I’ve been keeping a big secret that I can’t wait to share with you!
You’ve been waiting for it, haven’t you? And I’ve been dying to share all that’s going on!
Even my blog friends and real life friends are all like, when is this thing gonna happen, huh, huh?
I’ve been keeping this little secret from all of you, not because I wasn’t excited and didn’t want to share. I just felt like things needed to be more solidified and certain of timing before I started sharing much about what’s going on in my personal life and my immediate future this year. But, you all have been wondering too, haven’t you? I know you have! I’ve even gotten personal Facebook messages asking me the same question.
Keep reading for all your burning questions answered!
I have a big update on all of that for you today and I’m really, really excited to share it ALL! First things first!
We bought a new house! Mark and I. You all didn’t even know we were looking, but we have been looking for quite awhile now. It’s been a long time coming, but we finally found one that works for us, went under contract, through all the paperwork mumbo-jumbo that comes with closing on a house and we are the proud owners of a new (to us) house. We closed just over a week ago and have hit the ground running. I’ll tell you way more about it all in a later post, but this is the beginning of our lives together. I’m sure you’ll have a zillion questions and I will try to answer everything along the way, but I wanted to get this out here and let you know what is happening for sure in the next couple of months. I’ve been about to burst with excitement to tell you all!
We actually started the house hunting saga last Fall, around October. We started earnestly looking and got an agent involved. And when I tell you that the market in Atlanta is crazy hot and it’s a seller’s market for the most part, I’m not even kidding! We missed out on a few houses that met our criteria early on and had to get ready for the hunt with all the financial stuff involved and that was finally done and we were on our way. November and December were slim pickings. We found a few things, but nothing that totally made us want to jump.
The first of the year brought more houses to the market and prices were starting to go up. We noticed a definite increase in prices from January til now, with the housing market steadily going up more and more, it seemed by the month. We really hoped to find something before Fall came around again and in the end we found at least 3 or 4 houses that met our criteria and that we really wanted, but timing and getting outbid snatched those away. Let me also mention that we started off with a certain amount we wanted to spend on a house, which over the course of 6 to 8 months, totally went out the window as we saw prices go up and we realized that we would have to spend more than we initially wanted in order to get a house that met our needs and wish list, in a nice neighborhood. We did stay within our comfort level, so that was a plus.
It didn’t seem like we were looking for anything really out of the ordinary, but it seems that our wish list was very hard to find. We wanted 3 or 4 bedrooms, one of those a bonus room. Mark wanted a bonus room, complete with angled walls to carve out a man cave. We really wanted a guest room and I needed an office, which would more than likely be one of the bedrooms. We had to have a basement, because Mark and I both have lots of garden tools and equipment, as well as Mark’s wood working tools that he really wants to get set up. Not to mention his 100 lb. German Shepherd, Hollie, who needs a basement to live in. She’s a big hairy thing, very sweet, but not an inside house dog. She is 10 years old and won’t be around forever, but she needs a dry and comfortable place to stay, so basement was on our list for many reasons. Oh, not to mention my Christmas storage, I really need that too!
This is going to get long, but I wanted to tell you about our house hunting journey and how we ended up at this house. We both have the same taste in houses: Colonial wood siding or brick Colonials and Cape Cods. Oh, how we both love this style. We could both see ourselves in an older, established neighborhood with lots of trees, well kept houses that were groomed with nice yards. That’s what we were looking for. Houses that were 30 to 35 years old and not cookie cutter neighborhoods. We both really don’t like the neighborhoods where all the houses look so much alike. There are a zillion of those in Atlanta and a zillion 70’s neighborhoods, with those old and dated contemporary cedar houses. Now the younger generation might love those houses, but WE do not. They are still selling, I’m sure but those neighborhoods are not the ones we wanted to be in. We identified a handful of neighborhoods that we really loved and concentrated on those. We wanted to stay in Cobb County, because that is where both of our families are. So, we basically drew a circle on the map and concentrated on those areas with affordability in mind.
We didn’t end up in one of those initial favorite neighborhoods, but that’s where our search was focused. Those just didn’t end up working out for one reason or another. Frustrating situation? Yes! We looked at several houses in those favorite neighborhoods. Some were overpriced and dated and just sat there on the market. We knew we could fix them up but didn’t want to spend that much $$ on a house that would then have to have $40 to $50K put into them to bring them up to date which would then make them overpriced for the neighborhood. So those houses were marked off the list even though they were in our desirable neighborhoods. Some were priced well, but we didn’t get to bid on them in time. Some were updated and priced higher and those got snatched up fast and we were outbid on at least 2 of them.
