When You Lose A House

A few months ago, we announced that we were selling our house. It came out of the blue and was sort of a spur of the moment thing, brought on by casually scrolling through Zillow one night. I blogged about the renovations we’ve made to our house, and to be honest, that post has been one of my highest performing posts to date. So, where are we now? Things got a little quiet, and I sort of left you hanging, but now, I’m ready to hit publish on the official update.

To be honest, I thought and had hoped that this blog post would look a lot different. A different message, a different tone, a different outcome. I’ve chosen to share my personal experiences with the online world, and I only think it’s fair that I share all of it. Not just the highlight reel, not just the good stuff, the real stuff.

I want to share about the guilt and the grieving that takes place when a house deal falls through.

 

A quick overview of what’s happened in the past few months, we got a lot further in the process of both buying and selling than we ever actually thought we ever would. I mean, let’s be honest, we weren’t even preparing to sell/buy, we went from seeing a house on Zillow, to seeing it in person, to putting our house on the market in like 0.2 seconds. From the start, we went into the whole thing knowing that it was sort of a long-shot, a crap-shoot, a “no way in hell” sort of thing. Not in the sense that we didn’t take it seriously, but that we knew it was a big mountain to move, and we didn’t want to get our hopes up. But then, to our surprise, things actually started to fall into place. We moved along in the process, and we broke our own rule of not getting our hopes up. The more yes’s we received, the more our hope meter ticked up. There were times when we looked at each other and would say things like “can you believe this is actually happening?!” We had found our legit dream home. Everything that Dustin and I had ever planned out and wanted for our forever home, had our initials and signatures signed on the dotted line. We were so close.

I try to believe that in life, you either “win” or you learn. And this time, we learned. We learned A LOT. To be respectful of privacy and personal reasons, I will sum it up to the fact that a few unexpected things arose on multiple fronts, and we were unable to continue in the buying and selling process. It was absolutely heartbreaking. A unique feeling of loss, one that I hadn’t ever felt before. To be honest, I never understood why people would become so upset when a house deal fell through. I didn’t see the big deal, until now. I get it now.

I’m so sad for the sellers, for the buyers, for our amazing realtor, for everyone who we involved in this whole thing. This was absolutely not the outcome we had hoped for, and I feel so much guilt, because I know that it wasn’t just our hopes that were up. We are so grateful for all of them, their involvement and we are SO incredibly sorry this didn’t work out as we had all hoped. It’s hard not to play out the “what-if’s” and there’s certainly a mixture of trying to place blame or decide on reason. I have to remind myself that there is no blame to be placed, there are only circumstances, and that’s just life.

To some, this blog post may seen a little ridiculous, as in, “how could someone be so obnoxiously emotionally invested in a HOUSE?! Four walls, and a roof. There are plenty of them out there.” I get it, but I also know that there are also people reading this who have felt the same way. It’s those people who I wrote this for. When you start to envision a plan, a Pinterest board, a life, a new chapter, and it gets unexpectedly torn out from under you, there is certainly an amount of grieving that takes place. A part of me can’t help but feel guilty for being sad. “I already HAVE a house, food, water, shelter, and I’m complaining and sad because I couldn’t have a “new” house?! There are people out there living in boxes, get over yourself.” I know that there are people in far worse circumstances and situations, who don’t have a home, or have lost their home. I am in no way naive or disregarding of that. I do have a nice house and my needs are more than met, and for that I am extremely thankful…but this whole thing still hurts. And that’s okay. That’s perfectly okay. It doesn’t mean that I am ungrateful, unappreciative or not content. It just means that I’m sad and disappointed that something I was excited and hopeful for didn’t work out. It’s Okay and it’s normal.

So where does this leave us now? Well, we have officially taken our house off of the market. This entire process has taught us SO much, invaluable lessons that have certainly given us fresh eyes on the whole buying and selling thing. I am SO thankful for that. We have decided to stay and love our current home a little longer, and we are focused on continuing to renovate and improve our home. I think it’s safe to say that we are at peace with our decision, and feel that this was the right one. Heartbreak or not. This has certainly been an interesting journey, and sometimes it feels like we were sucked in, chewed up and spit out. But I will say that it has made me come to understand the importance of recognizing and knowing your grounding truths.

This sounds a little Dr. Phil-ish, but what the hell. What I mean by this is that you have to establish a few facts, or mantras that you know are true, and remind yourself of them when those twinges of hurt, guilt or sadness creep in. For me, those were:

1) I am not homeless and I love the home I’m already in, and for that, I am thankful.

2) This was not our time. When it is, it will happen.

3) You are learning and have learned so much from this. Take advantage of that.

The idea of grounding truths can be used in any sort of uncertain or unfavorable situation, but I have found them particularly helpful in our situation. Sort of like a reality check with yourself, reminding yourself of what is true and what you have control over. For fellow control-freaks like myself, this is particularly reassuring.

To be honest, I don’t know if my overlying mantra of “what’s meant to be will be” is just some bullshit that we say to soothe the pain and ease the nerves, but it works. It really does. Mindset is everything. I choose to believe that this was just not our time, and to take advantage of the situation and the lessons learned. It’s okay to grieve and take some time. It’s okay to delete the Zillow app and to avoid HGTV at all costs for a little while. It’s okay to hope that the other house sells to someone else, so you KNOW there’s no way that something might *magically* happen. It’s all perfectly okay. I am STILL so incredibly thankful for our realtor, Philip Page, who guided us through this entire process. I think it’s important to give credit where credit is most certainly due, even when the outcome isn’t exactly ideal. Even when shit was hitting the fan, he was there. And for that, I am so grateful, and can’t recommend him enough.

I don’t know what will eventually happen, we might build, we might buy, we might renovate the whole damn thing. Who knows, but for now, I am excited to pick up where we left off, and continue to take you along our renovation journey of our little white house. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: we’ve come SO far with this little house in under four years, I can’t imagine what it might look like in another four. I’m excited to get back into our groove, and I’m excited that we’ve already started our next big reno – a new front porch. In all honesty, I’m happy and relieved that this chapter is closed. It was rough, but we survived. The most important part of going through tough times is being able to come out on the other side, assess the damage and most of all, LEARN from it.

If you have ever experienced something similar, or felt any kind of grief or guilt over a house deal falling through, please know that you are not alone. You are not selfish or stupid for getting “so upset over four walls.” It hurts, but trust me when I say that it was not your house to begin with. There are far better things ahead. Call it God’s work, divine intervention, fate, chance, whatever you want, but know that some day you’ll look back and understand why it didn’t work out.

As promised, I will continue to take you along our reno-ride, but for now, here’s a little demo-day action for our new front porch 🙂

– Cristina