Jon and I just spent our first week in Petaluma and Sebastopol getting to know the area and trying to identify the neighborhoods where we would most like to live. Searching the whole county is just too much even through it affords us more options. We put over 400 miles on Lily (my awesome gas-sipping Mini) winding through west county alone!
It’s a daunting task, home-hunting, especially with inventory so low. We are veering wildly from idea to idea hoping to increase our options by being super flexible. At the same time this flexibility requires us to go through hours of mental gymnastics to assess the potential of each property we see.
Can we turn an old henhouse into a workshop? Will our parents mind sleeping in a yurt when they visit? Should we buy a cool Airstream to live in and park it inside an industrial space where we can also weld? Could that weird little building that used to be a Mexican restaurant become our workshop and gallery? How hard and fast are the zoning laws exactly?
Do we want a gallery? Will people find us if we don’t have a retail space? If we find the perfect home with gardens and a creek down a quiet tree-lined path but no space for a workshop can we also afford to lease space at The Barlow?
How far from town is okay, and what about the lack of cell service out in those beautiful hills? Maybe we should start small, buy a cute little starter in town and let the market cool for a few years. But what if it doesn’t cool? Or the perfect place shows up and all our money is tied up in a starter home? And most importantly, is there space for ducks and will my kitty like it?
Ouch. I’m not sure I’m limber enough for this challenge. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to move to a beautiful, quiet, rustic place where we can buy local honey from a roadside ‘honor stand’ and restaurants don’t bother telling you they use locally grown organic produce and pasture-raised meats because, duh, it’s just understood.
At the same time though I’m overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities of such a place. The space, the trees, the winding roads and pollution-free skies, even the roosters that crow all day. Part of me feels like I can’t make a wrong choice… but the Virgo in me says I can, and I don’t like making mistakes.
I am not an impetuous person. I like to take my time with big decisions and explore every angle – financial, emotional, even physical if possible. Before making an offer on my current house, beyond considering the finances and other concrete aspects of the decision, I visited for a week or a more. I sat on the porch at different times of day to see how it felt, watched the cars go by, quietly observed the neighbors, listened to the traffic on the freeway. That house had been on the market for a year and fallen out of escrow twice. I had all the time in the world to decide.
But in a market that moves this fast I am afraid that my tireless mental note-taking may be a hindrance, that I won’t be able to pull the trigger when I need to. I remind myself repeatedly that when I make my intentions known and focus on my goals the universe has a way of clearing a path. I also know from experience that the path may not lead where I expect it to, and that’s okay. So I’m just going to keep rollin’, try not to obsess too much over every listing, and try to remain calm.
Most importantly I’ll keep reminding myself that as long as I quiet my brain and lead with my heart things will fall into place. They always do. And that’s where things stand today… we’ll see what happens tomorrow!
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