We stalked the listings every single day for months on end, getting our agent to show us anything that was a possibility. We walked in house after house, well over 50 houses at least, being disappointed in so many of them. So many high priced dated houses that would require so much work to get in them and bring them up to par. There’s a certain feeling that we both got when a house felt like “it” and those were the ones that really got us. Those were the ones that broke our hearts when we didn’t get them. There was one I loved that I mourned over the loss for weeks and Mark had one he was especially in love with that also got away from us. House hunting is an emotional thing for sure, as I’m sure you can attest to if you’ve been in a market like this. I’ve heard that the whole Southeast is growing like crazy and so many Southern cities are going through this same scenario in the housing market. It’s crazy, I tell ya!
Edited: I’m sorry that some of my original comments about my current neighborhood stepped on some toes. Truly not my intention. I’ve always felt safe and secure in my older 70’s neighborhood and have been so grateful that God gave me this house for the last 5 years. My comments were wishing that other folks would maintain their homes which only helps the rest of the neighborhood. I have no qualms at all about Mark’s daughter and family moving in here and I think they will be as happy as I’ve been for the last few years.
With where I was financially 6 years ago, I absolutely believe that God orchestrated my current house situation so that I was able to get in here with help from my parents and no mortgage. We paid cash and so this house is debt-free (except for what I’ve been paying back my parents in full which is almost complete) and when I go to sell it later on down the road, I will have so much equity in the house and that’s such a wonderful thing!
OK, so back to Mark and I house hunting. We totally have the same taste. We both love the same style house and have the same classic style taste. He is handy and knows how to add crown molding, board and batten, coffered ceilings, and lots of other millwork to really take a house up a notch, so we will be doing many of those things to our new house. The older neighborhoods that were our favorites, we stalked them for months. We lost out on 2 houses in one favorite neighborhood and were outbid both times. It was heart breaking. We took those pretty hard, but knew that we’d find one eventually that we could love and enjoy. I can’t say this house was our 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd choice, but it’s a beautiful home and I think we are going to really love living here, with its proximity to downtown Acworth and the nearby lakes.
It’s within walking distance to downtown Acworth and the lakes up there, Acworth and Altoona, and so I see some lake living in our future. No boats or anything, but we can walk and bike in the area and that will be so nice. So, even though this is a newer built home, 2005, and not the older established neighborhood we thought we’d end up in, we are very happy about our new house choice. A newer house has many perks, so we are thankful for that part too, we can hopefully live here for several years without having to do major things to the house. Just those things we want to do to upgrade for ourselves. And there’s no popcorn ceilings to have to remove, big plus! I’ll be sharing all the details with you along the way and it will be so fun to be in another house to share here on my blog! We have SUCH a busy summer ahead of us all the way through August.
Here are the plans in a nutshell. We are taking the month of July to do flooring and painting inside the house. There are currently site finished hardwoods on the main level and we want to continue those in 2 rooms downstairs. In fact that was all done this past week. Upstairs is all carpet which will all be going and I’ll be working with Shaw Floors to get new hardwood flooring up there this month. Yay for Shaw Floors! Painting is going to happen too as we figure out colors and rooms and flow. We would like to paint the outside eventually. Mark thinks it’s time to paint the siding and we really want to change the color and bring out the gray tones of the brick, so that will be something we will want to do as soon as we can, although not sure how soon.
So a busy, busy July is in the works. I have Haven July 20-22 and that will be a very busy time for me. Mark still works full-time and won’t be retiring for a few more years, so we have to get contractors going and get Shaw Floors in there to get all this done so that we can start moving in. Mark has already moved his belongings in there and thank goodness for a big garage and a full unfinished basement. I will be going through all my furniture and things to figure out what goes to the new house and what to get rid of, doing a lot of purging along the way. And packing! Ugh, not my favorite part. I do not like moving, but I will have to get it done. My roommate, Rhonda, has decided it’s time for her to make a change too, so with me moving out, she’s going to move as well. As timing would have it, one of Mark’s daughters has been looking for a house to rent for her growing family and they are moving into my house in September! It was meant to be! I’m not going to sell the house anytime soon, but will hang onto it for a few more years.
