Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Change of Scenery

The view from our old apartment, of an ugly city parking lot and neighbors through the trees.

Over the last two months, I've been extra busy! Not only am I doing 60+ hour weeks at work, but I also bought a house during all that. It's been a long search, but I think we finally found a place we'll enjoy long-term.

The view from our house, overlooking a quiet valley with no neighbors in sight.

It's been troublesome, but in our favor. (Patience is a virtue!) The listing had been around for about a year. We made an offer, but the owner decided to remove it from the market due to their daughter's health. During the two months it was off the market, they were nearly foreclosed on. They put it back on the market, we made an offer that same day that was less than the asking price, and they accepted pending bank approval. The bank approval took over two months! Then, the owners took almost an additional month to begin moving out.

Moving weekend was fun. We closed on the house on a Thursday. That morning we did a walk-through and found the owners and realtor were busily packing. We helped out until lunchtime, and the meeting for the closing. We helped more that evening. They had a large U-Haul, a large storage unit, a car, two trucks, and a trailer absolutely packed with stuff. The rest they left for us, mostly because they had no room for it. Friday and Saturday were spent cleaning, painting, and fixing. Sunday, we moved a bulk of the items. Our move out of the apartment wasn't rushed at all, which made for a not-so-stressful weekend.

Living room and propane 3-sided fireplace.

Luck was on my side. The price of the property was cheap compared to others, and the appraised value ended up being $40k higher than what I paid. Mortgage rates had been falling ever since I started looking at houses, and I've locked in at a very nice rate. Thanks to the previous owners, we have a lot of random stuff that homeowners need and usually acquire over several years. We made a deal, and got a cheap price on a very nice (very new) front-load washer and dryer. Thanks to my family's free time and desire to crawl Craigslist, we've found some great deals on the basics. We got a nice ZTR (50" cut) for only slightly more than a typical lawn mower. We got a practically new Cadillac-of-snowblowers (30") for the price of a regular new one. We got a huge couch (with coffee table, end table) and dining room table/set for probably a third of the actual value of the items. Thanks to some other family, we have a beautiful German schrank in the dining room and two similar German wardrobes in the bedroom. And if anyone prefers a German-style bed, we have one of those too in the guest bedroom. Lastly, thanks to Freecycle, we found a free 8 person (but only 300 gallon) hot tub which will be my winter project. The frame is in great shape, but is missing all pumps and electronics.

Dining room with the German schrank, before the housewarming party.

The house sits on over 10 acres, with 8 of those being wooded and mostly hillside. We're by the road, but it's a township road that gets almost no traffic. The nearest neighbors are almost a mile away down the road. We plan to privatize the back yard from road traffic with a shed, small fence, and lots of bushes. The house has a very open floor plan and is over 2800 sq. ft. It's a ranch with a finished walkout basement, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 2 fireplaces where 1 is propane and 1 is wood (which is made to heat the whole house). Despite the size, the utility bills have been very low so far. We'll see what winter brings.

The area is beautiful, and the wildlife is plentiful. The first week, I rolled my naked butt out of bed and looked out the window to see this...

...and I've seen plenty more since then!

The last two months have been exciting. We're breaking in a wonderful 10-year-old home. Not only that, but it'll soon be a nude-friendly 10 acres that will be ideal for clothing-optional parties. Look for more posts in the future on the various projects I'll have going.