Moving On: The Unexpected


My house has been on the market about six weeks. Up until last weekend, I’d had a lot of showings and two offers (which I know is fantastic for such a short time), but nothing had panned out. Meanwhile, the Midtown rental environment was consistently bleak for my preferences and price range. Anything good I saw got snatched up immediately. I’d toured one apartment that could work, but I wasn’t over the moon about it. A week ago, on my daily check of all the housing websites, I felt so bummed I decided to browse the properties for purchase. Maybe I’d find something that someone was willing to rent out to a responsible tenant.

The first property that caught my eye was a two-story townhouse that looked vaguely familiar. As I scrolled through the pictures, all I could think was, This is perfect. Everything was exactly my style, and the complex was completely remodeled a few years ago. No impending large-appliance breakdowns. No garage door to collapse (yes, this happened to me). No worries about the roof. No decor disasters needing immediate attention. There was a patio and a balcony (I’ve wanted a balcony all my life). But the sticker price was a lot higher than my current home. Sighing, I forwarded the link to two friends, adding, “Check out this amazing place I can’t afford!” Then I ran the mortgage calculator on the website, and to my amazement, the theoretical monthly payment would actually be less than many of the so-so rentals I’d seen. (The value of low interest rates: something you don’t know if you bought your first and only home in 2006.) From day one, I’d been dead set against buying again anytime soon. I wanted flexibility and a break from the whole homeowner thing. But none of my current homeowner concerns applied to this townhouse, and it’s in a neighborhood that’s only going to increase in value. If everything was as it seemed, I decided I’d be stupid not to do it. So I asked Lexie, my Realtor, if we could see it on Saturday.

I was supposed to look at another apartment on Saturday morning, but ended up running out of time before meeting friends in the area for brunch. I decided to do a drive-by of the townhouse on my way over. It’s in a historic district, on a street I’d never driven down before that was designed to be one of the loveliest in Memphis. The street is lined with spectacular homes and huge trees that are just beginning to flower, and ends in an actual cathedral (which, incidentally, has a lot of personal significance for one of my best friends). I was crying before I even saw the townhouse. Just the possibility of living in such a beautiful, perfectly located place was emotionally overwhelming. Then I looked at my phone and saw a text from Lexie: We are going to get a cash offer from a retired single lady. She wants to know how quickly you can move. I got chills. I knew in that moment that this was probably happening.

After brunch, I met her to tour the townhouse. It lived up to all my expectations. The next afternoon, we came back with my parents (my dad, who’s been displeased by this whole venture, did an immediate 180 at the words “mortgage” and “gated community”). 48 hours later, I signed papers accepting the cash offer on my house and purchasing the townhouse. It happened that fast. I don’t recommend changing your long-term plans and making multiple huuuuuge decisions and financial commitments within such a short time. Doing this alone has been an intense battle, I’ve melted down several times, and my sister’s multiple daily calls to say I’m doing a good job have kept me afloat. But though I’ve had some terrified moments, I really believe this is what I’m meant to do. The timing and other signs are too obvious to ignore.

I had low expectations of my new life, housing-wise. I figured I might have to live somewhere a little dumpy, with some inconveniences, and I wasn’t thrilled about being beholden to a landlord again. But that seemed like a small price to pay for the change I desperately need. I never thought I’d get to own a place that’s perfect for me, with all the creature comforts I’m accustomed to, exactly where I want to be, exactly when I wanted to be there. I almost feel guilty about it. I feel spoiled. It’s too good.

My friend Myla was one of the first people I told what was going on, and she said, “This is good because it’s proof you can still be surprised by your life.” I love that. I’ve been plenty surprised by my life before, but the overwhelming majority have been tricks, not treats. I’ve been telling God a lot lately how much I need Him to come through for me in some way, that I need to change my life and I can’t do it without Him, but I’m so worn down I honestly had no expectations that He would. When my parents got so excited about this possibility, I dreaded having to deal with their crushed hopes on top of my own. The evidence of years has led me to believe that, for whatever big-picture divine reason, I’m marked for disappointment. I’ve felt like Charlie Brown, running up to the football over and over on the faint hope that maybe this time Lucy won’t pull it away. Well, it looks like I’ve been allowed a kick at last, and it feels like a field goal that could change the course of the whole game.

And: remember how I said the townhouse seemed familiar to me? Lexie figured out why. A month or two ago, the current owner posted it on his Facebook, and a friend saw it and tagged me because she knew I was hunting. I told her thanks, but I wasn’t interested in buying and it was way out of my price range anyway. And now here we are. Life is funny. More to come.

PS: In addition to going through the house-selling and moving process, I’m in the midst of a crazy time and big transition at work. This (plus my Memphis Type History gig) has left me few brain cells with which to tend to this blog, and for the sake of my health, I’m choosing not to force it. Thanks for sticking with me while I take a little break. I WILL be back full force eventually.

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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10 Responses to Moving On: The Unexpected

  1. alexandriash says:

    I am so excited for you! *HUG*

  2. Sarah says:

    I am so, SO happy for you! I know those townhomes pretty well (recognized them from the photo you posted on IG or the Twitter), and that is THE BEST neighborhood!

  3. Carol says:

    Ha, that’s funny that your friend showed you the a couple months ago!

  4. Jamie Wright Bagley says:

    This is wonderful. I’m so happy for you. I love that you are being surprised by life, in the best way! Just beautiful.

  5. congratulations!!! I am so happy for you!!!

  6. Congratulations on the buying AND the selling! It’s amazing when things come together like that. A great reminder that God knows what we need and is willing to give it to us.

  7. Pingback: What I’m Into: March | Don't Stop Believing

  8. Liz W. says:

    I’m so happy for you! Your new place sounds lovely. I find it so reassuring when I hear “change can be good” stories. It makes me want to run out and buy a yacht. (Not really, but it does motivate me.) Thank you for sharing!

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