We never thought we’d be blessed to move back to Southern California after we left in August of 2012. It was such a longshot, but God sorted out all the details and here we are, back in the land we love.
The last time we lived here, we knew it was only temporary, so we became long time renters. Renting is fine if you know your stay will be short, but this time around we’re hoping to put down roots for our kids.
Let me tell you, buying in Southern California proved to be a difficult task. One issue is price. Prices are INSANE! Last summer between June and July, the average price in Orange County went up about 25% +/-. We jumped in the real estate search in January of this year and prices were continuing to climb. We saw list prices blown away by offers that were 40K to 100K OVER list price! That is not even humorous, but there comes a time when you have to laugh or you’d cry!
In the town we desired, there’s also an issue with supply. Too many people looking, and not enough inventory. Just about every time we went to look at a house we were joined by a crowd of fellow lookers. It’s pretty intimidating! Knowing your fellow looker may have a huge pocketful of cash to throw around is discouraging.
Another issue is Flips. If you’ve watched any of the home channels, you know what I’m talking about. People, mainly Realtors and investors, buy houses cheap, and then cheaply remodel and jack the price up 100K-150K! We looked at a number of these. I would hear, “The kitchen has been remodeled.” Yeah, remodeled grossly! We’d have to tear it up and redo to suit our desires. Did I mention it was discouraging?
So we prayed. And made offers. And prayed. And made offers… about 6 offers before we finally found a home.
All the while we were making offers, I had a Facebook friend messaging me to look in her neighborhood. Honestly, I didn’t look there because it didn’t have the zip code we wanted. I know that sounds shallow, but we had our hearts set on a town we love! This neighborhood was 1 mile OUT of our town. Stubbornly, I didn’t WANT to look there! I wanted what I wanted and wasn’t going to budge. That is, until we lost out on the 5th or 6th house. I caved. I called our Realtor and told her I was just going to drive around.
She met us and we started seriously considering this neighborhood. It was Charming. The houses were quaint, but well-built. Surprisingly, the yards were spacious and well-maintained. We found a little house to look at. It was about 100K less than what we were looking at a mile away. It hadn’t been remodeled. It was a blank canvas awaiting our creativity. It had ONE owner! My Papa used to tell me to make sure a house has GOOD BONES before buying and this one had GOOD BONES!
We made an offer and it was quickly accepted.
The owner grew up in this house. She was darling and so kind!
Everything was falling into place.
The backyard boasts of mature fruit trees. We will enjoy homegrown oranges, lemons, nectarines, peaches and avocados.
We closed on the house in May. Demolition and remodeling began soon thereafter.
Here are some of the BEFORE photos:
The house has what looks like a storage shed that is actually an outdoor room. We’re going to work on it and make it a great hang out for the kids.
Since closing, we’ve met the neighbors who have been so welcoming and friendly! One next door neighbor has been there 42 years and the other 25+. Guess they like it! We’ve never had so many offers for help. We’re really feeling like God set this location aside for us.
We’re feeling so blessed to have this opportunity!