Sunday, August 18, 2013

Be It Ever So Humble....

...there's no place like home.

Right after we got back from Ireland, I got a call from our real estate agent. "You're never going to believe this..." she said. I immediately knew. Someone wanted to buy our house. I could tell by the surprise in her voice. She never understood why we wanted a house like ours to begin with. I could tell that very curious lightning had just struck her twice and she was completely boggled, her hair in flames.

No, our house isn't on the market. A couple who is selling their house came to her and told her that our house is the house that they want as their house. They told her that the ranch is their "dream home" and that they've been driving past it for years, hoping that it will go up for sale. Now that they are selling their home, they wanted to see if they could make the next step that final step into our home.

Some of you might remember that this is very similar to what happened when we bought the ranch four years ago. We had been driving past it for years and dreamt about living here. There are very few ranches in our area of cottages and tudors and salt boxes. But it wasn't just the shortage of ranches that drew us to the house. We could just tell that it was wonderful inside and that it was where we were supposed to be. And once we got to see inside, it was proven to be true. It had everything that we wanted and more.

I always wondered what it was like for the Sellers then. They were just living their lives. They weren't expecting to sell their home and then all of a sudden a couple shows up and asks if they would have any interest in doing so. "It's our dream home!" we said to anyone who would listen. And now, the very same thing is happening to us. It's disconcerting and confusing and I'd like to go back in time and buy our Sellers a drink. Or four.

Of course you're probably saying, "Just tell them no!" but here is the sticky bit - if we sell it to them, we can make a nice profit. Enough to possibly roll into another home and have very little or no mortgage. Who among us doesn't dream of having no mortgage? I mean, we're not rolling in dough and aren't going to have kids to take care of us when we're old. Would we be crazy not to take this opportunity and run with it? And another big part of this equation is that this couple has always wanted a 1950's home that is all-original. They want to move in and never change a thing. To me, living in an all-original ranch feels a bit like you're curating a museum piece. You love it because it looks like it did on day one - and you want with all of your heart for it to stay that way.

All-original mid-century homes are hard to come by in Nashville. Something happened in the eighties where people just remodeled like wildfire and let me tell you, some incredible homes have had the very marrow sucked from their bones due to that movement. Someone promising not to change a thing in your beloved home is a pretty sweet promise indeed.We live in a home-gut happy society, my friends. Don't even get me started on the huge role that HGTV plays in this with their commercials and their sing-song "You've got tear it on down...to make it beautiful!" TV jingle.

Stick your sledgehammers where the sun don't shine, HGTV.

So, we've been dipping our toes in the real estate pool and seeing if there is a house out there that gives us that old feeling again. It feels like we're cheating on our ranch. We drive away from it and go to other neighborhoods, some of them near and some of them far. Our heads and hearts stray as we climb across porches and peek into windows of vacant real estate and wonder what it would be like to live there. "We could put our sofa there..." and "The kitties would love this big window" come out of our mouths with no thought of our dream house waiting for us at home faithfully. Then we drive into our driveway and the good old ranch greets us with a pair of kitties in the front window and trees full of squirrels and that probably-too-neon front door that I've always wondered if we should change.

We walk inside and are met with the features that have always been there and the changes that we've made and it feels like home. I don't know what we'll end up doing. I guess it depends on if we find a house cheap enough that we think could feel like home again. I have a hard time imagining packing up and driving away from the ranch for the last time but is there something out there that could make the sting easier? It's hard to say. It's really just so hard to say. And I know that I've mentioned at least a hundred times that Patsy Cline used to hang out here. That's some provenance right there, folks. Oh and yes, I've checked. Her ranch house DID go on the market not too long ago but it's been sold to folks who are lovingly retaining it's charm.

I wanted to share all of this with you so that you'll understand why I'm scattered. If nothing else, I can bring you on the journey with us. You like looking at houses, right? The real estate market is crazy in Nashville right now. Every single house that we've been the least bit interested in has been sucked right out from under us. Some have sold before hitting the market and some on the very first day. We talk about nothing but real estate....real estate....real estate. Mister Kitsch has been in Brazil for the past week and what did we Skype about? The beautiful scenery there? The incredible meals that he's eating? How the Brazilian wax got it's name? No. Real estate.

We'll see how all of this plays out. Hopefully, I'll still have a ranch of some kind to go with my "Dressing" when it's done! What about you? What would you do if someone showed up on your doorstep and wanted to move into your home? Would you take the money and run? Or would you close your eyes, swallow hard and behind closed shades, hope that they go away? Do tell.

Until next time,
x's and o's,
Eartha






29 comments:

Lauren T said...

