The thing you should probably know about our farm search was that when we started looking, I wasn’t ready. My plan was to wait until we had paid off the mortgage on our starter house. But about five months before that, Matt started spending time on MLS and soon enough he was making appointments with real estate agents.
About a month into our premature farm search, Matt and I drove out to see a property. We were about 20 minutes early for the appointment, and as we circled the rural country roads peering out the car window at the farm I said to Matt, “How did you do it? How did you find the perfect place?”
A long gravel driveway bordered on one side by tall pines and on the other by a manicured meadow led to a small house perched on the top of a rise. Undersized dormers poked out of the roof and the weathered wood of a big barn towered over the ridge line.
The original farm house had been added to over the years becoming a hodge podge of traditional tiny rooms connected to larger open spaces including a big eat-in kitchen and a generous family room with windows on three sides. Bathrooms were classic 1980s: a vintage six-piece complete with pink jacuzzi tub and matching bidet and an avocado three-piece.
In terms of potential, it ticked the box. My vision for the reno included digging out the basement, building a full second story–complete with properly proportioned dormers, reconfiguring the main floor and adding on a garage.
Outside, acres and acres of manicured grass beckoned family barbecues. Rolling hills hearkened of winter sledding parties. A small creek winding around the house and barn, 10 acres of forest and more than 50 acres of corn fields (of the property’s total 94 acres) were exactly the atmosphere we were looking for. And of course, the big barn with its own fabulous dormer drew us in.
But they only drew us so far. Though the price tag on this first farm was less than what we would ultimately end up paying, it was so early in our search that it still seemed very expensive. My sticker shock combined with my renovation ambitions–plus some electrical issues, no proper well (cistern only) and baseboard heat instead of a furnace–made us hesitate to put in an offer.
We visited the farm a few times. Talked about it a lot. Thought about it almost constantly. And then we watched the listing expire at the end of the fall.
That whole winter, every night as I walked home from work, I thought about the farm. We decided that if the listing came back up in the spring, we would put in an offer.
We watched MLS, and sure enough a few months later the farm came back on the market. We went and saw it again. The issues were the same, but so was the appeal. We put in an offer.
When our agent called me to say that there were three other offers and we were all being sent back, I was completely stunned. How could this farm that no one wanted to buy four months ago now be selling in competition?
We upped our offer.
And that night as I climbed into bed I felt like we were making a mistake. After about six months of dreaming about this property, it didn’t feel right.
The next day, we found out we’d been outbid. The amount the farm sold for surprised me and was more than we’d have paid. Between the price tag and my misgivings, the loss didn’t hurt too much. Apparently, I still wasn’t ready.