So. The quotes on the new build came in. We considered it carefully, but just cannot get past the idea of being $50,000 underwater the day we move in, with a higher mortgage payment than what we had before, and therefore no cash to put up a polebarn or other outbuilding. So I narrowed down a list of 23 existing properties of 10-40 acres, and a residence, by first eliminating all those that did not have the outbuildings we wanted. Then by eliminating everything with an open floor plan, so that we would not simply be moving back into the house we hated for the lack of anyplace to go for peace and quiet. Then anything with an excessive commute (over 45 minutes). Got it down to seven places. Actually got to look at four of them. It was very quickly obvious that the only place I'd be willing to live was the first one. Fortunately, it is the first one on both our lists. It isn't perfect. It's smaller than what we had, and there are only 1.5 baths. But, oh, the kitchen. Big. Tiled. New hickory cabinets. Lots of storage and counter space. Only downside is the dw is to the left of the sink (I'm righthanded). Considering I spend way more time in the kitchen than in the bathroom, that kitchen makes up for a lot. Especially compared to everything else we looked at. Doesn't anyone else actually cook anymore?
And the land is huntable. Backing onto the state gamelands. And there is a horse barn. And 5 acres of fenced pasture. The rest is woodlot. Handy, considering the wood stove in the sun room.
The roof needs an inspection. The septic system is original and the house is 45 years old. There are no walk-in closets. No geo-thermal heat, no steel roof. Like I said, it's not our idea of perfect. But mortgages are now under 4% for a 30 year fixed, which would give us a payment about 70% of what we were paying before, leaving cash (eventually) for some remodeling. It isn't possible to make this into the "perfect" house, but I think it is the "good enough" house, that will allow us to be more self-sufficient more quickly than a new-built home would - on half the land with no $ left for outbuildings. And maybe it'll leave enough cash to take the kids to Poland next summer... hopefully before they conclude their argument over the relative merits of sheep versus goats, and start hitting me up for animals to fill the barn...
Anyway, we made an offer on the house this afternoon. Now, we wait.