KALISPELL, MONTANA — I’ve always felt that it is important to remember your “why.”
There were some hard, exhausting moments in our move to Montana where I had to keep remembering why we were moving in the first place.
It was for my family. It was so that our daughter could have a big backyard and be safe riding her bike down the street. It was so that we could build experiences and memories as a family that would last a lifetime.
You really start to think about all these things when people around you die. My brother passed away on Easter morning of 2020. Then, we lost my dad 89 days later. Both were sudden and unexpected. I didn’t get to see my brother before he died. I arrived at my dad’s bedside with about 12 hours to spare before he slipped away.
After struggling with infertility, our miracle baby was born about 17 months ago. In her little life, she has experienced 100 doctors appointments, 11 specialists, one hospitalization, and one surgery. And I was working full time. Then, my uncle passed away.
Those kinds of life experiences put everything into perspective. When you are young, you think your parents are going to live a long time and you are going to have the chance to make a lot of memories with them.
After they both died, I considered how short life can be. I wanted to help my husband pursue a dream of his. He has always wanted to live in Montana and enjoy fishing and the outdoors. I wanted my daughter to grow up in a safe, fun place. We both work from home. So, we said, ‘what the heck, let’s go!’
I just didn’t know that half the world would be moving to Montana as well!
We started the process in early February after making a visit to the area. But then, the market started to accelerate rapidly. The REALTOR® we found through a simple online search quickly showed her true colors and we had to part ways. That’s when we discovered Lauri and Jeff Wilson with NextHome Northwest Real Estate. I remember calling them and almost crying. I said ‘I know you don’t know us, but we are a young family who really need to find a home, will you please help us.’
I was in survival mode and they were just saints.
Our house purchase philosophy may be similar to that of the typical millennial: there is so much online research that we are close to paralysis through analysis. We looked closely at market trends, data, prices, and intensively at the homes online. When I finally flew into Montana, I could recognize the streets because I had looked at neighborhood maps so considerably online. But at the end of the day, we need that local expertise and first-hand knowledge.
In other ways, I don’t feel as if we were the typical buyer. We had on our radar everything from a starter home that we would eventually rent, up to our dream house on acreage. We really made Lauri and Jeff try to connect the dots. Homes would come on the market and they would go pending three hours later. Bless Lauri and Jeff, they really had their work cut out for them!
We went through nine offers and two escrows before finding a home. All the while, the close date for our Reno, Nev. house crept closer and closer. We couldn’t live in an RV to fill the gap – we have a baby daughter, a 90-lb dog and we both work from home.
Something had to work out.
Every offer we made, except one, was higher than the asking price.
Then, we finally got into escrow on a home – but the appraisal came back $75,000 lower than the asking price. The seller wouldn’t budge, so we were back to square one.
It was June 8 before we finally closed on our Montana home, more than four months after we started the process. We bought it sight-unseen, completely trusting Lauri and Jeff.
Through a series of coincidentally scheduled IVF appointments (or maybe it was the fingerprints of God) we arranged rent back on our Reno home. In the end, we had 24 hours between when the moving truck arrived and when we had to vacate our Reno home.
I am still surrounded by moving boxes. It is chaotic. But the backyard is my sanctuary.
Fresh off the plane, in my first hour here, I went into the back and started pulling weeds. Meanwhile, my daughter starts chasing the dog through the grass, babbling happy sounds as she does.
We were home.
I feel so safe here. There is a big back porch and flowers everywhere. I can imagine backyard barbecues and slumber parties and camping on the back porch and watching my daughter grow up as the years go by. That’s the most exciting part – I can see our future here. Our life now is my ‘why.’