Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Hunt has ended!

We have found our house!  I really wish I had pictures to show off, but I don't.  But trust me when I say this was honestly beyond my imagination.  I'm still a little blown away by how it all fell into place.

It started with The Monkey House.  I had tried to do a drive by before going to see the house and couldn't.  It was a little confusing getting out to it and I realized being discreet about it would have been impossible. But I had a pretty good idea of how to get to it.

Monday, we set out to look at houses. We had decided against seeing Boot Lick and The Guest House accepted an offer the day before so we only had The Other Log Cabin and The Monkey House. The Other Log Cabin was a definite No.  So we headed to The Monkey House. We were following our realtor and she turned down a road with a real estate sign, but I was 99% sure she made a wrong turn.  But we followed her anyway. I was right. We got turned around and made it to The Monkey House finally.

The house was OK.  Not perfect. The deck needed to be replaced and it was super high towards the back of the house. I'm a bad judge of distance but it had to have been about 15 feet high.  It made me really nervous. The acreage was mostly wooded and not particularly pretty.

So we were talking with the agent and Bill wanted me to look up a couple of houses we passed on our way, including the one down the Wrong Turn Road. The second he heard about that house, he wanted to see it. All he needed to hear were the first two words in the description. ... "10 acres".

Our agent tried to get us in to see it Monday but they wanted more notice. So we arranged to see it Tuesday.

I wasn't feeling good about it. That's a lot of land. And it was a mobile home. I'm not opposed to mobile homes, but if I'm buying one, I want it to be new, you know?  They don't usually hold up over the years like a house.  And the reason we hadn't found it on our searches was that it was $30k more than I was comfortable with.

I was so nervous all day Tuesday. I had no doubt Bill would fall in love with this place. And I didn't want to crush his hopes.  I ran some numbers through a mortgage calculator and after discovering how minimal the taxes were on the property, it seemed like it was actually in our price range payment - wise. I didn't get a chance to verify it with our mortgage lady though, so it was only slightly comforting.

We got there Tuesday and the realtor wad running late. We wanted around the yard a bit and a woman came out of the house. The owner was there. I wasn't sure how to feel about that but she was very nice. She is in her 60s and moving back home to England. She does remodeling and interior design for a living so the inside of the house was amazing. If I hadn't been told it was a mobile home, I would never have guessed.  And it was a triple - wide so it was enormous.

They raised horses and miniature donkeys so there are barns and pastures and an arena. Gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful. There wasn't a single thing we could come up with that was even iffy.  Bill, who nit picked every took tiny aspect of every other house had nothing negative at all. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw him look so happy.

The owner was just hilarious. We talked to her for way too long. Don't think that she was some sweet British granny.  She was firey.  Bright artificial red hair, snappy and sarcastic. I loved her.

So we left. I promised Bill I would call the mortgage lady as soon as I got home. I did and my calculations were pretty accurate. We really could afford it and it was within our approved amount, so I called up our realtor and told her we were ready to make an offer.

Two excruciatingly long days later, they have accepted!  We asked for them to leave the really nice fridge (French doors, drawer freezer) and their gorgeous dining room set, making sure they knew it wasn't a deal breaker if they didn't want to, but they agreed. Then they negotiated a later closing date in return for also leaving us their top of the line front load washer and dryer. Plus they are putting in a new stove (because the oven handle is broken... their decision, not our request).

I feel like we won the lottery! We won't close until July but that's fine. I get a beautiful house that is bigger and nicer than I had hoped for and Bill has room to put cows in the future. This is what we hoped to be able to have SOMEDAY, but never thought we could have NOW. All because our real estate agent made a wrong turn.

I am so excited!  I can't wait to show off our new home!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Great Hunt

I think I mentioned before that we are in the process of buying a house. This is a brand new experience for us. We've been in our current rental house for 5 1/2 years and after getting the treadmill and having absolutely no where to put it but the living room, I realized we are so far past having outgrown this place it's ridiculous. I discovered our house is less than 1000 sq ft.  It's no wonder I have a constant feeling of claustrophobia.

