We purchased a home in 2014 after six years of renting. Here are some reflections on the hunt for a safe house.
I have learned to trust my instincts when it comes to purchasing a home. I learned this lesson the hard way 15 years ago while searching for a home in Colorado. (Read our story here.)
I remember getting off the interstate 50 minutes after arriving in Denver. We were meeting our realtor to do a walk-through. For some reason, I felt apprehensive. We drove up to the house, in a new development with lots of homes under construction. I noticed boys riding their bikes on the mounds of dirt.
We walked through the front door, and I felt “it” immediately. Disarray and clutter. The house felt “dirty.” I felt uncomfortable. Assuming I was just reacting to the overbearing, gaudy decorating style, I continued the tour.
We walked into each of the six bedrooms, the game room, the in-law suite. With each room, I became increasingly uneasy. Instead of feeling just messy and dark, the house felt deeply oppressive.
As we drove away, I looked at Chris and said, “I don’t like it. I don’t ever want to go back. I know I can’t live there.”
We spent two more days looking for the right home and didn’t find it. We returned to Illinois unsure of our next step.
Our realtor emailed us, suggesting we reconsider the 5500-square-foot “oppressive” home. He sent pictures of each room. Chris encouraged me to imagine the home without the gaudy decorating and the clutter.
“The house is a shell. Imagine it without their furniture. Look at the floor plan. Think of the potential.”
I hesitated. Then I saw the wisdom of it. It made a lot of sense. I agreed, the house did have potential. We made a deposit and moved eight weeks later.
We arrived the day before the closing with all of our things in a huge truck driven by a friend. At the walk-through, the home showed no signs of a move. It was cluttered, just as I remembered. I left the walk-through and sobbed. Something felt “off.”
We learned that the home was in bankruptcy. The family hadn’t paid their mortgage. The builder’s brother was in jail for murder. The builder wasn’t regarded well in the community. Something was seriously wrong.
Indeed, the signs were literally on the walls of this home. In light of our past trauma, here are the questions I learned to ask when searching for a home.
- Do I want to live here?
- Does it feel like home?
- Do I sense anything “off”?
There are other questions I’ve learned to ask, as outlined in the article Guidelines for Buying a Home.
- 40The following interview appeared in the May 2014 newsletter of Samaritan Ministry. Samaritan offers a Biblical, non-insurance approach to medical care, and after six years of pursuing health via nutrition and other alternatives, we are excited about the unique program offered by Samaritan. (Read more about Samaritan here. Read more…
Kristy B says
Thank you for this post – timely considering we are starting our own house hunt in our new city. I will print out the guidelines link for us to read as well. I’m curious if you all ever thought about moving back to Colorado and why or why not?
Andrea Fabry says
We think about Colorado all the time. The arid climate is great. Each time we consider moving back we feel wary of the additional burden of the snow. (changing out our vehicles again for 4 wheel for instance)…We also have a sense that it’s time to go forward.
We’re actually looking at Tennessee in the Nashville area.
Some of our kids have found roots here so we’re definitely torn. I think we’ll know what’s next in the next few weeks. Thanks for asking.
Great post… and i too will print off your “guidelines”. What a gift and reminder to “trust my instincts”. Something i have to be reminded to do… even now! After so much!!! 🙂 prayers and the Lord’s wisdom as you guys consider the next step. kt
Barb Fenn says
Andrea, I know what you mean about a “feeling” when you walk in a house that you want to buy. We use to move just about every 4 years and every house we bought I would say to myself, “I could live here” It was a feeling i would get, even if the house was not decorated to my taste I just knew it was the right home for us. There’s just something about those gut feelings.
Kristy B says
Thanks for update on that. We have moved a year ago, partly for health, and other reasons. But we are taking it slowly to make sure North Carolina agrees with our systems health wise. We love it here, but it rains a lot! Otherwise we have said we might move to Colorado! But agreed on the winter weather issue – after a decade in TX, don’t think we can do winter again. Love nashville area. Can’t wait for a post to see if/why you selected to move there.
Suzanne Alexis says
There’s a line in one of the Anne of Green Gables books that says something like a house absorbs the emotions of the past residents. I think that might be true, though it’s hard to explain. Some residences seem to be blessed and others cursed.
Kelly Nesbit says
My family and I more than understand your world as we too were SEVERELY and near fatally poisoned by molds in my children’s NC elementary school. Who knew we had HLA-DR that made us the 1% genetic yuck! And like you, we left everything we owned behind because we were severely reacting to everything we owned as the belongings by then, had SMELLs of mildew/mold. We lived in Phoenix last year, receiving help from a naturopathic MD. We then moved back to our home state of NM. We have been here since 11/12 and have been looking for our SAFE/HAPPY/HEALTHY new-normal home and after 6 months of intense looking, we finally found one; a 1964 home with great bones, good mojo and excellent JUJU (i.e., NO BAD ENERGY/SMELLS/HAPPENINGS IN THIS ONLY-TWO-OWNER HOME.) I want to tell you that because you and your family now KNOW too much, you just won’t ever have anything bad happen to you! My family and I know too much and our systems and our instincts will allow NOTHING by health, happiness, love and light! NO more mold will enter our world without us knowing/recognizing/refusing it’s existence! I have had to hand over my fear to Powers Greater than myself because otherwise, we would not be able to enjoy a new normal. I can report we have been in our new/old 1964 SAFE home for 4 weeks and we couldn’t be happier. And I honestly and deeply think that because we are so happy, healing has increased!!!! As we know……..where there is happiness, love and light, healing is not far behind.
We wish for you and your family strength and the KNOWING that as you release fear, grace and goodness (and a healthy happy place) are ready for your wanting!
Love and light and continued health!
Kelly Nesbit, OTR/L, mom, advocate and Mold Warrior/Survivor!
Do you consider homes with a slab foundation to be suitable for mold-sensitive people?
I’m also wondering if you avoid older homes in your housing search? I was intrigued by Kelly’s comment above, that their “new” safe home was built in 1964!
Beth in PA
Andrea Fabry says
Beth, There are so many factors that go into a safe home – I’m not sure there is “one” answer to either of these questions. Which is why I go back to our instincts as opposed to fear. Kelly is right…once you’ve experienced the devastation of mold there is a good chance you will naturally avoid something that is really “off.”….my thinking anyway. We decided to rent another year. We just couldn’t find what we were looking for.