Jenny: Cottage Saturday: As Requested, How It All Started

When I knew it was time to move–my grandkids were growing up without me, Squalor on the River was bankrupting me, Lani and Alastair needed a place of their own–I made a list of things I wanted in my next home. Within four hours of the grandkids. Small. On the water. Two bedrooms with room to put a third bed temporarily for three goddesses. Two bathrooms because I’m paranoid about bathrooms. Cheap. Room for the dogs to roam. Then I started looking on the internet.

You can find all of that on the water within four hours of my daughter, but you’re going to pay for it because she lives near NYC. The northern Chesapeake looked wonderful but was pricey. Oceanfront was either out of the question or awful, plus the insurance there is just insane, and that was before Sandy. Then I mentioned to my editor that I wanted to be on a lake or a river close to Mollie. She said, “Lake Hopatcong.”

I couldn’t afford that, either. But that put me in northwestern NJ, someplace I hadn’t looked before. I wanted warmer, not colder, but when I checked the planting zones, this area was the same as southern Ohio. (In practice, it’s been a little colder, but not much.) So I started looking on NJ lakes without knowing anything about them, and I found a picture of a little cottage, built in the 30s. It was so charming it made my heart hurt, it was on half an acre (that’s HUGE for lakefront), it had its own boat house and dock (not that I had a boat), it had three bedrooms and two bathrooms. I called the realtor.

I was heading for NYC shortly anyway for the RWA national conference, so on my way I stopped to look at the place. The first difficulty was finding it; remote doesn’t begin to describe it. I’m very careful about not putting my address on the net, but this place is almost as bad as Krissie’s: I give people directions and they can’t find it. It’s on a one-lane road, which gave me a great deal of pause. There are no street lights, the road signs are all small and confusing because the roads change names. By the time I got there, I was thinking, Uh, no. Then I saw the house.

The yard was full of grass and weeds and overgrown peonies. The front door handle is bent and the door sticks. The inside was full of dark woodwork, some of it painted dried-blood red. Some of the walls were ugly paneling. Some of the floors were hideous pink vinyl sheet. The edge of the fridge stuck out into the hall because the kitchen was so tiny. The appliances were from the 80s, which is not a charming time for vintage appliances. The kitchen was 5’x 6′ (forget “eat-in,” this wasn’t a “cook-in” kitchen). The main floor bathroom was less than 48″ wide. The downstairs bathroom was riddled with mold. In fact all of the very dark, paneled walk-out basement, divided into five rooms including one of the bedrooms, was riddled with mold. The half acre was mostly vertical with a steep drop to the lake. The whole place was uninsulated with single pane windows. The upstairs was a finished attic under the eaves with only a three-foot strip down the middle with six-foot ceilings. And it had been vacant for over two years.

It was a nightmare, it was at the top of my $200K budget, it was inconveniently located, and it was full of mold (I’m asthmatic). But it was also full of light with two bay windows, and the land it was sitting on was wooded and gorgeous, and it was an hour from my grandkids and an hour from NYC, and from the minute I walked in, I knew it was everything I wanted.

“I love it,” I told the realtor.

“Everybody loves it,” she said, “I love it, too, But nobody can figure out how to fix it.”

I could figure out how to fix it, but it was going to take big bucks, it was already at the top of my budget, it was hell-and-gone remote, it really wasn’t feasible.

“I really love it,” I told the realtor. “Let me bring a friend of mine back to see it next week.”

I went to National in NYC where I was rooming with Krissie who was going back to Ohio with me when the conference was over. “There’s this cottage,” I said. “I want you to look at it with me on the way home and tell me not to buy it.”

“Of course,” she said.

When we got to the cottage, Krissie bonded with the realtor while I walked through again, trying to remind myself of what a money pit this was all going to be. It would be a nightmare. My daughter had looked at the listing and told me buying it would be incredibly stupid. My money situation was rapidly getting worse, not better (you don’t write a book, you don’t get paid). I went back to the living room with Krissie and sat down beside her. “What do you think?” I said.

Like a true friend, she listed all the things that were wrong with it, how it was too expensive, how the mold was devastating, how it would be a money pit, a nightmare, how some things weren’t fixable.

“I know,” I said.

“But I love it,” Krissie said. “I think you should buy it. You’ll figure out a way to fix it and be happy here.”

“Let’s talk about it on the way to Ohio,” I said and then we had to leave because this young couple had come in to go through the house while I was there, and they’d just come in to talk to the realtor. The wife had stars in her eyes and I knew how she felt. Sometimes you just fall in love with a place. “They’re going to buy it,” I told Krissie when we were back in the car, and I felt both relieved and sad. But it really wasn’t feasible for me to buy that house.

