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A Year Ago...I Never Would Have Imagined

How it started - Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

On June 29th, 2022 a realtor friend of ours shared a listing in Decorah on social media. The house had a fun, unique look to it, so I clicked to learn more. The house sat on over 7 acres which included gardens, mature fruit trees, and a chicken coop. I was intrigued.

Our five to ten year plan had been to move to a larger, rural property and expand on what we had started in the city with a focus on moving towards sustainability. We thought this property in Decorah would be an amazing start.

Our previous backyard in North Liberty, Iowa - more garden than grass

The driftless area between Decorah and Madison is where we always dreamed of settling down. The trees and rolling hills are so beautiful in that area. We had no plans to move yet, but I couldn't stop thinking about the listing.

The next morning on our dog walk I told Wes about the house. The price was right - we could be mortgage free with some funds to spare to make some enhancements to the property. We looked at the listing together, and were interested enough to contact our realtor friend. A few hours later we found out it had an accepted offer.

We started to wonder - are we actually ready to move now? Over the next few days we became increasingly annoyed with living in town - the traffic, the noise, and all the people. At night we would research house listings, narrowing down the location and price range. For a brief moment I looked up houses in Western North Carolina - it sounded like a fitting place for us, but we'd never actually visited the area which seemed like too huge of a leap of faith.

Next Steps - Monday, July 4th, 2022

On July 4th we were ready to loop in our realtor. The ball really got rolling from there. By July 7th we had our comps and proposed selling price for our home. We had also narrowed in our search to Northwest Illinois - not an area that had ever been on our radar before. A different state required a different realtor, and thankfully we were quick to find one through a referral. A listing caught our eye and we wanted to meet our realtor in person, so on Friday, July 8th we headed over to the Galena, IL area.

Road Trip - Friday, July 8th, 2022

On the way to meet our new realtor another house meeting our search criteria popped up on the market. It was only 30 minutes from the property we were already on our way to see so we asked if we could add a stop. And minutes later we had an appointment.

The first house was interesting. It sat on a large piece of land with some of it rented crop acres which could make for a great garden area if we could restore the soil. However, it was raining and we had to walk pretty far up the driveway to the house because even the little rain that fell created a creek through the driveway! That was the first deal-breaker. The house was also too small. I wanted to downsize, but not that much!

Creek across driveway
I'm not about to carry groceries through a creek in a storm!

Off to house #2. We ended up missing the driveway and had to turn around. Secluded - check! As we drove up the winding driveway, the house and land came into view and I was instantly in love. We said we'd prioritize the land over the house (you can change a house much easier than land), and this had both - 20 acres of mostly woods, an open area large enough for gardens, and a unique house that wasn't too old.

The driveway

Our realtor was a bit behind us, so while we waited for her to arrive we wandered around the property. At one point I looked into the woods and just stood there in awe of the beauty of nature. We spent two hours at the property.

There were a few things we wanted to change about the house, but wanted to make sure it was structurally sound for those changes. So, the next day we took a friend with us back to the house and met up with a contractor to get an idea of what was possible.

Road with trees
The road on the backside of the property - the only photo I took when we went back on Saturday

The Offer - Sunday, July 10th, 2022

Sunday morning, two days after the house went on the market our realtor called to let us know there were multiple offers and we had 45 minutes to decide if we wanted to put in an offer as well. We hadn't even researched the area - I didn't know how far it was from town, where the closest grocery story was, nothing! No pressure.

A few hours later our realtor let us know we weren't the strongest offer, but the family wanted more time to review. That night we decided to adjust our offer, which made it intriguing enough that at 10pm that night we were signing paperwork to make our offer official. And at noon that Monday, July 11th our offer was accepted.

Sold! - Friday, July 22nd, 2022

And, now we had a house to sell! Ack! We turned our house around in a little over a week, putting it on the market on Thursday, July 21st. We had one showing that night, six the next day, and accepted an offer on Friday, July 22nd.

Welcome Home - Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

Two months earlier the thought of moving hadn't even crossed our minds. Such a whirlwind! We closed on our new house on Wednesday, August 24th and haven't looked back.

Home ♥
The view

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