365 Project – Day 329 – I’ll Know When I Get There

Anyone who knows me well knows that I always go with my gut instincts. The few times in my life that I have chosen to ignore my intution always yielded devastating results. Yeah, let’s just say I learned my lessons.

After moving last December, Steven and I started looking for a new house almost immediately. We knew that it may not be possible to buy right away, especially since we were not going to be able to sell the property in Arizona until the market recovered. But we wanted to be prepared. We wanted to know what was out there, to explore our options, and to see if it might be possible to find a house that felt like home here in Nebraska.

I’m not lying or exaggerating at all when I say we spent the last 11 months looking at hundreds of houses. Hundreds. We covered every neighborhood and scoured listings on real estate websites, Craigslist, and even For Sale By Owner signs. We made lists of things we liked and didn’t like about the properties. We weighed pros and cons. And we grew increasingly frustrated by the fact that we just couldn’t seem to find what we were looking for in any of the homes.

Until this one.

I knew the moment I walked through the front door that this was the home I had been looking for. I loved everything about it–from the location and the large landscaped yard to the undeniable turn of the century charm.  Stepping inside, I had a very distinct vision of myself and my family living and growing there. I could picture us sitting in the living room, having dinner in the dining room, chasing each other around in the yard.

At first, Steven wasn’t so sure. After all, his tastes are much more modern, minimalist. He likes everything to be pristine and shiny and new. A 120-year-old farmhouse is not exactly what he would have chosen as his dream home. It took a little bit of convincing to even get him over to look at the place, but he finally relented, and I was surprised at how well he actually liked it. Suddenly, I wasn’t the only one excitedly talking about where to put the furniture and how the space would be perfect for all of our family and friends to come to visit.

We figured it was worth a shot, and that somehow it would be ours if it was meant to be.

Now, we are two days away from closing. The sold sign is up. Our garage is full of packed boxes. And we’re just waiting to sign on the dotted line and settle into the place that feels like home.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock…

365 Project – Day 263 – This Old House

Since moving in December, Steven and I have looked at probably a hundred houses, trying to find one that feels like home. So far, we have found two that we love, but one was over our budget and sold almost immediately after being put on the market. The other is still a bit over-priced in a market suddenly overflowing with homes in our price range. We’re doing what we can to save up, but we’re content to bide our time and wait for that perfect house to come along.

In the midst of our house hunting, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the oh so ugly. Maybe it’s my addiction to all the renovation and house hunting shows on HGTV and the DIY Network, but I’m getting to the point where I can look beyond the dated and the ugly and weird and see the underlying potential in the homes. Now, if Steven and I just had the time to actually put some serious sweat equity into some of these houses, we might really be in business. Instead, Steven spends his week working in the office and his weekends catching up on little projects around the house, and  I’ve got writing projects, a busy toddler and a budding photography business taking up my time. But who knows, if the price is right, even one of these outdated fixer-uppers might just be the place we’ll be calling home.

Here are just a few of the gems I saw at the last round of Open Houses I visited…

This built-in oven just might be on the cusp of coming back into style. Inside, it was the cleanest and most well-maintained I'd ever seen. Roasting a Thanksgiving turkey, however, would definitely not be an option.
I can't even begin to imagine the thought process behind this window, leading to the space under the stairs. The plastic mini-blinds were an exceptionally nice touch.
Sure, I've seen plenty of chain locks on front doors, back doors, even garage doors. But the master bedroom? That's a new one.
This listing said there was a 3/4 bath in the basement. I guess the bucket next to the floor drain counts as a shower stall.
It's been so long since I've seen a rotary phone, I would probably end up keeping this on the wall as an art piece.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to the joys of house hunting. Sooner or later, we will find out diamond in the rough. Until then, we’ll just keep looking.

365 Project – Day 225 – House Hunting

Damn these shows like House Hunters and My First Place and Property Virgins that make buying a home look so simple. It’s not like Steven and I are totally unschooled here. It wasn’t so long ago we were buying a home in Arizona. I guess the memories of the stressful realities of home buying somehow diminished over time, but now we are right back in the thick of it.

If there was ever an appropriately named description, “house hunting” wins the prize. The process of going out, finding the perfect home to meet your needs, and then going through the process of buying it is certainly the equivalent of a big game hunting expedition. Only, you are unarmed, and the money you have squirreled away in your bank account to help finance your new purchase is the chum in the water that attracts every realtor in a 20-mile radius.

You spend months, even years, preparing and stalking your prey, seeking the beast that has haunted your dreams. You scour the map, looking for the prime locations. You get your hopes up, every time you glimpse a promising prospect in the distance, only to have your dreams dashed when you get close enough to realize that, once again, this is not the one.

Then, suddenly, you see it, a mirage in the distance. Only this time, you feel your heart beginning to beat faster as you approach. This might be it. Once the beast is cornered, you take time to inspect it from every angle. Could it be? Could this be the one you’ve been dreaming about? So close, you can almost hear it breathing.

It’s in your sights. You’ve got it now. You just need to grab it.

And then some other damned hunter steps right in your way. You’re about to push him, to say, “Sorry friend, but this one’s mine,” but you’re too late. You waited too long to make up your mind. And besides, this guy brought ammo.

You try to tell yourself you didn’t get it because it wasn’t meant to be yours, and that there is another beast, a more perfect beast, out there somewhere, waiting for you.

It helps, but not much.

Now, you have to have to start over, but you’ve learned a little something along the way. You’ve armed yourself, and next time you won’t have to hesitate or compromise. Next time, it will be yours.

Tonight’s 365 Project is dedicated to all the other hopeful house hunters out there. Hang in there and try to enjoy the adventure!

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