So I mentioned to Bill that I wanted to look into buying our own home. We had talked about it for a while as a "in a few years" kind of thing. He said to start with the financial aspect first. We didn't want to find THE HOUSE and then have problems securing a loan. So I made a few calls and was immediately pre-approved for the amount we were looking at spending. It was kind of surreal. We've been through some tough financial times in years past, neither of us really were prepared to have an answer that quickly. Yes, things are much better for us now. And we have little debt since both our vehicles are paid off, but it was still a pleasant shock.

So the hunt has begun.

It's the most frustrating and fun experience. I take turns being insanely excited, horribly disappointed, and wanting to run over Bill with our car.

Due to our schedules, we can only look at houses once a week. Monday afternoon. So I spend all week obsessing over the houses we find until we get to see them in person. And we really can't decide if we want to sacrifice some of the things we are looking for in order to keep the girls in their current school. Bill wants a big yard, preferably more than a  acre. That's not going to happen in our current area so the girls stay in their school.

He wants land. A garage. I want 4 bedrooms and enough space to have my own craft area. It's not easy to find all of that.

Week 1, we lined up 5 houses. Bill had his favorite, which I wasn't thrilled about. But we found out the school district they'd be in had a reputation for being very racist and homophobic. Not ideals we want our kids to be exposed to more than necessary. So we cut that house out before we saw it.

House #1 looked very promising in pictures. Only 3 bedroom but had an attic that we could finish for a 4th. We got there and the yard was itty bitty.  The house was small. The kitchen was wrecked and our first thought upon seeing the garage was "meth lab".  We left.

House #2.  Dubbed "The Chicken Coop" (we seem to have started a habit of nicknaming houses).  3 bedroom.  Large yard with, you guessed it, a chicken coop. But the house felt cramped. Bill loved it. I talked him out of it because I can't go from one cramped house to another.

House #3. Huge house with a finished basement. Big yard. Tons of room. Stinky. Water damage in basement and it felt like a dungeon. Not well cared for. Disappointment.

House #4. 3 BR with a big yard and a pool. I loved the house. It was perfect. Bill hated it for no real reason. I was so mad at him.

Surprise house... "The Yellow House" We found a house in the midst of looking at the others. A very unique looking yellow house. I have always wanted a yellow house. The realtor managed to get us in to see it that day. I loved it. Bill found a million things wrong with it. Punk.

So, no luck. We spend another week combing through listings and lined up 3 more. One of which we both had very high hopes for.

House 1... The house we knew would be "the one"... Sucked. It had a lot of issues. I was crushed.

House 2... "The Secret Passage House" I didn't have high hopes for this one but it had everything we wanted. Large yard, garage, 4 BR, in the school zone. But it wasn't well cared for and needed a new floor in the kitchen. Not new flooring.... there was a spot that felt like it was going to send us crashing into the basement. But the house was a lot of fun to look at. It had a secret passage from the basement into the bathroom of the master bedroom. It just needed too much work for the price.

House 3... Nice house. Small yard. 4 BR. In the school zone. But for the square footage, it just felt tiny.

After talking to the realtor, we went to look at two more. The houses were perfect but the yards were tiny.  One house had a manhole cover in the middle of the back yard. The other was so close to the other houses around that you could practically look in their windows.

No luck again.

We have 4 lined up for tomorrow. I'm trying to keep a level head but I'm so in love with one of them. Have been from the start but we hadn't seen it yet because it's a longer commute to work for me. It's dubbed The Monkey House. 2.5 acres in the country. Beautiful A- frame 2 story log cabin. Only 3 bedrooms but it has an unfinished basement. It even has a yellow door. (The whole house has been decorated with a jungle theme and the realtor says they have a real live monkey... hence the nickname) I am beyond excited to see this house.  Then we also will see The Guest House (it really has a guest house),  Boot Lick (reminds me of Deliverance but Bill wants to go look), and That Other Log Cabin (self explanatory).

Cross your fingers for me. My nerves can't take months of house hunting. I'm ready to MOVE!


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