Last year, the MLS results for our Georgia city listed 1,000 houses for a population of 30,000. Wow. Many, many houses in our moderate price range. We wanted a 3 bedroom range with downstairs room or basement. Dan needs a large room to set up his musical equipment.
We came down last spring and looked, hoping that my house would sell. Isn't that a normal thing to do? Sell your house and move? Not in 2007-2008! What a strange real estate market. Reminiscent of New England in 1990: Banks failing. Foreclosures. Dark, dark days.
In Georgia, as far as I can tell, there has been a lot of overbuilding. We're in the north, near Lake Lanier, so there is a second home market. They also thought people would move here and commute to Atlanta, about an hour away. You can get a spanking new, four bedroom house for $160,000-$170,000. (Come on down, ye cold and weary New Englanders!)
We decided to bite the bullet and move anyway, house sold or not. We refused to pay another winter's heating oil. Why not spend the thousands on rent in a warm climate instead?
So we packed up and made the move, optimistic that we would find something right away. Looking, looking looking. It was pretty discouraging. I hadn't had to look for a place for fifteen years. And in the small town where I lived, you had very limited choices. There were too many here.
50 houses later, we found a candidate. We hoped to do a lease purchase, but bagged that idea when the realtor asked for a $5,000 deposit. Ah, no. If we weren't cash poor, we'd be buying right now!
We were staying with my sister and we wanted to get out of her hair as fast as possible. Have you stayed with family lately? Can strain the best of bonds.
We shifted gears to look for a rental. After dozens of houses later, we stumbled across our cute little place in the woods by sheer accident. It is on the road where we wanted to buy. We happened to drive by after looking a rental we dubbed the "mold palace," and saw a "for rent" sign by the main road. We followed the signs one by one, like Hansel and Gretel.
There it was. A brand-new dollhouse. We called the number and were able to get in through the lock box. It was perfect, the only place I started imagining where I'd put the couch, etc.
So here we are. Near town but down a quiet road. The mailman is the only traffic. We have five deer that graze on the grass we haven't mowed yet. Behind the horse are protected woods and a creek leading down to the lake, which you can glimpse from the deck.
A great place to live..and write.