The couple put in an offer on the house and it was accepted. But seeing the house had been a great introduction to the area, and I loved the realtor, so I e-mailed her and said, “I know the cottage is gone, but keep an eye out for me, please.” She e-mailed back and said, “The cottage is not gone, that sale is never going to go through.” The couple wanted a guarantee that the house wouldn’t need more than $10,000 in repair, which was ludicrous. It was going to need insulated, a new roof, a new paint job (paint peeling down to naked wood), all new appliances, a new furnace, new windows, a new septic system, the plumbing redone (galvanized is not good after forty years and this stuff had been around for eighty), the driveway repaved, the steps to the lake redone, and the basement completely gutted and de-molded. “Are they nuts?” I said. “Evidently,” the realtor said, and sure enough the deal fell through.

By then I was beyond broke, but I wanted the cottage. So I cashed in my state teacher’s retirement pension over the screams of anybody who knew anything about money, and bought the place for two-thirds of the asking price because it was a cash deal. No mortgage, I love that. Then I wiped out most of what was left of my meager investments and got the place painted to stabilize the outside, put on the new roof, and gutted the basement to clear out the mold. Then I came to stay for a couple of days, peeled the wallpaper off the main floor walls and found mold there, too. The whole main floor was going to have to be gutted. So much for painting the walls and moving in.

I took the last of my money and gutted the main floor.


Shortly after that I hit a deer, found out I had diabetes and AMD, had the book I was writing fail miserably with every beta reader including my editor, watched my three-year-old puppy die, and bottomed out on my savings. I was in crisis, my old way of life wasn’t working any more, Squalor on the River was going to end up back in the bank’s hands, and my dream cottage was a shell. I came a little unglued and then I called my daughter, the one who told me I was stupid to buy the place, the one who’s my business manager and who had watched me run through my savings while she gritted her teeth and said nothing beyond, “This isn’t the best thing to do with your money.”

“So you were right,” I said, “but I love that place and I want to live there and I’m out of money.” Then I braced myself for the “I told you so.”

“Okay,” she said. “We’ll make it happen.” She went to my last remaining pension, talked the guys who run it (and who are fabulous, by the way) into prying out enough money to put in insulation, walls, plumbing for the kitchen and one bathroom, and electricity, and got me into the cottage as of Feb. 1. The contractor and his guys are still here working, I’m not going to have a real kitchen for another year probably and possibly two (as in counters and cabinets), the floors look like hell because they’re covered with evil black mastic from the old vinyl, and there’s still a slight mold problem in the basement (working on it), but I’m in here to stay and it’s perfect.

I’m in the front bedroom right now. It’s tiny–9’x 9′–which turns out is the perfect size. There’s a twin bed next to the big bay window–Veronica is in there now, bitching at the landscape for moving in the wind–the walls are blue, there’s a crystal hanging from the light pull in the center of the room, and Mona is resting her head on my hip as I type this. The room is full of light and dogs, and I’m happy. Squalor on the River is still dragging me down, and I have to write a book, and I’m behind on the McD stuff still, but if I stay in the moment, in this bedroom, in this cottage, I’m incredibly content. This is where I’m supposed to be. Krissie was right. Squalor on the Lake is the perfect place for me to live.

Nothing but good times ahead.

45 thoughts on “Jenny: Cottage Saturday: As Requested, How It All Started

  1. toni says:

    I love that you have this place. Every time you talk about the cottage, I can hear the happiness all the way over here.

    (And Molly rocks.)

  2. Chris S. says:

    I’m a risk taker in pretty much every aspect of my life, but …wow. Your story is seriously daunting.

    But… you loved the cottage THAT much. So you took that crazy chance. And you made it happen. That’s kind of passion is so rare, and wonderful, and brave. And so freakin’ impressive!

  3. This is such a feel good post. You’ve made me happy because I’m happy that you’re happy. Is that enough happy? Ha ha.
    You know I think it’s like love, like knowing the guy is the right one for you even though others might warn you away. You just know when you know.

  4. Kieran says:

    That was beautiful, the part about the dog on your hip and that crystal dangling…

    Now that you’re settled, the book will come! I can’t wait!!!

  5. pamb says:

    Wishing you tons of moments exactly like this! Everything else will fall into place if you have lots of moments like this to ground you.

    I’m struggling with that living in the moment thing, too. You’d think we’d have it by now, huh?

