THE WAITING GAME

I mentioned that last week Will and I had an offer accepted on a house we absolutely loved. We had seen it for the first time on Thursday, got our ducks in a row and put in an offer on Friday, held our breath all weekend, and got the call on Monday morning that our offer had been accepted! It all happened so quickly and yet it felt like the culmination of years of saving, renting, waiting for the right place to come along and for us to be in the right place to make a go at it.

*original post

And then Monday night, we got a call saying a significantly higher offer had come in that same afternoon and we instantly knew it was over as quickly as it had begun. We were already at the top of our price range and knew we couldn’t afford to get in a bidding war, no matter how perfect the house was and how ideal the timing would have been with our first baby on the way. Of course we got the disappointing news while Will was traveling for work and I was solo at home (why does sh*t always hit the fan when he’s out of town?!). My parents offered to come over, but I knew I needed some time alone to just let it sink in and let myself feel sad for a night. I cried a lot that night and wound up sleeping from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. I kept crying for a good part of the next day too, if I’m being honest. I kept thinking I wish we’d never seen that house so we wouldn’t know just how much we had lost.

I’ve been wrapping my head around going back to square one for the past ten days or so and trying to convince myself there’s a silver lining in here somewhere, but the truth is right now we’re just pretty bummed. We’ve been hoping to move back to my hometown and there just isn’t a ton of inventory in our price range, so it feels like the house we’re waiting for might not even be on the market yet. It’s hard to hope for something that may not exist! I’ve spent way too much time refreshing Zillow or trying to imagine how we could make this or that less-than-ideal floor plan work, but the fact of the matter is right now there’s not much we can do besides wait and hold out hope that the right place will come along, even if it doesn’t quite stack up to the house we lost or even if it doesn’t happen until after we welcome our first baby in a little over five months. 

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt anxious and impatient on the precipice of major life change. Between counting down the days until the end of my first trimester hoping for the nausea to pass and anxiously awaiting the appearance of a new house we can see ourselves in, it’s been a lot of hurry-up-and-wait over here. I went back and read this post I wrote in 2016 a month before we found out we’d be moving from Dallas back to Connecticut and felt like I could have written it yesterday (which doesn’t do much to convince me I’ve grown into a more patient person these last two and a half years!).

I can’t promise I’ll give up my real estate stalking, but I am going to try to remind myself to stop racing ahead to the next milestone and try to enjoy where I am, nausea and all. I’m trying to remind myself of all the little things I have to look forward to: baby’s first kicks (could be any day now!), sharing the baby’s sex next week, get-togethers with family and friends. If you too find yourself stuck in a waiting game, I hope this will be a timely reminder to savor the present and an excuse to give yourself a little something to get excited about while you wait for the big things to fall into place. Onward and upward!

102 thoughts on “THE WAITING GAME

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  1. It will happen! I remember going into a home I wanted so bad I was shaking. When we didn’t get it, I was devastated. Real estate can be a painful, frustrating process but I truly believe you will end up where you need to be. Now, we are in our DREAM home and I know that we would have never got here if we hadn’t lost that first house. Stay positive and congrats on your future son!

  2. My husband and I have been on a similar journey these past few months in the Chicago area. We made an offer on the perfect house but we got beat out by an all cash offer. After WEEKS of Zillow/MLS stalking I noticed a house that was previously contingent came back on the market. We saw it that same day and made an offer and we close next week! Tenacity pays off, with a little luck. I’m a firm believe that things happen for a reason, the right for you and your family will come around soon!

  3. A similar thing happened to me when I bought my first house. We were negotiating back and forth for a house that I ended up feeling we were “settling” on. My mom kept pointing out contingent houses in our price range that were much nicer (more for your money). Sure enough (while my fiancé was out of town) one of those contingent houses came back on the market due to financing falling through on the previous offer. I visited it that day, made an offer (on my own!), wrote a letter to the seller (she was a retired teacher) and it was accepted! She loved the personal touch I added since they were about to close when the previous offer fell apart. Long story short- we are now in a house that was exactly what we wanted and it was so worth the wait! Timing is everything and the right one will come along- keep refreshing, you never know when a house will come back on the market!

  4. Mackenzie, we JUST went through something similar. Thought we found our perfect home, put in an offer above asking, then had it accepted, only to have the seller change their minds. Long story short, that deal fell through and the house is ours. I truly believe that if it’s meant to be, it’ll be, one way or the other!! Wishing you peace as you wait things out…it’ll all work out in the end! Sending happy real estate thoughts your way

    -Claire

  5. We lost multiple “dream” houses when we were on the hunt three + years ago.
    Now whenever I drive past the other houses it makes me so happy that they didn’t work out because our home is our real dream home! Just stay positive!!!

