After a long year of hoping and praying that our house in Savannah would sell, we finally closed the deal this past Wednesday! When we were called to come to St. Nicholas, we knew that it was going to be tough to get our house sold, especially in this crazy market.

Many of our friends said things like, “Oh, when we moved, our house was snatched right up, which only confirmed that we were supposed to leave!” So, going into this, I was certain that it would go quickly. How could it not? I knew I was called here and everything lined up so perfectly.

Weeks passed. Then months. There was little to no movement at all. A few people would stop by to look at the house, but no real bites.

Finally, back in June, we got an offer! However, it was incredibly low and they asked for a carpet budget, the lawn equipment, home warrantees, a new refrigerator, and so on. It became very clear that even the offers we were going to get were not what we were expecting. Eventually, that deal fell through.

All the while, we began to ask, “What is going on here? Are we really called to be here? Did we make a mistake?” It didn’t make sense. We loved St. Nicholas. We loved Harris County. Everything was perfect…except this one huge burden.

We got plenty of “keep-your-chin-up” stories. Every night when we said prayers with the kids, we prayed, “Please help our house in Savannah sell.” One night, Bronwyn scribbled on a note to her mother, and when Molly asked what it said, she replied, “Dear Mama, Please help our house in Savannah.” We think she meant God, but we got the point.

Last month, we were visiting friends when I received a call from our realtor. There was a couple looking at the house, and it’s in their top 3. We had heard this before and hadn’t been so lucky, so I didn’t put much into it. A couple of weeks later, we got an offer. Another ridiculously low one. What should we do? Cut our losses and move on? Or tell them we weren’t interested? After a lot of prayer and a lot of helpful conversations with the Vestry, friends, mentors, and family, we decided to go for it. The offer was still low and we would definitely lose money on this deal. But we countered. We got our hopes up and everything was looking like it was going to go through.

Then they backed out. I was devastated. What lesson were we supposed to be learning here? What were we supposed to do? Not only was our bank account bleeding out, but I was worried that the church budget would too as they had agreed in my package to help with our mortgage for 6 months, then another 3, then another 3, then another 3. So I sat and stewed for weeks.

Then, suddenly, the couple was interested again. They got their financing together and wanted to go through with it. We were cautious, but decided we would try to go for it again. The couple was getting married at the end of the month, and wanted to be able to move in after the honeymoon, so they made another offer and wanted to close at the end of the month. We hoped. We prayed.

As the days got closer to an expected closing date, our realtor was fuzzy on the details of when it was going to happen. The inspection needed to happen. However, the lock box at the house got jammed and the realtor couldn’t get the inspector inside. So that pushed everything back. Then, they found some wood damage and a water heater that needed to be raised 18 inches to meet the code. Finally, on Tuesday night of this past week, which was the end of their due diligence, I was on the phone with my realtor going back and forth about last minute negotiations. I told them we couldn’t do anything more since the offering price was so low and I stood my ground. At about midnight on Tuesday, they said that they’d forget about the things found in the inspection, if we could be in Savannah the next day at 12noon to close the deal! It takes us 5 hours to get to Savannah! How were we going to do this? I said OK, and packed up the car. We left at 7:00 am and booked it to Savannah. By 1:00 pm, we were no longer home owners.

So that’s the story. We are now free from our burden. We can now settle in Harris County. The next phase is trying to figure out where we want to make our home. We certainly aren’t in a hurry (nor do we have funds just yet to purchase anything) and we want to take our time and find the perfect place. We hope to be here a long time, so we’re looking for the house.

Having this experience definitely taught me that the housing and realty business is just as fractured and broken as any human system. How much better things would be if houses sold like loaves of bread, or a TV. Instead of all this negotiation, what if people just set prices for their houses and people either bought it, or moved on? It would make life easier, in my book.

We are so thankful for all the support and prayers we’ve received from family, friends, and especially our church family at St. Nicholas. The Vestry has been nothing short of wonderful and have supported us so fully. We are so grateful to be here.

Most of all, thank you to God, for being there even when we weren’t sure. Please, Lord, be with all of those who are burdened by a house or property that is not selling in this market. Give them hope, provide for them in their time of need, and guide them in making the best decisions for their futures. Help them be good stewards of what they’ve been given as well. Help all of us to remember that you are there when we are burdened and you take that burden from us. Amen.

Jeff+