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.

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Comments

58 Responses to “The house next door”

  1. Danell on June 22nd, 2012 12:20 pm

    How sweet! And I just would not be ABLE to convey how excited I would be about only having to move again NEXT DOOR. Yessssss.

  2. Courtney on June 22nd, 2012 12:27 pm

    Oh! Oh happy tears for you guys! I hope it works out. I so, so, SOOOO hope it works out!

  3. Eric's Mommy on June 22nd, 2012 12:43 pm

    Beautiful! I have my fingers crossed too.

  4. Angella on June 22nd, 2012 12:46 pm

    I got all teary (as I am wont to do when friends are happy). It sounds perfect.

  5. Kristen on June 22nd, 2012 12:55 pm

    I am so happy for you guys! All of your Eugene posts are so happy and excited and HAPPY! Not that your posts in Seattle weren’t happy, but it’s just so great that you guys are where you want to be and things seem to be going really well. I hope this house becomes your home and you guys settle happily in to your new life in Oregon. xx

  6. Patty on June 22nd, 2012 1:05 pm

    That is lovely!

  7. Jennifer on June 22nd, 2012 1:16 pm

    We have a house with a master bathroom so tiny you can touch all 4 walls while standing in one place, and you totally get used to it. It’s such a minor part of your day, and spacious/open living spaces are so much more important than large bathrooms and bedrooms.

    And I’m not a believer in fate, but damned if that kind of coincidental timing didn’t indicate some kismet. Good on JB for following up with the woman’s son. I’m sure you’re exactly the kind of people they want taking over the ol’ homestead.

  8. Lynnette on June 22nd, 2012 1:24 pm

    Look at that beautiful yard! I really hope this goes smoothly for you, and that we can look forward to pictures of JB jumping over the larger shrubs.

  9. Sarah on June 22nd, 2012 1:29 pm

    I got teary too. How amazing. It must be so hard to let something like that go, especially in a time like that. I hope it works out for all of you.

  10. Joy on June 22nd, 2012 1:33 pm

    Holy serendipity. I loved reading this post because after reading previous posts and hearing how much you loved the neighborhood, I thought it would be hard for you to move away, and now you don’t have to. I’m so happy for you and your family.

  11. jen on June 22nd, 2012 1:39 pm

    I’ve got goosebumps for you, I hope this is it. As for the bathroom, we severely downsized our bathroom when we moved here and I’m just so happy here I don’t care. You really do get used to it. Our old bathroom was 12×12 and the new one is 6×8 but it’s nice that you can slam the door shut from the toilet, and I sometimes used my jacuzzi tub but I am glad not to have to clean that dust-catcher anymore. Thought I’d miss my double sinks but it’s amazing how fast you can adapt. Good luck!!

  12. Life of a Doctor's Wife on June 22nd, 2012 1:53 pm

    My fingers are crossed for you so hard! It sounds like such a lovely place. I hope everything works out perfectly!

  13. lisa on June 22nd, 2012 2:04 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve been following along with your lifestyle change/selling/buying journey while my husband and I have been on our own. We’re ten days into escrow on our almost-perfect dream house that I never thought we’d find. Somehow it makes me twice as happy to hear your news as well (is that crazy/creepy? I hope not)! I am so happy for you guys :-)

  14. Cindy on June 22nd, 2012 2:09 pm

    Amazing how this is all falling into place. Right place, right time. So happy for you. You grabbed this dream by the balls and showed it who is BOSS.

  15. ccr in MA on June 22nd, 2012 2:15 pm

    How exciting! Virtual fingers crossed for you. The easiest move I ever had (not that it was easy, but it was the easiest) was from an apartment on the third floor to an apartment on the second floor. Yours should be much like that!

  16. Alexa on June 22nd, 2012 2:24 pm

    fingers crossed! Looks like a great home!

  17. NancyJ on June 22nd, 2012 2:32 pm

    That’s so awesome! My fingers are crossed too. Like I told someone the other say who complained about the size of their master bedroom – hey you only sleep there right?

  18. Nichole on June 22nd, 2012 2:43 pm

    Wonderful! I hope it goes so smoothly for you.

