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On House Hunting and The One

We’ve been dancing around the idea of a larger-to-us home for a while; it’s been a quest for more space, no more wall sharing, a yard for Jack and more room for the home studio as The Pet Shop (and soon-to-be Print Shop) continue to expand and grow. We’ve been marking yearly anniversaries around travel and new cities – all the while wondering, could we live here? We know there are so many more places we haven’t seen and want to visit (our list is long!), and it’s no surprise we fell in love with many of the places we’ve been.

All this travel has been to scheme our next move; we never thought of Chicago as the city we’d settle in – we figured we’d stay put for a handful of years, then move out west, or south, or… – but as Scott said earlier this year, we naturally compared every visited city to this city. As it turned out (and no planning could have seen this coming), Chicago has our heart.

In our eyes, this town has everything the “big” cities have to offer – and it does so with neighborhood charm, too. We have miles of beaches, warm summers, snowy winters, bike lanes, wide open green spaces, bustling streets and the best food! (And shopping!) It’s also a city of small bungalows, two-flats, three-flats, large condominium buildings and most every style of house in-between. And so, this January, we called a highly recommended realtor, right here in Chicago.

Together with her guidance, we did our research on current home prices, neighborhoods and what we could expect within our pre-approved price range. We set up a list of homes to see, set a date to get looking, and excitedly counted down the days to “House Hunting Day.” We walked through each home that day with an open mind, a fresh notebook and our camera.

We looked past the shabby finishes, peeling paint and old carpet. (Yes, even the ones you see here!) And finally, we considered our options within each of those homes, asking ourselves, can this wall come down? Can we finish this basement? Will this work for Jack? Maddie and Libby, too?

Then a crazy thing happened on that first day of hunting. We fell in love with a house.

We were so enthralled with the house, that by the time we walked out the front door, we realized we had no notes! No photos! After seeing a couple of houses before the one (and a few more after), it was as if we had walked into this home and couldn’t believe that it was an option – for us! We had walked from room to room, turning each corner expecting to find a hole in the roof or a flooded basement – none of which existed. Rather, all we could find were positives: It had a yard, a garage!, plenty of space for my studio, and bonus rooms, too – sunny nooks, hidden storage closets and a third bedroom. Sure, it needed a little love (okay, a lot in some areas), but we were willing to give it just that.

The whole home gave us that feeling. You know the one you say you’re supposed to get when you try on the wedding dress? Or when you adopt a pet and know within a second that he is the missing link? It was like that, multiplied by a hundred. A million! So, we put in our offer, and it was accepted. (With only minimal turmoil thrown in for good measure.)

But! As with anything, there’s one catch (ugh, right?): It’s a short sale. Now, we now find ourselves amidst a short sale shuffle, and we’re taking it one step at a time. We’ve since had a home inspection, and next comes bank approval. Then our bank approval. And only then can we celebrate.

The good news is that all parties see this as a best case scenario. Everyone involved is super motivated, and while the dreaded word short sale wasn’t music to our ears, we’re at least lucky enough that time is on our side; because, unfortunately, this process could take months. Or not. We don’t know! As for our current home, we’ll be renting it – a decision based upon the current Chicago market. (And yes, we will miss these walls so, so much.)

Truth be told, the superstitious side of us was hesitant to share all of this at first, but as you can imagine, it seems that the one is the only thing we talk about (over dinner, in the car, while walking Jack). It felt silly (unfair, even) to withhold our news with this incredible, supportive online community – aka, you.

And now? We wait.

Disclaimer! The photos in this post are what we saw on House Hunting Day, taken in several different vacant homes. Once we close the deal on “the one” (fingers crossed!), we’ll share much, much more. Again, superstition.

  • Ainhoa - February 21, 2013 - 6:06 AM

    This is so exciting!! Can’t wait to hear more details as move forward with the process.ReplyCancel

  • Kim @ See Kim Decorate - February 21, 2013 - 6:47 AM

    Congrats!! That’s so exciting. You’re making want to move back to Chicago now…ReplyCancel

  • Helen - February 21, 2013 - 7:02 AM

    Sending positive energy to Chicago that “the one” will be yours!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Rizzo - February 21, 2013 - 7:20 AM

    Congrats on your move and joining us in Chicago!!!! THere’s actually a Chicago bloggers get together on March 16th in Naperville. Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you bought!You’ll make it beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K - February 21, 2013 - 7:37 AM

    So exciting! I bought my house short sale – it was a pain and made the process much longer. But the time allowed me to get things together and prepare myself for the move. It of course was totally worth it – I got “the one” feeling from it too!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - February 21, 2013 - 7:37 AM

    MAJOR congrats!!!! I hope that everything goes smoothly for you two, and I obviously can’t wait to see the new place (and what you do with it!).ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - February 21, 2013 - 7:40 AM

    Ahhh how exciting! I hope the short sale process goes smoothly for you! I can’t wait to see the new place! :)

    ShannonReplyCancel

  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - February 21, 2013 - 8:26 AM

    Wow – how exciting! Just adding my congratulations to all the rest!

