Paradise Found. Paradise Lost. Paradise … SOLD!

Making the decision to move is never easy. With the last of the kids out of the house and on to their own adventures, an epiphany in early April got me thinking about downsizing.  The idea made sense to me – and to Mister Maven after a few days of deliberation, too. Yet while the general idea was exciting, the reality of slogging through real estate listings, packing boxes and actually moving from one place to another was absolutely dizzying.

Imagine my surprise when mere hours after this downsize-lightbulb went off over my head, an email  arrived from a friend-turned-real-estate agent – Tyler Mayclin – who was spreading the word about his endeavor into the real estate world. “It has to be a sign!”, I told myself – so I emailed Tyler back with a declaration of my idea:

Tyler EmailLike many endeavors in life, things started moving like wildfire – my downsizing spark turning into a flame burning wildly through the east side of Lake Sammamish. Weekly firestorms of emails culminated with weekend visits to townhomes in Issaquah, Klahanie and Sammamish. As expected, our search turned up the good, the bad, and the hideously ugly reality of the current real estate market.

Our needs were specific: Although our kids were away, Anjou and Bartlett – our pug and great dane – would need a lawn for frolicking and doin’ their doggie ‘business’. My husband and I wanted something woodsy with trees, trails and wildlife. Throughout each weekend, our agent picked our brains methodically to try to identify exactly what we were looking for beyond the scenic setting: a soaking tub for Mike; views for me; room for the pups; a well-equipped kitchen; privacy and space.  What seemed to me the easiest request in the world, wasn’t necessarily so. Tyler found townhomes with many of our ‘must-have’s’ ticked off, but a few lacking. He canvassed neighborhoods seeking properties not-yet-for-sale.  Within the first exhausting month we came to the realization that we might be in this process for the long-haul. Our list was long, but the availability of properties matching our hit-list was short.  Then came the Saturday morning that’d start a rollercoaster of emotions:

TownhouseWith a short-list in hand, we set out again on an eastside search-and-consider mission. Only a few stops were on the list, since so few properties were on the market within our criteria. Our first stop of the day was at a townhome nestled along a greenbelt on Tibbett’s Creek – significantly above our original price point, but worth viewing because of how many items on our list we could tick off. Indeed: The property held three stories of everything we’d been looking for: gorgeous views, three decks (and a patio!), a spacious kitchen and high-ceilings that showcased the tall conifers outside. We drove back home – considering what we’d seen – and decided it was worth a second look. Unfortunately, when we pulled up the listing to view photos again, it switched from “On the Market” to “Pending”. We were crushed.

We immediate called Tyler and discussed what options were available as second-in-line. We knew this gem on Tibbett’s creek was one-of-a-kind. Tyler promised to contact the seller’s agent and to let us know if anything were to fall through in the existing deal. And then, we solemnly continued with the process – knowing it’d be hard to find anything that would compare.

Two weeks later, getting more fed up with the lack of options available, we optimistically set out with Tyler on another Sunday adventure. While showing a home near Redmond, he nonchalantly mentioned that he “had some interesting news” for us later in the day. Sure enough – he elaborated that the deal with the Tibbett’s Creek home might not be rock-solid. As with most real estate deals, a give-and-take was happening between the owner and buyer after the inspection was complete. Hoping for the best, we sat down with Tyler and wrote up an offer – to be accepted only in the case that the previous deal were to fall through. An important date was looming: that which the purchaser could accept or reject the seller’s counter offer. We were given a 9:00pm deadline on a Thursday night with hopes that our phone would ring that we’d be next in line. Sadly, the news was not good. The 9:00pm deadline passed with no word – so we were safe to assume the buyer came to mutual agreement. Tyler called the next morning to tell us that there was one last minute chance that the buyer could back out by not accepting the HOA guidelines, but that the likelihood was a reach. So we mustered our energy, went out to our favorite brewhouse, and lamented over a beer about how we’d find a way to move forward with our search.  We’d have to push the visions of decks and trees and spacious kitchens from our memories. We’d need to forget the short commutes and hiking trails and small community. So we went to bed (very early) – hopes crushed – hoping for a brighter tomorrow.

Not just a house ... a home!
Not just a house … a home!

Just after 8:00pm on the same night, once our weary eyes had closed, the phone rang. I answered to hear Tyler’s grave voice offering apologies – to which I accepted and commented that we’d find a way to move on. Tyler’s voice changed, however, and said, “No – I’m sorry to tell you that you’re going to need to start packing!”. Imagine waking from a fast sleep with visions of townhouses gone by, to be told that suddenly your dream was to be a reality. Befuddled headshakes and literal pinches followed as the news sunk in: We were moving to Issaquah!

The smile says it all. Thanks Tyler!
The smile says it all. Thanks Tyler!

The ups and downs are thankfully behind us now. The boxes are unpacked and the pups are contently settled in. The kitchen is awaft with aromas of home cooking and the fridge now has chilled glasses ready for a cold brew on a Friday night. I look back on the past three months as an adventure that wouldn’t have happened without my spark, nor without the determination and ability of our agent Tyler.  Instead, we’re walking our trails, meeting new neighbors, and loving live on the Eastside!

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