Our dream home

Last spring, after months of viewing properties in real life and online, Honey and I decided to stop looking, stay put, and remodel our existing home. We knew this route would mean giving up on some of the things on our wish list, but spending so much time looking for somewhere else to live had left us both feeling anxious and unsettled. I deleted real estate apps from my phone, started drawing up a plan for adding on a third bedroom and master bath, got a few estimates, and paid a carpenter $10,000 down to start construction of a detached garage.

A day or two later, while at work, I happened to walk behind a coworker who had Zillow open on their computer. There, on the side of the screen, was a thumbnail of a beautiful Craftsman-style home that was FSBO and just happened to be in the exact, desirable location that we had been dreaming of. I asked him to click on it, oohed and aahed at the photos, and said, “If we hadn’t already agreed to stay where we are, I would show that house to Hubie.”

The next morning, I wound up in the emergency room due to blood pressure problems. While lying there waiting for more tests, I casually mentioned the house. After showing him the listing, he said, “If you are seriously interested in it, you had better call and schedule a showing.” I told him to go drive by it and let me know if he liked it before I scheduled anything.

He returned an hour or so later, and had taken pictures from the driveway. I could tell he was just as interested as I was, so I texted our realtor to see if she could set something up. She made an appointment for the next afternoon.

Friday, after work, Hubie and I took Amanda with us to see the house. From the moment we arrived, Hubie and I were in awe. Everything from the extensive crown molding to the landscaping was breathtakingly beautiful. I was extremely happy to see the wooded lot next door would be included in the sale, since I had become accustomed to having a larger amount of acreage at our current home.

They say you know when you find the right home, but I have always been a skeptical person. After walking through the house, we all sat down in the living room and I just kind of knew.

We slept on it, then made an offer early the next morning. The sellers had until 6pm on Sunday to respond. Obviously, we were on pins and needles, and the sellers took their time. Sunday, around one o’clock, we were out driving by the house when my phone rang. Alberta said they had a counter-offer, and we accepted immediately. They asked for 60 days to move, and although we thought it was excessive, we were so happy to have it under contract that we agreed.

Sixty days took much longer to pass than I anticipated. I spent so much time looking at the photos and imaging living there. It seemed impossible that it was happening! I started ordering home decor and donating things that we didn’t want to move. We basically had our entire home boxed up by the end of June. Then they asked for more time.

While all of this was happening, we sold our existing home to one of my employees. He and his wife were delighted to get it, and also called it a “dream come true.” They were scheduled to close on their loan the same week we closed on our new home, and I knew they would be wanting to move in immediately. After talking with them and the sellers, we all agreed on one more week.

We were told we would get our keys on July 4th, so we had everything ready before going out to watch fireworks with friends. We had a Uhaul reserved for early the next morning, but we rushed home and loaded the back of the truck up with boxes while we waited for a text saying the sellers were out. Instead, they didn’t get done until 2am the next morning.

We got up early and rushed over to our new home. It was the greatest feeling in the world to experience the sense of wonder and the total disbelief that this house was ours!

We moved all that day and the next. It was two of the hottest days of the year with heat indices over 100 degrees, but we somehow managed to do it alone.

So, here we are almost 7 months later, and I have the same mixture of disbelief and happiness that I had that very first morning. I lay in bed at night with the greatest cat in the world curled up at my side, I look up at the amazing vaulted ceiling and crown molding, hear the soft sounds of my favorite person watching television in the living room, and wonder how in the world I got so lucky.

You snooze, you lose

I learned something valuable this week. I have to stop letting fear dictate my decisions.

We looked at a house almost a month ago that we both really liked. It had an excellent floor plan, hardwood floors, beautiful wide trim, a fireplace, a whirlpool tub, and was in an picturesque neighborhood about 20 minutes away in a larger city. We went back a few days later to see it again, but we just couldn’t make up our minds.

It was almost perfect, but it would have been a big change. And we would have had to worry with listing and selling our current home as quickly as possible. So, feeling both scared of the change and the inevitable chaos our lives would be thrown into for a few months, we felt we should take our time and make sure we didn’t do something we regretted.

