After 6 months of trying to make offers for a home in our town that would either allow us to either expand our family or provide respite care for families in crisis, we finally figured we would need to look further afield. Our town's population only grew 0.2% from 2000 to 2010 which means there are just simply no homes for sale. The very few that came up for sale in our target size were snapped up within a couple of days on the market with multiple offers and tens of thousands of dollars above asking price. Even after going way over our initial price range, we still could not find anything. Kind of like the market we found ourselves in when we bought our first home in 2004!
So what does one do in such a market? You take the kids along to a town further away from your hometown to see some open houses and have your little 4-year old Ms. Social Butterfly walk up to the listing agents showing the houses, hug them, chat them up and totally make an impression! It helps that little Ms. Social Butterfly has impeccable manners and remembers to thank the listing agents for the free cookies and for showing her her new house! When your realtor calls the listing agent to make an offer - they clearly remember the family with the 4 kids and even though there are multiple offers with most above our offer price, the listing agent is so taken with our little Ms. Social Butterfly that she becomes our advocate to the seller and he accepts an offer that is not necessarily in his best financial interest! He does end up meeting our little Ms. Social Butterfly, and he is glad that he was able to sell her her new home!
We are now enjoying living in a city voted one of the "Most Playful Cities in America" and getting used to all things big! The population here grew by over 200% from 2000 to 2010 and we are getting used to a new town that is defining itself as opposed to our old town that was steeped in history and deeply proud of its old roots. I have gone from a 5-minute commute with the privilege of having lunch with my kids during the work-week to a nearly hour-long commute on bad days (and there are many). However, hearing the kids shriek with laughter in the larger backyard when I get home and their excitement when telling me about the new park they discovered makes it all worthwhile! The new town is very pedestrian and biker friendly and the kids have sure made use of this fact! Little Ms. Social Butterfly has made it her mission that we shall know all our neighbors - she fearlessly walks up to anyone she sees out walking and introduces herself and asks them their name! If some one has ear phones on - watch out, because she does not let this stop her - she will get in your line of vision and make sure you make eye contact! She will never be a flower on the wall! She makes her presence felt - think goodness she is so nice and sweet!