    Once moved – maybe I’ll see more of you two at Jubilee Furniture? *smile*ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 21, 2013 - 8:36 AM

    Thank you for all your congrats and well wishes!

    Jennifer, what’s the meet up called?ReplyCancel

  • SamW - February 21, 2013 - 8:58 AM

    I don’t blame you for calling Chicago home — what’s not to love (other than the snow)?! I am super jealous but just as excited that you’ve found “the One”. Can’t wait to see pics.ReplyCancel

  • katie - February 21, 2013 - 9:00 AM

    good luck to you! i know what you mean about “the one”, we had the same feeling when we found our house. only we didn’t find it on the first day, we found it after about 45 house tours… :-)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2013 - 9:05 AM

      SamW, we even love the snow though!

      Katie, we’ll admit to being a little bummed that this happened on the first day. We were so excited to hunt, hunt, hunt! But when you know, you know.ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home - February 21, 2013 - 9:07 AM

    I hesitate to say congratulations (superstitions of my own), so for now I’ll just say, ‘way to go! good luck! rooting for you!’ I know first hand how home buying can be, well, unpredictable. Fingers crossed that yours will be easy breezy beautiful. Better get your black thumbs greened up – you’ll have a yard to look after soon!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - February 21, 2013 - 9:10 AM

    SO EXCITING! good luck!!ReplyCancel

  • Jody - February 21, 2013 - 9:11 AM

    Good luck! My husband and I looked for weeks, and almost put in an offer on a fixer-upper (not a great option with two small humans in the house), and then one morning, walked into this house, toured it, sat down and said, “What should we offer?” Our agent was gobsmacked. It was different than anything else we’d seen, and we both loved it to pieces, and they accepted our offer within 24 hours.

    You really do just know! Great luck to you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2013 - 9:24 AM

      Kati, ha, thank you! Yes, it’s been a strange ride, because we can’t really cheer just yet, but we keep making it through hoops, so… it’s a mix of feelings! About the black thumbs – you’re right. We’re going to have to brush up!

      Jody, we knew within 24 hours about our current home too. Our current home felt like a less stressful hunt, whereas this one is constantly a state of “what now?”ReplyCancel

  • Amy - February 21, 2013 - 9:42 AM

    Congratulations! Crossing my fingers for you while you wait out the short sale process. My husband and I moved into our home in Jefferson Park a year and a half ago (having lived in a small two bed condo prior) and have loved every inch of our new space. Our dog has loved every inch of his new yard.ReplyCancel

  • jackie jade - February 21, 2013 - 9:43 AM

    congrats on finding a home you love! i know short sales are tough, so good luck!!
    jackiejade.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Marti - February 21, 2013 - 9:47 AM

    Very excited about the prospect of home renovation blog posts. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly McK - February 21, 2013 - 10:01 AM

    This is so exciting! I can’t wait to tag along on this journey with you guys :)ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - February 21, 2013 - 10:23 AM

    So exciting! I’m a new reader and fellow Logan Square resident, so I’m hoping you’re staying in the neighborhood. We spent years(!) looking, but bought a foreclosure last spring. Best of luck with the short sale!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - February 21, 2013 - 10:24 AM

    Good luck! Your stomach must be in knots waiting to know, so I hope you’ll know as soon as possible.ReplyCancel

  • Kiira - February 21, 2013 - 11:24 AM

    Ooooh that is so exciting. Just think of all the new projects that house has in store! 3 years and many ‘this old house’ fixes later, I have amassed a basement full of power tools, reject paint colors, tile and wood scraps. It has been difficult, but so much fun. And I know that you’ll document the whole process of turning that house into your home so beautifully.
    But wait….! Will you still be Yellow Brick Home?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2013 - 1:26 PM

      Kiira, haha, yes, we won’t be yellow brick anymore, but we’ll still be YBH virtually at least! :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - February 21, 2013 - 11:44 AM

    Ugh, “short sale” is the biggest misnomer. I’ll keep everything crossed that the process moves quickly!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {ModernMealsforTwo} - February 21, 2013 - 12:38 PM

    I know EXACTLY what you’re going through. We just bought a foreclosed firehouse and didn’t want to to announce it online until we had the keys. We made the offer right after Thanksgiving and finally closed last Thursday. Of course, we couldn’t keep everything under wraps and gabbed about it endlessly in person. It was so nice to finally share with everyone (online friends included)!! You can check it out at http://www.afirepoleinthediningroom.com :)

    I hope things go as smoothly as possible for you! I can’t wait to see pictures of your new space.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2013 - 1:24 PM

      Heather, that is so awesome! I’m excited to see what you do with it! Congrats!

