We took a quick picture in front of our place-to-be on our wedding day, after some first look photos in the park. (The pool and scattered tables and chairs were a bonus.) Photo cred: Allison Salmon

My husband Matt and I first began our search for a family home last fall, before we were married. We were determined to find a house in our beloved Belknap Lookout neighborhood, where we rented just a few streets apart. We wanted to stay in our community, whether that led us to a move-in-ready abode or a disheveled dwelling in need of great love. Location was our number one priority. We believed in the beauty of our Belknap neighborhood, a gem so secretly tucked into a Grand Rapids hilltop. The community is calm, quiet, and out of traffic’s way. It offers multiple parks and beautiful views of the setting sun. All this peace on a hilltop overlooking the flourishing downtown–which you can access in a quick walk or drive.

However, with the super competitive home-buying market in Grand Rapids and the fact that Belknap is riddled with rentals, we knew our chance to stay on the hill might be slim. We kept our eyes open beyond our urban sanctuary. We bid on a bungalow and narrowly missed it. We fell for a multi-family two doors down from friends, but someone beat us to it. We watched homes in Grand Rapids pop into and out of the market in hours. The market was wild, but we tried to remain patient.

One day while Matt was away on tour, our loyal realtor (Eric Elliott of @Home Realty) contacted me with exciting news. The owner of a multi-family home he managed wanted to put a house on the market–and it was in Belknap Lookout, across the street from one of our neighborhood parks. As soon as Eric reached out to me, I scheduled a showing. But with Matt away for several weeks, I felt like there wasn’t much I could do in the way of house-hunting. Thankfully, the patient seller was willing to allow time for Matt to see the property when he returned home, granting us the chance to make an offer before the home would even enter the market. I couldn’t believe it–the opportunity to purchase a home behind the scenes eliminated any market games. AND it was in our ideal location!

Two months later, we are under contract and eagerly await closing. We had some interesting hoops to jump through after the initial appraisal, so even the experience of being under contract has required more time and patience than expected.

But to have our first family home in our beloved Belknap Lookout–it’s all well worth the wait.

Soon, we’ll be crafting an 1890s house into a modern home. Our modern Livingston.

Renovation photos + stories to come!

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