A Pandemic Changes Everything
Life often can get thrown off course due to one decision, one chain of events or on unexpected incident. It is usually not a life threatening virus causing havoc globally but that is 2020 for you. In February we had applied for the girls passports and were making plans to travel through several states into Canada to Niagara Falls and back home to the NC Mountains. We also had started throwing around the idea of a 3 month Europe trip in early 2021. Then came March.....dun, dun, duuun. I am sure most of you were finding new ways to entertain yourself while sheltering at home just like we were. As March turned
into April and then May we realized it was not looking good for an early July trip. We hoped to postpone our summer trip or go to Europe first and plan Canada next summer.
We were trying to stay positive. After all we had just gotten our condo ready to rent out while we were traveling. Just as we received the girls passports in the mail countries began announcing they were not allowing American travelers due to COVID not being under control. It was hard to keep the positive energy going after that.
We decided we had to focus on what we could control. We couldn't do anything about travel restrictions or lack of plans to slow the spread. We did know we were eventually going to grow out of our condo. One thousand square feet with little kids is not so bad but as they get bigger it was bound to become quite tight. The pandemic also bought to light how nice it would be to have an office space, or even just an office desk. Staying home for months at a time makes those little inconveniences a much bigger deal. So what did that all mean for what we wanted next? It meant a new adventure! We wanted to stay in the high country area of North Carolina for it's beauty, small town feel and all the outdoor activities. First things first we needed to sell our condo, the place that allowed us to begin this journey of a full-time family. We were pretty certain we could sell fairly quickly as many homes in the area were flying off the market. While it was not a decision we took lightly we decided it was the right move. Don't get me wrong keeping a home clean for showings with 2 little girls is never ideal but we had done it before, we could do it again. Within a week of deciding it was the right step we had a realtor and the condo was on the market, now it was just a waiting game.
Two months seemed like an eternity cleaning, cleaning some more and cleaning again. The weather was not helping either, finding places to go during showings when it was rainy outside posed another challenge. Not to mention scheduling showings around work calls, at this point I was also at the tail end of a huge project at work that I was helping manage. My timing on all of this was super thought out. All the most stressful things possible all at once. It was hectic to say the least. While we were very hesitant to travel we needed a break from all the cleaning, we decided to take a trip to West Virginia and hoped there would be tons of showings while we were gone. Our top priority was traveling safe and smart. We found a hotel just outside of Charleston downtown with a kitchen to lessen our exposure. Mask and gloves were worn anywhere in the hotel unless we were in our room, which we wiped down as soon as we checked in. If you have not been to West Virginia I highly recommend it. I think it could be one of the most underrated sates, it has never really been on my radar other than I eventually want to visit every states in the US but man it is beautiful. The drive through Virginia into West Virginia is stunning. As we settled into our room and looking forward to a weekend of outdoor adventures and hoping our place has 20+ showings while we are gone Brant gets a text. He starts reading, "Congratulations! You have a full price offer..." I didn't believe him, I was stunned. We didn't have (or need) any showings that weekend but we were excited and had lots to discuss now that we were under contract. We felt good to be in the stage of the process and were able to just enjoy our West Virginia vacation. Lots of hiking and outdoor adventures as usual!
Now we had to get serious about finding a place to live. We had looked at a few places already but it was hard to get excited about anything until we had our place under contract. As we began to scourer all the real estate apps and look at homes our realtor sent us we realized the options were limited. We started expanding our search area, taking day trips to some areas close by to see if we would like the area enough to look at homes. We quickly found the Beech, Sugar Mountain to Boone area was were we wanted to be. We looked at a few more places and I will be honest the thought crossed my mind, what did we do. Homes were priced high and needed a lot of work. I don't want to say we were panicked because we tend to stay pretty level headed and can work through most obstacles but we were very close to freaking out. We knew we had to look at other areas and it may not be in the mountains. The good thing about working remotely is your options are open. I think we considered just about everything, even if just for a brief moment. We looked at Tennessee, renting an RV for a few months, even looked at North Myrtle Beach again where we thought we would land before we found the mountains. We started to look more seriously at the Greensboro, NC area which is between Winston Salem and Durham. We had heard good things about the area and we would not be too far from the mountains when we wanted that option.
We took an entire day looking at homes in the area. We looked at a few homes in Jamestown and several in Greensboro. We quickly decided Jamestown was pretty cool. A very small downtown with lots of history and still close to the conveniences Greensboro had to offer. We put an offer in on a town home and they accepted. We have a lot of plans for updating and making it our own but it is a good space and gives us room to grow. We wanted to stay in a condo/town home style to take advantage of limited exterior maintenance. We still want to get back to traveling when possible and safe. For now we are focused on our new adventure in a new area. We can't wait to find out all the history of this small town established in 1706. We hope to ride our bikes downtown for picnics and enjoy the hiking trails and parks within Jamestown. We have already found some waterfall hikes that are not far from Winston Salem that we can't wait to explore as well. Even though this was not in our original plan we are happy with where we have ended up especially with all that is going on in the world. You can't plan everything that comes your way but you can control how you navigate the unexpected. The girls are excited about our new home, space and of course getting a bunk bed in their new room.
We will have a small mortgage which will be a big difference from living debt free. However, since the association fees are much less for this location we are kind of balancing out our monthly overall costs. Our plan, as always with loans, is too pay it off far before the 20 year term is over. Fingers crossed! We hope to expand our real estate photography in Jamestown/Greensboro as well as nature photography during all of our hiking adventures. To ensure we still get to the mountains as much as we can we will still be doing real estate photography on Beech. We will miss having these amazing views every day and are happy to make occasional trips up to get a mountain fix. Who knows maybe one day we will end up in the mountains again, until then we look forward to the foot hills. Our full-time family adventures continues and we can't wait to share the journey to come.