Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Story of our House

How do you even start a post like this?! Two weeks ago today, Kyle and I became homeowners! We put on our best business attire and drove to the attorney's office, signed all the closing papers, and moved in to our beautiful home three days later. Of course there was a LOT that happened before that, but I'll get to that in a sec. We love love LOVE our house and can't wait to show you all the prettiness inside (I filmed an empty house tour a la Young House Love that will hopefully be ready soon!). To say that life has been hectic since we got back from our trip to California would be an understatement. I really want to get back in the groove of blogging and share everything that's been going on lately, so today I'll start with the story of our house. First of all, here she is. :)

As I mentioned in this post, Kyle and I have been looking for houses for a little more than a year now. We watched online listings closely and drove by a few houses that we really liked, even when we weren't in the financial position to buy yet. In February of this year, Kyle found a new construction home in the area we knew would be a future possibility, and we both really liked the house just from looking at the online listing. Add in the fact that it was listed UNDER our budget, and we had to drive by and check it out. We both loved it even more "in person" (aka peeking in the windows) and absolutely loved the neighborhood it was in. It was seriously the cutest neighborhood I have ever seen--very small with all craftsman style homes. We both crossed our fingers and prayed it would still be on the market by the time we were able to buy several months down the road.

Well, that was not the case. We did our fair share of wishful thinking, but with the market the way it is right now, we shouldn't have been surprised it went under contract pretty soon after we checked it out. We were really disappointed, but I think Kyle was even more disappointed than me. We weren't just bummed we missed out on the house, but also that we missed out on the neighborhood. It was a fairly new neighborhood and that was the next to last lot to be sold, so the likelihood that another house would go on the market was slim to none. Or so we thought.

Fast forward to the night before we were scheduled to go house hunting with our realtor, and Kyle was looking over the new listing email he got every Friday from Keller Williams. He excitedly told me that another house in that same neighborhood had just been listed! Within reach of our price range! What are the odds?! So we immediately called/emailed our realtor so we could get an appointment the next day. We did, and we also went to see quite a few other houses that day. I went in with an open mind and tried to think as unemotionally as I could (yeah, right!) about each house that we saw. So here's a quick rundown of the houses we looked at (saving ours for last):

The first house we went to see was about ten years old in a well established neighborhood. I fell in love with the exterior of this house - I loved the paint color and the prominent stacked stone chimney. The interior didn't give me butterflies or anything, but it did confirm my love for wainscoting detail. Apparently wainscoting (or beadboard?) is my jam, y'all! This house already had a fenced-in backyard which was a major plus, but it also had a full basement which did not give us much wiggle room on the price. In the end, this house was really charming, it just wasn't the one for us.

Next, we looked at a five-bedroom cul-de-sac home that was much more reasonable for our price range. The exterior of this house looked promising, but I have to be honest and say the overall experience at this house was just awkward. The owners were still there when we arrived and had to scramble to get out so we could look at the house in private, but apparently the lady's uncle lived with them and was sick so he was still lying in bed while we were in the house. I felt like I really couldn't say what I was thinking to Kyle while we were looking around. On top of it being too much house for what we would currently need, the final straw was when we asked to take a quick look at the bedroom the sick uncle was staying in and there was a DISGUSTINGLY HUGE cat hanging out in the closet. Nope. I just can't. Scratched that one off the list pronto.

After that, we drove over to a new construction neighborhood and found the house we wanted to look at didn't look like the online listing photo at all. Not that it was a huge problem, we were able to get an explanation from the lady at the sales office fairly quickly. The photo on the listing was just a generic exterior photo for that type of floor plan, so the exterior in real life would look a little bit different. Since that house was still in the framing stages, we were able to look at the finished model with the same floor plan, and it really was a lovely layout. The only thing that was weird to me was that it had two master bedrooms, one downstairs and one up, with the master bedroom upstairs being the BIGGEST room I have EVER seen. Like for real. Our entire South Carolina split level home could fit in there. It was really odd and felt more like wasted space than a luxury. We looked at two model homes in this neighborhood, and Kyle and I had to talk about whether we were open to buying a lot and building on it as opposed to buying a move-in ready house. I think it was this point in the day where my head started to spin. Only four houses in. House hunting wimp I definitely am. Sadly I didn't take any photos of the two houses we looked at here. I think this whole situation just caught me off guard.

