This is a story about how we were able to buy our dream home almost three years ago. This was when I first was getting heavily into personal improvement and things were happening very quickly. I wanted to leave this story mostly intact from when I first wrote it to show my mindset at the time.
This month we bought our dream home. The house is over 6,000 square feet, has a half acre lot, a five car garage and is awesome. I never would have thought I would have a house like this so quickly in life (34 years old). Real estate has helped me become very successful and a change in attitude has helped me make tremendous strides in life.
Through this entire process of buying a house and selling our old house, I have been very tired and sore, but relatively stress free. A huge reason I have been stress free is at the beginning of 2013 I really got into personal improvement. I have always thought of myself as a relatively positive person, but I learned that the secret to being ultra-successful is taking your attitude to a new positive level. In the past 6 to 8 months I have read many books, listened to many books on CD and enrolled in a personal coaching program through Jack Canfield coaching. I think the biggest thing I have taken away from all of this is to stop worrying and relax. The positive thinking has taught me that I can get what I want if I really go after it and not to stress about things.
What made us think about moving?
My wife and I had thrown around the idea of building a loft in our old house for months, but had very little success figuring out how to make it work. The home we just moved out of is a ranch home with a basement and has very steep pitched roof. I have been in the attic a few times (after climbing a ladder about 12 feet to the access in our garage), and there is tons of space in the attic. There is space for a 12 x 16 room with 10 foot ceilings and twice that much space with at least 8 foot ceilings. The peak of our attic is at least 16 feet high, and I thought for sure this was a great plan that would make our house awesome. The plan was to finish one big room, and connect it to our vaulted living room so that the loft would overlook the living room below. We would stack stairs on top of our current stairs and add a patio off the loft that would be high enough for a great view of the mountains over our neighbor’s house.
We contacted a contractor, and he was very positive about putting a loft in the attic, but warned us it could cost quite a bit. We were prepared for the cost if it was under $50,000 and decided to have an architect he knew come look at the house. The architect came a couple of weeks later, and he was also positive about our prospects for finishing the attic. He said he needed to talk to a structural engineer and would get back to us. A few weeks passed with no word from anyone and we were getting impatient. We asked our contractor, and he said he finally got a hold of the architect and he said he couldn’t do it, it was too much work. I tried calling the architect to get more details and he never called me back.
We did not give up, I thought it was my destiny to have a loft in this house and I was going to make it happen! I called another contractor and another architect. The contractor told me to buy a new house with a loft because the hassle wasn’t worth it. The architect said he would be happy to look at it and then disappeared. I still did not give up, this time I asked around for a structural engineer who I could talk to about the loft project. I kept hearing the same name pop up so I gave him a call. He sounded pessimistic from the beginning and said he was super busy with work. I gave him a call a couple of weeks later and convinced him to look at our house. He came over, saw the engineered trusses and said he could make it work if he had the original drawings for the house.
The biggest issue from the beginning was the engineered trusses that cross throughout the attic. The engineer said they would all have to be re-built and engineered to make the space needed. The only way he would even consider the project was if I had the building plans. I went on a mission, I tracked down the builder (it was built in 2005) in Wyoming through LinkedIn. The builder responded and said yes he probably had the plans in his storage unit, he would look for them in the next couple of days. I never heard from him, so I asked again with the same response. This went on for months, so I offered him $100 for the plans if he could find them. He never responded and disappeared. I had checked with the city and the company that built the trusses, but neither one kept the plans.
I was starting to doubt that positive thinking and persistence was going to get me this loft. My coach had suggested I try offering the builder $300 for the plans to entice him to dig through his storage unit. I was thinking about it, but had to go to a real estate conference and decided to wait until after the conference to pursue anything else.
A surprise at the conference from my wife
At the conference, I remember sitting down talking to a friend when I received a text from my wife. The text said something like “I found the perfect house!” She sent a link to the house, which seemed very nice, but was much more than we had ever thought about spending. During the last couple of months of trying to make the loft work, we had started to casually look for houses. We had looked at a couple and kept our eyes open, but were not thinking of moving unless we found an awesome deal on an amazing house.