Now for the really exciting part! Mark and I are getting married the last weekend of July. Yep, finally got to that part! We decided not to have a wedding here, we’ve both been there and done that and don’t want to do it again. We are eloping (well, is it eloping if it’s not a secret?) and will just have a small intimate wedding with just the 2 of us and the wedding officiants. I’ll share more details on that later, but we are heading to the Georgia coast for that part! I think it will be so romantic and a great place to get married and perfect for what we want at this stage of life. No stress, but it will still be so special to us. We will have pictures to share too, so of course I will share them with all of you. We are going to do a family party at our new house sometime this Fall for our families to all come over and mingle and meet.
You all have been so supportive and so encouraging to me all along my journey and I’m so happy that I get to share this exciting new chapter in my life with all of you. THANK YOU for being there with me the last 6 years especially, through all my crazy ups and downs in my personal life. It’s so nice to be past that hard time and entering into this special chapter in life with the love of my life. Mark is a wonderful man and I can’t wait to share more of him with you, as much as he feels comfortable with me sharing. I feel very blessed that we both found each other at this stage of life!!
So, I hope you’ll get excited with us as we begin our new life in this pretty house in Acworth! Acworth was a little hick town when I was growing up here, but it has come a long way in the last few years and is growing like crazy. The little downtown area is so cute and quaint. I’ll be sharing that with you too as we will be spending more time there now. We are still close to all the major small towns in the area, including my beloved Marietta and Woodstock and of course, Kennesaw. All of these towns are so close to each other that you really can’t tell where one stops and the other begins. I’ll be moving just a few miles from my current home in Kennesaw and it will feel strange for awhile, being in a new place, but it will be so fun to put our stamp on this house and make it our own. We are going to take our time and really do things right and not try to rush it. This house is not a gut job, but needs some updates to suit us. We both have classic taste and Mark has his own opinions about houses and furnishings, so this house will not be all feminine like my current house, but I’ll definitely be getting his input as we figure out furniture, fabrics, and more. We actually make a great design team too and there are a lot of projects we will be tackling together.
I’ll be back later with inside pics of the house. It’s a great house, very well taken care of and the perfect space for us, plenty big at 2600 s.f., but it has all the rooms we wanted and is nicely laid out. It’s pretty neutral inside and just needs lots of personal touches which we can’t wait to do. When we get through with it, it will not look like the same house. It’s got great bones already, we’ll just make it better! It has a full unfinished basement which won’t be hard to finish if we choose to make another room down there eventually.
So so excited for this new chapter in life and I’m so glad you all are here with me too!
Thank you for celebrating with me! Cheers!
This is such exciting and wonderful news! So happy for the complete happiness you and Mark have found together. I read your blog daily and love reading about your family most of all. Fashion over 50 is also a favorite. Wishing you all good things, and many good thoughts for your Daddy’s recovery.
Rhoda, Congratulations on your happy news, new home, and new chapter in life. Followed your blog through two houses and now cannot wait to see what you do with the new house. As a single woman, I am always interested — How did you and Mark meet?
Patricia, we met on E-harmony. I’ll have to share more about that later.
Jonet Wooten says
Congratulations to you and Mark, my dear. I am so happy you’ve found love and your dream home. Your ring is absolutely beautiful and I look forward to hearing all about the next joyful chapter in your life.
Linda Cole says
Congratd to you and Mark! How exciting! I wish you much love and happiness!! Can’t wait to see what you do to your new house.
Wow! What a lot of good news in one post! I love your blog and have been following
for a few years. You deserve all the happiness in the world. Many blessings on your marriage. Can’t wait to see the new house!
Lisa A says
Let me add my congratulations to you and Mark. May you continued to be blessed with much happiness and many years of love.
My husband and I were driving home from vacation when I decided to check emails. As I was scrolling through the list and saw your title, I said “I hope Rhoda got engaged!” He says, “Who’s Rhoda?” I said, “You know, the blog I show you….her father has the big garden and he’s really sick right now….” Then he reminds me I don’t really know you.
I certainly feel like I do, and I couldn’t be happier for you and Mark!
Lisa, how cute is that? I know that you all feel like you know me and that makes me very happy!
Congratulations and much happiness to you both! I am so happy for you–it’s very exciting news and I look forward to future pics of you and your new house.
So happy for both of you. Been waiting for this! Wishing you and Mark happiness and joy, you are a great looking couple. Can’t wait to see the new house progress.
Prayers for our Dad.
Sorry meant your Dad!
A huge Congrats to You and all of your very exciting news!!!!!! This is so special – thank you for sharing it with us – your readers !
