Jul 6, 2016

Surprise! We Bought a Homestead

There's been something I've been dying to tell you. It's been in the works since last fall, but my
husband asked me not to blog about it until it was a done deal. Because, frankly, it seemed almost too good to be true.

The fact is, we won't be in our tiny house motor home for much longer. Because we bought a house.

Don't worry. It's still a little house in the big woods. It's still the foundation for our homesteading dreams. But God made it possible for us to live those dreams without struggling to live in a tiny house motor home. (Hallelujah!) Here's how it happened.

Back in 2014, I was looking at rural properties in our area. We knew it would be tough for us to afford something in our county, but were completely willing to sacrifice a nice house if we could get some land. But as I was doing this, unbeknownst to me, my husband was thinking. Thinking of a way to get us out of our expensive, more restrictive county, closer to family, and onto rural land where we didn't feel closed in by neighbors and could have animals, an orchard, and so on. His idea was for us to move into a motor coach on some rural land his parents were willing to give us.

The view from our coach.
You can read about my initial reaction to this plan here. That was were I started - with the thought that he was craaaaaazy. How were we going to live in a motor coach as a family of four? How would I be able to stand the close quarters, especially since one of our children has behavior problems? As I prayed about it, though, peace settled onto me. You can read about that here. In the end, I realized that many people in the world have far less than a motor coach for a house. We would be okay.

Then we started thinking about how we'd create a more permanent home on our new homestead. Initially, hubby thought we could build, or maybe put a manufactured home on the land. As we researched more, however, we realized permitting alone would cost us our savings, and there was no way to get a manufactured home, or even a trailer, onto our land without cutting a road right through my in-law's yard. Um, yeah, not happening. I also confess that the idea of starting completely from scratch was exhausting to me. In my 20s or 30s it would have been no big deal, but today, in my 40s and with two autoimmune diseases dragging me down, it seemed like too much. I just wasn't sure I was up for it.

Nevertheless, we figured God would find a way, and we prayerfully plodded onward, because we felt this was the path God wanted us to take.

The view from the house's kitchen window.
Trouble was, my husband wasn't exactly jumping on getting the house fixed up. It took a long time to find a shipping container to use as our storage container, and then...well, nothing was happening; I was frustrated.

Then, last fall, we learned a certain property my husband was familiar with was rumored to be going on the market. My husband was instantly excited because he'd been neighbors and friends with the sellers and loved the property so much he once told them, "If you ever sell this place, come to me first. I want it!"

Honestly, we didn't think we could ever afford this property, but my husband went ahead and called the owners anyway.

There are wildflowers everywhere.
Most people who live in a rural areas like their privacy, and it turned out the owners (I'll call them the Jones') had recently asked a real estate agent over to give them the market value of their home and land...only to discover the agent told potential buyers about the property, who were now driving up the Jones' private road and driveway. The idea of selling without having to put their property on the market and have strangers tromping through was of keen interest to the Jones'. Plus, having been neighbors with my hubby for years, they liked him a lot, and loved the idea of a young family taking over their land. We set a date to come see the place.

I remember that day both vividly and vaguely. We'd returned from an out of state trip to see my Dad only the day before, so I was pretty exhausted. (Later that day, we also learned my Dad-in-law was in the hospital with a deadly serious but unknown disease.) We drove up the gravel road and saw a rather plain saltbox style house. Then we walked in...into the kitchen, as it turns out - and my memory from there gets pretty vague. That's because there was virtually no kitchen - just two tiny counter tops in the corner. I was in a sort of shock because the one thing I really wanted was a good farmhouse kitchen. I never imagined this house would have virtually no kitchen.



I hardly remembered the rest of the house, but it was certainly big enough for us - though it had it's quirks. The upstairs was unfinished, but it boasted an amazing view. Downstairs, you had to walk through a closet to get to the bathroom, and the living room was way too tiny for entertaining, let alone for our family to hang out together...but then there was the outside.

The mature orchard, with tons of apples, plus cherries, plums, apricots, pears, fig trees, blueberries, and more. The little hothouse, where the Jones' grew tomatoes even through winter. The rainwater catchment system, with three huge tanks already set up. And acres upon acres of forest with lovely views everywhere. And the price? Way more affordable that what we thought it would be.