I can certainly understand the lure of living in a paid-off house, especially since the ranch would be in good hands. Part of collecting things and decorating with them is the fun of putting it together, and a new house would be a great adventure. Every time I go to an estate sale and I see a house that has a lot of period detail left in it, I wonder what it would be like to take it over and bring it back. Good luck to you both!

Tami Von Zalez said...

I look forward to your posts on whether you decide to sell or stay. A mortgage-free retirement sounds pretty tempting.

Melissa said...

Well what a conundrum you guys have on your hands! It's hard to say what I would do in a situation like yours. Your bathroom is beautiful! Good luck!!!

Liz said...

I say stay in your dream home! God will provide, and who knows maybe if you wait a little you might be able to even sell for more. I don't know how it is over there, but the market here is not good. I in the other hand would love for someone to take my home from me. I live alone and my neighbors think they can do all sort of bad things to me just cause. Best of luck to you!

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

I would only sell if I could find a house at just the right price and with just the right look that I could fall in love with. I wouldn't settle for another house just to be mortgage-free, because if I settled, I'd always be kicking myself for giving up the house I loved. My daughter gave up her dream ranch to help my SIL get the store started. She's thrilled that the store is so successful, but she will never stop missing that house.

Rob and Monica said...

We want your house!!!! those bathrooms are amazing and they are all being ripped out here! Good luck on whatever you decide! Mortgage free does sound great! (Monica)

Sara In AZ said...

Oh girl, you know I feel you on this one...we are going through this real estate nightmare together for sure!

If someone wanted my house I'd gladly sell....it's finding a place we actually want to move to that is proving difficult.

*fingers crossed* we can both find our dream house soon!

Iprefervintage said...

I would sell and seek out a single story with a big garage.

In Toledo there are plenty of homes that have not been updated though.

Some updates don't bother me much because I can always rewind the clock in that respect and decorate to my own liking.

I could never move into a new construction. They feel empty to me. This may sound weird, but old building comfort me.

Anonymous said...

From the people who sold it to you - thank you so much for the nice words. You nailed exactly how we felt. And every time I drive by the house, now that we live back in town again, and I see my concrete block wall on the patio we put in, its so bitter sweet. You made it more beautiful than we did, we didn't have the funds, but we loved it. That's why we were so sensitive about it. That and going through a move back in this market was stress inducing to say the least!
But as I have thought before, we were just keepers of that special house for a while - you were it's keeper too for a while and you added your touch - no doubt the same thing is going to happen to the new owners a few years from now...and so it goes. It's certainly given back to you two as well as us, hasn't it?
Take care and hope you find a new great place! We'll take those drinks anytime.

Honora said...

We have missed you! Welcome back.
I absolutely love my home. All of the work and love, sweat, blood, and tears have made me love it more.But, if someone wanted to buy my home and respect it's style and integrity, that would be hard to say no to. In the next 20-30 yrs we are going to need to downsize. It doesn't sound too awful to start earlier!

Kalamity Kelli said...

Okay my friend - I am older and wiser and have been through more - I love your blog and I have grown to love you so I'm going to give you some advice and not sweat it if you don't take it: Sell that house! Not to have a mortgage is the finest gift you could give yourself or your husband. Here's a thought: build a brand new house with old 70's plans like they do with Victorian homes. Still, whatever you have to do not to have a mortgage do it! If one of you gets sick, you may need the equity in that house to buy the health Tx you need or maybe you couldn't work for some time - and you still have a home. SELL THAT HOUSE and move into another ranch or build one! Now, do what you want and be sure to let us know!!

Rita@thissortaoldlife said...

I have no idea what the right thing will be for you, but it sounds like you're doing the right things to find out. I think it's great to look at all the possibiities and to think and to take your time. If you do that, a day will come when you know what the right decision is. You'll just know.

Barbara said...

I'm all for making a profit and living mortgage free, but you'd have to have a house you would want to love the same way to go to.

You could buy one of those "remodeled" ones and try to bring it back to the original, but not sure if you'd want to do that.

But as your anon seller stated, they are ours to cherish for the time we do.

Nancy said...

Zillow has a feature called "make me an offer" where people will offer to buy your house.

You have something that is priceless. You can make a house a home. Your karma and your personal taste made this ranch happen for you, and if you put it out there, you can make it happen again.

Is this lifechanging money? No. Bump up the offer until you would have absolutely no regrets. I love your blog, and I am selfishly hoping you sell, just so I could read all about your adventures. Wishing you the best in whatever you decide to do. xuxux

Vivian said...

This is more of a dilemma than the time the TV people came knocking to use your house for thee "Nashville" show! Wow. What a dilemma to have though! I know you and your Mr. Will do what is best for you both. Keepus posted though, the suspense could do us in!

KIMMIE JONES said...