The thing that really caught my eye about this house was it had a five car garage. I have three cars, my wife has one and we have a lot of other junk in our garage as well. I currently keep one car at my sister’s garage and I was seriously thinking about buying a shop or warehouse where I could put my car and all our extra junk (that junk consists of good deals she finds on materials for our fix and flips and rentals). I had a really hard time finding any shop space for rent or for sale, which was in my price range. I even went so far as to mail out 50 letters to every owner in a complex I liked to see if anyone wanted to sell. I got one response, from someone who wanted way too much money on one of the worst units in the complex. The search for a commercial shop space was going about as well as the loft.
What was the house like that my wife sent me at the conference?
Besides having a five car garage, the house has an awesome loft that overlooks the 2 story tall living room. The house has a view of open space, trees, a greenhouse and lake that are all part of a massive estate that recently sold for 3 million dollars (in our area that is a lot of money for any real estate). There are great views of the mountains from the upstairs and the home is on a half-acre lot. It has a finished walkout basement, pond with a waterfall, fenced yard, awesome kitchen, awesome master suite and a lot of space.
When I got back from my conference we saw the home in person and my wife (Jeni) fell in love with it. I liked it, but I was not so sure I liked it enough to pay what they were asking. I did some research on comparable homes, since I had never paid much attention to this price range. I found there were not many comparable homes on the market. This house had more features and fit us better than any similarly priced home or even more expensive homes.
As a Realtor and house lover, I like to look at large homes. In my experience, builders ten to chop up the floor plan, add useless features and ruin the floor plans of large homes. This house was not like that at all, it had a large living room open to the kitchen and breakfast nook. The builder had actually used the space to make larger functional rooms that I would actually use! The more I thought about it, the more I liked this house, especially since the comparable houses did not have 5 car garages, did not have a lake view, and did not have anywhere close to as nice of a floor plan.
How much did we offer on the house?
We decided to make an offer on the home after I came to the realization that a house like this does not come on the market often, and I may never find one that fits us this well. I wrote an article on my blog about how much people can really afford to spend on a house and came to find out we could afford this house. I calculated this home cost close to a million dollars to build with all the high-tech features. The asking price was $600,000 and we offered $520,000 with the sellers paying $5,000 in closing costs. Along with the offer, my wife wrote the sellers a letter, explaining how the house was perfect for us. How the loft would allow her to sew, while she watched our twins play and added many other sweet things in the letter.
We received a response the next day that they had received another offer on the home. The Realtor said our offer was much lower than the other offer, but the sellers loved Jeni’s letter and they were thinking it over. I decided I did not want to miss out on this house, we decided to raise our offer significantly. We raised our offer to $555,000 and I waved my commission, basically making our offer $571,650, with the sellers paying $5,000 in closing costs. The home also has a theater room and two laundry rooms, so we asked for all the theater equipment, seating and one washer and dryer to be included with our offer.
We patiently waited, hoping that our offer was good enough, even though it was still below asking price. The sellers had just bought the home 6 months earlier, but had to move because they have a special needs child who did not do well in the local school system. They had bought the home for $560,000, and we thought our offer was pretty fair based on their purchase price. A day later I received a call from the listing agent, and he told me they will accept $555,000 without the inclusions or $560,000 with the inclusions. I told them we will do it for $560,000 with the inclusions and we had a deal!
We set our closing out 7 weeks because the sellers were going to be out-of-town and we had to figure out how we were going to make all this work. Our current house was not near show condition and I had not even thought about selling it yet. Luckily we were able to buy the new house without selling the current house, but I didn’t want to pay two mortgage any longer than I had too.
Inspection, appraisal, and closing on the new house
Everything with the new house went fairly smooth. We did our inspection and found many minor problems, but nothing huge. We only asked for a window seal to be fixed which, was about two hundred dollars. The appraisal came in at $575,000, which was a surprise since appraisers rarely come in higher than contract price. My lender said we were all set and we just had to wait for closing. I ended up doing a 7 year ARM with my portfolio lender at 3.375 percent.
How buying this house relates to positive thinking
I don’t think there is any way I would have bought this house without my attitude change. I would have never considered this house before thinking it was too much money. With my new positive attitude came the idea to do as many exciting things as possible in my life. Buying this house is definitely exciting and makes me even more positive and happy thinking about it.
The weirdest thing about the entire situation is one of my tasks for my coaching program. I was asked to write a story that explained how my ideal life would be in ten years. I was to be as detailed as possible and include information on my family, house, cars, job, income and what I do in my free time and for work (if anything). I wrote out a story that described my life and I described the house I wanted to live in. Here is how I described my ideal house in ten years.
