I found it!

We have a dream… We dream to one day own a home of our own. Don’t know if it’ll ever happen. But there are some things that we consider to be essential to a future home.

Those things include:

  • Some elbow room… ideally, we’d like a place with at least an acre. My husband John would likely be happiest with a place with 10 acres or less. He thinks acres = work. (Not that he’s wrong!) I think – the more the merrier! More acres to explore, play in, let chickens be pastured in, have sheep, goats, cows… You know, stuff like that!
  • Some outbuildings… a barn, a chicken coop, a greenhouse? So many wonderful to contemplate options!
  • Some fencing… in our dreams – fenced and cross fenced, at least some!
  • Water – of some sort… a creek, a pond, something like that.
  • Woods… doesn’t every dream place have some woods? Some marketable timber? Places for teenage boys to roam!
  • A house that’s not falling apart. Enough said.
  • A house with enough bedrooms.
  • A house with more than one toilet.
  • A house with decent electrical.
  • A house with decent plumbing.
  • A house with some water pressure.

There are also some things we’d not expect to find in a house, but would like to implement – somehow, someway. They include:

  • Solar energy
  • Maybe wind energy, too!
  • Rainwater collection system

…to name a few. There are so many cool things to be done anymore. Stuff we’d love to implement and have a part of our daily lives!

We are currently very fortunate to rent a place with half an acre – in a town with an urban growth boundary! Seriously – most houses are on micro lots – think R-24 – yes, folks, that’s 24 residential units on ONE acre. I could go on and on about how frightening it becomes and the things it does the average Joe trying to just survive – not to mention the horrifying aesthetics of the whole thing!

And while we’re so thankful for the house that we’re renting, there are some drawbacks. What, you ask, are the drawbacks about our house that we live in right now?

  • While we love old houses, old can be a bad thing – particularly if it’s generally not up to code in – well – every way, shape, and form.
  • The entire house needs to be rewired – the electrical is a fire waiting to happen.
  • The entire house needs to be replumbed.
  • There is virtually NO water pressure – ANYWHERE – on the property.
  • There are original doors, windows, etc. Think circa 1946 – before energy conservation was a twinkle in anyone’s eye.
  • The entire house pretty much lacks insulation.
  • The heating system is original – oil heat (expensive!) – and entire regions of the house don’t get heat in the winter.
  • No fencing. None. Okay – well, technically – a short ornamental fence at the street. (Think completely incapable of keeping anything contained!)

We talked many times about the fact that we’d happily buy the place. (We’d have to have a windfall of some sort first, of course!) What would we do if we did? Invite the fire department over to practice burning down a house! (They do that, you know – it’s good practice for them to know how to control the fire and make sure it’s out.) Then we’d put a new house on the front half of the property, fence the entire place, and do some major yard overhaul. (There’s an apple tree about as old as the hills that seriously needs to go away! The only thing it does well is bean you with the fruit that is wickedly awful tasting and never ripens! Oh, there’s that dead cedar tree, too…)

So – I admit it – I look.

At real estate web sites.

They’re so stinking addictive!

Such a waste of valuable time!

And they lead to discoveries like this!

Isn’t it pretty? 21 acres! In Tennessee! We love Tennessee! (Yes, we do live in Oregon – and yes, Tennessee is far, far away!)

AND – it has this!

A real live tea house! With a working fireplace! Isn’t it adorable?!

What more could one need in life?

Oh – yeah – $1,750,000.00. That would require more than a bit of a windfall, huh?

Plus – imagine all of the housework!

How far would you have to go to find the laundry room?

That’s a lot of lawn to mow… I can just see my husband giving me the raised eyebrow stern but quizzical look – you know, the one that asks, “What do you think I am? Superman?!” (Yes, actually, I do. J)

But I can dream, can’t I?

The Inside Scoop

As it turned out, we were not able to go and see the house in daylight yesterday. There were some scheduling conflicts, so we left about 7:15 pm – well into the evening last evening.

So – I’ll show you a few pictures…

Here’s the mud room/laundry room. I like it. I like that it’s big, it has two windows – so lots of natural light.

Here’s the kitchen – looking toward the breakfast nook. Isn’t it interesting that it has cedar ceilings? Of note, this house has been empty for three years – a business deal gone bad, from what we’ve learned. The kitchen – while not fancy – is nice enough, and brand spanking new – well, at least never used. The stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator – all never been used – are included.

Here’s the french doors (behind Jess) that would be the “front” doors – that is if the front doors were actually accessible to the real world. I’m sure that in 1890 it made way more sense. We think this is supposed to be the formal dining room – given the pretty fancy light fixture.

There are three large-ish sized rooms on the ground floor, with a tiny little room off of one of them. The picture below is the juncture between two of those large-ish sized rooms. I should probably make note of the fact that the carpet is pretty much trashed in this house.

Here’s a peek at the sink/mirror in the one and only bathroom. Interestingly enough there is a HUGE window right adjacent to the toilet. Said window is adjacent to the porch/entry via the mudroom – which would, in all reality, be the main entry into the house.

And here’s a peek at the other end of the bathroom – again, so interesting having the cedar ceilings!

