Last week we headed across the country to Virginia to look for a new place to call home. It was a quick five days yet much was accomplished. Heading into our trip we had a general idea of where we wanted to live and what the homes were like in the area because of the trip we had taken back in January. Thankfully the market had much better options this time when it is not the dead of winter!
We packed way to much luggage with our first big trip with the baby. We definitely learned a lot on how we would like to travel with kids in the future. Since this wasn't really a vacation, it definitely was a good trial run of learning how travel and little ones will work in the future. Since we had no expectations of what this trip would accomplish, we were pleasantly surprised at how well Titus adapted.
The flight was easy in comparison to getting in and out of the car two days straight when looking at homes. Being stuck in the airplane for hours at a time allowed him to get his regular naps in. And because my husband's company was sending us on this trip, we were able to get Titus his own seat on the plane. This made things so much easier!
Going into the trip we were already pretty set on buying some land and having a home built on a lot that would be close to work. The view was pretty spectacular (see above photo) and the convenience of a short commute was very appealing.
But even though we were pretty set at filling out paper work and committing to building a home, we still decided to spend a day with a realtor just to make sure we were covering all our options.
We had already spent many conversations about our expectations of finding a home in Virginia and we told ourselves to not expect to find the perfect house. Life would be so different out in the country that it would be impossible to replicate what we have grown used to and enjoy about our current home.
Shopping for a home is stressful but being on a timeline and trying to commit to something in a week is a whole new level of anxiety - not to mention also trying to look at homes with an overtired two month old. After much prayer and debate we had one last defining conversation sitting at the local Pizza Hut before we met with our realtor.
Thankfully the baby was sleeping and we were able to really focus in on what our priorities were. It is so hard to not be smitten by all the land and gigantic houses that were in front of us. We had so many more lofty dreams of what was available to us in our price range that was so different than the real estate in California. It was definitely tempting to stretch ourselves past what we were comfortable with spending on a home.
So we came up with our top three priorities for finding a home:
1. It had to be close to work.
We preferred a 5-10 minute commute but were open to up to 20 minutes if everything else about the home made it worth it. It is pretty normal in the area for people to commute 45 minutes to an hour. Even though a short commute put us out in the middle of nowhere, we knew that it was important to our family that Brent didn't spend so much of his day on the road.
2. Room for our California family to visit.
While our family will only be visiting every few months, we knew that we wanted plenty of room for them to stay with us comfortably. Knowing that they could be staying for a couple weeks at a time, we wanted them to have their own space - not just being put up on the couch or in a small guest bedroom. One of the reasons we decided to move was to experience life on the east coast and this has also become another factor at enticing our family and friends to come visit as often as they would like! We wanted our home to not just be comfortable, but a vacation space for our visitors.
A lot of the homes that we looked at had an option of a finished basement space. We knew that this would be ideal that our guests could have their very own floor making living with family for weeks at a time much more manageable! We love our family but we have yet to live with any of them! This will be a new season for us as we grow our relationships with our family by having them stay with us for longer periods of time.
3. A move in ready house slightly nicer and bigger than our current home (but still in our price range).
Moving across the country is a sacrifice. One of the pluses of moving out of California was the hope that we could have a slightly larger and nicer home. The fact that we could even afford a brand new home on land blew our minds as it was something we would have never even considered here in California.
Plus with a little baby and Brent starting a new job, we did not need to have a fixer upper on our hands. We wanted to be able to move in and start settling in without a bunch of house projects to work on. And we wanted family to be able to come visit as soon as they were willing so there needed to be space for them when we moved in.
So after we committed to our priorities, we were able to see things more clearly. Though a beautiful view and land sounded wonderful, they were not on the top of our list of importance. We discussed what it felt like when we purchased our current home and were reminded that we just knew it was the right one. We did not expect to find a perfect home (no home is perfect) but we told ourselves we needed to feel right about it.
There is definitely a difference between compromise and settling. We were willing to compromise some things as long as we were keeping to our priorities. But we didn't want to just settle out of urgency or pressure. We prayed and trusted that the Lord would help us to know what the right house would be for our family in this season.
I wish I took a picture in that Pizza Hut lunch buffet moment. Because honestly it was a huge turning point for us. We then set out for a full day of house hunting.
After hitting a few houses we came upon this lovely farmhouse style home just around the corner from Brent's work. We stepped inside to a lovely little home. A fairly open floor plan, three bedrooms, a giant front porch, plenty of trees, and all on two acres. It was beautiful but was it the one?
We headed down to the basement expecting to not find much. But instead the basement was completely finished including a full size bathroom. Most of the homes that we looked at with basements were unfinished, so this was quite a surprise to find. I looked at Brent and told him, "this is the one."
We headed back outside to look at the backyard. A nice sized detached work shop on top of having a two car garage. If you know Brent, you know how patient he has been at waiting to have his own garage. Having a garage and a shop is definitely on his dream home list.
We continued to look around - a giant yard, amazing trees, and tucked away to feel a little more private. We immediately discussed how great it would look to string our outdoor lights back there. We looked at each other and said, "this is the one!"
It was so much more than we could have ever expected yet it had everything we needed. It fit all of our top priorities while also exceeding what we could have ever dreamed of. It is amazing what we can be blessed with when we have a little patience and set our priorities straight.
We ended up looking at a few other homes but I couldn't get my mind off of this one. We decided to go back one more time to confirm whether or not we were ready to make an offer.
We decided we wanted to make an offer and found out that they were also getting two other offers. We were full of anxiousness as we tried to consider our best and smartest bid while staying within our price range. We decided what we were willing to pay and had to trust whatever would happen was meant to be.
I am pretty sure I didn't get much sleep that night and it had nothing to do with the baby. My mind raced as I started thinking about the dream of living in this home.
The next morning Brent let me take a little walk around the hotel while he stayed with the sleeping baby. It was so good to breathe in the cool crisp autumn air. I walked amongst the cornfields that our hotel backed up to and I prayed a little prayer of faith and contentment over whatever was to happen with this home.
After a well needed moment for my soul I returned to the hotel room where Brent broke the good news. While I was gone he got word from our realtor that they had accepted our offer! We literally turned in the paperwork the night before and found out the home was ours the very next morning!
What a sigh of relief on top of the excitement we had over our new home in Virginia. We thoroughly enjoyed our last two days before we headed back to California with the peace of mind knowing we have a home to come to. Having where we are going to live figured out makes things a million times easier. Plus it gives us something to very much look forward to.
We are in amazement over how things all just came together. The timing of it all was beyond our control and we are so thankful for the blessings God gives us through our obedience to trust him.
We have returned home to California now and are getting all our moving affairs in order. While one major element of finding a home is checked off our list, we have been bombarded with the long list of things still left to do. It is so easy for me to stress out and try to control everything. But if I have learned anything from this house hunting trip, it is that I have to let go of trying to have things all together on my own. This is such a hard discipline for me but also a very freeing one.
We are thrilled about our new home. And you know I cannot wait to share everything about it in the coming months! Little farmhouse in Virginia, here we come!