Since my last announcement, I know you are probably eager to see more pictures of…
Some of you have wondered how we came to move from our rancher and live at Century Farms. This is how it happened!
You can see all of my released videos about Century Farms here.
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Several years ago my husband David began riding ATVs for fun. He bought a four-wheeler, and began trailering it 3 hours away to ride. Then he bought a side-by-side, kind of like a fast golf cart. He got that so he could take the kids with him.
Then he bought a child size four wheeler. Sometimes he and the kids rode the machines in tiny circles in our back yard. We didn’t have any friends with fields to ride in, so they continued making trips several hours away to ride.
We used every nook and cranny of our 3 bedroom, 1800 square foot (including the full basement, which was partially finished) rancher. Part of the basement was a garage area, because we didn’t have a garage. But it was 6 steps below ground, so lots of times the tools had to be carried up and out to be used in the driveway or the yard.
And we had 3 ATVs parked in the back yard….
So we thought maybe we would add on a garage with a room above it. The room above would connect to our small eat-in kitchen, and give us a dining room and more living space. It would be 6 steps up though.
We got 3 quotes, and realized that our neighborhood would never support that investment. We’d never get our money back…. We thought about adding a detached garage or shed in the back yard— but I was beginning to want more land (well I’ve always wanted more land, and to be more secluded).
So even if we added a garage, there was nothing we could do to make our 1/3 of an acre bigger!
So in the fall of 2019 we started looking at houses.
And you know what happened in March 2020….. Well, I had plenty of faith that we could still find a house in the middle of a pandemic so we kept looking at houses. For Two Years.
During those 2 years, we bid on 4 or 5 houses. I wanted a minimum of 2 acres, while David would have settled for anything with a garage. But I refused to look at anything on less than 1.5 acres. I would have preferred 10 acres or more, because in Pennsylvania that means the taxes can be a lot less because of “Clean and Green.”
The first house we bid on and lost was less than ideal. The layout was open, but crazy, and it was the middle of winter and the property was covered in snow. I think there were 4 acres or so. The land was hilly, but my husband liked the location because it was closer to his family. I was worried about internet connection there.
We found an old farmhouse on 13 acres, but it was way overpriced for its condition. The owner refused to come down, even though the property sat for a long time in a hot housing market. It had a huge old barn, which scared my husband because one side of the roof was rusty and a wall needed some help…
There was no garage, but part of the barn could’ve been used for a garage.
My daughter wanted a 2 story house, and she could envision horses in the barn.
Because the taxes were so low on that house, somehow we got it into our heads that we could afford a higher priced house.
We found another large house on 3 wooded acres, with a neighboring field in front. That move in ready house on Strawberry Road had a heated attached garage, with a gym-type floor, and an outdoor basketball court.
We liked it so much that we bid $53,000 over the list price (because in this house market, who expects to pay the listing price?!) …… and LOST!! We were rather devastated– because the winning bid was actually lower than ours– but their down payment was 30% and ours was only 5%. I was a little happy though because I didn’t want a wooded propery…. I wanted sun for a garden.
We found yet another large house on 6 flat and sunny acres that was in move in condition, and just as we were about to place an offer we suddenly realized that even though the price was good, we could never afford the house payment with the taxes. (It even had an attached garage, AND TWO more large detached garages– one for me and one for David!)
Taking a Break
After realizing that we had found the perfect house, and couldn’t even make an offer, we were deflated. Looking for houses online, viewing them in person, making the decision whether or not to make an offer, and then the inevitable losing the bid— was all very exhausting emotionally. For two years we had ridden that bidding roller coaster. So we took a break. I stopped looking at new houses coming in my email.
We also changed realtors, but not by choice. Our first realtor I had known a long time, but she was a new realtor. She wanted quick, high dollar sales, and we obviously weren’t fitting that category. It was a tough market for any realtor, let alone a new one. She finally told me to find a different realtor.
I remembered that when we bought our rancher, the selling realtor had saved that house for us. How? Because the closing date changed in the middle of winter, the owner had shut off the electricity.
We didn’t close that day, and the heat stayed off. We looked at the house again a few days later and realized the pipes were about to freeze. The listing realtor and her dad came over and brought plug-in heaters and thawed the pipes, and saved our rancher!
So when I got in touch with her again, Jodi was more than willing to be our realtor, after ensuring that our first realtor had indeed released us from any contracts.
Jodi is an experienced realtor and knows our area and the regulations well. We were so glad to be working with her!
Then one day after about 2-3 months break of not looking at houses, I saw a picture of a yellow house with country blue trim in my email. It looked like my dream house. I clicked on the listing, but there was only one photo. I knew that was a bad sign, and meant that the house was in really bad condition.