    Ps I was 7 months pregnant when we closed on our house, babies bring good luck! 🍀

  6. I cried more after I was pregnant and nursing then I ever had in my life. Having a baby made me a more sensitive person. I remember one time going to a work event and this personal shopper came out and said she worked for Macy’s and that her service was free. I started bawling in front of all my colleagues. Lol. I remember being so touched that someone would shop for me that it brought me to tears! Hang in there! The right house will find you at the right moment.

  7. I really needed to read this today, thank you. Our son is three and a half, and we are getting ready to make our fourth move in four years. We moved back to our hometown last July and sadly we find ourselves struggling to be happy there. So I find myself looking toward the future all the time too in anticipation of another move in June. But it’s important to remember that life is happening now even if new houses, babies, jobs, preschools, and cities loom. There will always be a next thing.

  8. Don’t stress, you are in the vest position you could possibly be in. You are living in a beautiful rental and have a blessing on the way. You have 5-6 years to worry about elementary school and you will have your first home established way before that.

  9. We lost out on two homes before finally having an offer accepted, so I know how stressful and upsetting it can be! Though I now can’t imagine being anywhere else and know where we ended up works far better for us than the other two ever could have – the waiting game is the worst, but I’m sure you two (or three!!) will experience the same, and it will all be worth the wait.

  10. Pretty much the same thing happened to my boyfriend and I today (except I’m not pregnant — congratulations!) Reading this has helped a lot, thank you. House searches can be so discouraging, especially in this market in the northeast. I hope you find what is best for you and your family!

  11. I too was pregnant when we lost the first house we bid on-
    Really turned out for the best. Ironically, I became friends with the gal
    who bought our “what I thought was our dream house”- They had water
    issues in the basement. Had to get a new roof. Seller’s realtor was not up front
    with structural issues etc. You will find your perfect house-
    Our son just bought a home in downtown Chicago- There were 11 offers. He wrote
    a letter and we think that cinched the deal. It has a huge yard/garden. He told them his
    plans for keeping up their spectacular backyard.

  12. This really hit home! I’m a single 31 year old who moved back to my parents house to save for a house and right now I’m just waiting to find the right one! Trying to have faith that everything will work out as it is supposed to.

  13. Mackenzie-
    Dont give up hope! My hisband and i looked for 3 years, put in offers on 3 homes and finally landed our dream “fixer upper” last year. Its all worth the wait. Just have faith in the process, it can be frustrating. Best of luck with house hunting and your little one on the way!

    Best,

    Ashley

  14. I think you and I may be only a week or two apart?!? I feel so under-prepared…EEK. I know how taking medication can feel like a bad thing sometimes (I take anxiety and depression meds, and Tylenol about twice a week for severe headaches) but the biggest thing to remember is the ramifications of medication is WAY less that the stress you’d be putting on body & baby otherwise.

    I know what you mean about working from home. I had a random temporary promotion at work and was able to work from home for the first trimester when I was so fatigued I had to take a 1-2 hour nap EVERY DAY. I’m back to working from the office all the time and don’t have the flexibility, but lordy I was lucky for that first chunk. I’d love to talk more, though I’m sure you have plenty of people in your corner 🙂

  15. Try to believe that things do happen for a reason and timing is everything! We too, were in the same situation 20 years ago…..in the end we found the most perfect house in Darien and lived there for 14 wonderful years, with the best neighbors one could ever dream of. Your perfect house will appear but the waiting game is torturous. Good Luck!

  16. We have been in the exact same position. I just kept telling myself that the people living in our house hadn’t decided to move yet. Now we’ll be closing on our home next week. Keep your chip up girlfriend. It’ll happen for you too 🙂

  17. Oh, man. I know that they say an even better option will reveal itself, but it stings when you’re going through it! What a bummer. Hoping the perfect house falls right into your lap.

  18. Mackenzie! First off, I’m sorry that happened to you. Sounds very emotionally jarring and difficult.

    Also, on a practical note, my sister-in-law who has a beautiful house which they built before having kids claims that, after having kids, they really see things differently and would have made some changes. So *maybe* if you don’t find a house before baby (obviously I’d like you to if that’s what you want), there’s a little silver lining.

    On a less practical but more woo-woo note (my favorite kind), I have been practicing the affirmation, “Perfect timing is at work for me.” for about a year now. This affirmation really helped me cultivate any semblance of patience. 🙂 I say it to myself frequently, especially when I feel like I’m “behind” or I “missed the boat” or whatever.

