just learning. And the fact that she is so darn cute makes patience with her so much more attainable. I try to be patient with my elderly dad. In so many ways an aging person is just like a small child. They forget things, so you have to constantly repeat yourself. They are easily distracted so you have to remind them to stay on task. They can even become selfish in their latter years and you have to constantly be the leader and remind them of the right attitude. Believe me, that takes the patience of Job sometimes, and we all know that Job was a patient man. I have great respect for those who work with the elderly.
I think the biggest component of learning patience is the "waiting" for change. I am not good at waiting. I hate to plan a trip, then have to wait till the time comes to travel. I hate to order something and then have to wait until I receive it in the mail. I hate to wait for food and, if I have to wait too long, I cannot be held accountable for my actions. I hate to wait in line at the grocery store. But waiting is important in becoming a patient person because it requires you to be still while the circumstances out of your control are worked out. Have you ever waited in a hospital while your loved one is in surgery? Torture! But it's in the waiting that we learn the art of patience...to sit still and quiet and allow the circumstances to change or the person to change in a way that we can receive that which we're waiting for. It's a hard lesson indeed.
So right now I'm in the waiting process once again, and enjoying (ha!) yet another lesson in patience. You'd think that I would've mastered it at this point in my life, but it's just not the case. We're trying to patiently wait for a house to sell. We're patiently waiting on paperwork to be finished on closing our next renovation project. Once I see what could or should happen, I want it to happen now. My part of a renovation project is usually at the end of the project. I have a vision early on, but seeing that vision a reality takes long months of hard work and patience. Unfortunately, by nature I am an instant kind of girl, and I think living in an "instant" society doesn't help me at all. We are instant everything...instant food, fast internet, almost instant travel from one place to another, and spray-on tans are a few things that come to mind! I guess that's why I like fast-moving games. I like things that are instantly gratifying and quickly improved and situations that are easily remedied. To arrange cut flowers takes a short amount of time to beautiful gratification, but to grow those flowers? Lots of sunshine, water, good soil, and a healthy dose of patience brought on by the waiting process from seed to bloom. Life rolls along sometimes at the slow pace of a Monopoly game with no end in sight. Life forces us to wait, wait a little longer, and then wait some more. It's life at its hardest sometimes, having to wait.
I would totally bet that right now you're waiting for something...maybe it's your health to improve...maybe it's someone else's health to improve or their attitude to change. Hey, maybe it's your attitude that you're waiting on for change. Maybe it's a new baby on the way, or a living, working, or financial situation. Whatever it is, embrace this waiting period as a lesson in patience. It's a class that will cost you nothing in monetary commitment, but will bring great reward. Remember that waiting is what teaches you patience and patience is virtuous, and we all want to have virtues, right?
And while you're waiting, take on a game of checkers or chess. It might make you crazy, but at least it'll pass the time.
Photographing children takes a LOT of patience, but the reward is beyond worth it... during this photo shoot, I stepped on sharp twigs with bare feet, just about hit the deck carrying this chair outside, and had to go home and take a nap afterwards! It's all good!
(To see the entire photo shoot, go to my "Photography" page)
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
For three days last week I was officially housebound.
No, I wasn't sick or injured (thankfully!). No, I wasn't emotionally distraught to the point I didn't wanna leave home (although I remember that being the case at least once in the past, eek!). The simple truth is this: I loaned my wheels to my youngest who was in town for a visit. She flew in Monday night and then promptly took a three-day trek to her old college town of Valdosta, Georgia to visit her bestie, whom she hasn't seen in quite some time. And my little red car was her mode of transport to what I'll lovingly refer to as the "town down under." If you aren't familiar with the southernmost mile of Georgia where you'll find Valdosta, I'm not surprised. What is there really in Valdosta other than the university? Well, I mean, besides lots of wonderful people. It's the last good-sized city before you cross the state line into Florida and I remember the heat I felt upon making a restroom stop there as a child on our way to Daytona Beach. There we were, flying down Interstate 75 in our 68 Chevy BelAir with the windows down. There was no such thing as A/C in our cars back then and during the summer we became accustomed to the sweat and stickiness that went along with a trip to the shore; it was just part of it. We didn't miss the A/C because we'd never had it. We also napped in the floorboard half the time (with no seatbelts) and hung out the window the rest of the time trying to catch a breeze (again, no belts!). There was a definite rising of the thermometer between Atlanta and this lower destination. The city of Valdosta wasn't the end of the world but I was sure you could see it from there.