  19. Gretchen in HB on June 22nd, 2012 2:46 pm

    Oh, for Pete’s sake, could it GET any better?!

    Fingers and toes crossed that you’ve found your new home. :-)

  20. Christine on June 22nd, 2012 3:07 pm

    Oh. Wow.

    How amazingly perfect! I hope hope hope it works out for you.

  21. jen on June 22nd, 2012 3:11 pm

    Serendipity! I think it’s going to work out for you, because you’re where you’re supposed to be and doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Everything is working out. We have experienced much the same once we took the leap and made our dream happen – everything else sort of just fell into place. Fingers crossed you get the house!!

  22. Kelley O on June 22nd, 2012 3:26 pm

    This sounds so perfect, I can’t wait to hear that you got it and will be moving NEXT DOOR. How awesome is that! :)

  23. Kami on June 22nd, 2012 6:15 pm

    That home is so you. It looks super cozy from the outside, I can only imagine what you will do with the inside. Does it have amazing windows?! So happy for you guys!

  24. Liza on June 22nd, 2012 6:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I hope it works out!

  25. Nicole on June 22nd, 2012 6:54 pm

    I have a lot of love for mid-century ranches. Good Luck!

  26. Kris on June 22nd, 2012 6:55 pm

    I teared up, too. So happy things are coming together for you!!

    (Even though my husband & I are both insanely jealous that you’re living our mutual dream, while we’re stuck & suffocating in WI. I totally say this with love.)

    Also meant to mention this earlier; but if it doesn’t work out, don’t completely discount looking at foreclosures, too. If you go to homepath.com (the Fannie Mae website), you can find houses & make bids on them during the First Look period for 2 weeks, before investors can get their paws on them. We bought our current house through them & got it for $125k below market value.

  27. sooboo on June 22nd, 2012 7:10 pm

    Amazing! Talk about serendipity! And easiest move ever. We have a small bedroom (so small we can’t fit a king bed in it) and I really don’t care at all. With all that outdoor space you’ll have, you probably won’t notice after awhile either. Those pics look like you took them in a beautiful park.

  28. Meagan on June 22nd, 2012 8:51 pm

    Good luck! I hope you get it!

  29. Victoria on June 22nd, 2012 10:24 pm

    Crying here too. Hope it works out :)

  30. elembee123 on June 22nd, 2012 11:25 pm

    Oh, it’s beautiful!

    All bendy parts crossed for everything falling smoothly into place!

    Also…I visited Eugene in the fall and it seemed as if the whole town was on fire with fall color. From the looks of it, you’ll have your own beautiful palette, too! Can’t wait to see the pics. :D

  31. JB on June 23rd, 2012 12:35 am

    SQUEEEEE!! Hopefully too much has fallen in place for this not to be the perfect next step. Everything crossed for you!

  32. shygirl on June 23rd, 2012 5:39 am

    Oh Sundry, you are killing me! Every one of these posts makes me go all teary-eyed. Your new life is AWESOME!!!

  33. Anais on June 23rd, 2012 6:53 am

    I am crossing my fingers that you guys get the house!!! =D

  34. Christine on June 23rd, 2012 10:13 am

    Oh it looks and sounds perfect for you guys! Good luck!

  35. Sharon on June 23rd, 2012 1:57 pm

    Okay, I must be PMSing, because your Hallmark commercial of a post here just made me cry. I so want this for you, for so many personal reasons. I don’t know you at all, but your attempts to find your happiness and your peace and your perfect place (and I mean in life, not just in housing markets) and not. just. settle… I am inspired by your journey and hoping that maybe, just maybe, if you can find your perfect place, maybe I can, too.

    Fingers crossed for you.

  36. H on June 23rd, 2012 2:44 pm

    This is fantastic! I hope everything works out. I know it will.

  37. Tripta on June 24th, 2012 4:40 am

    This is amazing news. Keeping fingers and toes crossed for you, Linda.

  38. Amy on June 24th, 2012 6:10 am

    I love it! Can’t wait to see Riley’s 7th birthday cake on the kitchen counter and your Christmas tree all aglow in the living room this winter.

