I Don’t Want a Brand New Luxury Home with a Pool

We’ve been house hunting. And hunting. And hunting. You’d think there would be a lot of old homes out there that have NOT been recently remodeled. But it seems not.

My eyes and brain are weary from reading enthusiastic descriptions of high priced properties, all describing the luxurious new features that will keep me from having to lift a finger prior to move in.

That’s fine, if that is what you want. We don’t. We NEED a fixer upper – and not just a ramshackle run down mobile home (we’ve got one of those, we don’t need another!). We need an old home – 100 years old or so. Built before things like OSB and composite materials were commonplace. One that has been neglected for a while, but not abused. One that the owner did NOT renovate by tearing out the old solid wood cabinets and replacing them with cheap (but lovely) new kitchen cabinets with particle board where you can’t see it.

We need a house that has character. That has a few cracks in the old plaster walls, that haven’t been ripped out and replaced with drywall. Wood floors that are not laminate, and which probably haven’t been sanded and refinished recently. A sink that is enamel, with a few chips in it, that got that way from a century of use, not from carelessness. Windows that are wood framed, not vinyl. Old wood siding, in need of scraping and a new coat of paint.

Realistically, this is what we can afford. Medically, this is what I require.

Homes, it seems, are now disposable. Old farmhouses are abandoned, left to rot, while a cheap mobile is pulled up on the property to live in. When the mobile gets old, it is towed off and a new one brought in. An old farmhouse left to rot for 20 years is no longer repairable – it doesn’t have enough of the good structure left, and repairing it with safe materials is prohibitively expensive.

Somewhere, in the middle, is the house we need. And it seems to not exist. Well, I can find a HOUSE, but it is usually in the middle of downtown Dallas or something. Not on the acreage we need.

And then there are “gated communities”, “ranchettes”, and “covenant communties with a great HOA”. You can have ’em. They are designed for people who want to pretend that they live in the country, while taking the city with them. Home Owners Associations are about controlling the actions of your neighbors, not about preserving property values (have you compared the prices between those neighborhoods and the unrestricted ones lately?). Horses are sometimes “allowed”, but anything practical is promptly squashed.

So all those enthusiastic claims of how wonderful this house is, and why it is worth way more than we can afford just don’t impress me. I just want a simple old house that hasn’t been messed with, on a few acres of land that allow chickens and goats, so that I can grow livestock and crops.

It shouldn’t be so hard to find.

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