3 years ago I quit a job.
2 years ago I had a baby.
1 year ago I bought a house.
I looked for 18 months. I spent time each morning looking at my saved searches on Realtor.com. I looked in the mountains for greater than 5 acres under $30K, and I searched the nearest town for any house under $30K. Most days I felt my chances were pretty slim. I had very limited funds to work with; what was left of my 401k and a little help from my family.
I had a wonderful real estate agent. I know I must have entertained him on some level , because he was willing to meet me out in some pretty remote areas and drive down roads that we weren’t always sure we could get out of.
Ultimately, one morning I saw this house. It was in town, and it was the top end of my price range. I called Bill (the agent). The only photos available were exterior. It looked a little run down, but not beyond reason. I thought at that price it must have been gutted by fire. The sellers were recommending the house be scraped and something else built on the land. If it wasn’t what I was looking for, at least it would be an adventure!
I showed up in pants and boots, with gloves and goggles and a mask. I left the 17 year old watching the 1 year old in the car. Bill and I entered cautiously looking around to make sure the ceiling wasn’t going to cave in. We stepped onto a solid floor. It was intact; filthy but intact. There was water damage on the kitchen ceiling, but the roof had been replaced on the house. There was evidence of rodents on the counters and inside the open refrigerator. And the oven.
The carpet was matted and in clearly worn paths and the windows were cracked and “patched” in places. The upstairs hadn’t been touched in thirty years. There were local newspapers from the early 80’s on the floor. Every step sent up a plume of dust.
It was perfect.
The roof was intact. The water and the power worked. Structurally it was sound. It was on a large lot – over 9000 square feet!
I was the first offer, and I didn’t haggle. The deal closed a month later. The good ol’ boy realtor was sitting across the table with the former owner, an 85 year old bachelor. Who was going to do the work on the house? Me, of course. They laughed.
I didn’t care. I am now the proud owner of a hundred year old house with a mortgage payment less than the rent on my very first apartment. It’s hard to imagine that was 20 years ago. Life is good.