Over the four plus years that we were actively looking to move, we seriously considered (as in, saw the house twice and discussed possibly putting in an offer) no less than 10 homes (to be clear, we saw dozens more than this, but these we actually considered or put offers on).
- Alpine ugly house (Alpine) – Wyatt liked it for the price/location. I hated it because it was ugly.
- Alpine bank owned house (Alpine) – we both loved the house, but it was just a little too far out of our price range at the time.
- Dawn Hill (Pepperwood)- fantastic view/location/lot, but the house was a disaster in terms of construction/floor plan. It would have needed a giant remodel and I wasn’t up for it.
- Manfield (Draper) – New house on 1 acre in Draper with a small barn in the back of the lot. Wyatt felt they were asking too much for what the house was (it was 4500 sq feet but only 2300 finished, and the yard had some basic work done, but still had a long ways to go. In the end Wyatt didn’t like the house/quality and I didn’t like that it butted right up against the Draper Park.
- Northridge #1 (Pepperwood) – the house was in perfect vintage condition – old, but perfectly clean and functional. Because it was so perfect, it made a remodel not eminent. Wyatt liked it right away, but I wasn’t so sure. The yard left much to be desired. By the time I came around to the idea, it was under contract.
- Bear Hill (Draper) – the yard was AMAZING! The house was cool, but kinda quirky too. The ceilings in the basement were low, and the bedroom configuration was kinda weird. But like I said, the yard was AMAZING!!! We waffled on this one for a long time. Finally someone else put us out of our misery by buying it.
- High Mesa ( Next to Pepperwood, Sandy) – this one was also a bank owned. The house was FANTASTIC, and the yard was kinda quirky, but it bordered a creek and had huge trees. The neighborhood wasn’t great (let’s be honest) and we weren’t super thrilled by the ward either, but in light of the house and location, we figured we’d have to compromise somewhere so this would probably work. This is the one I really thought we would buy. We spent months in negotiations and trying to work it out with the bank. Finally someone else came in and bought it out from under us.
- Alpine 2 Acres (Alpine) – After High Mesa fell through, a 4500 sq foot (old) home with 2 acres came on the market. The house was old and needed some work, but did I mention it had 2 acres and a small barn?! We were willing to overlook the problems with Alpine in general for the property specifically. We put in an offer, but didn’t get it.
- Lost Canyon (Cottonwood Heights) – We looked through this house a few times. The house was fine, the yard was fantastic, butting right up to the mountain. Just go through a gate and you’re on the mountain hiking or playing. But the area wasn’t super kid friendly (neighborhood values were more liberal and DINKY (Dual-Income, No-Kids) and the house didn’t quite have everything we needed in terms of functionality.
- Northridge #2 (Pepperwood) – This was a beautiful high end home in Pepperwood that had been remodeled fantastically. The house was beautiful, the location was tops. The yard was big, and even though it needed a lot of work, it had a lot of potential.
Now it was when we were looking through Northridge 2 that I finally confessed a problem that I felt –
I felt it with all the homes we had looked at. We had discussed the problem many times over the years: LOCATION
Each place we looked lacked something in terms of location – proximity to work/cabin. Neighborhood. Ward. Something was always off. And as we went through the Northridge#2 home for the 3rd or 4th time, I finally told Wyatt:
“Look, I know this house is perfect. It’s everything anyone has on a checklist. It’s beautiful, it’s updated, it’s a fantastic neighborhood with great schools. The ward has a member of the 12 in it . . . but there’s something wrong.”
I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just WASN’T RIGHT.
But of course, we were frustrated. And I think Wyatt was a little bewildered that I was balking at this home.
Then one night we were driving through the neighborhood of the Manfield home (see above) – I don’t remember why were driving through, but as we went through this neighborhood, I finally finally could feel it. This was it! This was the neighborhood I wanted to be in. The neighborhood we needed to be in. I felt it like electricity through my arms.
I told this to Wyatt and we started looking right away. Trouble was – there was only ONE home on the market in the neighborhood. We went through it and quickly determined that the owner was wildly over priced – so much so that there wasn’t even room for negotiation.
And there was nothing else . . .
We waited a couple weeks, checking the market every day for something to pop. Nothing came.
One night we were driving through (it’s about 3 streets and 30 homes) hoping for a FSBO sign, and saw a neighbor out working in the yard. We stopped and asked her if she knew of any homes for sale.
And that’s how we started knocking doors. We went through the neighborhood knocking on doors asking if anyone wanted to sell.
On the following Sunday we went to church and asked the Bishop if he knew of anyone looking to sell. He didn’t.
No one seemed to know.
Finally on the 3rd night of knocking doors we met a lady named Joan Davis. She told us she had just done her VT the week before, and her teachee had mentioned in passing that they might start thinking of downsizing. She pointed us to the house and we went and knocked on it. No one was home.
We returned a few days later at met Anna Romero at the door. We introduced ourselves and told her we were looking to buy, and there on the porch she started telling us all about the home. She let us look around the yard and back shop and invited us to come back the next week to meet with her and her husband to discuss it more.
When we came back the next week she showed us the whole house and then invited us to talk numbers. We were able to settle on a price and put the house under contract.
Leo Romero was the original owner of the home, and had built it as a custom build after his divorce 35 years ago. A few years later he married Anna and they had raised kids in a yours/mine/ours situation. But now Leo was aging (85) and in increasingly frail health. The home had long since become to big and burdensome to care for properly. The yard was wildly overgrown, the house was starting to really fall apart.
But the final straw had been an incident that happened just the week before we knocked on their door. Leo had fallen on an exposed nail on the rotting deck in the back. The tumble took a real toll on him.
They (Leo and Anna) told us after the move that us knocking on their door had proven to be an answer to a prayer they didn’t even know they needed to offer yet. By us being able to come buy their home in its current condition with no requests of fix up or repairs, by being able to help them move (more on that later), and get them into a new home that was better suited for their health needs (a 1 story rambler within the same ward where they had years of friendships and relationships built), so many problems had been solved for them so quickly they didn’t have to carry an emotional struggle of accomplishing those things.
I am so grateful they felt their prayers were answered, because Wyatt and I really felt like we were the ones who received answers to long given prayer.