Our house search began over 10 months ago. We wanted to skip the starter home step, so we were looking for something we could see ourselves in long term which meant that we were going to be a bit picky about our requirements:
- We were most picky about architecture and character. Farmhouses, Victorians and colonials are our favorite, but we also looked at Craftsmans and even a prairie style home. We told our realtor we probably wouldn’t be interested in seeing homes built after the 1940s. You should have seen her face when she heard that. Bless that woman for sticking with us to the very end! Ideally, we wanted a house at least 90 years old.
- Size: It’s so easy to go too big when it comes to old houses. A house with three bedrooms and around 2,000 square feet would fit us perfectly.
- Lot size: A quarter acre or more is ideal.
- A two car garage was a must for him.
- And a basement or cellar was a requirement for me. I need a place to cower when tornadoes come to town!
I have always been very fond of old farmhouses, so I held out hope that we could find one (the ones with a center gable are my ultimate weakness!). Despite our rural area, they are hard to find. The farmhouses that did go on the market were small ones less than 1,000 square feet—not enough space for our needs.
I checked several real estate websites multiple times a day. With so many people shopping for houses right now, I was determined to find potential homes as soon as possible! Not much gets listed on Saturday though, so I didn’t bother looking on one particular Saturday. On that day, my fiance was visiting his friend in a nearby town (really just a suburb of our city at this point, though it does still have some small town charm). He took a wrong turn and drove past a lovely two story farmhouse—with a center gable!!—and an acre of land overlooking the countryside. The for sale sign had but placed in the yard just hours before.
The next day was Mother’s Day, and I begged my realtor to show us the house on such short notice (and knowing she probably had Mother’s Day plans). I didn’t expect it to be a popular find, but we were the sixth scheduled showing on its first full day on the market! And on a holiday no less! We saw tons of potential in the house and since the property was really well priced, we decided to put in a full price offer that night. I also included a letter about how much we wanted an old house and what an honor it would be to be its caretakers and preserve its character and history for the future.
Our realtor contacted us the next day with the news. We were outbid by someone else’s offer… But my letter really touched the seller, and he chose to accept our lower priced offer instead! Seriously! I’m pretty sure I burst into tears when our realtor told me that. Over the next few weeks, we dealt with the inspection, negotiations about repairs, and our mortgage application. I was still completely nervous the entire time that something crazy would happen and we somehow wouldn’t get the house. I wouldn’t be able to relax until I had the keys in my hand. We finally closed last week! We officially own this 120-year-old farmhouse! Structurally, it’s in great shape, but it does need some work. We are very excited about the possibilities!
It’s in good shape, but it needs some cosmetic changes to restore it back to its original look. For the outside, we’ll need to remove the vinyl siding, add shutters, spruce up the porch, and replace the nonmatching front doors. This is the view from our backyard. This is actually our neighbor’s barn. It may not belong to us, but I’m glad it’s there because I love old barns. There is a metal pole barn on our property which may be a more functional but it’s a bit less charming! :)