Next, we drove over to this beauty in a neighborhood we liked just as much as the neighborhood we ended up in. This one was listed a bit above our price range and still had a few finishing touches that needed to be made, but we wanted to look at it anyway and see what kind of offer we could put on it. When we walked up to the front door though, we noticed the lockbox was missing. We checked to see if there was one on the back door, and no dice. Bummed, our realtor looked at her printout for the house to try and find a number to call, and noticed the house was listed as a contingent with a kick out. Basically meaning there was already an offer on the house, pending the sale of the buyer's home. We were a little miffed the lockbox was removed because technically we could still put an offer on the house and "kick out" the other buyers, but obviously it would have to be a better offer for the sellers to even consider it, and we didn't think we were in a financial position to make a reasonably competitive offer. So, sadly, we had to drive away from this one.

After that we went to look at a house that was actually in my sister's neighborhood. It was fun to think about the possibility of living so close together! This house was by far the most expensive one we looked at, but it was bank-owned and had been sitting empty for a while, so we thought a low-ball offer wouldn't hurt if we liked it. We could tell this one was well-built and had a lot going for it, but again it was just too much house for what we would need right now, and possibly too much for what we would need in the future. Not only did it have an upstairs and a main level, but it also had a fully finished basement. It would take us F-O-R-E-V-E-R to furnish that house, and we weren't necessarily looking for our forever home (though I would totally be OK if we never moved again). So we didn't pursue anything with this house.

And then. :)

THE ONE came along. We walked in, and I just knew. This was it. I loved everything about the house, and it was in the neighborhood we initially fell in love with. The craftmanship, the details--it had me at hello. I tried not to let my feelings gush all over the place as we were walking around, but the minute Kyle and I walked out, we looked at each other and simultaneously agreed we were putting an offer on this one. We talked and prayed that night about what our offer would look like, and the next day our realtor officially submitted the offer to the sellers. After about a week of counteroffers, we finally went under contract on April 7. We were so excited that we were that couple, driving by the house to see if Under Contract was on the sign yet. Sure enough, it was! And we took a picture!

It was a long, stressful process between our contract binding date and closing date, and I am honestly so glad that part is behind us now. This house is far more than Kyle and I could ever ask or imagine, and I can't believe we are here, navigating our way through a sea of cardboard boxes as we start a new chapter in our life making our first house our home. I am so in awe of how God went before us and worked out every detail. We're pretty excited about all that's to come, and can't wait to have you guys over!

P.S. To give you a sneak peek inside the house, here's a video of Doc checking out his new digs for the first time. It's pretty cute.
Doc Checking Out the New House from Lesley Anne Fenton on Vimeo.


  1. Lesley Anne, it's GORGEOUS!!! I can't wait to see the inside! I'm so glad that the house hunting process is over for you guys... you're homeowners!!! Enjoy!

  2. I LOVE it! I'm so happy for you two!!!! I really enjoyed going through the house hunting process with y'all on this blog post - so much fun!

  3. You're lucky to have found a house after a year. Other homeowners were able to find their new home after two years and so. I'm sure your realtor worked so hard to give you this eye-opening list of houses. Congratulations on your new house, Lesley! Enjoy the new place. :)

  4. I know what you mean about feeling that it’s the right one. And while it looks amazing now, there are still places to improve on to put your own ideas of home! To begin with, the exterior seems to be raring for a rolling lawn or a garden. Have you added anything new in that particular area?


  5. Hooray for your new house! A year is quite a short time to purchase a new house, and you’re lucky to find a huge space. Have you done started with any renovation projects? If you have, can you share those projects with me? Thanks so much! How are you now? :)

    David Larkin



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