Have you ever had a dream that has kind of just sat there for years and years and years and you’ve almost forgotten about it because so much happened in life that the dream just kind of got put on the back burner? For me, one of these dreams has been to run a Bed and Breakfast that could also be used as a refuge for those needing one for the short term. We contemplated running an Air B&B out of our home in Ontario, but we didn’t have a separate unit and I wasn’t comfortable with strangers having reign of our own living quarters…especially with a child in the house. I was also in a season of complete and utter exhaustion, a result of PTSD and Adrenal Fatigue. I couldn’t imagine hosting guests without crashing for days afterwards.
When we moved back to Alberta, the thought didn’t even occur to me because our house is under major renovations and it made no sense. We’ve lived here for a year and the little house beside ours has sat vacant that whole time. This spring it came up for sale, and my mind started dreaming again. What if we bought that little house, renovated it, and turned it into an Air B&B meets short term lodging, meets refuge, meets craft/event house? We knew it was a foreclosure so we’d be dealing with a bank, which is often messy. The price wasn’t quite what we had been hoping for, but we went and looked at it anyhow. It was perfect for my dream. Over time, the price dropped and dropped some more, but we couldn’t make the numbers work so that we were comfortable. The night we decided we just couldn’t do it because of the numbers, we received two phone calls, which resulted in the numbers working in our favour. What now? We’d just come to a place of peace about the numbers not working and now they were working beyond what we could have imagined.
We looked at the house again. We went up for prayer at church in regards to the decision before us. We prayed some more and crunched more numbers. Then we made an offer and because it is a foreclosure, there was no time limit on when they had to accept or deny offers by. There were three offers on the house and ours was not the highest. They asked if we wanted to reconsider our bid. We didn’t. This went on for what felt like weeks and the house was still not sold, so we made another offer, pending financing—which should be no issue with a 40% down payment.
Everything was good to go. Financing should be easy because we’d already gone through it all 4 months prior and nothing had changed in our financial life. Then I got a phone call saying my perfect credit had dropped to beyond less than perfect because of a 3 month late payment on my cell phone. What? I don’t every recall a late payment since we do all our bills through automatic withdrawal. Then I remembered, my credit card number had been compromised in February. At the time, I immediately changed any payments going to my credit card and contacted my cell phone provider to let them know. There were no issues. My bill always came back saying I had made full payments. Until May when I got a bill saying I had an outstanding payment from February! What? So, they contacted the credit bureau and there went my credit history. Financing to buy the house was denied because of this error that was completely out of my control. I had done everything in my power to switch things over and do the right thing. This could be fixed, but not quickly enough for this house purchase.
This was not a complete fail, though, because we could just buy the house under Jason’s name. I would just not be on the title, which would only be an issue if he died and even then, the will would take care of that. It would just be a little more paper work should that happen. So, we decided to move forward with that. Our financing deadline was coming quickly, and the appraisal hadn’t been done on the house yet. This blew my mind as well, since the bank that owns the house was also financing our mortgage…they most likely already had an appraisal, but we still had to have one done. That was Wednesday. Friday at 11 a.m. our financing conditions would come off. At 11:30 a.m. of Friday, the appraisal company had still not sent it to the mortgage broker and had therefore not been received by the bank and our realtor filed for a financing extension until the following Wednesday. We didn’t know until Tuesday if that extension had been accepted. Talk about walking in the unknown for a very long, long weekend. On top of this, we couldn’t get a hold of our mortgage broker to confirm that we had heard that the appraisal was fine, but the bank refused financing on THIS house because they had ‘heard’ that there were foundation issues with the house. Nothing about foundation issues is mentioned in the appraisal. So, they are willing to finance US, but not on THIS particular house. Wow! It seemed so bizarre.
Finally, on Tuesday, this was all confirmed with our mortgage broker and we were rather dumbfounded. Was this God closing the door? Was this a warning that it wasn’t a good investment? Or was this merely a hurdle to overcome and keep moving forward with this dream? We were so confused.
Amidst this all, Jason’s Dad was hospitalized with seizures and a mild stroke was confirmed. So much happening all at once. Maybe this was just not the right time to buy a house. Yet, that day, the ‘riffraff’ that kept coming by the house without realtors, to look at it from the outside, really got us worried about the potential neighbours we could be getting. Yikes! And yes, the ‘rule follower’ in me was tempted to call them all in for trespassing, but I didn’t.
We kept praying and asking God for a definitive roadblock if this was not meant to be. Were all the hurdles we’d experienced the roadblocks? Or were they simply hurdles and God’s way of showing us that He would make a way for His plan to come to pass, and we should not give up? We sought wisdom from various people in our lives. Wisdom from a financial perspective; wisdom from a spiritual perspective, and wisdom from a personal perspective. Every one of them told us not to give up. That we could do this and there was a good way to do this without having to go through the hurdles of financing. So, we threw in a counter offer, lower than our current offer, removing the condition of financing. We thought they would reject it or counter, but they TOOK IT! Where was that roadblock, God?
The next two weeks were filled with moments of excitement about the potential, followed by complete and utter panic in regards to the amount of work we have coming at us, not only in our own home, but now at the house next door to get it up to the standard we feel it needs to be in order for it to be ready for people to live in. Sure, we could rent it ‘as is’, but I have visions of a cozy cottage meets farmhouse that feels like a haven when you enter. It is far from that at the moment.
So, here we are, the night before the possession date and I am filled with such a mixture of feelings, yet I know that with everything that has taken place in the past two months, all the hurdles we have had to jump through and the crazy roller coaster it has been, I am mostly excited to see how everything continues to unfold. Only God could have made this happen and I am filled with so much anticipation to see how He will use The Urban Cottage for His purposes, we just have to do the next right thing.