Friday, May 19, 2017

Finding a Farmhouse (Part 3)

(We've gotten lots of practice for living on a farm while living with my in-laws)

Ben and I discussed back and forth about the auction house. We figured it wouldn't hurt to just go to the auction and see what happened and have a number in our head of what we were willing to spend. During our whole house hunting process, we were looking at auctions. I became a fan of the Farmers Exchange, the newspaper that came once a week listing the upcoming auctions. So, we weren't intimidated by auctions. We just needed to decide if this house was one we really wanted and how much we were willing to spend.

The Foreclosure House
A few days before the auction, a foreclosure house was listed. It wasn't aesthetically my dream farm house, but it sat on twenty acres and was in our price range, so we were intrigued. We thought we would never be able to afford more than five acres. We went and looked at it the day after it was listed, and there were several other families looking at the house as well. We weren't surprised as the house was listed at a great price for twenty acres. Even after looking at the house, we were surprised to find that there were no big issues. We would have to patch the roof, and there were a number of other things we would want to do, but very little that had to be done. The house also had a barn with a workshop attached. I had plans for how we could make the house look more like a farmhouse by putting a white metal roof on, painting the shutters black, and painting the railing on the deck and porch white. The house itself was a good size, too, with three bathrooms! We knew putting an offer in on this house would mean we would definitely have to let go of The Auction House as we would not get a response before the auction was over, but we decided that we wanted to move forward with The Foreclosure House. While we loved a lot about The Auction House, we worried that we would be getting in over our heads with all of the updates and the addition we would want to do to make it work for our family. So we let go of The Auction House, and we put an offer in for The Foreclosure House.

Our original offer was at list price. We found out the next day that there were several offers so we needed to put in our highest and best. We offered a little over asking price, with a number we felt comfortable with, and trusted that if this was the house the Lord had for us that he would honor our offer. We waited several days, anxious and praying. Oh, the waiting. I am not a good waiter. I have a list of worship songs that I listen to when waiting to help my anxious soul stay calm and remember that the Lord has this. Meanwhile, the auction came and went, and we heard from friends who attended that the house went for more than what we intended to bid, so we felt confirmed that we had made the right decision. Six days after making our offer on The Foreclosure House, we finally heard back, and they had declined our offer and taken a higher offer. We were bummed but not completely surprised. We found out that there were nine offers total on the house.

So, we continued our search. It was now the beginning of April, a date when we had originally thought we would certainly be living in our farmhouse, so it was hard to not grow weary. At the same time, my trust grew in the Lord. It seems like that is how it works. The more we grow weary and the more we're put to the test to renew our strength in the Lord, the deeper our relationship becomes with the One who made us. We find in him more than we ever hoped. He is always sufficient, no matter our circumstances. And I know in many ways, my circumstances were light. But I know that in all of these smaller things, the Lord is training me for bigger things. Charles Spurgeon once said, "As God more fully equips your ship to sail in storms, He will send you on longer voyages to more boisterous seas, so that you may honor Him and increase in holy confidence." Amen a thousand times.

I should add at this point that during our house hunt, I was driving every back road possible in hopes of finding For Sale by Owner signs or houses that looked vacant. I even wrote a few letters to people inquiring about their farmhouses (I didn't receive any responses).

It was now a week into April, and we decided to post something on a Facebook buy/sell/trade page again about looking for a farmhouse. We posted on a different page this time, and I was excited to receive several responses. 

The Middle-of-Nowhere House
The first girl to respond was super sweet. She sent us pictures of her house, and it was a beautiful, big white farmhouse. We loved the house. It only sat on two acres, and it had just a small poultry barn, so those areas both left us desiring, but they weren't deal breakers. We were pretty much looking for houses in the middle-of-nowhere, but even we would say this house was further out than we desired. However, we were still open to the possibility, so we set a date to tour the house.

The Big Brick Hile House
At the same time, another girl had contacted me about their farmhouse. It was a big, old brick house built in the 1800s. It was one I was very familiar with because I had passed it many times over the years driving between my parents' house and Ben's parents' house. I had always loved it, and I also knew the relatives of the previous owners, so I was really excited about it. Ben was excited because he loves brick houses. We were extremely hopeful about this house. I had always loved the idea of owning a house where I could hear all of the history of the house, and I knew the family who had owned this house for many years, dating back to the early 1900s! The Hile family still have their name on the barn! The house was sold out of their family in the last ten years. The family who owns it now had bought it with plans to renovate it, but once they started, they got busy and simply didn't have the time to renovate the house. We were excited about the idea of getting the house for a really great deal because of all the work it needed. We visited the house and loved the property. It sat on seven acres with a beautiful old barn and a big garage. The house was on a busy road, which wasn't our preference, but it sat off the road enough to appease our worries. Inside, the house definitely needed a lot of work. It was the first true fixer-upper we had seen. It absolutely needed a lot of work. The downstairs had no drywall which made for a bad draft. The kitchen was dated though functional. The floors were half-done. Wallpaper was half-torn off the walls. Upstairs was completely unlivable. The family living there demo-ed the space but had never found the time to refinish the it. We knew if we bought this place, that we would need to completely finish the upstairs before moving in which would be both time and money. I loved the house! The idea of truly fixing up a piece of history excited me. Ben was hesitant after seeing the extend of the work and being uncertain about how much we would be getting into financially with purchasing a place like this. We asked the couple to give us a number as soon as they decided.

Ben and I talked about it and decided on a number we would be comfortable buying it for, knowing the amount of work it needed. The couple got back to us a few days later, and their number was $30,000 more than what we wanted to spend, so it was an easy, but sad "no" for us. I was sad that we wouldn't be able to give the house the love and restoration it needed. My husband felt relieved though. I realized several things with this house. First, I realized that every house comes with a big price tag, especially if you want acreage. Even if you buy a cheap fixer-upper, you're going to put money into it by fixing it up. Along with the money, you put time into it. Sometimes this is worth it, and sometimes it's not. And that's the second thing I realized with this house. I realized just how much Ben was giving up if we bought a house that was a big project. Ben works a full-time job, so any hours he would put into a house would be on top of that. He wants to enjoy our kids while they're young, and he wants to have a life outside of work. Maybe we would be able to save money in the long-run by buying a house that was an extensive fixer-upper, but time is costly too, and you can't get hours of your life back once they're spent. Our hope was still to find an old farmhouse that could use updates, but something less demanding than The Big Brick Hile House.

On the same day we said "no" to the brick house, a new farmhouse came on the market.
We also still had our appointment set up for the Middle-of-Nowhere House.
I wasn't sure what house God had in mind for us, but I had a feeling in my heart that very soon, we were going to have a house.

1 comment:

  1. Your searching for the good farm house was not less than a roller coaster ride..So many ups and down but you finally got succeeded to have one for you.