I am so elated to finally share this news with you. It is HUGE news. Big, big news! WE BOUGHT A FARM. That’s right, we’re gonna be homesteaders! Now, there’s a chance you are thinking, “Huh?! This is totally out of left field.” It might seem that way, but I can promise you it isn’t. If you’re ready for a story, settle in, I’ve got the details for you.
When John and I were dating and got engaged, one of our many conversations that we had was about long-term visions and dreams for our lives, for our family, etc. We had frequently talked about the desire to buy land and build a home and start a homestead. It was something that kinda always felt “10-15 years down the road.”
Right after we got married, we paid off the last of my debt and I became debt free, we started talking about long-term savings goals and one of those goals included saving for land. I don’t remember exactly when we started saving, but it wasn’t too long after we got married and we started small, saving a little bit into a fund every month. Then, three or four years ago, we ramped up those savings and saved a little bit more each month. All along the way, dreaming of the land and house we’d build and homestead we’d start “10 years down the road.” I’d keep an eye on listings to get an idea of what things were selling for and we’d make note of what we liked and didn’t like.
Then, at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020, we were talking about savings and we realized that we had enough money saved up to really start seriously looking for land to buy and build on. This time, when I’d look at listings for land, I’d more seriously consider whether or not they were viable options for us.
We early on made our prayer very specific, “God, if it is Your will, make it a clear “yes” or a clear “no” on whatever we come across. Guide us every step of the way.”
Then, in the spring, I came across a listing I had first looked at over TWO YEARS ago! It was 8.38 acres of wooded land in a great area of Chapel Hill and it was within our price range! We walked the land multiple times, drove by it a ton, did an insane amount of deep dives of previous owners and history of the land and I thought, this is it! It’s a sign! I prayed, “God! Is this it?!”
And the answer to that prayer was a very much a, “No!” And, honestly, I was crushed. (Ahhh, how naive I was… that was only the beginning.)
When that land became a clear no, we spent weekends driving around and walking land all over the place.
We stumbled across another property that was amazing! It was further out than we’d wanted, but it was just shy of 10 acres, had a LAKE on it, a walking trail through the woods, and a beautiful long gravel road leading to it. It was stunning. And it was in our budget! And it had been on the market for two years! We thought, “This is it!! We love it! It’s a sign!”
We drove out there at least half a dozen times and I grew super attached to it. Then, we come to find out that there was a restrictive covenant on the land that said no animals (other than dogs and cats) were allowed.
WHAAAT? No chickens? Goats? Donkeys? Nothing? On 10 acres? In the middle of nowhere?! Certainly this could be a mistake.
So we made an offer on the land with the stipulation that the restrictive covenant would be changed to allow animals.
…We waited for over a week to hear ANYTHING. Crickets.
And then… they didn’t just reject our offer… they ended up just taking the land off the market.
Back to square one we went.
We proceeded to drive by and look at dozens of other pieces of land. It consumed us. And we kept hitting dead ends. It was so frustrating and disheartening. Weeks went by and we found another plot of land that had just come on the market… it was not far from the other land we’d put an offer on, it was 10.01 acres, it didn’t have too many restrictions, and a ton of work had been done to get electricity run to it, and we thought… man, this could really be it!
We drove out there multiple times and loved it. It was so peaceful and beautiful.
It was entirely wooded, it was completely flat, and had no flood zones, creeks, or streams, which we thought could potentially make it great for building a home and farming on it! We prayed about it… and a few days later put in an offer on that land, waited five days, and… the offer was accepted!
We were so excited! This was it! But our prayer continued to be, “God, if this isn’t it… make it clear to us. Show us if this is where we are supposed to be.”
To make an already long story short – this one ended up not being it. We got a clear “NO” from God. (I’ll have to write up what we learned about this land because it was something we’d never come across in all of our research. And we could have saved ourselves a TON of time and money and heartache had we known in advance that this would be an issue… but that’s another post for another day.)
So, we had to back out of that land and honestly, we were devastated. Many, many tears were shed (by me, not John). John was honestly more angry than anything. And we were back at square one.
Years of saving and months and months of searching and money spent (due diligence $ aint free)… and we were frustrated.
We then started writing letters to people who owned land that wasn’t for sale and thought, maybe they’d sell their land to us!! That got us nowhere.
A dear friend of ours had an important, but tough conversation with us and said, “I think you’re looking in the wrong places. You need to either find already cleared, farmable land to build on, or you need to expand your search to homes already built on land or farms already established.”
The former of those two is basically impossible to find around here. Any totally cleared, farmable land is either not for sale or it was way out of our price range. So, we opted to expand our search to homes / farms already existing.
Part of our hesitation with that was two-fold:
1. The housing market around here is absolutely insane. Houses are going for way over asking price and getting multiple offers and the competition is fierce.
2. We thought that there was no way that we’d be able to find a house we’d like on the land we’d want. It felt like finding a needle in a haystack.
But, we prayed, sought God, and trusted that if this was what we were supposed to do, well then we’d do it.
So we searched, and searched, and searched. We went to look at nearly a dozen houses. We found one we LOVED, I mean loved, and put an offer on it only to lose out to someone else. It was such an emotionally draining and stressful process. We’d find a house we loved only to learn that there was a restriction on no animals.
Then, one Friday evening, John came home from work visibly frustrated. It was the first time we both really aired our frustrations with this whole process out loud and in a lot of ways, cried out to God saying, “We’ve been good stewards of what You’ve given us… we’ve faithfully saved and we’ve faithfully prayed and this is something we so badly want. Why do we keep getting answers to our prayers of, “NO!”?!”
No, no, no, no. That was all we heard.
It felt good to get those frustrations out… and we both kinda got to the point where we were essentially ready to give up for now and try again in the spring. We assumed God was trying to tell us that it just wasn’t the time. And so we trusted.
Then, not three hours after that very conversation took place… a house came on the market.
It was a house on 12.5 acres. It was white with black shutters and a full-length / partial wrap around porch. It had TWO BARNS. It had NO restrictions on animals or anything. And it was in the most ideal location – a location we truly could not have dreamed of. And it was UNDER OUR BUDGET. I texted one of my dearest friends (who also happens to be our realtor) and said, “Can we go see this? Like, ASAP!” To which she replied, “OMG YES.”
We went to look at it, found out there was another offer on it, and immediately put an offer in on it! We were NOT GOING to lose this one. No way, no how.
We put in our strongest offer, wrote a letter, and prayed. We waited. And waited. And waited. And that night, my friend and realtor called me and said… “You got the house! They accepted the offer!”
And we flipped out. Okay, I flipped out. The kids flipped out. John in the most John way said, “Awesome!”
And this week, we closed on our forever home. Our dream farm. The home we will raise our children in. The home where we will grow in. The home where we will welcome others into. The home and homestead where we pray we can bless people. I’m honestly still in shock. There’s so much along the way that made this answer to our prayer a very clear and resounding, “YES!”
God orchestrated this every step of the way.
At the beginning of 2020, and honestly, since John and I first started talking about this when we were engaged, I could never have even fathomed this being our home and our story. God’s timing is perfect and His plans are truly way, way better than our own. He is so good.
To be continued…