    I am so enjoying this version of you. You always make me laugh, but you have never seemed happier or more at peace in the 5 or so years I’ve “known” you.

    Yay!!!

  39. Maureen on June 24th, 2012 11:36 am

    I’m really into the midcentury modern homes, and your (hopefully)new house looks like it might be a wonderful example of that, especially if it hasn’t been extensively renovated.

    You’ll get used to the small size of the bathroom, how much room do you really need? Like Jennifer said above, it is a room you spend relatively little time in. The rest of the house sounds like it fits your needs wonderfully. Plus, right next door? The sellers being so kind and sweet? I feel in my bones this is meant to be.

  40. KDA on June 24th, 2012 2:26 pm

    Good luck w/ the house! I think having a ranch is great. Our last house had stairs, and I ended up hating it. Now we’re in a one-story, and it makes living so much easier. There’s nothing better than not having to vacuum stairs or run up and down stairs b/c you’ve forgotten something. Plus, there’s nothing worse than navigating stairs when you’re sick. As far as having a small bathroom, I agree with the previous posters–it’s not like you’re going to ballroom dance in there! Plus, less to clean–bonus!

  41. Keaton on June 24th, 2012 5:13 pm

    My brother and I grew up in a house like that – it was fantastic. I hope you get it, and I’m sure you’ll love it.

  42. kristin on June 25th, 2012 6:27 am

    Wow! How serendipitous! Good luck to ya.

  43. Tia on June 25th, 2012 7:56 am

    Oh, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you guys! I’m just loving this new chapter! You guys did it!!

  44. Sonia on June 25th, 2012 9:52 am

    Fingers crossed!!!

  45. Redbecca on June 25th, 2012 10:57 am

    Oooh I hope this works out for you guys. Good luck!

  46. Nimble on June 25th, 2012 11:24 am

    Like the girl next door — I got it! That is a great possibility. Here’s to happy landings.

  47. Laziza on June 25th, 2012 11:54 am

    Beautiful and perfect – congratulations. Best of luck making it FINAL final!

  48. Amy N on June 25th, 2012 3:10 pm

    Awesome! Fingers crossed…hell, everything is crossed! When I moved I moved across the street…so much easier than across the state!

  49. Very Bloggy Beth on June 26th, 2012 6:55 am

    Well, I wish you the best of luck, it sounds perfect. My husband and I have never owned, but knowing how stupid hard it is to find a nice place to *rent*, I can only imagine how hard it is to find a nice place you’re willing to hand over gobs of money for.

  50. June on June 26th, 2012 8:33 am

    What a cliff hanger!

    We’re on your tail, so to speak. Made an offer on a place but could not come to an agreement on price; after considering taxes, etc, we now are stepping back and going to a different price bracket and not loving what we’re seeing. The closing date of our current-house sale is in 6 wks, though, so we have to find something (a rental, if not a purchase) more or less RIGHT NOW. Nervous-making. Good luck!!!

    This time next year, I hope to be seeing posts about how you guys are remodeling that house! :)

  51. Rachel on June 26th, 2012 10:33 am

    Only having to move your stuff NEXT DOOR! That’s like a moving dream.

    The house looks charming and the boys will get great exercise mowing all that grass.

    I’m so happy this move has been going well for you all.

  52. Stephanie on June 26th, 2012 1:16 pm

    Goosebumps reading this! That’s definately it!

  53. wanda on June 26th, 2012 4:19 pm

    Crossing fingers, toes and everything that this house works out for you guys. I’m sure it will…seems like all the puzzle pieces are falling into place. So happy and excited!

  54. shin ae on June 26th, 2012 5:19 pm

    It’s beautiful, Linda. Wishing for good things for you guys.

  55. CC on June 26th, 2012 8:34 pm

    oh this post combined with the photo of your son on his bike, really stirred me.

    it all sounds so meant to be. and how happy the current owner would be to go off into the sunset of her life knowing there was new budding life in her home.

    beautiful.

  56. Genie on June 29th, 2012 8:06 pm

    We bought a house 3 years ago from a family that was the only ones to live in it and I love that it is full of memories for them. Congratulations on your new home!

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