Lesson Learned v. 3: Don’t Force Feelings
G and I are loving being homeowners. We are continually working to make our new house a home and have completed a number of projects thus far. These include demolishing the wall between the dining room and living room, repainting six rooms, reflooring five rooms, trimming rooms, and hanging blinds. We both have the week of Christmas off in order to gut our bathroom and remodel. It has been quite the adventure already!
It seems crazy that we’ve only lived in our house for a little over two months. Not even four months ago we were casually house-hunting. I’ve shared with you our first six house visits here and here, but I have one final story in that journey to tell. It took visiting three more houses for us to find our little lovely corner of Southwest Michigan. Here are those final three tales…
Family friends lived around the corner of House #7 and brought it to G’s and my attention. This old farmhouse was exactly what we had been searching for: it lay on a beautiful country lot, it had a large garage and interior rooms, and it was within our price range. It had its quirks such as a door which opened to a brick chimney and awkward closet placements. However, we both shrugged our shoulders at those knowing we had witnessed worse issues. Following a tour of the first and second floors, we were pretty set to make an offer. Then our agent, Dawn, directed us to the basement.
Ah, yes, another basement story…
The basement was another dreary and wet Michigan basement. There was your typical cobwebs, dirt clumps, and steel support jacks.
Steel. Support. Jacks.
It seemed the house’s owners were attempting to prevent any sort of floor collapse from the early-season flooding by propping the entire house up with two jacks. These jacks were about a foot in diameter and rested at two opposing corners of the two-story home. In addition to the jacks, many of the floor rafters were strapped with steel bands where large cracks had appeared. Thankfully the day we visited was a calm, pleasant day outside because I worried what might happen if the wind blew.
Hundreds of questions flooded my mind. How long would this house remain standing? Were the jacks sufficient? What sort of additional support would be necessary in the future? Had an inspector seen this?
As we drove away, G and I discussed a lot of our questions and decided we would sleep on the house and rejoin the next day to talk more. We loved everything about the house. We wanted to say yes. We wanted to place an offer. But ultimately our gut told us that House #7 was not our forever-home. So we passed and went on to House #8.
House #8 rested in a cute neighborhood close to the state highway. It was probably the most modern and cleanest house we visited, and G and I both liked it. A lot. There was a decent-sized kitchen, a large living room, a two-car garage, and each of the three bedrooms were decently sized.
Though we couldn’t disagree the house had a lot of potential to be our First Home, we had one concern. There was no property. Directly to each side of the house was a neighbor not even 10 feet away. The backyard was fenced, but was only about 30 square feet in size. This wouldn’t be a big issue if the house weren’t also one of the more expensive homes we viewed. Yes, that price included many modern features and the lack of much work needing to be done — House #8 was definitely turn-key ready. Yet we knew within a few years and a child or two we’d have to move.
Moving wasn’t a deal-breaker, but we had gone into our house-hunting adventure with an agreement we’d search for a home with “Forever Home” potential. House #8 held no future promise once our family grew.
Since we said no to House #8 strictly on the principle of size, I’m not sure why we ventured into House #9. This little place was a mere 780 square feet.
I guess we simply wanted to leave our apartment where our upstairs neighbor’s bathroom water was flowing down our kitchen wall. Ugh.
House #9 made for a quick visit because there was not much house to see. A kitchen, a bathroom, a living room — all small. Not to mention the two bedrooms which couldn’t accommodate our party of three (G, Dawn, and me.) let alone a bed sized larger than a double. It was a nice house, but did not fit our needs.
As we pulled the door shut of House #9, I turned to Dawn. The mid-July sun was setting when I said, “I think we’re going to wait and start hunting again in the Spring.”
G agreed, “We are getting disheartened, and with the extra time we can save more on a down payment and look into a higher house-purchase bracket.”
Dawn nodded knowingly, understanding our dilemma. We went into this adventure with no pressure and we easily could wait until Spring to find a house. There was the potential housing prices might increase, but G and I had already spoken on the topic and were willing to wait. We started walking to our cars. Then Dawn turned to us.
“No pressure, but there is one more house we could look at tonight. I showed a couple earlier who decided to pass on it. Its currently vacant so we could stop by since its on the way home for us both. It is a solid house.”
G and I looked at one another and shrugged. “Might as well.”
And with that, we drove into our future because that random little house ended up being our First Home.
NOTE: This post was originally written on my previous blog in 2018 while G and I were house hunting as first-time homebuyers.