Going Backward To Go Forward

One minute everything is going perfectly and the next, a bump in the road leads you down a path you’ve already seen before.  No one is immune to a setback.  I foolishly believed that I could never go back and here I am, about to do something that I never imagined I would have to do.

Remember a few months ago when I was really, really scared about something?  Well, I’m ready to tell you what that is, dear Wonderlings.  Be warned, there is no ending to this story.  Not yet at least.

After receiving a notice from my apartment complex letting me know that my rent would be increasing should I choose to renew my lease, I began my search for a new home in January.  With the amount of money I was throwing away in rent every month and having nothing to show for it, I decided it was finally time to buy a place of my own.  With the added benefit of tax breaks and complete control over my home, I eagerly found a condo the first weekend I looked at homes with my real estate agent.

I was hesitant.  This was a big decision and one I wasn’t sure I could make.  Could I do this on my own?  Was I really ready to be tied down? The answer was yes.

The condo that I placed an offer on was a short sale and the bank was in no hurry to make a decision.  I told very few people because I didn’t know if it ever would be approved and what lengths I would need to go to get it.  It became my little secret as I dashed off to take calls from my realtor or lender.

For months, I waited on pins and needles for the call saying that the sale was approved and I could start moving forward, but the only thing that happened was the hint of doubt I had when I made the offer began to grow.  My lease had gone up 20% since I went to a month-to-month agreement and I was eager to get out of my apartment before I lost even more money waiting for the bank to make a decision.  I began to look at other places, but only one delighted me as much as the one I was waiting for and it was off the market before I even had a chance to make an offer.

And finally, the call that I had been waiting for came.  I was the approved buyer of the condo and, provided everything went smoothly, escrow would close mid-June.

Unfortunately, I was not as excited as I should have been.  All the months of waiting put a damper on my spirit and I didn’t really believe I was going to get it.  Nevertheless, I ordered an appraisal and home inspection and gave my apartment managers my 30-day notice.  Everything picked up so quickly, I hardly had time to take it all in.

Until the home inspection.

Britney's face pretty much sums up my reaction to seeing the condo for the first time in four months.

Britney’s face pretty much sums up my reaction to seeing the condo for the first time in four months.

The condo before me was no longer the dream home I had envisioned.  It was in need of some love and care.  Some major love and care.  Pets and children had destroyed the walls and floors of this home in addition to an overwhelming sense of filth from entryway to the master bath.  Though the inspector told me things were in relatively good condition despite some areas that needing fixing, I felt like I was buying a money pit.  I would have had to put forth much more than I bargained for just to make the place livable.  I went to bed feeling disappointed and trapped.

The next morning, I woke to an email about a new property listing.  It was right down the street from the other one and it was move-in ready.  My real estate agent received a text from me before 7am because I knew I had to see this one.  It was special and it wouldn’t last long.

Getting into the new home, I was blown away.  It was The One.  Absolutely everything I was looking for in my first home and it was in my price range.  I made an offer that day.

Days went by and my offer was up against another one.  Though mine was higher ($10K over asking price), the other offer was all cash.  I didn’t think that it mattered because any person in their right mind would take the higher offer.

But I was wrong.


The seller didn’t care that my offer was higher; he went with the all-cash bid and I was heartbroken.  I had finally found my dream home after months of searching and it had been snatched away by some greedy investor twisting his mustache, or so I had imagined.  In the same call that I learned my real estate fate, I had to make a decision about the first property.  And I decided to let it go.  I knew that in the end, it really wasn’t the right place for me and despite all that waiting, I needed to say good-bye.

As I pack up my apartment and keep hunting for a new home, I am saddened by this unfortunate turn of events.  In two weeks, I’ll be moving out of my apartment, putting most of my belongings in storage, and moving back in with my mom.

You all know that I adore my mother, but after four years of living alone and vowing to never return, I find myself having to do just that.  I feel like a hypocrite or a dog with her head drooped and tail between her legs.  I took two steps forward and now I have to take one step back.  I feel like I have fallen so far from where I’ve come and it’s hard to think about sometimes, but I know it will get better.

I won’t give up on finding a home of my own and I know that when that day comes, I will be happy that these other homes didn’t work out.  Sure, right now it sucks and I’m extremely disappointed, but I’ll be able to save even more much quicker than I would have if I were to stay in my apartment.  I’m grateful that my mom is allowing me to move back in and even more grateful that I’m not settling for a home that isn’t what I really want.

The right one is waiting for me.

14 thoughts on “Going Backward To Go Forward

  1. Karin says:

    You will make it!!! We’ve had real estate setbacks before –& they can feel devastating. I’m glad you are working to be positive and that you are not settling. ❤ The right place will come into your view…& it will be amazing! Hugs!!!!!

      • Karin says:

        I haven’t heard that before, but I would agree. It can be so difficult. Listen to some Andy Grammer (“Keep Your Head Up”) and keep running (for stress relief). Something amazing is around the corner! 🙂

  2. Lynn says:

    Sometimes life presents us with challenges where we just have to circle back, regroup & then move forward. Moving back to your Mom’s is just a small step back to give you time to take that next step forward…nothing more:)

  3. cravesadventure says:

    Buying/Selling a house is like an all out battle along with a free emotional rollercoaster. You will not be with your mom long, so enjoy a little break and some mom time – let your whole being come down from the rollercoaster and keep on continuing to look for your home. Wishing You the BEST – Good Luck 🙂

  4. Caitlin | belong with wildflowers says:

    I am so sorry to hear about this struggle… I completely understand how that can be heartbreaking! Like you said, the right home is out there waiting for you. You’ll find the perfect one and be settled in no time flat. The hardest part (being approved for a mortgage and saving up a down-payment) is done, so congratulations! I hope living with your parents goes smoothly. I moved back in with my parents (and my boyfriend) towards the end of last year to start trying to save a deposit for a house / pay off some debt. While we still have lots of bills and still pay rent, having the little bit of a “break” from utilities or a $1200+/month rent has been nice. And I was dreading it! So you never know, it could turn out just exactly how it’s supposed to. Fingers crossed for you! — Caitlin (previously The Siren’s Tale)

  5. pcyoda says:

    You know, as a Realtor myself, it is such a reminder that things DO happen for a reason. The 2nd place came into your life to make you realize the 1st place wasn’t “the one”, but ultimately, it wasn’t the right “time” so what you are experiencing is NOT really a setback at all … it’s an opportunity to regroup, spend some valuable time with your Mom, and rediscover what path is REALLY right for you at the right time. Life is such an adventure – just Trust Your Journey and embrace it!

    • Jessica | Defining Wonderland says:

      Thank you so much for your insight. You’re right… it’s not a setback, but the time I need to figure out where I belong and get some quality time with my favorite person ever. And the funny thing is, I shared this post with my realtor and she loved it and shared it on her Facebook. It seems I’m not the only one who has gone through this real estate roller coaster. Thanks for reading!

  6. jansenschmidt says:

    You’re not “moving in” with your mom – you’re staying temporarily. If you were moving in you’d not stow your stuff in storage. Mom’s house is just a life raft until you get to your island.

    Now silly girl – get out there and find that amazing house that’s waiting for you. It’s a great time to be a homeowner and the right home is waiting to be discovered.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Jessica | Defining Wonderland says:

      Right you are, Patricia! It’s just a temporary situation and I keep reminding her of that. She, not so secretly, is excited I’ll be staying with her again. I’m sure that will change after a few weeks. 😉 I’m still looking for a home that is just right for me and I know I will find it. Keep those fingers crossed and the thoughts positive. xoxo

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