We moved out to a farm!!! I’m still in shock! We have been dreaming and scheming of moving to the country for YEARS and it is finally happening! I’m going to give you the reader’s digest version of our residential timeline so I can just get right into telling you how we FINALLY made our dreams of farm living a reality!
2010 – We got married and moved in together. It was a tiny, 2-bedroom apartment in a complex of 8 other apartments. Too many neighbors!
2012 – We moved to a new two-bedroom apartment with cheaper rent. This new apartment was actually the mother-in-law-suite side of a large house. So we got the benefits of a large yard and basement, without all of the rent cost and maintenance of a large house.
2014 – We both had steady jobs and were sick of throwing our money away on rent. After 4 years of marriage, we were ready to finally own our own home! We purchased a three-bedroom home in town. Even at that time we knew we wanted to live in the country, but our budget wouldn’t allow for that. So, we settled on a starter home in town to build up some equity for our dream home on an acreage!
2016 – We still love our house, but really want more land and fewer neighbors. We decided to start looking for a new house in early Spring.
My goal was to find the new place, list our house for sale, sell our house, and move to the new house. If you have ever gone through the process of buying and selling a house – you know that this is not an easy feat. Our real estate agent was not optimistic, but he was willing to play along. So, we went to look at acreages.
The other difficult part of buying and selling a house is that you can only pick from what is on the market at that very moment. You have absolutely no idea what is going to come onto the market in 6 months or even 6 days. Things change quickly, but you can only choose from what is on the market at the current time. Since our house wasn’t even listed yet, we were not desperate to find a house. However, we were eager to get some land and because we didn’t have a crystal ball that showed what houses were going to come on the market – we had some moments of weakness and tried to buy a few houses that just weren’t right for us. God was watching out for us though and prevented us from settling on the wrong house just to get out of town.
OUR HOUSE WISHLIST:
5-10 Acres of land
At least 3 bedrooms
Relatively new updates and/or not much maintenance
Hard surface road commute to work
The first house we put an offer on was a 5 bedroom house on 1.5 acres. We got a lot of raised eyebrows on this one. Since it is just the two of us, why would we need 5 bedrooms? The way I saw it, I had room for a master bedroom, craft room, a guest bedroom, an office, and *hopefully someday* a nursery. Sounded pretty great to me! It was a really funky house with a weird layout, but we thought we could make it work. It was built on a hill with a great view right outside of town. The commute would be short, but it was on the main highway so there would be lots of traffic. It really wasn’t the land layout we wanted, but we were eager to get out of town so we put an offer on it and the offer was accepted. We buckled down and started to get our house ready for sale. The same week we got our house on the market we got news that another offer had been placed on the house we wanted to buy. The other offer didn’t have the same contingency as ours (that we needed to sell our house first) so we had 72 hours to remove the contingency or they would go with the other offer. We knew this was a risk for the way we chose to do things, but we were still disheartened. We said goodbye to the big house and started back at square one looking for a new house.
Now that our house was officially listed on the market we were much more eager to find a place. This time we found a property with less house and more land. The second house was a one-bedroom cabin on 3.5 acres with a trout stream running through. BIG difference between house 1 and 2 but, like I said, we could only choose from what is currently on the market. Having the land was more important to us than having a big house. It is a lot easier to build a bigger house or add on than to try to buy more land from your neighbors. Farmland is precious in Iowa. This house was also priced lower than the house we were currently living in – which made up for the half-hour commute we would now have. We put an offer on it right away – it was priced too well to not make a move. We knew full well that this house could get bought out from under us as well. At the price point, it would be a desirable get-away cabin for hunters or other outdoor enthusiasts. It took less than three days for us to get another 72-hour clause which we were again unable to remove our contingency. So, we said good bye to house #2.
At this point, it seemed that the market had spoken – we were not going to find a house before we sold ours. We changed our strategy and decided to wait until our house had sold before we put an offer on another one. We had a lot of showings and really good feedback on our listing, but no serious offers. Our eyes were still on the market and what was available, but we didn’t want to get our hearts broken again by losing out on yet another house. All through the summer we showed our house and we remained patient that it would sell. Once fall started to creep closer we got less patient. We decided that if our house hadn’t sold by the end of September/early October we were going to take it off the market until Spring and then try again.
Thankfully, we actually had some friends who were interested in our house. They had expressed interest even before we started looking but weren’t in the position to buy right at that time. 7 months had passed since we originally started talking about selling our house and getting out in the country and a lot had changed since then. Our friends were now in a position to buy and we were even more ready to sell! We accepted their offer and they were very gracious in giving us until the end of the year to find a new house!
House #3 was owned by another friend of ours who owns a lot of real estate in the area. It was a little bit of a jog, however…. It was at least a half an hour commute for us and could be longer with weather conditions. The house had two bedrooms and lots of potential for more in the unfinished basement. Hub-hub was in love with the land and all that the 5 acre property had to offer with a pond, outbuildings, and woods for hunting. Our realtor went back and forth with their realtor for weeks trying to hash out the details. We could never agree on the terms, so we said goodbye to house #3.
At this point we were feeling very discouraged. Our goal was to move in the summer time and winter was now fast approaching. It had now been 8 months since we started this process and lots of things had changed. Hub-hub was offered a promotion at work, our house was sold, I was approaching my one-year anniversary at my job, and we had made 8 months of mortgage payments since our last talk with the bank. We decided to go visit the bank and see if we could increase our budget at all so we could expand our search for acreages in the area. The bank said yes!
With our newly widened search options, we set out to find our dream acreage! We went to look at a few properties but only one was right for us. Our new acreage is 10 minutes from town, on a hard surface road. We only have 100 yards of gravel to travel to our driveway, so traffic is minimal on our road. We have outbuildings and fencing already set up for animals and with 5.4 acres we should be able to get a nice little hobby farm going in no time! The house itself has been recently remodeled and all the rooms are large! It has three bedrooms and two baths. We are in love and so relieved to finally have an acreage to call our own!
It has been quite the journey and I still have to pinch myself to remind me that this is all real! Hub-hub and I feel so blessed to call this little chunk of land our own and are counting down the days until Spring so we can get some roots in the ground and animals in the pastures! Thank you to all who have said prayers for us as we made plans to make this move. We are so fortunate to have been able to find our dream property and are so grateful for all the support we received from friends and family!
Next Up: I’m hosting my very first family Christmas on the farm!!!!
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