House & Home

7 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 27 = New Home

It’s been quite a week, but hubby and I are back home now.

We hooked the camper up a week ago tomorrow, and headed to Tennessee in one stretch. Too far. Much too far.

DESTINATION: Henry Horton State Park outside Chapel Hill, Tennessee in a single shot from Northern Illinois.

OBJECTIVE: To meet the realtor we had been in contact with and check out the homes on the list I had email him.

Ever since we decided to move out of Illinois, I’ve been researching homes and locations. It took just a final trip through the Nashville, Tennessee area on our way to Alabama this past June to realize that the Nashville area was where we wanted to be.

When we got back from seeing the grand-kids in Alabama, I started searching more diligently. I started researching cities and directions: north (too north), east (the realtor I contacted wanted us to move to one of the three different retirement communities he represented), west (too far from the mountains), south (Yup, that was the ticket). Distance to Nashville? Not in the city limits, but not more than a 45 minute drive.

Unfortunately, as I searched, the homes I found dropped off the market within only a couple of days. Some of the properties we loved disappeared overnight. So, I emailed an introduction and request on the formalities of searching for a house. He emailed back with questions; I emailed back. I finally called because Thom was going to be home and we could possibly fly (found out the cost for that was astronomical) down and look at properties.

Long story short, we picked up the camper, loaded it up on Friday, and left home Sunday morning at 5:00 am and arrived in Tennessee some 11 hours later.


on the Friday before he left his office, Jonathan, our realtor, email me to say that three of the ten properties we wanted to look at were already off the market. Ok. So I searched again and emailed him at least 8 more addresses.

Monday! (DAY 1)

When we met Jonathan on Monday, our list was whittled down to 7 available properties. Out of the over 18 listings I had sent him, our choice was down to 7.

Monday, we looked at a total of 7 homes.

HOUSE #1 –

The first house had caught our attention because of its exterior charm and large rooms.


FINDINGS: Lots of yard in front, but not much in back. Half done flip with a lot of work still needing to be finished. In fact, it looked like someone had started a flip and either ran out of money or interest. Potential music room and entertaining sun room were deceptively large in the realtor’s pictures. Back patio, pond, and vegetation needed more love and care than I was ready to give it.

CONCLUSION: Not for us.

HOUSE #2 –

This house caught our attention because of the separate building that could be used as Thom’s wood working shop.


FINDINGS: The house was spacious and well organized; even the pass through from the kitchen over the stove didn’t feel as awkward as I thought it would. BUT the separate workshop building had wasps and there was no level usable yard what-so-ever.

CONCLUSION: Not for us.

HOUSE #3 –

This house had charm AND a basement workshop.


FINDINGS: The basement had indeed taken on water from the recent rain storm (It rained Sunday night through the time we left on Thursday morning.). There was standing water was on the basement floor, but more alarming was the fact that water had come in through the cinder block wall and soaked the plywood to which the house’s electrical panel and fuse box was attached. There was also one visible piece of wood that was covered with thick mold. If it is in one place, it is elsewhere.

BUT, it also had a pool and a gazebo, but the pool plumbing was under the sidewalk and the gazebo was unfinished.


HOUSE #4 –

This house looked spacious in the listing.


FINDINGS: Although the backyard was fenced and there was a pool, the overall yard was small. The house was well laid out, but had no current workshop and no space to transform into a workshop. The front yard reached out into a dry bed creek, and there was no real room to park the camper or hubby’s truck.

CONCLUSION: Not for us.

HOUSE #5 – 

As I look back at the paperwork and try to remember the fifth house we looked at, I can’t determine what house it actually was. It was neither impressive, nor memorable.

HOUSE #6 – 

This house had intrigued us with a front and back drive and three out buildings.


FINDINGS: As we drove the back roads to find this house, I felt like it was farther away from town than I was comfortable with. All three out buildings seemed well constructed, and the house itself had a charm to it. It felt like home.

CONCLUSION: This had everything on our wish list and then some. It deserved some discussion.

