Let’s talk about 2020 for a second. It was nuts, right?! Throughout the first year of the pandemic, we were living in Portland, Oregon. Our kids were homeschooled (NOT by my choice!), and my husband was working from home. We went straight from wildfire season to rainy season, and by the time this spring came around, we were ready to make some changes. I’ll get to the long story – but the short story is that we decided to buy two acres of land so we can build a house in Asheville!
The Long(er) Story
I think that to most people around us, our decision seemed rash – but moving back to the South (my husband Scott is from West Virginia, and I am from Alabama) had been on our minds for years. We spent the 7 years prior in Portland (and 7 years before that in Salt Lake City), and being locked down for a year finally made us think more seriously about it. We first started looking in Chattanooga, Tennessee, because Scott wanted to be near lots of great bouldering. I wasn’t quite feeling it, so I urged him to check out Asheville. (You should know that I had never been to either city! It was just a feeling, ya know?)
I went online and found a real estate broker (a fellow Mosaic agent!), but after a few weeks of looking at homes online, we realized we weren’t finding anything close to what we needed. With four kids and hobbies that take up a lot of space, we needed a large home with five bedrooms…and we didn’t want to do a lot of updating. We also didn’t want to live too far from Asheville’s downtown.
Caley, our agent, kept mentioning Sovereign Oaks. I was adamantly opposed to building at first because it seemed like such a daunting thing to undertake after having just come out of one of the most tiring years of my life. But as we started researching the possibility, it started to take shape. Scott flew out with our two older kids, and they drove all over and sent me videos and photos of pretty much every place that had land. It turned out that Caley was right – Sovereign Oaks was it.
So we crunched the numbers, made some big decisions, and decided to make an offer on a beautiful two-acre lot. The site is unique because it is relatively flat and at a low elevation, but it is south-facing with views of 7 (!!) mountains. We got to work doing our due diligence – talking to builders, looking at our finances, figuring out where we would live during the two years of construction, etc., and everything just kind of fell into place.
I almost immediately found a rental, but of course, pets were not allowed. After a nice conversation with the property manager about our two lovely, geriatric cats, the owners of the home decided to let us rent it. Whew – no easy feat in Asheville! Within days, we were planning our cross-country move.
The Big Move
Moving with four kids and two cats is…challenging. Scott and the three big kids went ahead of me and stopped at every fun attraction along the way (yes, they drove!). The kids got started pretty much immediately in school which was AMAZING because they hadn’t been around other kids in a year! I stayed behind for a couple weeks to pack and handle personal business, and then Moira and I flew to Asheville. Despite being exhausted from dealing with a cranky baby on a red-eye flight, I landed in Asheville and knew it was the perfect place for us.
After we got settled, Scott drove me to the lot (I still hadn’t seen it!), and before I even knew which one was ours, I said, “Oh, that one’s nice! So flat, and great views!” Scott smiled at me, and I was ecstatic to realize this was the place we would eventually call home.
Where We Are Now
At this point, we are settled into life in Asheville. I got my NC real estate license (obviously), and I’m absolutely loving being back to work. We interviewed several builders and architects, and we have a great team in place working on the initial design of our home. (More to come on that soon!) Our rental house is working out great (albeit a bit small for the six of us), and CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER? Ahhhh, I seriously love Asheville.
I’ll leave you all with that for now, but I’ll be talking a lot about our house build as we work through the process. Of course, if you want more details or are interested in doing something similar, feel free to reach out! I’m happy to chat about it!