After finding out in April we were being transferred from Chicagoland to New England for my husband’s job, we finally closed on our new home the first weekend in August. Wondering where we landed?
We came out to New England the first weekend in June for two solid days of house-hunting.
After two full days of house-hunting in two states with seven kiddos, we ended up rather stuck. On day one we’d found one home that would work but our offer was trumped by other buyers. By the end of day two we had nothing. We’d wanted a home with some land, similar to our home in Illinois. Turns out the terrain in Connecticut and Massachusetts is dramatically different than the Midwest. We expected differences just not quite so many. We initially hoped since we were looking in such a broad region we’d be able to come up with something with a bit of land at the very least.
On top of looking within a rather large radius we are not particularly picky house hunters. This is our third house and we’re seasoned enough homeowners to know that no house is perfect and there are a lot of things we could change to better suit our families’ needs if we needed to one day. On our short wish list we had as musts: Four bedrooms, at least one acre of useable land (preferably more), a dining room and family room big enough to fit our entire family, structurally sound and no major safety hazards on the property.
The last requirement got us almost every single time. There would be a home with a good amount of land (5 acres or more) and it would have some hazard in the yard- like a cliff or a steep hill right off the back deck. How about a driveway lined with railroad ties? If you step over the railroad ties, you drop about twelve feet into an abyss. Does that sound great for a family with seven children under age twelve? Mom unloads groceries from the van, child goes into the abyss. Yeah, no. Of course none of the hazards were shown on the online pictures of the homes so we’d pull up to a home and a quick jog around the perimeter often gave us enough insight to rule out the home or keep it on the ever dwindling list.
In addition to safety hazards, we also ruled out homes with land that didn’t have much useable space. Turns out the locations we considered buying a home in were rather mountainous and heavily wooded. There just was not a lot of flat land to be had. We looked at several homes with a good amount of acreage- one had twelve acres and the home was lovely; but all but one tenth of an acre was dense forest. Oh and that one had a huge boulder in the backyard. It was several feet taller than Ryan or me. Our nine year old daughter was going on and on about how awesome the boulder was until she saw my face and then promptly announced “yeah, it does kinda look like a good spot to break your leg.” I guess we could teach our kids how to rock climb one day, but I wasn’t really planning to start ASAP.
By the afternoon of the second day we’d looked at all the homes on our list. We had nothing. Our real estate agent went home for the day. Discouraged we decided to ride by a home that was on our back up list. We’d nixed it initially because the entire back yard was a pool. We drove by it and decided it still wasn’t a great option. We pulled into a parking lot to get some lunch for everyone and try to come up with some sort of plan. We would not be able to come back out to house hunt for at least another month and, even if something new came on the market, by that point there was no way we’d be in a new home by the time Ryan needed to start in his new office. Ryan suggested trying to find out if there were any open houses around the immediate area where we were eating lunch. I fiddled with all my real estate apps for a bit before realizing there was no such search tool.
Then I started adjusting some of our search criteria. I’d been doing a variety of searches for the past month or so but figured maybe something new had come up on some of our back up search criteria. A new home popped up and it turned out to be having an open house at that very moment. The open house was scheduled to end in fifteen minutes. A frantic map search revealed we were only seven minutes away. We buckled up the kiddos and off we went. We arrived five minutes before the open house was scheduled to end and I ran up to the front door. The listing agent was locking up and I asked if she’d be willing to let us run through the house. I knew as soon as we pulled up and saw peonies lining the walkway, this was the house God had for us. You see I had quite a few discussions with God about peonies when we found out we’d be moving away from our Chicagoland home. I’d put in several peonies all over our property there and then one of our kiddos had fallen and crushed them the first year they were in. This was going to be THE year they would be in full bloom with lots of bushy greenery. I was rather upset I wouldn’t be around to see them in their glory.
As I ran up the walkway to the front door, I paused to take a few pictures of the glorious peonies- several varieties, all mature and in radiant full bloom. God whispering in petals this was it. We flew through the open house in record time noting that it checked off more than a few of our boxes. We called our agent as we were pulling out of the driveway to let him know we wanted to put in an offer. After some back and forth we had a deal and a new place to call home.
It’s been nearly two months since that escapade and we are home. The peonies have all wilted and in their place are other lovely varieties of flowers welcoming us.We ended up in a small town twenty-five minutes east of Hartford. We found out a few interesting things since being here. First we are five minutes from a stunning lake, which has a few beaches where we can swim. Secondly, a few houses down from us is an established horse farm. We didn’t get our barn with this new home, but there is one right down the road where we could board a horse or take lessons if we wanted.
Life here in Connecticut will be different from our life in Illinois for sure. We aren’t entirely certain what it will look like yet and we are rather exhausted from all the craziness of getting here, but we’re excited to see what all God has in store for us on this new adventure.
P.S. Can I just tell you we found out we are just a couple hour (“short”) drive away from being able to go whale watching? That is all folks. That. Is. All.