Passion over practicality! damn. That's a daily struggle for me. I think you are reacting just how I would to such an offer. When something is so personal...I mean it's your home...I think it's hard to find a solid replacement. It's kind of like a mate- once youve fallen in love, it's hard to find a new one that will not always make you constantly compare the two! It's such a rough position! I think you and the hubs are handling it well, though I don't envy that choice!

scott7258 said...

I would sell the house - tell the couple who wants it, when you find EXACTLY what you want, they can have it. They can rent in the meantime if they sell their house first. This is a golden opportunity for financial freedom. I am 63 w/no kids & a paid off mortgage - I sleep very well at night knowing this house is MINE! It is PRICELESS!! Best of luck in making this hard decision. Mary

darkelady said...

Oh I so understand your dilema. You put down roots in a place and hate to leave. I have been in this apartment for 20 years. Now I have been unemployed for six months and the only prospect seems to mean that I will have to move 30 miles away. I so hate to leave this place but I need a job and a 60 mile round trip commute is out of the question with my elderly car.
Whatever you decide to do with your ranch I wish you the best of luck.

Rob and Monica said...

What a tough decision you have in front of you both. A mortgage-free existence is sweet indeed but finding and living in your dream home is too. I guess the perfect ending would be to find another dream home. Best of luck. I know the decisions ahead will not be easy. (Rob)

SUZY8-TRACK said...

If I were you, don't sell until you find your next dream home....if you move into something that is not as dreamy you may regret it.

Lya de Putti said...

Hi - I'm a fairly new reader to your blog and I'm sure you have lots of pix of your lovely home scattered around your posts. Would love to see a few in your next post - I'm sure we'll all say STAY, STAY when we see how beautiful it is.

Caryn said...

Oh goodness, what a dilemma to be in!! I would probably say sell, if you could absolutely be sure that the profit you'd make would make you mortgage (or almost) free on the next home. I say this after living in our DREAM home for the past two years. Prior to this, we were living in our 'first' dream home that we had paid off a couple years earlier. Needless to say our current dream home came with a big fat mortgage. And while I LOVE it here and think we made the right decision, I can't help but sometimes remember the sweet sweet feeling of being mortgage free in our previous home. There ARE other untouched gorgeous ranches out there no matter how far and few between, and if you can stand to be patient until the right one comes to you I think you will be forever happy with your decision.

Jen said...

My goodness, I can't imagine being in this position—well, actually, as you probably know, with THIS house, I'd say, "YES! When would you like to move in?"—but you also know how horrible it was for me to leave our last home, which I loved very much. I literally wept over the mantle before driving away for the last time so we could move to a new state. I still miss that house, deeply, two years and change later.

That said, I understand not just the excitement of something new (the hunt, really), but the prospect of living mortgage free, especially once we reach a certain age and begin thinking about retirement!

Do they want to move in right away? If you could find another untouched beauty, if you had the time...it might be different. It's very difficult to balance love and reason. You're not crazy, though, not at all—this is quite a dilemma, it really is, and we become part of our homes as much as they become part of us when we really love them.

Try not to rush into this (unless Patsy Cline's house goes back on the market; then, I suppose, all bets are off!)

Rebecca Gonzalez said...

Well. What weighs most on my mind, now that you mention it, is how DID the Brazilian wax get its name?

Unknown said...

I don't think I could do it. First there is the drama or dealing with the real estate/mortgage combo (and there is always drama), then you have to do the remodel mambo. It has been over a year for us and we are just beginning to recover from it.

Susie S. said...

I never knew how emotionally attached I was to the home I grew up in until I moved out and my dad sold it shortly thereafter. Now, ten years after leaving, I still miss that house. I saw pictures of it on zillow a few days ago (I guess it went up for sale not too long ago,) and I cried when I saw that the whole house had been remodeled. The original 1920s kitchen, all of the gingerbread curtain boxes over the windows, and the basement was finished. It was just too much for me. *My* house was gone.

If you love your home and don't think you'll be able to find that love in another home, then don't sell. I hate to be cliche, but you know that old saying about not being able to go home again, blah blah blah...

Cara said...

Wow! That is the ultimate compliment one can receive! I would sell, though I'm pretty sure people speed up a little as they drive past my house.
Good luck in whatever you decide! Might I recommend a basement? It makes those plumbing repairs a breeze!

Amy said...

Is Portland too far out? I just got this 1957 ranch in an email.

http://www.coffeecountytnrealestate.com/real-estate/Tennessee-Mid-South-MLS/Residential/property/1478805-226-Portland-Rd-White-House-TN-37188

bitter69uk said...

How weird this suddenly cropped up as a NEW blog post on blogger.com for me when in fact it's over three years old. Does anyone ever know what happened to Eartha Kitsch? I hope she's well - she's certainly missed.