    And the crazy thing is I’ve experienced more and more instances of just-right-timing in my life. So I now believe it! (I know it might sound insane.) But, regardless, I believe that perfect timing is at work for you too. 🙂 xo.

  19. I feel the emotional toll of living in the in-betweens! As a high school senior who received only rejections from her first round of applications, I know the pure let down of a promise falling through. Now, I am facing a new unknown of life on my own for the first time —10 hours from home. Best of luck to you both on this journey! I know it’s hard to believe when you’re in the thick of it, but everything really does work out just how it’s supposed to in the end.
    ❤️Annabelle

  20. I’ll often joke that “patience is a virtue, just not mine” and consider Veruca Salt to be my spirit animal and you know what, that’s okay. It’s okay to feel impatient, hurry up and wait HAS to be considered a form of torture because your heart and mind are in two different places at the same time and it just makes you feel unsettled. I can only imagine that feeling is heightened when you are expecting and are thinking about nursery decor and raising your little one.

  21. I am about 20 months away from a major life change and I don’t quite know what exactly that’ll look like yet. It’s far enough away that I know I have time but having any sort of deadline is (for me at least!) stressful and anxiety filed. Your post was a good reminder to savor the present — unknowns and all — because I already know I’m going to really, really miss the season of life I’m in now. Congratulations on the impending arrival, and all the life changes. Scary but exciting has become my motto!

  22. Prices in the NYC suburbs are on a down swing. Hang in there and you might even find something better than the house you just lost!
    You could also try our strategy- find the house you really want even if it’s out of your price range and throw out a low ball offer. Can’t hurt to try! We did this in Manhattan and while our offer was initially rejected, 3 months later after the apt sat on the market with no other offers, the seller called us back and accepted! So you never know what could happen or how motivated the sellers are. You’ll find something!

  23. Oh girl, I feel you. My husband and I had this same exact situation happen…THREE times. And each time I got the call, he was also traveling for work. It was a brutal, almost year long experience, but we finally found our dream loft (after 12 other offers on increasingly crappy places). We didn’t end up exactly where we thought we would but it’s turned out 9,000 times better than we could have imagined. And now, 1 year later, we’re starting a renovation to build out my dream kitchen. It’s something we could never have afforded with the dozen other apartments. Long story short, let yourself wallow. Go get a pedicure. Get a massage. This process sucks. HGTV lies. But the end product is so so so worth it. Promise xx

  24. Been there. It will work out. Easier said than done, I know. I was devastated when we were outbid only to later realize (especially after having a baby) that the floor plan and necessary renovations wouldn’t have worked out as well as I thought it would at the time. We ended up finding a move in ready house that is perfect for our family. Keep the faith!

  25. So sorry to hear this happened! I too am trying to believe everything happens at the exact right time it is supposed to… But that is so much easier said than done!!

    In regards to the waiting game, my now fiance proposed 2 weeks ago and we are looking at a 2 year engagement because of several reasons but mostly because we are trying to plan it in Charleston and that is a destination for our families as well as being extremely competitive. Was it worth the wait to be less stressed and have your dream wedding, I know you had a longer engagement? 2 years just seems like forever…but everything happens when it is supposed to right?! 😉

    1. Hi Maddie! That’s exactly why we waited to get married on Nantucket — we could have whipped it together in nine months if we gave up on our ideal venues and vendors but I’m SO glad we waited 21 months to have it exactly the way we envisioned it. I was ready to just be married by those last couple months but I was so much less stressed in the planning process than I would have been had we rushed it! Your day will be perfect no matter when it happens. Sending you positive vibes as you start the process!

  26. Thank you for this! We’re at the end of our 5 year plan (expecting our first baby in June) and I find myself more than ready to tackle the next 5 years. Which includes moving to CT (either the Greenwich area or Darien). I stalk and stalk Zillow even though we’re not even actively looking or ready to move and find myself so bummed out about what’s on the market in our price range (a whole lot of nothing).

    I’ve been listening to a lot of self-help talkers though about this and it’s really helped. They say you have to appreciate what you have to get what you want. And to trust the timing of life/God/the universe. I imagine that my next home is out there, being lived in and they’re talking about selling it in a year or two. When it will be ready to be mine. That’s what I’m holding onto right now. And it feels pretty good.

  27. My husband and I were on the market in Boston for five years. Last Christmas–I was so tired of waiting and thought we had found the perfect condo. We had the offer ready to go and when I brought the paperwork to our realtor she said “I don’t think this is the one for you.” I had to agree with her and my husband–but I really doubted the wisdom. my husband and I watched all of Game of Thrones while we got out of the very real funk we were in. We were convinced we would never find anything, Now–we laugh about it–but it really impacted us.