I was willing, and my hubby couldn't wait to buy the place - but I was concerned about how we could afford it. So we sat down and made a list of our current bills. Then we crossed off the ones we'd no longer have (like a water/sewer bill), and added additional expenses (like the fuel for my hubby to commute an hour and half to work every day). We thought it was do-able.

So we agreed to buy it. Amazingly, the Jones' said they would wait for us to make an official offer until our house was on the market. Really, a miracle, since we were months out from doing that.

We immediately set to work fixing up our suburban home and getting it on the market. It took longer than expected, but we did it. Our house sold...then the sale fell through...then we sold it again and had many delays...until finally we had funds from our house to give to the owners of what is now our place!

Because the Jones' needed more time to wrap things up before they moved out of state, we moved out motor coach and parked it at my in-laws. Then, once the new property was officially ours, we moved to the coach there, a bit away from the house. We've stayed here for about seven days, trying to give the original owners some space to get their moving done, but also getting tours of the various trails on the property, walking the property lines, and so on.
Our parking spot on our new property.
of our suburban home into our

Every day, when I walk out of the motor coach, I felt amazed - at peace, and so relaxed. This place is gorgeous. Better than I remembered. It's private, and lovely, and warmer than I anticipated. It feels miraculous. It is miraculous!

And let me tell you, a few weeks in our motor coach has only made me more appreciative. As the weeks passed and we came closer to living full time in the tiny house motor home, I found myself praying a lot about how I was going to keep my sanity in that little bus. God's answer wasn't what I expected. I didn't expect a house. And later, I didn't expect our house sale to fall through. (If it hadn't, it would have meant months of living in the coach.) But as my in-laws frequently say, "God's timing is perfect." And he loves to give good gifts to his children.

In fact, the story of how we got to this property is full of miracles and gifts. It all began with an inheritance from my brother; this allowed us to fix up our in-bad-shape suburban home and make it more valuable. It also allowed us to buy the coach - which in itself was a gift, since my husband was able to buy it for a low price. Another gift: Our newest suburban neighbor turned out to be a contractor who loved bartering; he did the work on our home in the suburbs that my husband and I couldn't do ourselves. (In exchange, my husband worked on his vehicles.) It was also something of a miracle that we had enough money left over from the suburban fixer-up that I could hire someone to paint the exterior of our home. By that time, I was utterly and completely exhausted from doing all the packing and much of the fixing up; I was also coming down with a virus - yet we needed to finish the house and get it on the market, or we feared we wouldn't sell the house in time to buy our new one. Then we sold the house within three days of listing it - definitely a miracle. It's true that sale fell through, but until then, the sale gave us peace in our hearts. Also, the sale falling through gave us far less time in the motor coach, for which I'm grateful.

Then we sold the house again, within two days. It was never a smooth sale; I told my hubby that was Satan trying to discourage us. But the house did sell, finally, and at the top of it's value. And let's not forget the fact that my hubby knew the Jones' - because if he hadn't, chances are we would never have had the opportunity to buy this property at all. And the price? That's definitely a miracle. If we'd try to buy this place in our old county, it would have been $200,000 or more than our sales price. Even in the county we now reside in, I feel we got an amazing deal. There is no doubt in our minds that this place is a gift from God. And we are thankful.

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new home. I'm sure you have a million ideas for what you want to do there. I hope the move goes smoothly.

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  2. Congratulations and blessings to you and your family.

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  3. I'm very happy for you! I would really go insane with my family in a very tight spot We've never had more than 1400-something square feet, but that is very spacious compared to a tiny house. :) It is amazing how things all do seem to "work together for good," even when it feels like one stressful event after another! Our loan finally came back from USDA, and we close on the house we're buying Tuesday. Yay! Looking forward to having our own place again instead of a rental. Congrats again!

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  4. It is truly amazing how God takes care of us beyond our wildest expectations. Congratulations on buying a homestead with a mature orchard. Now, the real work begins as you start the renovations. I am anxious to read how God provides the right people and materials to help you along the way. Thank you for sharing this.

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