    Do you often say to yourself as I do, “Thank God(dess) I had my daughter?” Mine’s actually like her dad–another thank God(dess)–and such a good friend I sometimes worry. But she tells me it’s okay for us to be friends at this stage.

    G-kids! Isn’t it the neatest thing? No guilt. Just enjoy & let the parents unravel the problems. 🙂

    Mine are here after school every day, but you’re all set up for weekend & vacation visits. 🙂 I spent every weekend with my maternal grandma from the time I was a baby (they transferred me downtown at the main bus terminal, then took their respective buses home until g-ma got her first car when I was one) until I was 14. Major part of my life. Then my kids’ maternal grandma & great-grandma (the one who helped raise me) took my twins ALL the time. Grandmas are a very big deal in my family. 🙂

    May it be the same in yours!

    I wish I had your money courage. Our farmhouse is falling apart, can’t sell it (tried last summer), and we have no extra money anywhere. Good credit, though, so we should probably take a loan & put more money into it than we’d ever get out of it, but… Scary decisions need made. Problem is, part of why Ern & I get along so well is that we both avoid decisions. ;;sigh;; and (g)

    Gad! Sorry for prattling so much!

  6. Rouan says:

    When I was searching for my new house, I knew exactly what I did and did not want. I wanted a house outside of city or town limits. It had to be on at least 1/2 acre and not have neighbors on at least one side so I could still have privacy. I had looked at a stone cottage that met all my requirements but it sold before I could make an offer (I was out of town attending a funeral). Looking back from a couple of years later it was a good thing it sold, I’d have been living too close to my ex and his girl friend. Several frustrating months later my realtor sent me to look at a house located in a small town. It was wrong for so many reasons, located in a town, it had a very small lot, neighbors on all sides, no privacy and yet… It was (and still is!) a cute little house. I walked through it and told myself how cute it was and what a shame it wasn’t what I wanted and left. Three months later I closed on the house and moved in. It really is the cutest little house and I’m very happy it’s mine.

  7. This is such a wonderful house-love story! I just know it has an HEA. I know there is still so much work to be done there, but I think it’s all going to work out so fine. And your grandkids will so enjoy coming and staying with you at Squalor on the Lake, with the dogs and all the house’s quirks. And it’s wonderful to read the happy in your “voice”.

  8. Sally Mettlesome says:

    Thanks for telling the story, Jenny. I won’t tell the story of my own living place & money challenges now. What’s hitting me most after reading this story are two things.

    First, your courage. So wonderful.

    Secondly, the love filling the story. The love of your sisters and the love you show them. The dog love. The daughter love. The love of life you keep sharing. So much stress and so many potentially crazy-making happenings – but love.

    Is Squalor on the River in salable condition? Is that the plan?

  9. Susanne says:

    It’s your life and your party and your cottage and it all sounds wonderful. Hey — just like your books 🙂

  10. You sound like Quinn when you describe the house. Happy.

    Squalor on the River will sell. Even with strange economic times, it will sell. After all, you bought it and … You’ve made it better. Maybe it should be renamed in honour of it’s impending new ownership?

    Btw – @dancingcrow: thanks for the link to Rational HP fanfic. Enjoying it tremendously.

    And… In other news, I got retweeted by Neil Gaiman that caused cascade retweets and favourites so I’m all squee with glee.

  11. It’s remarkable that, against all odds and in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, you looked at the cottage and knew, “It’s the one”. Then you made it happen. Even speaking to your daughter about it when it seemed like you’d be wiped out was a step in you making it happen.

    You are the heroine of your own life story. This rocks.

  12. Reading this, I have one thought: tax deduction.

    Seriously, writer research, no?

    All you have to do is include extensive house reno in your next book and bingo;)

    Okay, probably that wouldn’t work. But I do remember a kitchen floor reno in one of your books (Getting Rid of Bradley I think) and now that you’ve got the contractor & his crew around, you’ve got built-in experts within hollering distance if you want to write more scenes about house refab. Definitely a glass-half-full situation in the making.

    I like stories like this blog post because they feel very kismet. And kismet never wastes time weighing pros and cons. Kismet plunges ahead with an open heart and a can-do attitude. And comes out on top. In this case, hopefully kismet also comes with two bathrooms:)

  13. Eileen A-W says:

    It will al work out, just give it time and everything will fall into place. The love you have for the place comes through in your voice as you type the words for us to read.

  14. You walk through all these obstacles and end up with what will be the perfect light-filled cottage just 1 hour from your grandkids.
    It’s so magical.
    You have so much courage.

