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.