July 24, 2021
Precisely one year ago to the day, we moved into our rental apartment in Colorado and today we are moving into our new home! Yes, in the midst of the housing market frenzy, we managed to get a house!
The story goes like this:
In 2019, David had the chance to retire early from the City of Knoxville, and I was happy to leave a difficult work situation in search of happier days. We bought an RV, rented out our house, packed everything into storage except for our dogs and a few essentials, and hit the road. We traveled through the US and Canada and had an amazing time until “Rona” put a damper on all fun things. We were in Santa Barbara when we had to start making our way back to Tennessee, as national parks and businesses were closing down. In addition, the realtor we hired to manage the rental decided to let our tenants out two months early without penalties and without consulting with us first…. So, we headed back to Knoxville to sort things out.
We listed our house for sale and had a heck of a time with our incompetent realtor…. I won’t go into all the gory details but let’s just mention that the first red flag was his inability and unwillingness to post photos of our house. As luck would have it, the house sold three times but fell through just as many times, through no fault of our own. The last buyer was a VA loan, meaning we had to wait 45 days for the closing.
Meanwhile, I applied for many jobs but wasn’t able to secure any. David applied to one job he found in a little town called Arvada, Colorado. And he got it!
I looked for apartments for rent in Arvada and I found a nice one, with a ground-floor unit (which we needed because our old dogs couldn’t do stairs). The manager was amazing and gave us a virtual tour. We signed the lease sight unseen.
We scheduled our departure for the day of the closing, not anticipating another surprise: the buyer decided to take out a loan the Friday before the Monday we were closing, thus killing the deal and losing the house. The only good news was that we could finally get away from our bad realtor—he had a certain number of days guaranteed to list our house for sale after having “managed” our rental—and we could hire a really good realtor, our friend Wedad. She managed to sell the house immediately and worked diligently to make things go smoothly.
After 5 days of driving across the country, we settled into our apartment in Arvada, Colorado.
We moved to a new town and part of the country in the middle of the pandemic, so we didn’t get to meet a lot of people or enjoy a lot of the social activities that the area has to offer. Being from the South (having lived in the South for more than half my life now, I think I’ve earned the Southerner title), I talked to and tried to befriend anyone I saw—mostly my neighbors. Luckily, the weather here has been surprisingly wonderful, and we walked almost daily, sometimes even several times per day, even in the dead of winter. Colorado was nice but we felt a bit lonely, a natural byproduct of the pandemic isolation.
During COVID times, David and I often walked through neighborhoods rather than staying on the main park paths. It was on one of our walks that David saw a man tinkering with his RV. We stopped to chat with him about it, and the rest is history. He invited us to visit with him and his wife on the deck sometime (post vaccinations), and we took him up on it. What was supposed to be a mid-afternoon visit turned into a marathon and we left around midnight, still feeling like we had more to talk about.
The nice couple (Karen and Joe) also invited us to the hood’s weekly Friday club gatherings: the neighbors gather every Friday after work to enjoy beverages and each other’s company. We crashed their parties and fit in easily.
Soon thereafter, Joe told us about the house behind them coming on the market. Karen recommended a realtor friend of hers and we decided to take a look—why not? We checked out a handful of homes in the area and made an offer on the neighbor house. The sellers were accepting multiple offers. Within a couple of days, we found out they took our offer!
The house sits just off the park and greenways where we usually walk, not far from the apartment we were renting, and it has a view of “the duck pond” (a pond that is home of ducks, geese, egrets, and cormorants). We love the area—and the neighbors really make the place.
The house is a ’70s ugly duckling, but we have grand plans to transform it into a pretty swan. We named it “Serendipity Way,” and we welcome your good vibes to transform it into a sweet home.
When we set off to see the country in our RV, we didn’t know where the road would take us. We knew we wanted to move away from Knoxville but didn’t know exactly where we’d land next. The RV trip was an amazing experience and I’d choose to do it all over again! It taught us to go with the flow (and the weather) and deal with things as they come. It also allowed us to literally go down the less traveled path, which often serendipitously led us to unexpected joyful experiences.
When we started our house search, we wanted to find a place where we could be outdoors most of the time and enjoy cooler and drier days. I really wanted a good community, with diverse and friendly people who like to hang out together. Unexpectedly, it turned out that Colorado was our new destination.
Sometimes you just need to go with the flow and let serendipity do its magic.