  15. I also bought a house last year (my first ever). As of this weekend, I’ve been here exactly five months. A decision I made in part because of the way rent was rising beyond my means.

    My homebuying saga was an epic quest; and exactly as in my writing career, I found that PERSISTENCE what the key to the lock. So I eventually found my house by turning over every fiscal and real estate rock in the tristate area.

    So my happily-ever-after is an airy, elegant 2-BR Victorian townhouse that was completely gutted and rehabbed last year (so it has the character of a 19th century house, but with the insulation, wiring, plumbing, heating, drywall, etc. of a 2012 house) with a little yard surrounded by a tall wooden privacy fence.

    I was able to afford such a place by buying a house in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program which paid all my closing costs and about 30% of the price of the house. The NSP purchase was incredibly bureaucratic and involved my taking homebuyer training classes, fiscal counseling, and going through extensive fiscal vetting and legal application processes; but it was well worth the effort for me, given the inconvenient combination of my very modest homebuying budget and my very finicky housing standards. ☺

  16. The house my children grew up in was like this. Ia forced it, fell in love with it walking by, and it was a mess. It had to have everying, eventually, but to even move in, we had to do the wiring. My boys grew up with construction projects in progress their whole lives.

    I love the sound of this cottage, too. It sounds perfect,a nd the pictures are lovely.

  17. Lois says:

    We built our house, well my husband spent more time on the house and I spent more time raising the kids. We moved in long before it was ready (a microwave and a fridge were the kitchen and no wall board in the main level). After 25 yrs of living in it, it still isn’t finished. I laugh with friends about trim – “I will not have trim in my lifetime!”.
    Reading this post made me realize that I don’t love my house. I love where it is. So I am going to think about this: What can I do to love my home because I want to stay in just this place.

  18. Did you end up near Lake Hopatcong? I knew you were in New Jersey but it never occurred to me you’d be in the area where I used to live – a tiny town called Succasunna, in that same part of Northern NJ. It was really pretty there, and less than an hour from NYC.

    My husband and I went through a similar crisis last year. When we found out we were going to be grandparents – a total surprise – I couldn’t bear the thought of living 5 hours away. We were happy in our house in Cincinnati but it was way too big for us with our kids living in Orlando and Chicago. We started looking at condos a few years ago, but more as a “one-day” thing than anything urgent. Suddenly we had a deadline – the baby’s projected birth date.

    The hardest part of the move was clearing out all the crap we’d accumulated over the almost 19 years we were in that house. The easy part was finding a place to live. Like you, we wanted to be near water, in a place that was somewhat small (but with two bathrooms) and relatively inexpensive.

    We bought a condo that overlooks Lake Michigan. I would have liked a third bedroom for guests but, what the heck, they can sleep on the sofa. It’s comfortable – I can vouch for that!

    This move was mostly painless except that we fell in love with the place and, rather than risk losing it, we took retirement money to buy it. So our taxes this year are going to be a nightmare. (I’ve been working on them for ages, a mission made much more difficult since I don’t remember where I put all the tax paperwork I need.)

    I can relate to your mold and other horrors, though. Our house in NJ turned out to have radon issues, plus it had a shag carpet, bright orange formica in the kitchen and other decor dating back to the Sixties.

    We also once bought a 100+-year-old house in England that needed complete rewiring, repainting, new floorboards, new appliances, etc. And when we started trying to strip the wallpaper, half the wall came down with it. And the less said about the house we lived in where the bedroom wall collapsed, the better.

    England sounds romantic but, trust me, it’s not.

    Moving is never fun – until it is. Last year was exhausting, and I’m still a little nervous about being on the 12th floor, but I LOVE waking up to dawn over Lake Michigan. And, even better, my grandbaby just a few floors away.

    It sounds like the dogs are happy there and that’s a start. I hope you will soon be able to relax and enjoy your new home. Spring in New Jersey is glorious – and everything is easier when the sun is shining.

  19. Sue D says:

    We settled into a Brady Bunch house in the suburbs. It was not a cool Mad Men style house but a blah side split with no distinguishing features and no access to the backyard. I called it the 10 year house. We’d be there long enough for the kids to finish elementary school, then we’d find something better.

    Twenty years later, we’re still here. It still has no distinguishing features, but made it into something I love. It has great windows and we’ve painted many of the rooms a cheerful yellow. Yellow is a tough colour to get right, and after a few tries, I think I’ve found the perfect one. At various points in the day, the colour changes, but there’s not one variation that I don’t love. The light streams in and, like Jenny, I have crystals. When the sun hits them and the prisms of colour bounce around the room, it makes my heart sing.

