Finding Stability and Home – Part Two, Our House Hunting Journey
Cal and I have been house hunting off and on for about three years now. Circumstances changed at different times, so we weren’t able to be seriously looking for that entire three year period. We initially looked to buy right when we were first moving to New Hampshire. We looked at houses and made offers. Our initial location criteria were the best school districts in the state and being centrally located for jobs. After a few months of looking we decided to get a rental before the new school year started so that we could all be together. Our rental was in a small town in the Sunapee/Kearsarge area of the state. The area was not on our initial house hunting radar, but the schools were good enough, it was 40-50 minutes to job centers and the house was available. The school was amazing, the house was not.
After our initial year lease was up, we started casually looking at houses. We didn’t want to switch Ryan’s school or at least school district again so soon, so this time we focused our search on the seven towns in the Kearsarge Regional School District. Again, we looked at many houses and made some offers, but nothing worked out.
This past fall, Cal and I were having a late night conversation about where we wanted to be. Cal didn’t particularly like the Kearsarge area, the only thing keeping us in that area was Ryan’s school. Ryan had blossomed a lot over the past few years and we now had a much clearer picture of his educational needs. As much as we loved his school, we now felt comfortable that he could thrive in other school districts too.
We read an article about revitalization taking place in the North Country of New Hampshire and specifically Lancaster’s efforts to bring in businesses and new residents. If you are really curious, you can read that article here.
Cal’s biggest frustration with the area we were living in was that it was relatively unfriendly to business. There was only one store in town, an old country store, and no new businesses were allowed under town zoning laws. The idea that towns actually wanted businesses in them was enough to motivate Cal. He works from home so we didn’t need to stay in a commutable location (although I have found plenty of job opportunities do exist up here as well). I researched the schools in the North Country and was very happy with what I saw as well. We had always loved the North Country, especially one charming little mountain town, and now we realized that there was nothing keeping us from moving here.
It seemed like a crazy idea at first. One of those ideas that you get excited about towards the end of late night, and are fun to talk about, but never actually come to fruition. I was skeptical that my native Houstonian husband would really want to live in a small town in Northern New Hampshire. I was worried it would be far too cold and remote for him. So as much as I loved the idea, I never believed anything would come of it.
Then in January, Cal went and spoke to our local bank and got everything lined up for a mortgage. We started looking more seriously at houses, we absolutely did not want to still be in our rental by summer. We talked about waiting until the end of the school year to ease the transition for Ryan, but ultimately decided to go ahead and move if we found the right house. We paid attention to any compelling listings coming on the market, but all of the houses we actually looked at were in the North Country. Most of them were in our favorite town.
Over the following months, we looked at a handful of houses. We put in offers on two other properties that didn’t work out (we lost out to other offers both times).
More about finding our perfect house in my next post…