HOUSE #7 – 

The initial picture of this house gave us the impression that there was a great deal more outside/curbside space than there was.


FINDINGS: The length and pitch of the driveway was deceiving in the picture. Upon leaving, our camper hitch hit the road and we had to angle out. The first floor and the second floor were laid out well, but again there was no workshop and no place to put one.

CONCLUSION: Not for us.

We asked our realtor what the next step was – secure financing. He gave us the name and number of a mortgage company he worked with for many of his deals. After we dropped the realtor off at his office, we called the mortgage company. It was not a positive call – they would only base a loan on my income since my husband had not been self-employed for two or more years, AND since it would only be a loan until we had money from the sale of our current house, they wouldn’t look at us. They wanted long term investments, but he did give us the name and number of a good bank to call in the morning.

We discussed the idea of a local bank, or do things on our own terms. One quick email, a short phone call, and a conference call set up for the next morning. Heaven help us! What on earth were we doing?

After dinner, we decided to drive out from town to see how far out the sixth property actually was. Our GPS, lovely lady that she is, took us on a series of narrow two-lane winding back roads that felt like a roller coaster. We finally found the house and parked for a while in the driveway. My husband broke the silence. “I think we should put in an offer.” I countered with the fact that we hadn’t seen the properties in the other city.

Tuesday! (DAY 2)

The morning conference call put us in the position to make an offer on the house we wanted.

So, after leaving a message for the realtor and after breakfast, we decided to check out the addresses in the other nearby city that we had found some potential properties in. None of them impressed us; one was even behind a new shopping mall that was being built.

Then, the realtor returned our call. We wanted to meet with him and make an offer. In his office, he called the seller with our offer. The realtor knew we were leaving on Thursday morning – that there was limited time that we would be available. The seller countered; we had known he would. Our realtor shared the seller’s decision. My husband looked at the realtor, “Look, we know there are some major repairs/replacements that need to be made: the HVAC is old, the water heater is old, the roof will need to be replaced because of its age. $ is my final offer.” (He watches a lot of realty based television.)

Our realtor made the offer via the phone, and we (realtor, husband, and I) went down the street and around the corner for dinner. Toward the end of dinner, the realtor got a text: _$_ was the offer, correct? The realtor got up and walked out of the restaurant to call the seller. When he returned to the table, he was smiling. “They accepted your offer.”

Now, we went back with him to the office, and he wrote up the paperwork for us to sign- sale contingent on a bug and house inspection; then, he went to the seller and got him to sign the paperwork that night as well. (Note: It was after 9:00 pm when he got to the seller’s home.)

While we had been waiting in his office, the realtor had given us numbers to call to try to get a bug inspection and a house inspection. To the realtor’s surprise, we were able to get the guy for the house inspection to come the next day. We left the bug guy a message and headed back to the campground.

Wednesday! (DAY 3)

Bright and early, the bug guy calls and says he can’t do it – he’s booked solid. Looking for pest inspectors was more challenging than we thought. Most would not do one, so we called our realtor to ask what to do or who to call. “The bug guy just called me and said he would be able to do it.” We had 30 minutes to get dressed and get to the house.

Bug inspection done – since the seller had been treating the home all along, the property passed inspection.


During breakfast, however, we got a call from the house inspector. He was running an hour early. We grabbed a quick carry out sandwich because the inspection was going to last between three to five hours.

The inspector found a couple of issues, but it was our call.

We are now awaiting estimates on a couple of issues, but we close mid-September.


7 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 27 = NEW HOME

7 homes + 3 offers (our original, the counter from the seller, our final) + 3 days + 2 inspections + 27 days from the inspections to closing = our new house. Now to pack up our belongings (I’ve lived in the same house for almost 29 years) and move to another state.

So, I bet you want to know which one we chose.

We will be moving into the one with the three out buildings, a space for a music room, a room for my writing studio, an out building for a workshop, a room for a guest room, and tons of storage.



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