    And now I write from our HOUSE! When I pulled out our list of needs and wants–this house had everything on our wants list that we didn’t think we could get.

    IT SUCKED so much waiting. I would check real estate listings every morning when I woke up. I cried cried cried. But now that we are home–truly home–we feel so glad.

    Certain the same thing will happen for you and Will. But the waiting is FOR REAL

  28. The house hunting and offering game is so hard. Everyone will tell you “the right one will come along” and “when it’s meant to be it will happen”….encouraging, but not helpful! I understand what you’re going through – I went through hell with this process less than a year ago – it’s awful, stressful, frustrating, often depressing…and I can’t imagine what it’s like going through this while pregnant. But what I can tell you is that now not a day goes by that I don’t remember how long and hard the process was, and how much I appreciate and love our house. I think about how grateful I am to be settled in our house on a daily basis. I think the process humbled me and made me appreciate our house even more. You will get through it, and you won’t ever forget how hard it was to get there! As they say – nothing worth having ever came easy. Congratulations and wishing you the best of luck!

  29. I relate to this. I feel like I’m the type that once I achieve something or something gets checked off the list (like buying a house!) I’m guilty of immediately looking toward the next thing. I know for me it doesn’t always help to read “someone is praying to be where you are right now” but it’s true. We bought the dream house in the cool neighborhood…and then earlier this month I miscarried our first baby, which was due in october. Waiting to get my cycle back and try again is so hard. And while you’d kill for the house situation to line up (and I’m not judging-I was this person, years and all when we got outbid) I’d kill to have morning/all day sickness right now. It’s all perspective and it’s so hard to get your mind out of your own thoughts but everything has a season and you will look back and, if not laugh, at least smile at where you ended up.

  30. House hunting and being pregnant are two really emotional things. And I know it’s difficult to think about when you are really in the midst of it all, but I really think things have their own timing and work out for reasons unknown to us. And sometimes it takes years before we can look back and really say, such and such thing wasn’t supposed to happen! And instead, it allowed something else (wonderful) to happen! I am sending you lots of love, I know it’s hard to be disappointed!, and also a huge congratulations!

  31. Ugh, buying a house is the most trying thing!

    There’s so much emotion involved and you really have to work to move past it/really think about what you are doing, not just act on that emotion. I’ve been looking for 2 years with so many offers accepted verbally and outbid before the signatures happened, offers rejected, etc… With the first house I fell in love with I put an offer for asking price in while I was still inside the house checking out the property, signing the documents with my agent on our phones. While I was doing this the next appointment showed up, hadn’t even toured the house (they couldn’t enter because we were there) and massively out bid me by doing the same thing from the driveway with an all cash offer beyond asking price before they even went inside! It’s a pretty devastating experience. However, you never know what might come along! Recently my Dad offered to help me out. He’s built a couple of houses just for fun and he said if I could be patient just a year or so longer ( I certainly don’t mind waiting) he would build a house for me instead! It’s a massively generous offer and I’ve switched from house hunting to land searching! I couldn’t be more grateful!

    It just goes to show you never know what’s in store, there will always be a surprise or two along the way. So many times I felt heartbroken and frustrated/ready to give up. Big changes and the unknown is very daunting but stay positive because something great will come your way!

    Also, congratulations on your pregnancy, I can’t wait to keep following along! Thanks for all the sharing you do, it helps to keep my perspective that I’m not the only one in this boat!

  32. M, I feel you. My husband and I spent 10 months looking in Denver last year before we finally closed on a house. My realtor has over 30 years experience, and had never been through what he went through with us!

    We had 4 offers get outbid even after offering thousands over asking and including escalation clauses. After that we took a few months break, and started again in October (search began in March). We immediately went under contract with a house, but the inspection revealed structural problems so severe they weren’t reversible. Then, we found another house and went under contract. This time, the inspection revealed black mold which the owner wouldn’t fix properly so we pulled out AGAIN.

    Finally, in November we found a house that cleared the inspection and we closed in January. Thankfully, the market had cooled significantly in the fall so we weren’t competing at that time, but it sure was a ride! At the time, I thought we would never find something, but eventually it worked out and I’m so happy we didn’t get any of those 90+ (yes, seriously) houses we toured throughout the year.

    The house you offered on I’m sure was amazing, but the one you will actually get will be even better, I promise.

  33. I hope everything works out for you! My husband and I also house-hunted while I was pregnant. The same thing happened to us. I’m already an idealist, so the emotional whiplash was even worse because I was trying to make everything perfect for our first child. I’m now a year into motherhood. The things I care about now are nothing like the things I cared about while I was pregnant and desperately trying to achieve the perfect home. Everything will work out great because your baby will make your life profoundly, poetically meaningful no matter what happens. I wish for you that your pregnancy is full of sleeping late and book-reading and TV binge-watching, because *that* is what I should have focused on more when I had the chance!

