We bought a house!! We’ve worked a long time to get to this point, a journey which many friends have taken with me. To sum it up very briefly; we built a successful business and had a huge house with lots of toys and then everything crashed in 2008/2009 and it all disappeared. All. OF. IT. We had a few rough years dealing with the ramifications of all of it. But then we decided to make a plan and we stuck to it. It’s taken a lot of work but we climbed our way back up and once again became homeowners. But this time we did it smarter.
This time we bought a house well below the top end of our price range. This time we recognize that sometimes things happen beyond our control and we need to be prepared for it. Unfortunately we learned that the hard way but hopefully our adult kids can benefit from it and save themselves some heartache.
When we moved up here full time in 2019, we knew we wanted to rent for awhile and get to know that area. I was so sure of what I wanted back then. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo on the beach. I didn’t want a yard to maintain. Who wants to rake and shovel and mow? I would sacrifice privacy and space for the convenience of being on the beach and watching the sunrise from my living room. Chad would come home from work and we’d take off for a walk on the beach. It would be like a permanent vacation. We didn’t need room for big gatherings or more than one overnight guest. I was so sure this is what I wanted that I wasn’t even open to other ideas. I plugged my criteria into Zillow and Realtor.com and would get notifications of new listings. Whenever a condo went up for sale we would go see it so we could decide which development we wanted to live in. We looked at quite a few in the Tawases and Oscoda. I just knew when the time was right we would be going that route.
Then came the fire. Our oldest daughter and her fiancé where at our place for Easter dinner in 2021 and the call came that their rental house two miles away was on fire. It was devastating. Our family hadn’t been through anything like that and within an hour our two other adult kids were on the road to come help. One from 4 hours away and one from 2.5 hours. For the next few days we all crammed into our little 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. 6 adults, a cat and an ever growing pile of donations. And we were all so happy to be together that we didn’t mind the chaos. It felt good to just be together. And in that moment I knew that this mattered more than being on the beach. Having a home where our kids and their families could gather for good times and bad, THAT was what “home” meant.
There are very few condo complexes in our area and even fewer with three bedrooms. So I opened my search to include 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom waterfront single family homes. I didn’t want to give up on Lake Huron quite yet. I updated my criteria and my real estate broker husband and I officially started house hunting in July 2021.
It was finally happening. We were looking at houses for the first time in over a decade and I was so excited. We looked at some small cottages on Lake Huron. They were at the top of our price range and all needed major remodeling, some needed garages and some didn’t even have real access to the water. While I’m not afraid of a little work, I knew if we overspent on the house it would be a long time before we would be able to make changes. This would be a good time to mention that we wanted city water and sewer, a decent phone signal and we didn’t want to be right on top of US 23? Anyone who knows our area knows that can be a big challenge once you get away from town! There was also historically low inventory affecting real estate all over the country, home prices were way up and sellers were accepting offers the same day the house was listed. Bidding wars were common place. All in all, not a great year to buy a home. But I was persistent. I was tired of being a renter and wanted the security of home ownership.
At the end of July, after only a few weeks of looking we found a great house. It was small, only 1200 square feet, but it had a separate little guest house and was across the street from Lake Huron. There were a lot of cons but I was willing to overlook them for it’s access to the lake. Our offer was accepted and we thought it was pretty much a done deal. Until the appraisal, that took over a month to get back, came in significantly lower than it needed to. I wasn’t as upset as I expected to be, and that told me everything I needed to know. It wasn’t the right house for us.
We looked at a few more house but nothing felt right. We had seen EVERY house that fit our criteria and even some that didn’t. Then one day a listing popped up that caught my eye. I had seen this listing before but then it has disappeared and I assumed it had sold quickly just like so many others had been. Turns out it had been briefly listed for sale by owner and now was back on the market through an agent. It wasn’t on Lake Huron and I wasn’t sure how I felt about the location. It intrigued me though so we made an appointment to go see it the next day. The house is on a dead end street at the back of a neighborhood full of small, modest homes. I liked it the minute we drove up and as soon as we walked in the front door, I felt like I was home. Chad said he could see it in my face and knew we were going to be buying this house.
It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a loft for even more sleeping space when needed. It’s on a half acre lot backing up to a creek. I could picture my family there for Thanksgiving and cookouts. I could see evenings with friends around a bonfire in the backyard or playing cards in the three season room. What it lacked in beachfront it more than made up for with charm and character. Lake Huron is less than a mile away. It’s only five minutes to my favorite beach and even less than that to our oldest daughter’s new house. It has city water and sewer, is newly remodeled and has a huge porch. It’s a twenty minute drive to work for us and we both have the ability to work from home if need be in bad weather. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for US!
As part of our offer, we gave the sellers a month to move out after closing. We get our keys next week and hope to move in the last weekend of January.