Friday, June 1, 2012

We Bought a House!

Today is our one-month home-owning anniversary.

Tristan and I have adapted our DIY lifestyle to many housing situations over the years. From group houses where we painted walls and scavenged furniture, to our own rental apartments with gardens and even chickens, we always found a way to make our space our own. In 2010, we took it to one extreme, building our own tiny house from the ground up. We thought that was a lot of work, but it's nothing compared to our new project: a neglected old house on half an acre.

Maybe some tiny housers will be disappointed that we decided to buy a regular old house. But I have been longing to put down some serious roots, metaphorically of course, but also literally in the form of perennial food crops. And I have a soft spot for old houses, having worked at house museums and for preservation organizations. This one still has good bones, but a few more years of neglect and it would have been in serious trouble. 

Some day I will write a longer post about the process of buying our first house. When I was researching this gigantic decision, I found it hard to come by resources by people like me, who shared my priorities and financial situation. I didn't think I'd be able to buy a house this young, having spent my entire adult life working relatively low-paying non-profit jobs. But I wanted it. So badly. And so I compulsively saved all I could, hoping that one day it would work out. For those of you out there in a similar situation, I hope to share why I decided to buy a house, how I saved up for it, and what kinds of choices I had to grapple with. 

This is our DIY dream. We wouldn't have this house if we hadn't lived frugally for years, and we wouldn't be able to afford to fix it up if we didn't have the skills/willingness to learn to rehab it ourselves. As we take on this project, we have a few guiding principles: 

  • We will take care to preserve the house's original character. 
  • We will take advantage of salvaged materials and use environmentally friendly products.
  • We will create systems that allow us to live sustainably here; growing our own food, reducing our household waste to near zero, and reducing our energy use. 
  • We will share. We want this place to embrace community. We will share our produce, our knowledge, and space in our home and yard. 

And so begins a new phase in our adventure. We look forward to sharing it with all of you!


julie said...

Congratulations! I started following your blog a little while back, while you were still working on the tiny home. I'm so interested to hear more about your journey to homeownership and your adventures fixing it up.

megan/mason said...

As a member of a two-non-profit-salary-household, I would love to read what you have to say about home buying. I've been doing a lot of research lately, but it's really difficult to find anything other than the same bulleted list of dos and don'ts.

tamater sammich said...

I don't comment much, but thought this was so exciting, partly because the house is so beautiful, the yard looks fab, you're not jaded at all, and you'll do whatever you can to make it work.
I wish you the very best, and though I probably won't comment again, (lack of time) I'll be following with interest and a prayer!

Jay Dedman said...

Huge congrats. We look forward to visiting. East Coast!

Here's our documentation of rehabbing our foreclosure:

I also didn't think we could buy a home, but it makes sense if the home is relatively rural and need work.

We used as much salvaged material as possible. The ReStore is your friend: We bought $5000 worth of new windows for $800. Scavengers!

Stacy said...

"For those of you out there in a similar situation, I hope to share why I decided to buy a house, how I saved up for it, and what kinds of choices I had to grapple with."

I would *love* to read a longer blog post on this topic. I know I've become accustomed to so many, what I call, "invisible extras".

Can't wait to read more about the finances, but also the fixing up process. :) Happy blogging!