Have you ever experienced an unexpected detour? It may have been driving in the car or it may be in any other area of life as well. A detour is simply a change in route to a desired destination.

The detour for us was the selling/buying process of real estate. I don’t even want to talk about previous real estate experiences when we tried to be landlords and purchase rental properties. That could unpack a whole slew of ugly stories.

Anyway, we had known the general vicinity of where we wanted to end up. That leaves a lot of room for adjustment. The factors to consider in the current real estate market where we were going were crazy ridiculous. We were in an area where the demand greatly outweighs the supply which is great for the sellers, but agonizing for the buyers, or potential buyers. We appreciated the active market on the selling end with our house, but it was nothing compared to our destination area.

Anger, tears, and high blood pressure

We experienced a detour more than once that was created. We thought we would find something without all those dramatics, but we were wrong for sure. Having a 4-hour distance between us was also something that took its toll. We were lucky to have a son in the area if there was something we wanted him to check out for us but didn’t want to impose needlessly on his time, job, and family commitments. Our realtor was very kind and open to welcoming our son to check out properties.

One of the most bizarre things we experienced was when we decided to entertain the idea of building a new home. We had done this 3 times before. Once again, that could unpack a whole bunch of stories, but I will try to stay current. We were looking at listings of homes in what was obviously a new subdivision. One right next to the other and a ranch homestyle which was what we wanted. We had a chance to talk with an agent and we scheduled a call. Hard to believe, but when we called they immediately told us that all those homes were gone! GONE! They had only recently been listed and they were already spoken for. I’m sure you get the picture now.

Between our realtor and our son, and Zillow, we would get listings to check out and see if were worth our time, driving time, and expense, or virtual tour to consider them. After we finally purchased a home, our realtor commented that she looked back in our file and we had looked at a LOT of homes. Her comment was, “It was time.” I must agree.

Back to the detour. One home in particular that we saw looked like it was a perfect match to all of our checkboxes. This home had an unfinished basement, ranch style, 3 bedrooms, a master bath, and main floor laundry. It was also a fairly new home so there wouldn’t be maintenance issues or repair needs. The exterior was maintenance-free. So what was the detour?

We drove down to look at it. While we were driving we did a video tour with the realtor and executed an offer (contract) to purchase. We offered over their asking price so that we were under the understanding that it would lock up the offer. We were doing DocuSign while driving and on the phone. She presented the offer. We scheduled a showing later that day. We went to the home and really felt it was the perfect home. I even took a picture of us in the kitchen. That’s how confident I was. Caution: Detour Ahead!

Detour ahead

When at the home there were business cards from other realtors on the kitchen counter. Obviously, others were looking and our offer had not closed the door to others, as we had understood. Foolishly, we still thought it was ours. We did not receive an acceptance of our offer. The conversation started to wind around to whether we could make a cash offer rather than with a contingency of the sale of our current home. We had an offer, and were going through the document process, buyer’s loan process, and home repair requests, but ultimately another offer was made, without a contingency. The sellers pondered it overnight but the next morning we were very pessimistic about our chances of securing this property.

We went out and started looking at storage units. Our house was sold and a closing date was set. We had even agreed with the buyer of our home to do a rentback for almost 3 weeks to give us a bit more time to find something and make every effort to dovetail the move-out and move-in. While we were out looking we got the call telling us that in fact, the seller had taken the other offer. To say we were devastated was an understatement. We felt like we were misled into believing the home was ours. Of course, we know that the seller can accept any offer they like. That’s an intellectual statement. What we were feeling was an emotional reaction. Anger, tears, and a sense that we would never find a house that was more perfect. We made that exact statement.

We decided we would just go home. We didn’t feel like we were fit for human company with our son and his family. A moment of hope shone on us though. Our son said we were planning to stay and he didn’t want my husband driving home angry, so we should just stay. It was one of the big takeaways from that trip. They truly wanted us in the area and we felt that genuine care and concern.

The takeaway

Now for the other takeaway. As we talked on the way home the next day, we shared that even though we had felt the house was perfect, we both acknowledged that we each felt a little ‘off’ but discounted it because we had checked all the boxes of what we wanted.  As we discussed it further, we realized that maybe it was more beneficial to evaluate how the house made us feel, rather than simply which checkboxes we checked off. These two takeaways were really huge and very impactful and shifted our thinking.

That detour was navigated, but it’s not the end of the story.  Stay tuned.


We hope you are enjoying these articles and are willing to continue to follow along as we move through the process of selling our house, buying a new house (to become our home), and the adventures of learning about life in southern Illinois.