    My daughter was aghast every time I painted another room yellow; then she went to university, and she’s painted not one, but two apartments that same yellow. I try not to remind her of this — too often.

    We put some money into a renovation: knocking out a pantry, putting in a door to the back yard in its place, and building a huge deck. Now, we can easily get outside. We’ve got a great pond (with a naturalized landscape and swinging bench), and I love sitting beside it, reading a book, basking in the sun, staring at the fish, . . .

    Every room has artwork that makes me happy. Every room has old furniture that makes me happy. Every room has a stack of books that make me happy.

    Occasionally, I’ll clean and that makes me happier still. I don’t know why I don’t keep it tidy all the time, but there it is – human frailty.

    If you aren’t in a place you love, either move or make it into something you do love. Life’s too short to do anything less.

  20. merrymac says:

    You are so brave and I’m very glad you’re happy. I was out to dinner with some friends and a question came up about believable happy endings in novels and if it was possible for any of us to write one if we’re unhappy. The consensus was, it is, because happiness is easy to remember, but that maybe the best books come (the rom com ones) when we’re in that place where our hearts swell just to be where we are. So, once you’re settled, I imagine the books will begin to flow.

  21. julianna says:

    It’s so great to see how happy you sound when you talk about the cottage. And as long as the mold is gone and you have a functioning bathroom, you can easily live in a construction zone for a very long time. (Trust me, I went through an entire gestational diabetes pregnancy with no kitchen and only a lawn chair to sit in. Good times.)

    Is Squalor on the River currently on the market, or are you waiting until closer to Lani’s moving date?

  22. Hey, Sucassunna (or however you spell it) is where Crusie and I go to Jo-Anns, Barnes & Noble and Ruby Tuesday. It’s about twenty minutes away, I think. Cool!

  23. Hi,
    I think of the Northeast, that near to NYC, and I had no idea you could find such isolation anywhere. I guess I just don’t know what the area is really like. But I’m so glad you found it.
    We moved two and a half years ago, and there’s just nothing like having a yard, a view, a house that feels so good to you. It’s a joy every day just to be there. It feels good just to walk in. I’m sitting here now, as I usually am, looking out the big picture window at my giant trees, blue sky and the mountains in the distance, and it’s beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful. I see the sunset here most every day, and it’s always something new and so often gorgeous. I walk outside and sit under the trees, sometimes I read in my lounge chair under them and the dogs run around and play and sun themselves. They’re so happy here.
    It’s not a big house — 1600 square feet. It’s not in any way fancy. It was really cheap. The kitchen is, no joke, dark green, orange and bright yellow and small. It still has no garage.
    But the setting is beautiful. It’s brick and solidly built and we’re slowly making it our own. And it’s such a joy to be here.
    I’m so glad you found your place like this.

    (More pictures, please. Many, many more.)

  24. I don’t think so. I think that’s Ledgewood.
    Of course I have no idea where I am most of the time and Krissie always knows, so she’s probably right.

  25. I would absolutely do that. (Not that me doing something is much of a recommendation.)

    You sound happy and that makes me smile. Happy is contagious.

  26. Ledgewood is right by Succasunna, so it’s in the same neighborhood. We used to go to see drive-in movies in Sparta, also not far. Chester is a very cool town – a fun place to hang out in the summer. Morristown has an outdoor Christmas festival, as I recall.

  27. nightsmusic says:

    This entire post is full of ‘I shouldn’t have but I did anyway’ and because of that, you sound so very happy. It was meant to be and because of that, it will all work out.

  28. You know, with a little more practice, Ms. Crusie, I think you’ll be able to tell a story. I was as rapt by this narrative as I am by your books. It’s an amazing talent. Thank you for sharing it!

  29. I’m so glad you shared this.

    I lived in apartments for years after I got divorced because I kept waiting to meet the right guy and buy a house together. Finally, I said, “Screw it,” and just bought a house on my own. Very scary.

    I had definite ideas of what I wanted in a house too (it couldn’t be more than 15 minutes from the shop I run, since I was always having to race in to cope with one crisis or another, I wanted to be in the county and have room for a huge garden, I wanted to be back off the road for privacy and be able to do witchy things without the neighbors seeing). And a VERY limited budget. I wasted 6 months with 1 realtor who kept taking me out to see houses that were way over my budget and way too far away. Then I spent another 6 months with a great veteran of the business (a tiny dynamo of a woman) who kept telling me, “Hang in there, we’ll find it.”