“Jeni and I have moved from our current house, we loved it especially after the loft was built, but decided to build our dream house. The house is still in town, but has a .5 acre lot. Our house has 6,000 square feet with a walk out basement, loft, fantastic master suite and a huge kitchen. The great part about the property is the massive 15 car garage/shop.”
I recorded my ten-year dream story and listened to it at least once a day for a month or two. I had stopped listening to that story right before we made the offer on the house since I had made many other recordings that I listened to instead. I have recordings for my goals, affirmations and one year dream story. I happened to listen to my ten-year dream story a few weeks after we had the house under contract and could not believe how similar the house we had under contract was to my description. The only real difference was the 15 car shop, but a 5 car garage is pretty rare around here and there is room on the lot to build a shop.
The kitchen and master suite are definitely fantastic in this house. The master bedroom is 19 x 19, has an infinity overflow tub with the faucet coming out of the ceiling and LED lights in the tub. The master closet is 10 x 12 with an island and attached laundry room. The shower is huge with four shower heads.
The kitchen is 19 x 19 with slab granite, copper hood, gas range, three dishwashers, double oven, two beverage coolers, side by side built-in fridge with four drawer freezers, 7 x 6 island and a 12 foot long breakfast bar.
The theater room is another fantastic feature. It has six electronic theater seats, a Polk audio sound system, projector, black walls with movie theater curtains and tiered seats.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
A lot of the books and CD’s I listen to have a common point. You have to continually tell your subconscious what you want and your subconscious will do its best to deliver it to you. Recording my dream story, affirmations and goals is all supposed to help my subconscious understand what I want and it seems to be working!
The less you worry about things, the less stress you will have
The most important thing I have gotten out of my coaching is letting go of stress and worry. One of the big ones for me was constantly worrying and thinking about my business and money. When I became successful, I started to thinking to myself don’t screw this up. I constantly worried about losing business or what would happen if I lost a source of income and worried about how much we spent on everything.
I have learned this is a really horrible way to think. For one thing, your subconscious hears all these negative thoughts and worries towards money. That naturally makes your subconscious think you want to lose your money since your subconscious can’t tell the difference between a negative and a positive. That is why being positive all the time is so important. If your happy and positive then your subconscious does its best to keep you that way. At the same time when you think about things you like and make you happy, your subconscious tries to help you get those things. If you think about things you don’t like and don’t want, your subconscious also tries to help you get those things as well.
My coaching helped me realize worrying about money will not do me any good. In fact worrying about anything will not do me any good. I can’t change the past and I can’t predict the future. All I can do is try my best in life and have faith things will work out. Most of our fear and worry is based on future events that our mind has convinced us will happen. Usually those events never happen and all the worrying did nothing but cause us stress. It may seem hard to believe, but this new philosophy has almost eliminated worry and stress in my life. Throughout this entire house buying process, I knew things would work out for the best and I think they have.
But did I put myself in a bad financial position thinking this way?
Because I have a lot of equity in my old house, we are breaking even with the down payment for the new house and the proceeds from the old house. If we would have been able to make the loft work in the old house, it would have cost us more money than buying a new house. If we would have bought a commercial shop, it would have cost us more money than buying a new house. By buying a new house, we were able to solve the loft issue, the shop issue and we got an amazing new house. Those may all be coincidences, but what makes it even more unlikely is how the sale of our house worked out. My good friend bought it, who is moving from out of town to work with me. I did not have to market my old house, make any repairs and it closed right away!
While we did buy a much more expensive home that has a higher house payment, I believe it was a good financial decision.
- We put less cash into the home than we would have building a loft or buying a shop.
- If we had built a loft, we would not have recouped the investment when we sold the house.
- Having a five car garage allowed me to set and achieve the goal of buying a Lamborghini.
- I realized I could afford the new payment when I ran the numbers and still have plenty of money to invest.
- We are on a street that is safer for our kids.
- We got a great deal on the home.
I do not think the dream story and making a goal to buy this house magically made it appear. However, it put the idea in my head and subconscious. I did not even find the house, my wife did! She happened to find it because she took a wrong turn on a new road that happened to go right past this home. After living in the home for three years, it has made us all very happy and had been a great decision. The home has increased in value which allowed me to take out a line of credit for more investing.