We've both moved a TON over the last 8 years to apartment to house to duplex to apartment to house to house. All of those were rentals. It's so quick and easy to decide to lease an apartment or a house - You can even do it in the same day you see it. You know if you hate it you can always move when the lease is up. You know if you love it you can resign or extend the lease.
We had no idea how much goes into buying a house. I didn't understand why everyone made it so much more complicated than I think it should be. The long, drawn out process with all the inspections and stress. I always thought (like my dad) that if you wanted it and you had the money you should just be able to buy it. So wrong.
After starting to look at homes and properties in our area, I started to understand why the process is so long. After we made our offer on our property, I really understand and respect the time we are given. There are so many questions that you should ask or consider when making this seemingly 30 year commitment. If you are buying an older home, you probably have about a eighteen thousand more.
We have never spent so much money before, so it only makes sense to ask ourselves why do we want to buy a home and how does it affect us.
WHY DO WE WANT TO BUY A HOME?
Well, there are several reasons. The simplest is that we want a place to call our own. We have moved almost every year (sometimes a few times in one year) for over 8 years, and we want to settle in. The second big one is that renting for so long is not a great financially. Rent money basically goes down the drain for you while home owning is investing in yourself and your home.
The more complicated personal reasons are connected to location and family planning. Not that we are having children anytime soon, but I don't want not owning a home hold us back from starting a family in a few years. I'm always told that there is never a perfect time to start a family, so I don't want buying or building a house to hold us back when we are "ready." Spreading out those decisions seems like a responsible, adult thing to do right?
WHERE DO WE WANT TO BE?
Even before losing my dad almost two years ago, we were drawn to a more rural feel. We were living in Tucson which is a large city, but we found this old farm house about 3 miles from downtown that sat on an acre of land. It was super quiet, private, and tucked in a great spot for a view of the Catalina mountains. We had a great situation there for the dogs and loved that we had almost zero yard maintenance since it was dessert, cactus, and a few trees.
After deciding to move back east, we wanted to be IN the mountains but not too far out to where it's an effort for us to get food or culture or civilization. I have always LOVED Asheville and the little town of Marshall. My parents bought their farm out here almost 10 years ago (same year as the first annual Mermaid parade which we attended). The town has this amazing quirkiness about it that supports farmers, artists, and young families. It has grown over the last 10 years to accommodate new restaurants, small business owners, artist studios, and smaller music festivals. It's charming as fuck, so it made it an easy decision to at least try it out. We were lucky enough to be able to rent the guest house next to the farm to see how we like living 10-15 minutes from the grocery store, and 30-40 minutes from the city. We have only been here 5 or 6 months and we love it - Aaron has found a really great job building houses with a family friend who helped my parents with rebuilding/renovating their farmhouse. He gets to work with his hands and be active during the day - he thrives in a job that gets him moving and thinking.
WHAT DO WE WANT OUT OF A HOME?
We are currently on a smaller property that is mostly steep hill and heavily wooded in a cute 3 bedroom home that was renovated by my dad and a local builder/farmer. It wouldn't take much for us to buy it off of my family if we wanted to, but we kind of want our own space and a little bit more land. We also love the idea of a renovation project which there isn't a ton to do left in this house except the bathroom, the roof replacement, and the basement. The basement would need extensive repairs (water comes through the walls when it rains) and there's no way we would think about replacing a roof on our own. Just makes the reno not as fun to think about since everything else is in great shape.
Obviously we want a project home or fixer upper and our budget completely reflects that is what we can afford to get anyway. We want more property with a mix of usable land for gardens, dogs, and our goats. We also want privacy and a view if possible. Aaron wanted to find a home that we could move into rather than renovate then move into. The universe opened up and gave us this property. (We have not walked the whole property yet, so we don't know if the top has a view or not. Either way we can just drive or hike half a minute to see one. Not only did this property have all the things we wanted, but we didn't have to sacrifice location for it either. The location itself gives this property more value being only 5 minutes from downtown Marshall and only 10 minutes from Aaron's work. Even closer than where the farm is!
There is a ton to consider about this property.. Did I mention it has 3 houses on it? It does. Two of the homes are about 20 feet apart making it hard to sell separately in Madison County. The third is in view of the other two and would sell separately, but you would majorly sacrifice your privacy since it is still really close and uses the same driveway. We needed to break down if this was a good idea of us to tackle..
PROS: 8-10 acres, 3 single family homes (1 main, 1 project, 1 rentable), main house is ready to move in with some repair, large yard/garden, goat fence area, lots of out buildings including a chicken coop, city water and sewage (really rare in the area), less than 10 minutes from Aaron's work, less than 7 minutes from the grocery store, 30 minutes to Asheville, 5 minutes to town, all new roofing on the main house and the 2nd house, and cable accessible.
CONS: Needs some work, the upcoming inspection and appraisal worries us that we offered too much on this property, the air conditioning/furnace may be broken in the main house (definitely broken in the 2nd house), the wood stove and laundry does not come with the house, the 3rd house doesn't have floors and only has a new roof on half of the house, there is some major landscaping and grading that needs to be done, and there may be water getting under the 2nd house.
ALTERNATIVE PROS: The 2nd house has been rented out for the last few years, so its considered livable. If we put some work into it, we can rent it out to help with the mortgage. The 3rd house (project house) would be an amazing adventure for us and our marriage. Aaron and I always love tackling projects together, but we have never been able to do anything major to any of our rental houses besides landscaping. We are both really energized by the idea of figuring out the project house together!
WHAT'S HOLDING US BACK? WHAT DO WE FEAR ABOUT HOME BUYING?
Simply fucking up. We are afraid that we a buying a trash heap and we would be funneling money into something that won't have future property value. (This totally isn't true, but we still fear it.) We have spoken with friends and family to chat out the decision, and everyone seems to be supporting it. Weird - They think we are adult enough to handle buying a home and being home owners.