Thursday, August 11, 2011

Praying for a Septic Tank!

Just got word:

Septic tank totally failed the inspection.  It'll be quite a chunk of change for the bank to repair the current one or install a new one.  Praying that the bank decides to go ahead and do the necessary repairs/replacement for it to pass inspection.

Holding our breath for another miracle!

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Our Septic Tank Story:

    OK, now for the reason behind the phrase "holding our breath for ANOTHER miracle". This is our second escrow in the last year and a half. We were in the first escrow (on a house in a beautiful little town called Mentone) for almost eleven months. It was a great house, nice sized lot, a lot of potential. We had lots of pipe dreams about that house too, what we could do with it, what we would do with the yard, dreams of digging a basement, dreams of being missionaries to the community of Redlands, which is filled with what some might consider "Christian cults", etc. The house was only about 950 square feet, but it had a big yard (in my estimation having lived all of my life in suburbia). 
    When we got close to our closing date, the Realtor called and told me that the entire septic tank had failed the inspection. There was no way to repair it, it had to be replaced. Since this also was an FHA loan, we could do nothing but wait to see if the seller would agree to do the repairs. The job was quoted at about $3800. I was devastated at first, because the house was cheap, under $100k. Would they really spend all that money just so that we can buy the house? The encouraging thought that came along with this was 'now that they know this is a problem they have to disclose to any future buyer as well, so maybe they will'.
    We prayed a lot during this time. We prayed that if God didn't want us to have this house, if this was a mistake, then we would know if the deal didn't go through, if it crumbled because of this. But we wanted the house so bad. We prayed for a miracle. We were essentially praying, 'If there is any way for us to get this house, please show us. Don't let us make a mistake. But not Your will, but ours be done.' At least that's how it felt some days. And you know what? God came through. The seller finally (after about two weeks) agreed to pay the money to install a new septic tank. We were thrilled, but we had already extended escrow once. 
    After about two more weeks, they started trying to pull permits to do the septic work on the house. Red tape everywhere. I got the call one day. I was shocked, but not appalled. I believed my God to be bigger than all of it. I prayed harder. Since the sewer line was so close to the house (it was put in long after the house was built), the city would not allow a new septic tank to be put in. The only other option was hooking the house up to the city sewer. Estimate: $35,000 (yeah, thousand, $20k of it was a city connection fee). 
    Remember, we were paying less than $100k for the house. The cost of this work was more than 1/3 of our offer. The seller took about a month and a half to respond this time. They were motivated to sell the house, but at what cost? We prayed and called the Realtor just about every day for any news. She cut me down to once a week because there was no news to tell. We were already in about month 5 of our escrow by this point. We prayed that if this was a mistake, let it fall through, but God, PLEASE GIVE US THIS HOUSE! The seller finally came back and agreed to do the work. We were delighted, but not shocked. I even got to witness a little to our Realtor about the power of God and how all things work together for the good of those who love Him. 
    To make an already too long story short, the seller, once they decided they were going to do the work, did not waste much time. They got some bids, hired a contractor, and started pulling permits. We ran into some more red tape with the city. Mentone is technically unincorporated property. It belongs to San Bernardino county but is in the Redlands city water district. Apparently a property cannot be hooked into the city sewer system if it has not first been annexed into the city of Redlands. This process took about 4 months. By this time we were 10-1/2 months into our escrow and took a good long look at the house. Our family had expanded since we started this escrow (we now had 3 kids instead of 2). The house only had 2 bedrooms. It was 950 square feet. We finally told them that we were tired of waiting and the house was too small for us anyway, and cancelled our contract. The seller was already so invested in the deal that they offered to drop the price $10,000 if we would stay in, which was tempting, but didn't change the facts. God didn't make the deal fall through for us because it was a mistake, but He gave us a good long time to think about it.

    Now, about 6 months after that roller coaster ended, we get the phone call on our next dream home. The septic inspection totally failed. I took the news much more lightly this time, and I am praying for another miracle, but this time I am praying for God's will, not mine, because I know He has my best interests at heart. I also know that He won't stop us from making a mistake, but He may give us a good long time to think about it first. 

    We'll keep you posted on developments in this new drama.

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