I asked David if he cared to take a look at it, and he said, sure. So we looked at it, with the owner present because she wouldn’t leave (not normal).
We’ve seen some bad houses over the years. This house was in the kind of condition that I knew David wouldn’t want it. But he agreed it might have potential.
So we asked a friend to come look at it with us, to see if he thought it was structurally sound. He did. He said the house had potential. And the owner again was home, but our realtor had asked the listing realtor to come keep her attention so we could take a better look at the house and they did, taking her for a walk outside. But David had a sick look on his face as we walked through it this second time, so I thought that was the end.
We had driven separately for some reason, and our daughter rode with my husband somewhere after we left. She sweet-talked him into liking that house on the drive. She liked it because it had a 2nd story. It also had THREE staircases going from the first floor to the second floor– one going up, one going down, and one going nowhere just for show! haha!
The house was on 3 acres, with a detached garage, full farmhouse basement, and nearly full attic. Four floors! But the master bedroom was rather small. Again our realtor had a great idea– she suggested taking out a row of closets in a hallway to enlarge a smaller bedroom adjoining the upstairs bathroom.
We thought about this, and I began making drawings with dozens of revisions of how to lay out the new master bedroom, closet, and bathroom.
The First Bid
So we put in a low bid on Century Farms in late October 2021, around $35k below asking price. We found out that investors were the only other people interested in the property, and they would only give low bids also.
Our rancher was a short sale that took 6 months to close. We discovered that these sellers had signed an agreement with an investment group that took away their control over the asking price. Over a week or so, we gradually increased our offer up to $5 less than asking price– and were accepted!
We planned on two major renovations– the upstairs bathroom/master bedroom area, and a new heating system. As time progressed and we had contractors come and go, the new heating system became new windows instead.
We had a dollar amount in our heads for these 2 renovations. We hoped to not spend much more than that. Now that we are seven months in, I can tell you we have probably spent about twice our original hoped-for amount. And there is still alot to get done!
However, we knew going in that if Century Farms had been in move-in condition, the asking price would have been double what it was. So we figured we could dump quite a bit of money in, and still be ahead.
The house that the sellers were going to move to, fell through, so they asked to rent back Century Farms for 2 weeks. We said no way, because of our previous experience when they wouldn’t even leave the house for us to look at it.
Since we owned our rancher, we had the freedom to delay the closing date to accomodate the sellers until they found another place. We ended up closing 3 days before Christmas 2021. We jumped right in and got to work. You can see how much we got done in the first ten days Here.
We planned that we would work on the house for 3 months before moving in. We also planned to put our rancher up for sale after 2 months. Everything went according to plan! Wow, how often can we say that?!
We put our rancher up the first weekend in March, after I worked hard to pack up and move as much as we could ahead of time. That way the rancher wasn’t as cluttered and full with all of our stuff.
It sold in about 4 days, after 16 showings. We had 4 good offers. In fact 2 offers were so good we were hesitant that it would appraise that high so we actually lowered it by 10k when we accepted one of the offers.
What do you think when I tell you that we sold our rancher on a 1/3 of an acre for the same price we paid for our old farmhouse on 3 acres?! Let me know in the comments! The rancher and farmhouse are 5 miles apart, and in the same school district.
So we moved to the farmhouse the end of March, and closed on our rancher on April 8th. Have you ever renovated an old farmhouse while packing and moving and unpacking again?! Let me tell you that it is not for the faint of heart!
The new owners are taking good care of our old rancher– they’ve trimmed the trees and painted the shutters- and door trim– doesn’t it look fabulous?!
Our upstairs bathroom renovation is now mostly finished, except for the ceiling and baseboard trim.
Why We Moved
One of the reasons we wanted to move was that we thought it would be better for our children. So far, it has been. Adversity is good.
For example, at our rancher we hardly had any bugs. So few that my kids never had to use a fly swatter. Now we have lots of critters, and yesterday my son didn’t hesitate to grab and use a flyswatter on a cricket. At the rancher he didn’t have that skill or confidence. See what I mean about adversity being good?!
That was just one example. There are many more. I can’t manage this large house by myself. I have to have help. And the kids have to help me. That’s better than them sitting around doing their own selfish things all the time.
David has had to stretch himself also. At the rancher, he didn’t have to do much to it; it was already done. Before we moved to Century Farms, we agreed that he would do alot of the work himself. And he has. And I have kept doing home improvement, just like I always have.
Is this house keeping us young? Well…. probably not. But it is certainly keeping us more active for the time being!!