Friday, October 7, 2011

Everything happens for a reason

We searched for years for a cottage on the lake. Well, really, it was a house we were looking for at first. After many years of working on our first house, we had some pretty specific things we wanted, and a longer list of things we DIDN'T want. We "needed" an attached garage, the bigger the better. It HAD to have a basement, we didn't want to deal with frozen pipes ever again. Our new house absolutely must have a fireplace as well. Not a wood stove, but a proper stone hearth fireplace. And three bedrooms. It couldn't have wood siding, or a gravel driveway either. Anyway, you get the idea.

The problem was, our budget wasn't that big. Well, that was one problem. Another one was the fact that there's only so much lake shore which means there's only so many abodes on the lake to chose from-and an even smaller percentage that are for sale at a given time.

So after a few years, we decided we could live with a cottage, and just make it what we wanted. We started to consider a place without a basement (gasp) or a garage-but it HAD to have enough room for a big garage to be built. And it still HAD to have a big fireplace in a big living room.

After a several years of fruitless hunting, we found a little place. It was an added onto cottage with no basement, but there was a two story garage, three bedrooms and a stone fireplace in a big lake facing bedroom. We met the owner's grandson, who was living there at the time. He didn't want to leave. He told us the story of the place, how it was originally smaller and how the family built it in the 40's and added on as the family grew and expanded. How his uncle made a common little cottage into a cute a-frame. And how the kitchen addition was built on the dirt, and the electric and plumbing didn't work in the upstairs, and how the foundation was shot. And how he had to leave because Grandma had to go into a nursing home and the state wouldn't allow her to have any assets-like the cottage.

We were overwhelmed with the work and the asking price, but we forged ahead and spoke to a mortgage broker. Who promptly told us that it would never appraise high enough for a mortgage. We were trying to get creative when our realtor called and told us the sellers accepted a cash offer. A year later the little A-frame was a pile of rubble and a new modular has sprung up in it's place.

Fast forward to 2009. We had given up on the lakefront and were now trying to buy a pre-forclosure. That is a whole entry in and of itself, and I promise to tell the story so far (we still keep tabs on it, and it still has no ending). We decided to forgo our usual vacation and rented a little place on the lake instead to save money towards our new dream house.

Have you ever rolled your eyes at the saying "everything happens for a reason"? Don't. Because it does. That crazy years long attempt at buying an abandoned house lead to us owning The Eclectic Cottage. And I have the pine cone on my desk to remind me of it (I'll tell that story sometime too).
How could that possibly lead to our piece of paradise?

Well, two doors down from our vacation rental was a cottage for sale. We had seen it before but deemed it not worthy of buying-it was in pretty rough shape (we thought). Well, we wandered down to look at it one day and found a pretty nice little place that needed some work, but was workable. And it had the requisite garage and at least two bedrooms So, we called an agent to show it to us. And he did. And he also told us a story about this vacant house...

{to be continued}

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