House Hunting in Houston, Part 2

Last I shared with you, we were moving into this house:

rustic knolls

That was before Mike visited the home in person. While it was a very fine house, it ultimately didn’t meet our needs for space and accessibility for two growing sons and my mother who lives with me and feels safer using her wheelchair for mobility.

Fortunately, Texas has a section in its real estate statutes which gives every buyer a 10-day option to withdraw an offer with no explanations necessary. Despite the knowledge we might have difficulties in finding another house, we let this one go.  So, it seemed as if we were back to square one. In the meantime, Mike’s company suggested we take advantage of temporary corporate housing to help us transition to Houston and to allow us some time to settle our sons into school.

So, here we are, one week into Houston life and while it appeared on arrival our first daunting task would be to find a home which would meet our specifications, it turned out the universe shined its favor on us and on Wednesday, the 15th, we found this house:

prince george

Here, a very BIG shout-out goes to my favorite real estate agents Ruth Sayers and Chris Glapa who scouted the house for us. And it is no exaggeration to describe the Houston housing market as zipping along like a high speed bullet train. My agents saw the house the first day it went on the market.

And while, to you, the dear reader, it seems as if this house just fell into our lap without much effort on our part, we encountered two inconvenient setbacks which ultimately contributed in a positive way for us to be in the right place at the right time.

Until permanent housing is available we are staying at The Lakes at Cinco Ranch apartment complex. It’s a beautiful setting with easy access to walking trails and the premier outdoor shopping area, La Centerra at Cinco Ranch. The playground is right outside our patio door, making it ideal for our little guy to run and jump and shout without bothering our neighbors.

But our second day here, the neighbor upstairs plugged his toilet which somehow caused it to overrun ALL DAY LONG and because of the tremendous power of gravity, the excess water poured into our apartment, including the closets where we had just hung our clothes. We discovered this scenario after a VERY long day of nerve-wracking I-10 traffic and helping our youngest son transition to his new school, which was a rough transition.

When we walked into the apartment, my son, Chris, commented it smelled like rain and I dismissed it as our being unaccustomed to how humidity felt after living in the desert for seven years. Then, I walked into the master bedroom and when the water pouring out of the light fixture landed onto my head, I realized “Houston, we have a problem.”

My first thought was do I turn the light back off or do I leave it on. Either way, someone is going to get electrocuted with water pouring out of the light fixture. I realize now electrical engineers improved upon lighting designs with these dilemmas in mind, but on that day, all I could think about was how after my apartment was completely flooded it would soon burn up in flames because of the electrical fire.

The second thought I had once I decided to turn off the light switch was who do I call and how do I find their number. Eventually I located the corporate housing customer service after scanning the hundred emails in my in-box. To their and the apartment complexes credit, despite that my discovery was after normal working hours, the maintenance people promptly shut off the water upstairs and helped clean up the mess downstairs.

Although the corporate housing people offered substitute housing for the night, Mike and I decided after moving all of our clothes around that we could make it work with Mike sleeping on the sofa in the living room and my sleeping on the second twin bed in the third bedroom.

And then, Mike got sick. Very sick. All night sick. Puking up his toes sick.  And that was sick enough for Mike to decide he had better stay home from work the next day. And that’s the only degree of sick that will keep Mike home. Because any sick less intense than that, Mike is going into work.

And his staying home that day, prompted me to ask my fabulous real estate agents if they could move up house hunting by two days, trusting that by afternoon Mike would be feeling better.

And it was a two-day window that gave us the chance to put an offer on this house. On Wednesday evening, my agents telephoned the listing agent with a verbal offer and followed up with our written offer, which wasn’t completely finalized until 2 p.m. on Thursday. It is here that a BIG shout-out of GRATITUDE goes to the universe and the owner of this home who kept his verbal word with us EVEN THOUGH the next day he received a second offer over the list price.

And, as Paul Harvey said, now you know the rest of the story.


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