Like I’ve said several times about conspiracies, coincidences are everywhere too. Sometimes, a coincidence is little…sometimes it’s freaky and weird. Or, sometimes, the coincidence makes you realize something was just meant to be. Take for example the situation with our move. There were several coincidences and it is working out. (Don’t take this post as a boast…I am hugely adverse to ‘counting chickens before they hatch’ and am always ‘knocking on wood’ at least in my head, so stuff could still go wrong…rather, this explains ‘in my fashion’ what has occurred thus far for those that have expressed curiosity)

I’ll start from the beginning…

Back in January we started to look on the internet for new places to live. And, almost right away, we found a place that intrigued us. So, we enlisted the aid of a Buyer Broker to gain access to the property and check it out. There were multiple pluses…and, there were many more minuses. First the positives – It was a larger house on a one acre lot. It had a pool. It was in the community and school district we wanted. There were many large trees on the property. The street was quiet. And, now the negatives – It was out of our price range. The house was being sold ‘as is’ and needed a lot of work and updating. There were several VERY large and expensive Chateau McMansions being built right nearby (we’d be the poor folk in the servant’s quarters, by comparison). And, the street the house was on was named ‘Renfro’. Now, being from the midwestern snowbelt/rustbelt, having to tell people my address included a street named ‘Renfro’ was a huge problem for me. Never-mind the $100K worth of work we’d have to do to get the house livable and updated, I was ready to walk as soon as I saw the street name. ‘Renfro’ is just too redneck for me…too southern…Give me a Maple or Oak Street anyday and I’ll be happy.

So, we mulled our options (including offering a ridiculously low price in order to offset the cost of the necessary repairs) and decided to keep looking. Our Buyer Broker was pleased we took his recommendation. He’d said he’d fire us if we insisted on buying the place. He’s kinda funny that way.

Then, regular readers will remember, my employer decided to do something silly and put our lives on hold for three months. During that time, obviously, we didn’t look for a new house. But, that was in fact the first coincidence. It was the first ‘sign’. Had we entered into a contract on the Renfro House in January, we would surely have backed out once the job search was begun. Granted, job uncertainty could exist at anytime, but that it came just days after looking at the Renfro House was notable.

At the conclusion of the job uncertainty…and after I’d missed getting this position…we just happened to be driving home from a store or something and saw a house we’d always liked had a new For Sale sign out front. Say hello to coincidence number two. We got back on the internet and started looking. And, we called our Buyer Broker and told him we were back in business.

We had a meeting with him and outlined our goals and desires. We all had a laugh while talking about the Renfro House. And, we scheduled a weekend of visits to places on the market. Unfortunately, that house we’d always liked was (again) not in our price range. But, we found some similar ones on the MLS database were close by the one in which we’d been interested.

As you would expect, we fell in love with the first one we walked through. It was perfect for us. It was exactly what we wanted on several levels. The only negative was the lack of a pool. But, BetterHalf promised we’d be able to get that rectified SOON. (For her family members who will read this, I’m expecting assistance on the ‘keeping her part of the deal’ part. Thanks…)

Coincidence three is that the people moving out of the house moved in when their kids were the same age as ours. Their kids are gone now and so they want to down-size. But, when we dropped off the Earnest Money and they saw our kids, they accepted the offer…and it was under their asking price. (Plus, we told them we liked the house exactly as it was and that there wouldn’t be any gutting…) Both actions were ‘calculated’, but honest.

So, we were now buyers of a house. And, the name of the street it is on?


Which is perfect for me, right? I guess that would be coincidence number four.

Our Buyer Broker then set us up with a Realtor friend of his…someone with whom he’d worked for many years. That Realtor friend’s name just happened to be Robbie Renfro. Granted, our Buyer Broker knew about the apparent coincidence back when we had looked at the Renfro House, but he didn’t mention it.

Robbie Renfro sold our house in two weeks. And, if it had been completely ready for showing when he took the job, it might have sold in less time. He’s that good. As it was, the kitchen cabinets in a state of undo were a turn-off for a couple of the initial prospective buyers. The people that did decide to buy walked through on the day after the cabinets were completed. Maybe it’s a stretch to call that another coincidence, but at this point who cares…

When I say Robbie Renfro is good, I mean it. This is NOT a hot neighborhood in a hot community in a hot market. Texas has lots of land and new houses our always under construction. For the price range of what we were selling, buyers have lots from which to choose. That someone selected this place…and at our asking price…is a testament to the ability of our realtor.

We didn’t count any chickens at this point of the game, though. Both houses needed to pass inspection. Frankly, unless the Cheshire House had been falling over, we weren’t gonna be too concerned with the report from the inspector. A) we had taken a good look at it and had a good feeling B) we were flexible with our move plan and could have kept looking for something else if problems were discovered. None were though. It is a perfect place (for us).

Our place, though, is another matter. The shingles could be replaced. Some of the bricks have cracked (a common problem in Texas…clay soils expand and contract A LOT whenever it does OR DOESN’T rain…houses built on clay with concrete slabs are just asking to have foundation problems…what’s that line about building on shifting sands?). And, the blower on the A/C-Furnace could stand to be replaced. In other words, it has some of the typical issues you’d expect with a thirty year old house.

We got the inspection report while walking around the Traverse City Cherry Festival Midway. I alternated between taking pics of our group (including Zilla, of which I don’t think she’s aware) and reading the report on the BoysenBerry/BlueBerry/RaspBerry/CrackBerry. (Before anyone gets uppity, I only had it with me at that time because I knew the inspection report was due. And, despite being a long way away from home, we did need to resolve House things quickly.) The inspection report included warnings about everything I’d expected. So, initially, I was a little concerned. I did not want to put $10K into the house in order to sell it. And, I was nervous the buyers would want everything fixed.

To my complete surprise, the only asked for a few minor things to be fixed (GFCI switches, a couple of smoke detectors, and some slow tub/sink drains Drano’d). They looked past the shingles and the brick cracks. They didn’t ask for monetary concessions. They didn’t walk away. And, coincidence number seven is that my Traverse City Aunt/Uncle have a fax machine…and it was used to finish the deal during the brief time we were at their house.

So, we’re in the quiet time for both houses. I’m busily doing things to get ready. BetterHalf has already packed a bunch of boxes (the garage is 2/3 full already…remember what I said about Purging?) Things could still go wrong. We won’t celebrate until we have Closed on both houses, which will be concluded EOD on the 31st. So, keep your fingers crossed until then. Don’t count any chickens.

P.S. – Robbie Renfro’s office is in the same building as the bank BetterHalf used when she first moved down here back in ’97. Of all the gin joints in Texas…