      And thank you everyone! It’s still early in the process (and it’s been a crazy whirlwind), but we hope to keep you all in the loop when we know things, too. That is, while still holding onto our superstition – everything is so uncertain in a short sale.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - February 21, 2013 - 12:57 PM

    This is exciting! I cannot wait to see all of the improvements and renovations you do at your new place. I am new to your blog but read all of your posts in the span of two weeks! Best of luck with the short sale. Patience.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole T. - February 21, 2013 - 9:37 PM

    I’m so excited for you! I’m jumping up and down!!!ReplyCancel

  • Emma - February 22, 2013 - 11:06 AM

    Hootie hoo! I felt the same way about my first home (that I now live in). We saw it on our first day house hunting and nothing compared. And we got it! Our house certainly wasn’t the perfect house for everyone (the 1950s bathrooms and kitchen scared a lot of buyers away) but it was the perfect home for us! Now we’re busy gussying it up (we bought it 2 years ago). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things with this home purchase continue to go well. Buenas Suerte!ReplyCancel

  • kirsten - February 22, 2013 - 11:11 AM

    Eeeeek!!! What an exciting time! Can’t wait to hear more and hope all goes smoothly!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - February 22, 2013 - 11:15 AM

    Good Luck! In November my parents put an offer on a house in Naperville that was a short sale. A month later they were signing the papers at closing. Hopefully your process goes just as fast :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 22, 2013 - 1:48 PM

      Melissa, oh my goodness, that would be AMAZING.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - February 22, 2013 - 3:31 PM

    Funny how “short sales” always seem to take so long! I hope it all works out, and if you don’t get it, that just means the real “One” is still out there waiting for you. :-) Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - February 22, 2013 - 4:12 PM

    So exciting! Crossing my fingers, I know the feeling of ‘the one!’ My husband and I live in Seattle where the market is crazy competitive and put 7 offers on 7 different houses until we finally landed here, in a place that’s absolutely just right for us. Can’t wait to see the new house!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah @OneDogLife - February 22, 2013 - 4:30 PM

    Can’t wait to see what you guys will do with a new place! Anytime I’m driving past Chicago, I’m all “Hi, Yellow Brick Home and Two Pitties in the City and Two Kitties One Pittie!” I think my BF thinks I’m crazy ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 22, 2013 - 6:33 PM

      Thank you, everyone!

      Hannah, that is too cute! Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Mary K - February 23, 2013 - 10:50 AM

    It’s so funny about househunting. Of the two houses we’ve bought, both of them were the houses that I said, “I want to come home to this. This is the one.”ReplyCancel

  • Beth - February 24, 2013 - 8:08 AM

    I had to go through a six-month wait for my own short-sale house of dreams. It had two separate mortgages so required approval from two different banks – everyone in the real estate world told me to keep looking because it would never happen. But it DID and I love my house more every day. My fingers are crossed that your story works out perfectly and we get to see photos of your new home much sooner than expected!ReplyCancel

  • julie - February 24, 2013 - 12:53 PM

    Congrats on taking the house buying plunge! Very exciting. I hope that all goes well with your purchase. But in case you are still looking… galewood is a GREAT chicago neighborhood with easy public transportation and super home prices. Its part of the bungalow belt in the city and right now there are some really nice house for sale cheeper than most of the city.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 24, 2013 - 3:31 PM

      Thank you everyone for keeping our spirits up! This waiting game is no fun – and who knows how long we’ll be doing it!

      Beth, that must have taken some patience. So glad to hear it worked out for you!ReplyCancel

  • Nina - February 25, 2013 - 11:59 PM

    Fingers crossed for you two! What an exciting new adventure this will be. I’m glad you’ve got so many peeps rooting for you! ^.^ReplyCancel

  • Ashley @ Sunnysideshlee.com - February 26, 2013 - 9:53 AM

    Congrats! I can’t wait to see what your new home looks like! I love Chicago and am sad I had to hike it to the burbs but it’s a great city overall! Especially, if you can find a diamond in the rough – or even better, a diamond in a great neighborhood!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - March 1, 2013 - 1:43 PM

    That feeling is so strange isn’t it? I always thought people were exaggerating about THE DRESS or THE GUY but it happened both times to me and then again with THE HOUSE. I could just see us living there. Ours already had an offer on it and that offer fell through so we were able to swoop in. Sometime its just meant to be. I will keep my fingers cross for you that luck also goes your way!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 1, 2013 - 2:24 PM

    Carrie, yes, it is definitely a strange feeling! A great one, too.ReplyCancel

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