Last updated on August 12th, 2023 at 02:03 pm
Every once in a while, a dream falls apart. That does not mean this dream will not be realized in the future in a different form, so really it is more of a dream deferred than a dream lost.
And I can still find happiness even when a dream is lost. That’s the beauty of giving something your all.
I have no regrets because I tried, and I can always look back knowing that I did my best. Sometimes we give something our all, and it still doesn’t happen, but at least I know that I did all I could.
It still is painful, of course, not to make a dream come true when you have worked so hard for it. Right now, I am in that space of keeping the faith and reminding myself that everything happens for a reason, even when we cannot yet see or understand that reason.
Goodbye to the Dream Home!
I bought a gorgeous, historic 9,000-square-foot commercial property earlier this summer. I am working with my team of contractors to renovate the property, screening prospective tenants, and doing all I can to bring this beautiful property back to an active life in this community.
Behind the scenes, at the same time, I was working on buying my dream home as well. I didn’t share that dream with anyone because it fell into my lap unexpectedly, and I didn’t want to “jinx” it.
I wanted to take the steps I needed to take to make it happen and to make it move forward. And I gave it my all. And it still fell apart.
So I’m dealing with picking up the pieces and moving on now, disappointed but not defeated. I trust I will someday understand why things happened as they did, even if it’s hard to understand right now.
How This All Evolved
The scenario was improbable and unusual. I happily lived in my home in historic downtown Troy, the John Hooper House, which was built in 1845 and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. John Hooper, an African-American laborer from 1848 to 1888, owned my beautiful home. There are two apartments currently and a large, dry basement that can also be turned into a third apartment.
I was living in the second floor, 1,300 square foot apartment, which I had renovated back in 2008 after my tenants accidentally set my house on fire.
It’s a gorgeous space with a double parlor living room, two ornamental fireplaces, a large master bedroom, a second spare bedroom, an office, a dining room, a fully renovated spacious bathroom with a clawfoot tub, and a giant kitchen with exposed brick, stainless steel appliances, and a large bank of windows at the back, overlooking a green courtyard, lush with ivy.
There was really no reason I needed to move out of my beautiful home, and I was not planning to move. The opportunity appeared, however, in the form of another stunning house that I had long admired right down the block.
Neighbors and friends of mine had put this home on the market the summer before, and it wasn’t moving. They were looking to rent it out, as they informed their property manager and my dear friend back in April. My friend Steve let me know that they wanted to at least rent it for now since it wasn’t selling. I had always loved this house, a 3,000-square-foot Victorian wonderland, and decided to consider it.
Finding Happiness in A Glorious Palace!
The house is staggeringly beautiful and grand. The first floor has 12′ high ceilings with giant chandeliers, a living room/parlor as you enter, and a dining room (which I intended to use as an office) beyond that through a set of wooden pocket doors.
The office was the piece de resistance of the home, with a 12′ stained glass window, lit from within, of the Holy Spirit (I thought it was a peace dove at first until a friend told me otherwise, but either interpretation of this 12′ piece of art is beautiful!).
A peer mirror with gilded angels around the edges was actually a door hiding a bathroom. There is a back courtyard with garden beds and flowering trees.
The second floor features a two-story kitchen with a courtyard atrium in the middle of it – this is the other most stunning feature of the house. There is a second-floor family room with black and white marble floors, a dining room with built-in wood cabinets with glass doors, and a beautiful wooden framed mantelpiece on a fireplace.
The third floor features a balcony overlooking the kitchen, with a 10′ by 10′ giant skylight above it and two additional skylights (one above the stairwell and one in the master bedroom suite). The master bedroom suite has a bathroom with a tub and shower, plus a jacuzzi bathtub in the sizeable spare bedroom.
It is a beautiful, unusual, jaw-dropping home, and I had always loved it. So I jumped at the chance to rent it.
We Made A Deal!
I contacted the owners in Berlin, Germany, where they are now living, and offered to pay them above-market rent for a year. I would then buy the home at the total price minus the amount I’d paid them in rent. They know how much I have always loved this house, and they agreed! As of mid-May, we had a deal, so I decided to rent out the other house I own, and I secured a two-year lease on my beautiful apartment down the block.
I could barely believe my good fortune- I would be moving into and then would buy the home of my dreams! I planned to live the next 60 years of my life there and figured I would never move again. I love this home just that much! I asked if I could plant flowers, and the owners agreed. I bought beautiful ceramic pots, filled them with flowers, and decorated the house’s front porch.
I started hanging my art in the house, a bit at a time, and was stunned to find that everything matched. It all felt so meant to be, just clicking into place too perfectly. I was so incredibly grateful. I slowly moved my things in, a bit at a time (since the two houses are just five doors away from each other!). In the meantime, I was waiting to sign the lease, which the owners had promised to me.
And I waited, waited, and waited… and still, no lease. I had to be out of my other house fully by June 15th, and that date was rapidly approaching. I emailed the owners several times to check on the status. Finally, on June 11th, I got an email from their realtor, which was not good news. They had changed their minds and would not rent to me unless I bought the house immediately.
Basically, they gave me 48 hours (two business days) to develop a purchase offer and contract, a deposit on the house, a security deposit (nonrefundable), and the first month’s rent. They were asking me to hand them $5,500 two days later. This was all news to me! And I needed to leave my other house precisely four days later.
Needed More Time!
I needed more time, and I told them so. The realtor was angry and told me she would start showing the house immediately that coming weekend and that I could not have any more time. I could not believe what was happening. I prayed that things would work out.
I contacted my bank and started working on getting financing. In the meantime, I had essentially staged the house for the realtor with flowers and art. I cleaned and dusted the house. I also had nowhere to live after June 15th because I had rented out the home I own, and now I could not rent the new house unless I bought it. So I started staying with family and friends and living out of suitcases.
My distressing situation? Having all of my things in a beautiful house that I was not allowed to live in – and living out of suitcases while scrambling to pull the financing together quickly. I tried. I gave it my everything. I lived out of bags for a month and worked on structuring a deal.
Unfortunately, in the meantime, the owners’ realtor was showing the house aggressively and landed a cash deal. Before I knew it, they worked out an agreement to sell the house right out from underneath me, in cash, fast. And therefore I am now forced to move my things out this weekend. Not the ending I had hoped for at all, but I will make the most of this, as I do everything.
Lisa P. Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, TED motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning in their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on her website or watch her TEDx speech on YouTube.
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