The Move to the Country

It’s been a long year, but I think I’m back.  But I’m back as a country gal; no longer a city gal.

Rewind to December 2014. I opened the real estate tax bill that usually arrives the first week in December, and I proceeded to contact a real estate agent I knew through having chickens in the city.  Hubby and I scoured houses with larger parcels of land within thirty miles of work. It wasn’t easy looking for houses in winter but we didn’t want to waste a minute. Just about every weekend in December and the first half of January were spent seeing houses. It was a bit frustrating when we kept running into nice house, bad land or bad house, great land.  By bad land, I mean not suitable for livestock or inadequate out-buildings.  The house had to be big enough for our girls to visit and spend the night with their significant others, and it had to be habitable for immediate move-in.  Ok, to be honest, we didn’t look at a house in which the kitchen didn’t need an overhaul, but there had to be space for us to do the overhaul with. I am a bit demanding of my kitchen space since I spend A LOT of time in it.

The other obstacle we ran into, and definitely weren’t expecting, was the livestock rule.  It was a bit shocking how limiting the rural areas were regarding livestock in non-agricultural zoning.  We came from the city which allowed four hens, but we ran into a few areas which had 5 acre minimum before even allowing one chicken. The cities and  towns had  a measurement called units and what was included in the unit varied.  One unit could be ten chickens, two pigs, and one horse or cow. And it was usually a unit for every acre. When our realtor forwarded us the house that would turn out to be the one, we were a little excited about the age of the house and the amount of the land.  But the short time we had been searching taught us it may look great on paper, but it may not be the same house in reality.  ‘Wow,’ was all I could mutter when we pulled into the property.  It was a long, steep driveway, with a ranch-style house built on a hill and surrounded by woods. It was love at first sight! The only negative was the lack of out-buildings.  We  had the pasture but no building to go with it.  But that was it; we were ready and willing  to sign the dotted lines.

Not so fast.  After asking a few questions, we found  out local laws limited the land to only horses and cattle. I wanted poultry and goats; neither were allowed. When I thought we were possibly buying a PUD, I was posed to shut-down any mention of a sales contract. So we involved the seller and the realtor and found out the HOA of a long, long, time ago, wrote up the laws but never recorded them. That was official enough for me. We signed the dotted line January 24th, 2015, with a closing date set for 03/31.

Ummm, we hadn’t put our current primary residence on the market yet and nor were we close to putting on the market.  On your mark, get set and proceed to panic.  I took off some time from work, and I sorted and boxed what was wanted and carted off the rest to Goodwill.  The majority of “stuff” was moved from the second floor and basement to an indoor storage unit.  Our realtor stressed reduction and reduce I did.  I left the main level mostly untouched for the necessity of living day to day until we sold the home. While I reduced, hubby painted and re-caulked every corner.  The first open house was scheduled 02/08, and we were cleaning and organizing minutes before it.  It was a great showing, but there were a few negative comments; one we could rectify quickly and the other was too lofty to do before selling.  So we replaced the vanity and shelving unit in the first floor bathroom(the problem we could rectify quickly). Preparing our house for sale was done in the coldest, and most miserable months of the Midwest. I fretted and worried about the weather discouraging folks to attend our open house or to view the house by appointment.  I work in the mortgage industry and everyone I spoke to assured me selling our house in the winter will be more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Regardless, hubby and I stressed over every aspect of selling our home, but the way we went about it, added greatly to our stress. Whatever we did was successful, because we received an offer on the house mid-February. Oh, and the buyers agreed to a 03/31 closing. I don’t recommend anybody doing it this way.  Putting an offer on another house was a great motivator, but the stress it brings with it just isn’t healthy.

Next entry will be about what happened once we moved.  No time to waste when we had 23 chicks in tow and a garden to plant.