If you've been following along, then you know that we moved back to the Central Coast about a month ago and sold our house in Livermore shortly after.
Let's go back a bit to how this whole move started. So we lived in SLO 3 years ago (for 6 years), and moved away after Adam's last quarter at Cal Poly. We moved back to our hometown and then bought the #poffpad in Livermore a few months later. We always dreamed of coming back down here. We love the area, the weather, the slower pace of life, and all the activities. We feel like a better work/life balance is achievable here, whereas in the Bay Area it would be a lot harder. The idea of raising kids down here also was a big factor. So fast forward to to this past October when we came down to photograph a wedding. Adam was able to get a job interview at a construction company while we were in town. They told him they might not have a spot for him until Spring, which seemed so far away. But we were ok with it and went on with our life. The end of November comes, and he gets an email from them asking if he can start early January. We were instantly excited, and then reality hit and we realized it meant packing up everything, selling our Livermore house, and trying to find somewhere to live in SLO all in 1 month.
We wound up taking 2 full day trips to SLO to house hunt with our realtor Dawna Davies. None of the houses spoke to us, and we quickly became defeated and stressed about where we were going to live, as the clock was ticking. By some crazy stroke of luck, our realtor had just sold a house in downtown SLO to a couple who didn't want to live in it for another few months. Renting was always in the back of our minds, but going from owning to renting wasn't our top choice. Since no house we saw made sense for us, we decided to snatch up this 3 month lease and keep house hunting.
About a week before we were moving down, this cute Aframe fixer upper came on the market in Atascadero. With everything we had left to do up north, we had no time to come down to check it out. Luckily, our good friend Amber (who has done her own remodel and has a similar style to ours), lives just 5 minutes away from this Aframe, so we asked if she'd go look at it and FaceTime us. After we got off the video chat with her, we were like YES, this place is it!! It had everything we'd been looking for and was at a great price point. So we put in our offer and waited. We'd quickly gotten to know the market down here, and it had seemed like most houses were selling for around asking and not selling super fast. To our surprise, we were 1 of 6 offers on this house (we had offered over asking), and the sellers came back to the top 3 and asked us for our best and final. This is always nerve wracking, because you have no idea what anyone else's offer is. I had this gut feeling to bring our offer up the same price we bought our Livermore house for 3 years ago (mind you this Atascadero house was listed under it's actual value). And thanks to my instinct, WE were the highest offer and got the house. The day our realtor (Dawna Davies) called me (after waiting weeks for the sellers to make a decision), I no joke cried in a coffee shop while she was telling me the good news.
So now that you're caught up on the story, I'm going to share our MUST HAVES for our new house:
1. Flat, useable land with trees
- We wanted at least 1 acre of land, if not more, because we don't like being on top of our neighbors and we want space for a big backyard with a pool and entertaining space as well as a place to build Adam's shop.
- Flat land is great, but something with trees for shade is even better. Trees are expensive, so bringing those in wasn't really an option.
2. A house with character
- Coming from a tract home, we wanted something that didn't look like the house next door. We wanted something unique.
3. High ceilings
- I don't think I had ever cared about ceiling height until we lived in the #poffpad. It was a smaller house (1,040 sqft), but its vaulted ceilings in the living room made a huge difference. When we were touring houses in SLO, if it didn't have vaulted ceilings, it was very hard for us to picture ourselves living there.
4. Open concept floor plan or the ability to make it that way
- We love entertaining, and I think we can all agree that we hate being in the kitchen cooking and not being able to see or chat with people in the other room. So there was no way we were buying a house without an open concept. We looked at one house that we really liked in Atascadero, but there was no way to make the living room and kitchen one big room, so I knew it wasn't the house for us.
5. At least 3 bedrooms and a place for an "office"
- We needed a house we could grow into, with enough room for kids and guests, as well as an office space for the two of us. We will probably still need to add on to this house, but our 3 bedroom + loft office will work for quite a while!
6. A garage/shop for Adam or a spot to put one
- If you know Adam, then you know he loves wood working. With that, comes a lot of tools and a lot of wood and the need for space. Our last house had a small shop which was better then nothing, but for sure not his dream space. This house has an area that will work for now, and when we are ready, he will build a brand new, giant shop.
7. A quiet street
- I always dreamed of living on a court because it seemed quiet. When we decided we wanted land, I knew a court was out because that's more of a tract home thing. When I saw that this house has a front gated entrance on a quieter street, I was sold!
8. No more then 20-25 minutes from SLO
- A lot of the things we like to do are in SLO, as well as Adam's job, so we didn't want to live any further north then Atascadero or any further south then Arroyo Grande.
9. A cosmetic fixer upper
- We WANTED a fixer upper. We didn't want to buy anything that had been recently remodeled. This is our chance to put our own touch on a house and we couldn't be more excited! We have very specific taste, so there was no way we'd ever find a house that was perfectly remodeled to our satisfaction. Plus, I love interior design, so this was my chance to play designer :)