Thanks for all the sweet comments about our new home! I promise to share more photos soon! But let me just say that we are thrilled with this glorious old place and still can’t quite believe it’s ours. So far, Wilder is enamored with the frogs in the pond (he named them Toadie and Tattie) and his 35sf, window-less bedroom closet, which he refers to as “his space”. Brooks on the other hand has been happily bear-crawling around and around in the grass. Oh to be a kid again!
Finding an old house in the country has been a long-time dream of ours, or as I like to call it, our “someday” dream.
We all have “someday” dreams, right? Like “someday” you’re going to take a cruise. Or “someday” you’re going to run a marathon. Well our someday dream (okay, maybe more my dream than Garrett’s, but still…) has been to fall head over heels for a house, hopefully one on a little land and one that needs a little work, and then raise our kids there.
So you can imagine how excited I was when our “someday” came a-knockin’ – or I should say, came a-emailing – this Spring.
See we had planned to head over to Nana and Papa’s farm in Ellensburg to butcher 22 chickens one Friday (hopefully you guys aren’t vegetarians…), when a Redfin alert popped up in my inbox. An old farmhouse had just gone on the market not ten miles from Nana and Papa’s farm that very day. I’ve looked at realestate in Ellensburg for years (remember this house? We put two offers on it), which isn’t exactly saying much since I look at real estate everywhere in Washington (okay and sometimes Oregon too). But Ellensburg has always been special for us. As I mentioned last week, it’s where Garrett and I grew up. Where we fell in love. Where our parents still live. And where we’ve talked about raising our kids. So when this glorious old farmhouse popped up, I said, “we have to see it.” It didn’t matter that we didn’t have financing lined up. And it didn’t matter that we had the Dexter House basement renovation to start. I simply had to see it.
We got a tour lined up the very next day (before the chicken butchering commenced). And Oh. My. Lord! It was so much better than I imagined. Original windows. check. Unpainted millwork. check. Older than dirt. check. The perfect country setting. Check, check, check! When we walked in the front door, I almost cried. This was it. I just knew. It was the house I’d been dreaming about in my “someday” plan. I was standing in it. And I didn’t just want to live there, I wanted to die there. And here we were completely unprepared to make an offer on a house.
Our agents warned us that there was already a lot of interest in the house and we needed to have a financing pre-approval letter accompany any offer. So Garrett called our broker on the way back to Nana and Papa’s farm. We have an awesome broker who has done a lot of loans for us, and he promised to run the numbers on Sunday morning. Like I said, he’s awesome. So we spent Saturday afternoon butchering chickens and I tried not to think about the house. On Sunday morning, I woke up before dawn, too excited to sleep. I got up, opened my laptop, and started typing a heart-felt letter to the owner (a technique we’ve successfully used before to win a house). I laid it on thick because it was all true. This was the house of our dreams. By the time Garrett woke up, I had a two-page love letter for him to read.
I had a nervous stomach all morning until Garrett finally got the call from our broker, who thankfully said we could move forward with an offer. And we didn’t waste a minute to call our agent and start an offer. Now I should mention that Ellensburg is a “kindler, gentler” real-estate market than what we’re used to in Seattle (our agent’s words). So we were encouraged NOT to use an escalation offer and NOT waive inspection (which we did anyway) and NOT up our earnest money. And since that environment is something we love about our home town, we put a kindler, gentler offer in: 1% earnest money, no escalation clause, waived inspection, and the love letter attached. Then it was time to wait.
It only took one night of no sleep to find out that the owner had 6 offers to review. Yes, six! (And in this small town with a kindler-gentler real-estate market. Sheesh!) One offer was all cash. One was higher than ours. But none of them had a letter like ours. And because the world is good and the old-house-gods were shinning on us, the owner picked us. He picked our letter and our offer and our family.
So we bought another home. Our fifth home. Our someday home. And my heart is full and my head is spinning and my hands are itching to get to work.
p.s. Wondering how packing at the Dexter House is going? Well this photo about sums it up 😉
p.p.s. I loved this story of finding the creaky cottage! Sometimes old and imperfect is actually quite perfect.
p.p.p.s. Okay this happy and bright interior had me at the front door! I definitely need to make a trip to Bar Melusine, especially since it’s in Seattle!