The first house we looked at in Eugene was gorgeous. The inside was immaculate, built in 2007 by people who knew what they were doing. There was a zipline in the front yard, wild irises growing in the nearby field, and deer picking their way through the forest it was nestled in. The house came with 5 acres of land, and JB was in love.
It was also a 20-minute drive out of town, and ultimately, we decided it was too expensive.
The next house that *I* fell in love with was in the zip code we had decided to target — Eugene’s Ferry Street Bridge neighborhood, which is the north/northeast area just across the Willamette River from downtown — and oh, I wish I’d taken photos of it. Just a beautiful house, from the slate entryway to the exquisitely crafted kitchen to the nicest home office I’ve ever seen.
We ran the numbers, over and over. We factored in Eugene’s surprisingly high property taxes. We decided we were in the wrong ballpark, price-wise.
That was a hard decision. I was sad to give up on the house, for sure, but I was also frustrated that we had to start over in an entirely new price bracket. A price bracket that, as it turned out, drastically limited our options, which I started feeling were pretty unrealistic. I was hoping for two stories, something over 2000 square feet, with a decent bathtub and a non-microscopic yard. JB wanted a big yard, room for parking a trailer, and a shop.
We’ve been looking at lots of houses, and nothing has been the right compromise. Yards have been especially hard to come by, and the closest thing we’ve found — a nicely updated place in a very good neighborhood — we ultimately passed on because it just didn’t have quite enough space.
Meanwhile, there’s been this house next door. It’s an older house like the one we’re renting, with the same huge yard. JB saw a man loading furniture out of it the week we moved in, and via a casual chat, learned that it belonged to his elderly mother who is now in a care facility. He, along with her other adult children, have been cleaning it up and getting ready to put it on the market.
JB asked if we could see it, and the man was friendly, but turned him down. It’s too cluttered right now, he said.
Personally, I never had faith that the house next door would be a viable option for us. I figured it would take too long, and since we have to be out by September, I wanted to focus on houses that were actually for sale. I was also unconvinced that the inside would be acceptable, for a number of reasons.
JB, however, doggedly pursued the owner’s son. It took weeks, but we finally met him and his wife a few days ago to tour the house.
And it’s … a great house.
It’s not perfect, of course. It hasn’t been updated like the house we’re in now, so it has a very different feel. The master bathroom is startlingly tiny, and the layout isn’t as spacious as I’d have liked.
But the main rooms aren’t cramped, the kitchen is airy, there’s an interesting sun room off the back, and the yard is enormous. There’s room to add a shop, an RV pad, and even expand the house itself if we won the lottery someday.
Plus, it’s right next door. Meaning, it’s here on this amazing peaceful street that we have fallen in love with (well, excepting one spectacularly annoying night featuring some nearby yappy dogs), in a neighborhood that could not be more perfectly located.
The owner’s son and his wife were incredibly gracious, and we learned a lot about the family history of the house. Where his mom had grown her beloved cactuses, where his dad had built a garden area. The house is chock full of mementos, to be sure, and I do not envy them the task of cleaning it out (the gorgeous artwork piled on every surface of the living room? Painted by the mom. I mean, this isn’t garage sale material, you know?), but we could see through the clutter to the cozy home beneath.
We made them an offer yesterday. Today, we got a verbal agreement.
Nothing’s set in stone yet, but things seem very hopeful. I’m grateful to the family, who have been so kind, and even shooed away a different prospective buyer who came sniffing around by saying that we had first dibs. I’m grateful to the owner, who conveyed the message that she’s happy about the idea of a family raising children in the place she called home for over 30 years.
Oh, you guys, I’m crossing my fingers this is the right home for us. I sure have a good feeling about it.