Sunday, June 8, 2008

New Beginnings

Do you believe that a house will attract and lure whom it wants to be its owners? Let me clarify this...

We are a couple of urbanites from Seattle, Washington. We loved our work, our house, and our lives there, yet events beyond our control brought us back to the Midwest and well on the path of becoming historic home restorers in the picturesque town of Hannibal, Missouri.

First it was 9-11 in 2001, an event that rendered many of us aerospace folks jobless for a year or even longer. This meant one of us taking an aerospace job in remote Tulsa, OK. Nice town, and it was just within driving distance (7 hours) of Hannibal, MO - my high school hometown. So on weekends, I'd do the long drive, catch up with former classmates, and rediscover the town I'd all but forgotten about.

Enter the opportunity to buy a Chateau that had been on the market for two years. Why hadn't anyone bought this gem? Could it be the unfinished kitchen? The smell of animal urine throughout the house? The neighborhood? The neighborhood at the turn of the century (1900) was dubbed "Millionaire's Row", but had long since been an enclave for low-paying renters. At one time, the house even got taken off the market for a few months due to lack of buyer interest.

Over the years, the house experienced numerous deals "fall through". Some folks thought the urine smell was orchestrated on purpose to cover up an illegal meth operation. The demographics of Missouri as a primary "meth" state is well known throughout the country. Alas, misguided would-be buyers wouldn't accept the explanation that the recently-evicted renters harbored large pets inside the house.

The kitchen itself required total renovation. Buyers often want a finished kitchen. More on this later.

Well, upon the recovery of the aerospace industry and wrapping up my Tulsa assignment, we had our offer of $100K accepted -- almost immediately. Whoohoo!

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