We decided to check out the house market online.
There really wasn’t much to peak our interest in our price range, but there was this funky, A-framed monstrosity that we thought would be fun to check out. It was on over an acre of land and looked like at one time, it must have been amazing. Taking the bait, we called our realtor.
Now, we were aware that starting the process of looking could potentially be a slippery slope, but we weren’t concerned about falling for this house. It was obvious that it needed a lot of work, and it promised to be a fun and interesting way to dip our toes back into the market. (How about that for a mixed metaphor?)
And it was. It was a grande dame of a house. During her peak, she must have hosted many the glorious party on her expansive deck and sweeping great room. The bedrooms were small, but one of the upstairs areas had a balcony. There were two bathrooms. The upstairs rooms were on either end of the house, reached by climbing steep, circular staircases. My Charles and I liked it a lot. It was unique and eccentric, but we were never in the least bit tempted. The land was too shaded for a garden. There was no garage. Several trees too close to the house needed to be taken down, and the structure itself really needed about 100 grand to be brought back to the elegant wonder she must have once been.
We chatted with our realtor a bit and went on our way, knowing that we were in the possession of a nice house that suited us pretty well. While it lacked things that were important to us, it was cozy, it had a great view, and most importantly, it was ours.
But we kept looking. Occasionally, we’d see a place that looked like it might be promising. We saw a couple in an area I’d always been fond of, another that was close to the peaceful valley where we had rented before we bought, and one that was close to my favorite hiking/running trail. Another was a cute, 100-year-old home that had land that would have been amazing for growing grapes, but the deferred maintenance was daunting. Nothing really tempted us. There really wasn’t too much in our price range, after all. The challenge kept us content in Our Little House.
Then, on a lark, we checked out an older manufactured home. The house was dated and in need of a lot of work, but it was cheap. Even better, the land was lovely. There was already an established garden. The house sat on over an acre of land that had a seasonal creek and was surrounded by the buzz of honey bees and a delightful chorus of frog song. It was almost twice the size of our house, had two bathrooms, and a walk-in closet! Plus there was a garage and a green house, and the location was so amazingly quiet. We would be a lot closer to work, too, and we weren’t really put-off by the idea of a non-traditional home. It needed so much done to it, though, and it was a foreclosure. That meant we’d have to pay for all the inspections, which was a gamble. If something ended up being really wrong, too expensive to fix, or kept us from getting a loan, we’d be out thousands of dollars. We had a good house, but as Charles pointed out, it also had shortcomings. Should we risk it?