You might be thinking, “what do you mean new house? I thought they HAD a new house??” Yep. We did! In March 2016, we bought our first home – a nice little rancher with a quaint front porch, and a little fenced in yard for our pups. And we planned to be there for 3-5 years, maybe finish education plans before we moved. So, since nothing for us goes as planned, of course we bought a new house in June 2017!
Buuut I have this bad habit of aaaalways looking at real estate. I look at million dollar house, and places that have dozens of acres for my dream property. I look at what our house might cost in NC or southern VA. I look at houses that are near our siblings, on the beach, closer to work, etc. I’m never really looking in order to move. In fact, I was certain we wouldn’t be ready! Much less, be able to afford it after JUST buying a house. We still had boxes that were never unpacked!
But when I came across our little farmhouse in Summit Point (or, what I’m calling a farmhouse even though I know it’s not, because we’re surrounded by farmers), I was in love. The house had been on the market more than 6 months and was quickly dropping in price, getting down into an affordable range for us.
Now, I had just been unemployed for three months, and was only two months into a steady job. I was only making slightly more than what I did as a college intern (which is what I was doing when we bought the last house). And at the time, we were only 13 months into the first mortgage. So, I’m thinking, this is impossible, right?
But that adorable front porch… and the amazing window light… and the potential fire place that could be behind that closed-up mantle… and the stucco exterior and white columns… And the adorable apple tree! I couldn’t stay away.
Going to skip over some of the process here, but long story short, we got pre-approved pretty quickly to my surprise! The home we were looking at was above (but pretty close to) what our maximum budget had been last time around, and our income was still similar, so my assumption was this is a no-go. Turns out, we had received awesome guidance from our lender when buying the first house. I hadn’t realized that, since I was still in college and my hours fluctuated, she used only a small portion of my income to set our budget for the first home. This was soooo so impactful. I went through three months of unemployment, and we were fine. I took some time off during college and cut my hours way back, and we were fine.
And, drumroll for our lender here…. We were able to figure out a way to buy our new home in Summit Point, while keeping our first rancher and renting it out to another family!
Back to my love affair with our house…
Our house was built in 1898, and has lots of creaky floors and doors that stick because it’s settled kinda funny. It has a stone cellar and plaster walls that made pinning up pictures a challenge! It’s got walled-up fire places that we can’t wait to break open. It has a huuuge master bathroom with tons of light! (and, bright pink tile! haha.) It has a full acre of fenced in yard for our dogs to run around in, and tons of windows so the cats can sunbathe on the warm hardwood floors in the afternoon sun. Our bright red dining room has already hosted a handful of dinner guests, which we are so excited to be able to have over now! It’s a little less than double the space inside for us, and triple the yard space!
The moment we walked in, we knew it was perfect for us. I knew it would be. I had fallen in love online, and worked SO hard to convince my husband to go see it with me. I wouldn’t talk about anything else for weeks. Sometime in early April, he promised me that if the house was still on the market by the end of the month, we would go check it out. But we were ONLY LOOKING AROUND. By the end of April, we were under contract 🙂
The rest of the story is pretty boring. Inspections brought up a few things that needed updated, which is to be expected with a house this old. It’s got lots of quirks and character! Our closing got delayed a bit due to some stuff not in the control of either us, our realtor and lender, or the seller’s team. But we finally got our keys in the last week of June, and were moved in, unpacked, and cleaned out the old place in under a week! We didn’t mess around.
This place immediately felt like home. I could see ourselves there the minute I first saw it in person. While it may have thrown a wrench in our other plans, it definitely feels right. 2017 was the year everything got turned upside-down. We both made a sudden career change and have new jobs (together) at a young company (did I mention I quit my job in the middle of trying to buy a house?! That’s not recommended!). I had just purchased a new car when we started looking at the house. My photography business has quadrupled in size since last year, and there’s some things on the horizon that I thought would be years away.
The point is – having plans is great, but life doesn’t follow your lead… you have to be flexible. I’m a huge believer that all things happen for a reason. While I hated my job and my commute at the time, if it hadn’t have been for that awful commute, I wouldn’t have been looking for houses in that area (granted, this house was on the veeeery edge of the places I was looking, and only would have saved me 15 minutes). If I had followed our “plan,” I would be still driving for three and a half or four hours every day, not have time for all the amazing clients in my life right now, much less for housework and my husband. I wouldn’t be coaching volleyball, and I wouldn’t have this gorgeous new living space!
I feel more at-home than I ever have, and I just wanted to share that with you today! If you follow along on Facebook or Instagram (but mostly IG @photography_byjo), you have seen the progress of hanging pictures on our walls, moving furniture around, the animals getting settled in and finding their happy places, and our attempt to clean up the pool (spoiler: we were unsuccessful… tear-down begins next week). We have some beautiful plants and trees that are about to turn bright fall colors, and a magic light that hits our yard before sunset. We even have cherry blossoms in the spring! I can’t wait to host some portrait sessions at our own home!