A (Almost) New Home

One week ago today, Justin stopped by after work and I handed him an envelope.  In the envelope was a key – my way of telling him that our offer on this house below had been accepted.  We celebrated and I cried.  I cried because we’ve been looking for a house for 5 1/2 months.  Because this would be our first place together.  But mostly because I couldn’t believe that we found our dream home.  It’s better than I ever could have imagined and I can’t even explain how much I love this place.

The house sits on over a 1/2 acre of a beautiful, private lot off a dirt road.  It’s surrounded by tall trees and is the exact kind of peace we were looking for.  The home is actually on the historical register for the city, and although it is outside of our desired area (which is why it’s in our price range), the old home captured our hearts.  The original woodwork was still in existance – the crown and 8″ base moulding, built-ins, wood floors, slab doors and hardware.  Everything I wanted and never thought I could afford.

I am not sad about moving on from my current home.  Yes, it’s my very first home and I put a ton of work into it, but I’ll get so much reward out of someone else loving it as much as I do.  I’ve had 5 1/2 months to prepare myself for the moment of listing it, and I knew once we found our home it would make it easier for me to move on.

Over the past 5 1/2 months, we have seen dozens of homes.  We’ve rode the crazy roller coaster of searching for a home in this market…bidding wars, houses off the market the same day, overpriced properties, etc.  We’ve only put one other offer in on a house (back in February – we didn’t get it), but haven’t found anything else that we wanted to call home.  Our list of wants is based around those things we can’t change…location and privacy, and apparently a basement (since I have this inexplanable fear of tornados).  We have budgeted for a renovation – and we expect it.  You should see some of the places we’ve walked through and considered.  One even had “squishy” hardwood floors.

When we walked through this historic home, it immediately felt like ours – which was the exact feeling I got when I saw my current home for the first time back in 2011.  And then I broke the number one rule of house-searching.  I fell in love with it before signing the closing documents.  I planned the chicken coop and vegetable garden, the kitchen layout and butler pantry, I imagined my reading and yoga room on the 3rd floor, and Justin planned his man cave in the 200 sq foot studio.  I saw our family growing there together.  It really was love at first sight.  I loved it so much that I included a letter to the seller with our bid.  Our offer was accepted above 3 others – and we weren’t even the highest offer.

I was so excited to get the phone call that night telling me our offer had been accepted.  We wanted to share our news with everyone, but we decided rather to keep our secret until after the appraisal went through.  But we never made it that far.  I had a feeling that this seemed too perfect and something would go wrong.  I would love for this post to be our announcement that we found our dream home.  Unfortunately, the ending is a little bit different.

After our offer was accepted on Monday, it was a whirlwind of a week.  The financing was approved and going through underwriting, we booked the appraisal and scheduled the inspections.  Learning from the experiences on my own 1926 home, I called in everyone I could to look at the house on inspection day and I even prepared Justin for the scary things we would hear.  An old home is compared to a new home and current codes – so there will be many things mentioned and it could feel overwhelming.  We called in our electrician, the general home inspector, then we hired a chimney inspector and a septic drain field inspector, and then I called my brother to give me his opinion of the roof.  This home is only a year older than my current home, but double the size so we had low expectations when it came to the inspection.  We knew there was work to be done.  We mentally prepared ourselves for what we thought we would hear.

However, the issues the inspection revealed were far beyond what we could prepare ourselves for.  One major issue that would have to be dealt with immediately was estimated between $8k-$25k…and possibly more.  It was an issue that would have to be approved by the city, which could take months.  There was another that was uncovered that could cost triple that estimate, not to mention the list of other “old home” problems that would have to be fixed before we could make cosmetic changes.  While the list grew, the thought of those two major issues lingered in front of us and overwhelmed us.  We were already starting to feel like we were drowning financially and we didn’t even own it.  I could feel my hopeful heart breaking.

I left the home inspection in tears knowing what we had to do.  I expected to comfort Justin and reassure him of the “old house” issues.  Except I was the one feeling like it was all too much.  And after a very serious conversation, we chose to walk away from our offer with very heavy hearts.  We could have at least tried to negotiate with the seller to fix the major issue or decrease the purchase price based on the inspection reports, but honestly, we felt slighted.  The owner had opened a permit with the city to fix the issue several years back, yet never fixed it and never listed the issue in the disclosures.  It didn’t come up until we were with one of the inspectors.  The seller even tried to hide it by hiring a company to “clean up” hours before our inspection.  We felt the owner should have been honest about the issue – instead it cost us $600 to discover what they already knew.

So, we walked away.  And I’ve spent all weekend silently sulking and asking Justin to remind me that we did the right thing.  Just looking at the picture of the house above still makes me really sad.  We kept ourselves busy this holiday weekend by working on our “to-do” list like we planned – doing the necessary work in prepping to list the current house.  We also treated ourselves to several nights out…you know, since we aren’t buying another house.  On the bright side, we get to enjoy a new toilet for a little big longer.  And we even talked about actually tackling the bathroom renovation.

I’m glad I could finally be honest with all of you.  I’ve spent the last 5 1/2 months finishing up projects and prepping to list my house.  Justin and I would like to eventually sell this home and find a new house together.  I’m sure we’ll find another home we love.  It could happen in a month or in 5 years and until then, I will enjoy every moment of living in my “first home.”  And I guarantee the projects won’t stop.  In fact, we already made a list of projects we are going to tackle this summer…since we’ll be here anyway.

Mary

Our search for a home continues and I promise I will update if we find anything.  Searching for a home is frustrating…atleast for us.  I am so thankful for Justin in this all of this.  We have kept each other within our budget (so far) and bring each other back to reality.  I was very apprehensive when when we first started looking for a new home together.  I thought he would want something “move in ready.”  Thankfully, the man has a love for the quirky, unique character and history of an old home.  And he’s not afraid of a little bit of work…or maybe he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. 

I thought I would share this quote I came across on Pinterest.  It should be the theme of our house search because most people wouldn’t find the beauty in some of the places we’ve been…

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