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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Big Decision

As previously mentioned, getting over to the barn on a regular basis was proving to be much more difficult than we have anticipated. No small part of the problem was that our daughter did not like to be there alone even with a cell phone. I can't fault her for that, she does have a very good head on her shoulders. And we really did not want her there by herself so when nobody was around, either my wife or I would stay with her. This, of course, was part of the problem since our schedules tend to be a bit busy. Something needed to change. The questions was what. The answer was where the horse lived.

We were living in a patio home at the time and we were ready to move into something a little bigger. Our original plan had been to look for a bigger house with a little more yard and more storage space plus room for a wood shop. We modified that a bit and decided it was time to look for a horse property. We wanted something close to where we were living so that the girls could still go to the same schools and keep their friends. The girls have good friends, the kind of friends you want your kids to have. They are delights to have over, their parents are friendly and we did not want to have them start all over at new schools if we could avoid it. That was the first decision we made about a new house and that one decision and our budget greatly reduced the number of properties that were available for us to look at.

If we had been willing to move down to Elizabeth or north towards Brighton we could have purchased much more land than we ended up with. But school was important so we looked closer to town. There were only about a half dozen properties available in the area that we wanted to be in. There was one I loved that had a nice brick house, a beautiful shop space a few lean-toos and set on about an acre and a half. Very nice even though the pasture space was a little small. But at $500,000 it was well out of our budget. Another house we looked at was so trashed inside that we just couldn't even consider it. Sometimes you just cannot see past the mess to see the potential.

We found another place with a tiny house on two acres. We really liked the way the pasture and barns were laid out but man was that house tiny. We actually put an offer on it but they didn't want to give us time to sell our house. In the end, we lost out on that house. Probably for the better because that house was 1,200 square feet with no basement. The search continued.

Late in our search a hose came on the market. We went and looked at it and it was a riot inside. Outside it was a nice brick house with detached garage that is threatening to fall over. At least the house was sound. Inside, each room was a different color. And none of them pastels. The living room was orange-red shag carpet with peach paint on the walls except for one wall that featured a very ugly poorly applied wood veneer. One room was dark blue with dark blue carpet. It was so dark that when you stepped in you would duck because it felt so small. And this house had ceiling that are nearly 8' tall! The bathroom was bright green over beige tiles (green does not complement the Asian skin tones of my wife at all). One bedroom was baby blue (remember that these are not pastel colors. These bright in-your-face kinds of colors.) The other bedroom was bright yellow on the bottom with this ugly muddy brown wall paper on top. This room also featured 12" floor tiles stuck to the ceiling. With Liquid Nails.

The basement is a walk out basement and it was fairly wide open, more that enough space to build a third bedroom. A wall runs down the center of the basement. The space on one side of that wall was painted green and on the other side it was divided into the laundry room and an open space. The open space was blue and the laundry room was yellow. Very yellow. At least the basement bathroom was a rather plain white.

It sits on a slight hill that overlooks most of the Denver metro area. It backs up to open space that will always be open space and is open for horse back riding. There was no barn but at least the property was fenced with 5' chain link fencing. Here are a couple of views from the back deck:After much discussion, we ultimately decided that this house would work for us and we made an offer. We knew we were buying a project house but we had been in our old house since November of '92 and we had left the equity in the house. We had a enough funds available to buy the house and do the projects we needed to do. We made the offer in March and were able to lock in a fairly decent mortgage rate but we would not be able to close until we sold our house.

As it turns out, we had fairly good luck on that front as well. We sold our house in fairly short order but they needed to delay the closing until summer which was fine by us as this gave us a little time to sort out a small problem that moving our hose to our new backyard presented. Horses, being pack animals, need a companion. There are several options for companion animals like goats but I didn't like that idea much. Nothing against goats, its just that if you have only one horse then only one person could ride at any given time. Given that my daughter has friends and she does not like to ride alone, it made sense to get a second horse so that she can ride with a friend. So we started looking for a horse. This time it was not the friends at Westernaires who helped us look, its was family that conspired against us.

Up next - what the wording in horse ads REALLY mean or how not to buy a horse.

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