We had been searching much longer that I had planned. When we moved to Virginia, we had planned to be in our apartment for no more than a year, yet here we were, one year and seven months later, seemingly no closer to owning a home in our new city. I kept telling myself that I needed to trust and wait, that God had a special home for us out there that I would love, but after looking at thirty to fifty houses (I lost count) and putting offers on two that fell through, I was weary. We were thankful for our cute and cozy apartment, but really wanted to live in a house again with a yard.
A home with character
We’ve owned two houses previously; one was brand-new and one was five years old when we bought it. But all my life, I’d dreamed of owning an older home with character, like the homes I grew up in. After looking at a house that was available in an older neighborhood, a house which was decent but not as cute as I wanted, we drove away, and down the street were a couple of those cute, storybook cottages. I told my realtor emphatically, “If one of those goes on the market, I want to know right away. That’s exactly what I want.”
Then one day, I checked my email just after getting home from work. There was a message from my realtor, and I opened it, expecting more of what we’d seen that didn’t really excite me. So I did a double-take when I saw it! It was one of the storybook houses I’d told her I loved! Here’s what it looked like then:
A quick scroll through pictures of the inside, and I was hooked. It did not have everything on my list. Particularly, it was lacking a downstairs master and only had one full bathroom. We still had our youngest living at home, so a second shower would have been nice. But it was so cute, I couldn’t stand it. I had wanted a house built no later than 1950. This one was built in 1949.
The text I sent my realtor went something like this: “Oh my goodness–I have to see this ASAP!!! I guess tonight is too late?? Definitely by tomorrow morning! Let me know!” I’m sure she was laughing.
Because we’d made offers on two other houses that fell through (thank goodness–both were more expensive and not as cute as our storybook cottage!), my husband had researched how to win a bidding war. The main recommendation (besides offering above asking price), was to write a letter to the owner. I sat down at the computer and poured my heart out about why we wanted this house and how we would make it a home for our family. (This was all before I saw the house in person!) We showed up the next day at 10 AM, and after looking at the house for less than ten minutes, all three of us were in love. At 10:20 that day, we wrote up our offer with our realtor, enclosed the letter, and waited. Before the house was on the market twenty-four hours, there were two additional offers.
I went to work the next day and waited. I was nervous and excited, but I also had a sense of peace that this was really the one and that everything was going to work out. About one-thirty, my phone began to buzz, and it was my realtor. Holding my breath, I answered and heard these wonderful words: “You got the house!”
It’s a good thing I was alone in the office, because I jumped up and down and screamed with joy as happy tears filled my eyes. After many years of dreaming, I had my older home with character. This was the beginning of Muse Cottage. I hope you’ll follow along on our journey to fixing it up (mostly cosmetically) and making it our home.
What’s special about your dream house (real or imagined)? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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