Here’s the view from the third large-ish room downstairs toward the staircase. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures upstairs.
We were really surprised by several things…

  1. The interior of the house is in much better shape than we imagined.
  2. The three bedrooms upstairs were much larger than we thought they’d be.
  3. There’s not a closet to be found in the place. We shouldn’t be surprised, I guess – given the era of the house, but one would have thought maybe since 1890 someone could have thrown a few in!
  4. There are TONS of bugs in this house.
  5. We suspect quite a lot of dry rot.

So… what to do…

It’s a bit spendier than what we feel comfortable with – even though the bank says we can afford it. (The bank, however, is not feeding, clothing, and keeping healthy and hale three kids!)

It’ lacks a single outbuilding… sigh. We want outbuildings. And given that it’s more expensive than we hope to spend – there would be no money left over to build outbuildings in the near future…

It’s completely lacking fencing… We want fencing… We realize we’ll need to put up some wherever we end up going eventually – but one can’t help but hope for some, can they?

And while the interior is in better shape than we imagined it would be – there are some concerning features… like the dry rot…. like – where are all of those bugs getting in?!… like all of the places where the finishing wasn’t completed on walls, corners, fixture installation, etc.

We aren’t expecting a Street of Dreams kinda place for what we can afford – but we also don’t wanna be stupid, you know?

So – our real estate agent is running some comps… We’re kind of thinking it may be a bit overpriced given the issues that we were able to ascertain with two brief encounters.

We’ll see what happens – you never know!

Should we? Or shouldn’t we?

We’ve always just pretty much assumed we’d never own a home. We will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary in November – and – for us – it has never seemed an automatic that we should or would join the ranks of homeowners. We decided long ago that it was far more important – for our family anyway – for me to be home with the kids (where I want to be) than to be out in the work force. Yes, that means we have much less income coming in. Yes, that means we must be very intentional with every little penny.

We’ve been so blessed to be renting an older home – in NW Portland – on half an acre. It’s not a fancy house at all. In fact, it has original a bunch of stuff – not good stuff to have original just to be clear – you know, wiring, plumbing, etc. It’s not insulated. It has issues. Big issues. But it’s affordable – AND – it’s HALF AN ACRE IN NW PORTLAND! The reality being – our landlords are pretty committed to not improving the place. So, we must do with what we have.

For years now we’ve been working diligently to pay off debt – including mountains of school loans – we’re exceptionally well educated but of course, in fields that neither of us ended up working in. We’ve put our extra pennies into savings, and done without as much as possible.

As a result, we find ourselves in a place we didn’t think we’d be… contemplating purchasing our first home.

If the truth were told, we’d confess to longing for…

A home with enough room for all of us – the human contingent of our little world – two adults, the three kids, with an additional nephew thrown in for good measure at the moment.

Enough land to grow what we want to grow – lots and lots of organic stuff.

Enough land to have our chickens – and maybe even a small flock of turkeys.

Enough land for a goat or two.

Enough land for a couple of cows.

That doesn’t exist in the area where we live right now – at least not in our price range. Speaking of price range – ours is pretty modest – compared to the values of the places that we can see in a five mile radius of where we live. VERY modest. It’s a given that if we end up buying a house it won’t be nearby.

We figure we’re gonna need a place to be within an hour drive for John’s commute to work. We know we won’t move to a place that has schools that don’t meet certain criteria. We know it’s going to be a big deal – moving our kids from one set of schools to another, as well. And we know that it will be a big adjustment – going from suburbia to a more rural lifestyle. When we lived in Kentucky we lived about 20 miles from the nearest town. The places we’re looking at now are nowhere near that far out.

So we’ve been looking. A bit passively, actually. Not many places come up that fit our criteria! But of the ones that do – it’s kind of funny how many places look amazing on ads – but not so much in real life. Seen a bunch of those. But what do you expect given our price range?!

Today we did a drive-by on a place that at first blush is beautiful. See?

We were happy to learn from our real estate agent that it is vacant, so we could peek in the windows. Bottom line… from the outside it’s REALLY cute. Come Monday we’ll actually peek inside to see more.

But the real question is this, I guess: Just because the lender says you can afford to buy this house – can you really? Or more specifically – can we? Or should we?

There is a great yearning in our hearts to own some land… Usable land. Land that we can do something with, and that will sustain – well – not just us but our animals.

But at what cost?

I’m guessing we’re not the only ones asking that kind of question right now – given the current state of financial affairs in our country.

Owning, of course, has it’s advantages. Not owning does as well.

Oh – if only we knew what it was we really ought to do.

It may well be we’re not the first ones to ponder that very question while standing a ways off gazing at the potential of this being our home – it was built in 1890, after all.

Hmmm…. we’ll see.

On a completely different note…

We get the magazine Backyard Poultry and this month’s issue arrived today. There’s an article on Barred Rock chickens. Know what? I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that our BB and Speedy just might be Barred Rocks! But after reading this article today – I’m convinced that Ducky (below) is a Dominique. (Our only Dominique pullet – out of the six chicks we started out with!)

Wasn’t it nice of her to stop and pose for me?

And here’s Rooth – not to be outdone by Ducky – she wanted her picture taken, as well. Isn’t she growing up?

Sigh… it really would be nice to have a place of our own…