So I was quite thankful to have a day to hunker down, do a little cooking for family coming over for dinner and catch up on some reading and resting, because the last few months have been hectic. I've given mother nature the credit for this chunk of time to re-wind because it was made even more pleasurable by the storm she sent through this area last week and, other than the power blinking off a few times and the leak that sprung around the electrical switch in my bedroom, it was quite the gift. It was a perfect three days for staying in, contemplating, and just pretending to be stuck because your car is in South Georgia at the moment. Of course, the hubs works in town, my other daughter within a 20-minute drive, I have stores within walking distance, and a few friends who just might rescue me in a heartbeat if asked. And then there's always Uber. I always forget about Uber. But I won't tell you any of that. I kinda enjoyed that I was "stuck inside" for the better of three days. It was just what I needed, and I had a great big fat excuse for doing it!
Since work on the renovation has been completed and the waiting game (for a buyer) has begun, and we haven't yet finalized our next reno adventure, I must admit I have felt a bit lost. I've gone from "Oh, my gosh, how will I ever get it all done today," to "Uh, how can I best use this down time that I now have?" Because I know it won't last forever. But sometimes good timing has a way of being on your side, and Abbie came into town at a time when I could actually just sit back and visit without being pulled between work and downtime. Which brings me to some very good news! My youngest daughter has just become engaged to a wonderful man, and now we are in the "process" of beginning to plan a wedding! While she was in town we had a couple of days to start the hunt for the perfect dress. I dream of the days when me and my two girls can do lunch and work in a little shopping, so it was literally a dream come true. I am so very thankful that both of my girls and my son have now found a life partner who will be by their side and walk with them on this journey we call life. It can be hard sometimes without a soulmate.
Back to mother nature, this week looks like it's heating up again, and lots of sunshine (and probably humidity as well) is in the future for the Atlanta area. Which is fine by me, because it just doesn't seem like Easter when it's rainy and cool. But if you know me, you know that I never get excited about warm weather's return until after Easter. I've found too many times that the last bout of coolness always comes right before Easter and then it's time for the true bringing in of the season! Easter is a time of hope, new beginnings, and the ability to look to the future with a chance for doing things better, feeling more inspired, and eating that last chunk of divine chocolate before having to think about swimsuit season. It is a time for embracing the hope that is still so prevalent today. Even though the news is a constant bearer of the bad in the world, hope is a strong force indeed and might lay low for a time, but has a way of surfacing again just when you need it. Thank God for hope.
So I "hope" your Easter will be full of the promise of the first Easter so many years ago. May your weather be sunny, your brides be full of hope for the future, and your renovations be challenging...which brings me to yet another surprise...
During the writing of this blog post, we have finalized a purchase for our next renovation. Now, I (once gain) don't allow myself to be completely excited because I know all too well how a deal can fall apart at the closing table. But if all goes well, our next reno is literally right around the corner. I know, I know, I've thought we were there before, but this one looks like a sure thing. Here's a sneak peek.
This will be our oldest (!!) renovation to date. This house is 125 years old! Have we lost our minds? Maybe, but renovating an old house has been on my bucket list for a while now. So one more thing I can scratch off my bucket list before I go to my "eternal home." That is, if this one doesn't send me there in the process!
Happy Easter, and may all your dreams come true!
No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.
- Sheryl Crow
Posted by CC
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