    She’d shown me a picture at one point of a house that had a lot of the right things, but the picture made it look like it had peeling white paint and was practically falling down. So I didn’t even bother to go look at it. One day we were in the area, and she said, “Let’s just go check.” And as soon as we drove into the driveway, I *knew* that I’d found my home.

    (Turns out it was just a crappy picture. The owner should have sued.)

    The house is tiny (1200 square feet) and over 100 years old. None of the walls are straight, all the floors slant, and the kitchen was practically nonexistent and had to be completely gutted and redone almost as soon as I moved in. ALL the rooms were painted Pepto Bismol pink, I kid you not. It had probably started life as a farm shack, since most of the larger rooms (kitchen and living room) had been added on later. And previous homeowners had clearly done a lot of the work themselves. Badly. My then-boyfriend took one look at the horrible taping job on the drywall and I thought he was going to weep.

    But there were pine floors in every room except the kitchen and forced hot water heat (great for my allergies). The living room was full of sun. And up behind the barn (there’s a barn!) there was a perfect space for a magical circle. My realtor undoubtedly thought I was insane when I started jumping up and down over an empty space behind a barn 🙂

    I’ve been here 11 years, and it is still imperfect. There is more work than I could do on it in a lifetime and I just had to replace both the house and barn roofs in two years. (Ouch.) But the energy here is so great, you can see people light up when they come in the door. It is my little piece of paradise, and the best crazy thing I ever did.

    I hope yours turns out even better.

  30. Home really is where the heart is and there are times when the heart just knows.

    Reading this just made me smile and feel good and hopeful and reminds me how bit by bit we’ve made this home our own. It’s been a long time and still so much to do. (Twenty years and the kitchen is still a disaster and will remain so for many moons to come). But a year ago I got my wood floors and floor rugs and some new bits and pieces on furniture and I love my living/dining room area now.

    Your story was inspirational in so many ways!

  31. Micki says:

    (-: House love. I am just in awe of anyone who can see a tumble-down place, strip it to the bare bones in their mind, and then build it up with potential. Such a gift.

  32. It sounds wonderful and I am so happy that you have found home, near the kid, the grandkids and the sisters of your heart too.

    Here’s to Squalor on the Lake. Here’s to finding home.

  33. Diane L. says:

    With houses, sometimes when they are right, they are right and you just know it.

    About 11 years ago I stumbled upon a house that I knew was just perfect for us except for the fact that is was totally unrealistic. My husband agreed to go along with putting in a offer for it, only because he thought no mortgage company in the known universe would give us a loan (but he didn’t realize that we were in the days when you didn’t even have to be breathing to get a loan). Anyway, I won’t belabor the post with the details but we engaged in financial risks and maneuverings that make your cottage purchase look positively frugal and responsible. But we got the house, my husband now loves it even more than I do and we’ve even paid off the mortgage.

    I’m usually a really cautious person but when it’s the right house there’s an indescribable pull and good sense be damned. And it works out.

  34. I love this story and I’m sure it will all work out – book included.

    I didn’t love the house we bought on first sight – at least not consciously. It does not have great curb appeal. But then I asked our realtor if we could go back with my husband and he liked it. Then I went back again with our realtor for a third time on my own and we ended up making an offer. Now I love it so much I don’t know what I was thinking when I hesitated twice except that this the first house we’ve bought 🙂

  35. I agree that when you know a house is right, you know.

    Actually, there was a house I loved last year before I bought this one. But my offer on it was turned down. Things have worked out for that best, but I loved that other house and would have been happy there if it had worked out. I was very disappointed when my offer was turned down, and I scoured the real estate listings trying to find another place after that.

    As soon as I saw this place, I knew–again–it was right for me. Happily, I GOT this one (and because it’s a slightly better house in several ways, I think thinks all worked out for the best).

    I remember in the early months of looking, when I kept coming home depressed and discouraged, I couldn’t imagine a scenario when you’d see a house and just KNOW. In the end, though, last year I saw two houses (that were -even- in my price range!) and just KNEW. And, fortunately, I got one of them. (Lots of similarities between them–very well-rehabbed 2-BR 19th century townhouses with nice features and little fenced yards, in formerly troubled neighborhoods now coming up in the world.)

  36. Your description of your new home is so beautiful. It is precisely why I became a Crusie reader. If you could find a story to tell about this new love, your financial problems would be solved. I would buy it. Scout’s honor.

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