After about 5 years of living in the same apartment, I knew I was ready for a change. The apartment was fine but it was lacking the personalization I really wanted and I was tired of sharing walls with neighbors.
In October 2013, I started working with my realtor Bob to find my home. My list of musts limited my choices. I wanted a house in about a 5 block square area of my town. The house had to have a nice sunny space in the yard for a garden. It needed at least 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms but not so big that it would feel empty with just me living there. The street should be relatively quiet and the neighbors' houses well-kept. The distance to downtown shops, restaurants, church, post office, and library should be short enough that I'd willingly walk, at least in good weather. Bonus points for: covered parking, fireplace, any recent upgrades, and storage space like a dry basement (rare in my area).
Bob and I visited lots of homes. I just quickly counted up 11 from memory and I might have missed one or two more. Every house had some kind of deal breaker, from termites, to bedrooms with no access to a bathroom except in the master suite, to no kitchen at all, to being way too much of a fairytale, to just being too "blah." In August, I came to see my house, just as school was getting started. The timing couldn't have been worse for a teacher! I saw the house on a Thursday and had an accepted offer by Sunday.
The house is a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath Cape Cod on about 1/4 acre in town. The bathrooms and kitchen had cosmetic updates done by the sellers, so I pretty much left those rooms alone. There's a sunroom on the south side of the house that gets lovely light. I'm just four blocks from downtown businesses and less than a mile from work.
I closed at the end of September and went to work hiring contractors. I wanted to have the doors and windows replaced to help seal up the house. I also knew the hardwood floors needed to be refinished and I certainly didn't want to live through all that dust. I also had drawers built into the walls in the upstairs bedrooms, a hall closet built, new lighting installed in the kitchen, a fan/vent combo put up in the bathroom, and a few other small things done. It took some doing to find a contractor who could do the work by the end of November because I wanted to hold off on moving in until the work was done. Through serendipity, one of the recommendations I got was for the business partner, Jack, of a man I know from church, Paul. Jack and Paul did an excellent job on everything they touched and I was very fortunate that they were able to keep on schedule as well. The weather was pretty cooperative as they had 22 windows to install!
I moved in on November 22 and the adventure really began...