May 22, 2017

Big changes are coming our way!!

After more than a decade, we finally leaving the student life behind us! It's both strange and exciting, and we are very much looking forward to what lies ahead for our family. I'm a bit behind on the blog though, so a good portion of this story has never been shared here. The last update was back in October when Dave flew out for his first job interview, and a lot has happened since then...

The short version is we got a job, we got a house and are moving to Texas next month - HOORAY!!

For the long version (and pictures) keep reading below.

Dropping Dave at the airport in October for his first fly out interview

Dave's interview was at West Texas, which is a branch of the Texas A&M University System. It's located in Canyon, Texas which is just south of Amarillo. The school enrolls just under 10,000 students, so it's smaller than the big state schools, but still respectable and they are continuing to grow. 

Dave said the campus was very nice and he really liked the faculty, especially the Dean. He also liked that the school put more emphasis on teaching than research, which is what he prefers as well. The visit went well, but he was the first of five candidates they were planning to meet with over the coming weeks, so we would have to wait to hear back. 

Just a week after his visit, West Texas extended an offer to teach for their business program. We were both excited, and a little caught off guard. An offer was great news, but they wanted an answer right away, and we weren't expecting to be making decisions like this until January, or even later. The offer was good, but it was so early and we had no idea what other offers might come our way. Maybe there would be better ones, or maybe there would be none at all...

With a week to make a decision, we had some serious thinking to do. Was it good for our family? Did we want to make Amarillo our home? 

Salary-wise the offer was on the lower end of our acceptable range, but it was within range and something we would be happy with. We knew it was highly unlikely we'd end up at one of the prestigious universities, and while some of the other middling schools may offer a bit more, Texas has very affordable cost of living and no state income tax which helps to offset the salary difference.

Amarillo wasn't necessarily a dream destination for either of us, but it's not without merit. Some college towns are super tiny, but Amarillo is far from small with close to 200,000 people. It's not really near any other major metropolitan areas, but the city itself is large enough to have good schools, a stake with 8 wards for our church, plenty of parks and other activities, and an airport! It's a 6 hour drive to Dave's family in Plano, TX and a a plane flight away to my family up in Seattle. 

Located in the panhandle, Amarillo is quite different than the rest of Texas and has a climate more similar to what we're used in Utah. It's dry, instead of humid, and with its more northern latitude there are 4 distinct seasons and the area does receive light snow in the winter. 

Other facts about Amarillo:
  • Amarillo means "yellow" in Spanish, and is named for the yellow grasses that grow in the area
  • Windiest city in the US
  • Home to the 2nd largest canyon in the country, Palo Duro Canyon, after the Grand one of course
  • Major industries for the area are beef, oil, helium, and nuclear assembly
  • Only 1 death from tornadoes in the last 100 years
  • No Costco or LDS temple :( The closest locations are in Lubbock, 2 hours south
    And with those things in mind, Dave accepted the offer!

    Around January we started house shopping. The market there is pretty friendly to buyers, and we were able to compile a massive list of potential properties that could fit our family and budget. We were able to do most of research online, but knew a trip down would be necessary before we started making offers.

    Just Dave went down for a weekend in March and, thanks to an awesome realtor, he was able to walk through about 25 homes and get a feel for the different neighborhoods. Unfortunately a good chunk of our list ended up getting crossed off after the first day and we were left with only a couple real options. With that in mind, I upped our price range just a bit and sent Dave out to look at one other home before he flew out the next morning. The house was AMAZING!! and well above budget, but we kept it on the list as a pipe dream.

    The last house Dave walked through on his visit

    I kept watching the market, and noticed that after a few months of nothing really moving, things were finally starting to heat up. Several homes we had been watching went under contract, and our options were starting to look limited. There were only a couple houses left on our list and we were beginning to think this home thing might not work out and we would have to just dump our stuff in storage and spend the summer in Dallas with Dave's family instead.

    And then there was a big price drop on that one home. It was still too much for us, but getting closer to our range. We started the loan pre-approval process and then a few weeks later there was another huge price cut the same day our approval came back. It was fate!! We immediately put an offer down, and were told there were other offers on the table so we had to bid again and the best and final would be accepted the next day. We went in just above asking price, and although we didn't end up being the highest bid, the seller chose us! So exciting!

    The seller wanted a quick closing, and we consented. After a busy month of inspections, appraisals, paperwork, money transfers and more, we closed on the house this weekend. Moving day is not until the end of June, but the house is officially ours!

    Here are a few more photos from the listing. The seller did a great job and there is no way it will look this good once we move in our with all our secondhand, mismatched furniture, but I don't really care. Someday we upgrade once the savings account is replenished :) I'm just excited to have some space, and a garage, and a yard!!

    Front Room

    Dining Area

    Kitchen (I have always dreamed of a white kitchen!)

    Master Bedroom

    Master Bathroom

    Bedroom #2 - This will be Sophie's

    Bedroom #3 - This will be Davey's

    Kids Bathroom

    Bedroom #4 - Guest Room/Play Room

    Guest Bathroom

    Upstairs Room (there is also a small office up here)

    Laundry Room

    Back Yard

    1 comment:

    Angela said...

    Wow, your new house is beautiful. I'm so glad you were able to get it. I have a friend in my ward who is from Amarillo Texas. Good luck with your new adventures in Texas.