”What in the–” I said as I grabbed the door handle. Our realtor revved her engine as she drove over the curb and into the backyard of an abandoned house.
“I have one last listing to show you,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. “It’s not much to look at, but it’s a special house for someone if they want a project. Maybe that’s y’all?”
I got out of the car and stepped into above-ankle length grass and looked at what was once a house. Technically, it still had four walls, a roof, and windows. If I stepped back in
time- say, fifty years- the house would have been beautiful. It wasn’t grand like most of the others on the street, but it looked like someone’s home, and one that they had taken pride in…fifty years ago.
The front boasted a wrap-around porch taking up one side, and a bay window decorated with Victorian lattice-work on the other. The color used to be yellow, but it had faded to a buttercream that blended with the white trim. Inside, tall windows reached just shy of the twelve foot ceilings, bringing light into each room of the shot-gun style floor plan.
We needed the light to see inside, because the home hadn’t had electricity or running water since George W Bush’s first year in office. The realtor “unlocked” the back door by sliding a nail out of the storm door’s latch.
We walked around, laughed at its condition, and concluded the brief tour with my husband saying, “This home has so much potential. For someone who really wants to put the effort in.”
“Which is NOT us!! There is NO way we are buying this…” I waved my hand towards the random toilet sitting on the back porch, “… house.”
May I take this time to remind you of a story in the Bible where someone named Sarah laughed at the ridiculousness of a situation. And we all know how that ended.
I’d like to introduce you to our “Isaac”…
… which looks MUCH better in this picture than it actually is.
Here’s the back of the house:
And here is a shot of the inside of one of the rooms (before the previous owners moved their furniture out)
I used to laugh at the couples on House Hunters that had knock-down, drag-out fights over seemingly trivial issues. I didn’t realize just what a big deal it was until the awkward car ride back to Memphis after our first house hunting expedition, where I had staked my flag on the mountain of open floor plans and yelled “Give me quartz and hardwood or give me death!”.
So after exhausting the market in our soon-to-be hometown, the option of buying the “dump house” and redoing it became a viable option, thanks to some family friends who had experience fixing up houses in the area. The more we talked about it, the more it became apparent that my husband and I were on the exact same page regarding the house. Considering the heated discussions we had had over the top two houses we had considered (one a three story Victorian that needed ALOT of work, and the other a 4,000 sq ft open floor plan house with a giant kitchen (I’ll let you guess who wanted what)), it was nothing short of a miracle that we agreed on anything.
So we bought it. It got a little complicated when we learned that given its condition, it wouldn’t qualify for a home loan, and then it wouldn’t qualify for home insurance. We got it worked out, though, but not before I had to visit the dentist and get a mouth guard since I was gritting my teeth at night due to the stress.
We closed on Friday of last week via overnight mail. Just as we did with my husband’s work contract, he came home post-call and I made him stay awake long enough to get the paperwork signed and notarized, and then I dropped it off at the FedEx office. We actually don’t even have the keys to the place, and won’t be getting them for quite awhile.
But it’s our home… our very first home as husband and wife, and it’ll be where Gracie will grow up. I can mark her height on a door frame, teach her to ride a bike in the driveway, and walk her to school (yes, it’s a 7 minute walk!). I can also paint the rooms whatever color I want, plant perennials, and have a kitchen table that can seat more than two people.
We are thankful. We are also completely, utterly, downright crazy for taking a risk on this house, but I’m too optimistic to get worried about it. God is good, y’all.
Just putting this out there—-I am completely aware that the statement “I am too optimistic to worry about it” will come back and bite me in the butt. I’m sure my next post will be how we discovered a Native American burial site in our backyard. Until then, though… I’ll be on Pinterest.