Tuesday evening, after a few weeks of back-and-forth, we finally decided to make an offer on the house. I excitedly contacted our realtor, submitted an offer electronically, and crawled into the bathtub to relax.

A few minutes later I received a text saying a contract had been signed on the property a couple of hours earlier.

I was heartbroken. Honey took it fairly well until the next day, and then he got depressed. We both realized that we simply took too long to decide, and that we let fear hold us back from what we both knew was the right decision for us to make.

I have often heard that you don’t typically regret the things you do, but the things you don’t do. While I don’t entirely agree with that sentiment, I certainly understand it a little better than I did a month ago.

Game plan

We closed on our new property loan Tuesday, and I am anxious to begin the next phase of our transition. Our path forward may be building a garage on the new property to live in while we sell our current home, as that will allow us to free up some money before we begin building a new house.

So, basically, we might be kind of “roughing” it for awhile, which I am completely fine with. In fact, there is a part of me that is looking forward to stripping down to the bare essentials by getting rid of things we no longer need. A big garage sale will probably be in our near future.

Our home needs some updates before we list it, so we are shooting for putting it on the market this coming spring. I figure the blooming trees and shrubs will add some excellent curb appeal.

So, for now, we are getting quotes on repairs and new construction projects. I expect this process to take longer than expected, since it seems that’s just the way these things work, but hopefully we will be at the new place before too much time goes by.

I am currently about to die to get started on whipping the new place into shape. There are a few trees that need to come down, limbs to pick up, and mowing/trimming to be done. There are also some plants that I want to move with me, and autumn is the perfect time to transplant things. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t cooperating as it has rained every day for a week.

They say good things come to those who wait, so I am doing my best to be patient.

Out of sight and mind

I don’t like neighbors. At least not the ones I currently have. They are nosy and intrusive and encamped around me like an invading army.

I firmly believe the best kind of neighbor is one who is out of sight and out of mind. That may sound silly to those of you who live in subdivisions and apartment buildings, but when I discovered this place its main appeal was the privacy. I loved that the nearest house was almost out of sight, and I reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to worry about how I looked when I went out to work in the yard or who would see me if I peed off the back porch.

Things have certainly changed.

Over the past year, a new house has sprung up just across the field beside us, and because our house sits at an angle to the road, the front of our house faces the back porch of the new house. And the neighbor seems to spend more time on the porch than she does inside her home. And the chair she sits in conveniently points in our direction.

Last week, another couple started getting things ready to put a home practically in our backyard. Even though they own several acres, they have chosen to place their new house as close to our property line as possible, with a 600 ft. driveway leading from the main road.

Because of where they are placing their home, we are losing pretty much all of our remaining privacy. Our back patio will now be plainly visible from their front windows, and it feels like I am back in the same situation I was in when we lived in a subdivision.

As if adding insult to injury, they had the gall to ask if we would mind cutting down five mature pine trees so they could have their new electric line run across our property instead of on theirs. (We said we minded.)

All of this is why I am so relieved we were able to find a very gorgeous, very private piece of property. The lot is much larger than the one we have now, and it is almost completely surrounded by mature woods. We intend to place our home in the center of the acreage so that we never have to worry about neighbors being anywhere close to us.

And I’ll be able to pee off the back porch as often as I want.

Little piece of paradise

I discovered the most amazing piece of property today. It has hills and valleys, a gorgeous pond, lots of mature oaks and other native trees, tons of privacy, and is easily accessible to the highway. And at a price I can afford.

I immediately took Honey to see it, all the while hoping he would love it as much as me. After getting his approval, I called an agent to get more details, and we will hear back from her tomorrow or the next day.

I am excited, nervous, and apprehensive about everything, but I know it will work out if it’s meant to be. In the meantime, we are going through house plans to find the perfect Craftsman-style home.

This may go nowhere, but I can’t help but feel hopeful. I’ll post more when I know more…

Photo from realtor showing property in early spring.
Photo from realtor showing property in early spring.