  34. Mackenzie, I know just what you’re going through! My husband and I spent the whole of last year searching for a home in the San Francisco Bay Area (one of the priciest locations in the country). We would put in offers $100,000 OVER the asking price only to be significantly outbid. We absolutely fell in LOVE with a home in June and when we got the news we had been outbid yet again, it was devastating. We felt like we had worked so hard and nothing was paying off. We were in Austria when we found out and took ourselves to a fancy dinner to cheer up, haha. It might sound dramatic and bring up “first world problem” vibes, but I think those feeling are valid when you’ve spent time saving and researching. We went into panic mode in October when we found out we were expecting our first. We finally closed on a home at the very end of November, but by that time we had put in more than 10 offers. It was a stressful experience, but after losing out on our “dream” home, I realized that any home would be a dream. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford a home, and the process proved once again what a great team my husband and I make. Our little boy is arriving in June and we’re now busy getting a nursery ready. Keep the faith that you will find a lovely home where you can welcome your little one. It takes time, A LOT of patience, and of course, persistence. I look forward to reading about the house when you find it!

  35. House hunting is a roller coaster of emotions…I can’t imagine doing it while pregnant as well! I don’t have any advice besides keep on keepin on….you’ll soon find a house that will make you forget this one even existed.

  36. I know it is easier said than done when going through it, but try to remember your blessings. You have a loving husband and a growing little family. I am a few years older than you and would KILL to be in your shoes.

  37. Your house is definitely out there! I went through the same thing- the spring housing market is not for the faint of heart. (Usually people trying to get their kids in to start school!) We were in the process of relocating when the deal fell through and I remember feeling hopeless, like we would NEVER find the right house. We reluctantly lived in a janky apartment for four months while we casually house hunted. It was then, in September, when we found an amazing home in the neighborhood we loved. My husband kept an eye on it and the second it dropped in price, it was ours. I am forever grateful the first house fell through. I hope you have the same luck. The timing may never be “perfect” but your home is waiting for you and your growing family.

  38. A year from now, when you’re settled in a house with your little family, this won’t seem as bad as it does now. Just trust that things will work out as they should.

  39. The waiting game is absolutely no fun- I feel ya on that! I’m still trying to find a job after moving across the country for my husband’s dream job a few months ago and the waiting has been really rough on me too. The anxiety of wanting to be fully settled and stable is so real. Thank you for sharing the reminder to enjoy the stage you are at!! We’ll get through this!

  40. Ugh house shopping is the worst! Just a couple of tidbits I learned through doing it twice that might help you feel better. First, the right house will come along! I was so desperate when we bought our second house that I almost settled for something that wasn’t right. Thankfully, my husband talked me out of doing that twice, and I’m so glad we waited. We were looking for our forever home. We eventually found it (despite a less than ideal living situation for a few months) and I would do all of it over again in a heartbeat! Our house is everything we wanted! Second, I know it feels like there’s such a clock running because you have a baby on the way, but for those first couple years, babies don’t really need that much space. And while I know you’d love to have his or her nursery be in your new home, I promise it won’t feel any less special if it isn’t. My first daughter’s nursery was in our first home and I had a really hard time leaving that house because of it. But, it was absolutely priceless to get to decorate her “big girl” room with her input then we moved. No matter the wait, I really think it will be worth it! I’m sorry you aren’t having good luck yet, but you will!

  41. I understand your disappointment but as you know God has a plan. Being patient is hard but I truly believe in the end things work out for the best. Enjoy your pregnancy and keep the faith the right house will appear when you least expect it.

  42. Those last sentences were just the thing I needed to read this morning! You are in such good company in this waiting feeling, and I’m rooting for you to find the perfect home. As my very darling mother always tries to remind me (and I tend to fail to internalize when I’m still attached to whatever I wanted but didn’t get), create the expectation that whatever is to come is a better, more perfect option than whatever didn’t come to pass. The “reason” you didn’t get what you want is because the perfect outcome is still in the process of coming together.

    Sending hope and positivity to you, W, bébé, and that future home!

      1. my two favorite bloggers! I found Carly’s blog first and have been a daily reader for 1+ year and “found” Mackenzie a few months ago…I check your blogs each day for updates and find the, inspirational in so many ways.. and Mackenzie, I teach in Darien 😉 Was so disappointed I couldn’t make your meet and greet a few weeks ago.. sending daily prayers for good health for you and baby…