My aunt lives in Acworth and has for years. I hope it holds wonderful memories for you as welll
Cheryl Gerlecz says
Rhoda, I just read the good news! I’m so happy for you as it seems like you have found a great man and likewise he has found a great woman!
Thank you, Cheryl, I did find a really good guy, so happy together!
Tammie Kimball says
Just read your good news! Congratulations. Happy for you.
Alison K says
I am so happy for you!! I have read your blog for a very long time and remember all you have gone through. But that is what I love about you, you share the good and the bad and you keep it real, some don’t do that in blog world or social media. I so enjoyed meeting you last year at your home and keep a picture of us up to remind me I can get through the hard times too. I love Acworth it’s a great area and know you will love it. There’s a great yoga studio in downtown Acworth if you want to check it out I took privates there for a little bit. Blessing to you and Mark and always praying for your daddy. aka Ally005 in Powder Springs
Aww, Ally, so nice to hear from you! You are so sweet and I’m glad you came to my open house. I do try to keep it real, it’s the only way I know how to live.
Congratulations Rhoda to you and Mark! You are an inspiration to so many! God bless you both in your future together!
Fabulous news!!! Congratulations!!! Love the new house, great curb appeal. I understand the housing market here. Looking to downside in northern Gwinnett county but…… the pickings are few and prices high. Much happiness!!
Congratulations!! So excited for you and Mark!
Donna Ganster says
Congrats on everything! I have been following you since the beginning and love your style! Good luck on everything and praying for your Daddy.
Carol S. says
It’s wonderful that you announced your engagement and your new home and I congratulate you on both events. I just don’t understand why you felt the need to insult the neighborhood. There are several families that follow your blog and happen to live in your neighborhood that didn’t take kindly to your reference that we live in a “less than desirable neighborhood.” When you purchased a foreclosed home in April 2012 for $70,150, you got a bargain at a time when many of the families in our neighborhood hit hard times and were losing their jobs and their homes. I’m sure before purchasing your home you drove through the neighborhood and saw several unmaintained homes and yards due to those hard times, yet you still purchased a foreclosed home in this neighborhood. This didn’t bother you in 2012, yet it bothers you now that you’re getting ready to sell, I’m sure, for a substantial profit. Your followers do not know that you live in the unincorporated portion vs. the city section where our yards and homes fall under strict code enforcement ordinances. Another point I must mention is that many of these families in “your undesirable neighborhood” have children to support while others are senior citizens who do not have the connections to vendors providing free products that benefit improvement of their homes as you do. You have been so very fortunate in all your efforts to upgrade your home and you will reap those benefits when you sell. It’s a shame you didn’t take the time in getting to know your neighbors over the years rather snub your nose up at them and put down their neighborhood. There are so many more homeowners who do care about their homes and property, how dare you
Carol, I sincerely didn’t mean to come across that way at all, so I apologize for my comments about the neighborhood. I have been very happy living here in this neighborhood and was so very grateful to be able to land a house at all during that time of my life. In fact, this was the third house in the neighborhood I looked at and bid on when I was trying to find a house back then. I know that times were hard and so many people were suffering during those years, myself included. I do get that and if my comments hurt feelings, I’m very sorry for that. I did get to know my immediate neighbors on either side of me and they were such sweet people and moved away a couple of years ago. Since I’m on the very first street I don’t have much interaction with the rest of the large neighborhood, but I’ve always felt very safe and secure here, no doubt about that. I’ve never felt unsafe in this neighborhood and it’s a great location. I did have some readers ask me if I wanted to move eventually and vaguely mentioned the rest of the neighborhood and I really had no plans to move, I do love my house and am so grateful for it. But with life changes and meeting someone I want to spend my life with, we wanted to choose a house together. I will always have a special place in my heart for this house and all the things that I’ve been able to do to it, with my dad’s help. I could’t have done it without him. And yes, I did get quite a lot of sponsors to help me on this house, but I also spent a lot of money myself too, paying cash along the way. I don’t begrudge anyone in the neighborhood for what they are able to do or not do. My only thought was I wish that more folks would take care of their homes and yards and keep them at least minimally maintained which only helps the rest of the neighborhood. I’m really sorry that my comments were taken that way and again, I apologize for that, not what I wanted at all. Thank you, Carol, for stopping by. I’m editing my post and taking out my original words. Sometimes I don’t say the right things and they come across all wrong on the internet, so please forgive me for that.
Carol S. says
Thank you Rhoda for understanding. Your blog, especially the work you have done to your house, has been an inspiration for me. Do continue with more DIY information… there are many single women out here trying to do it all (work, family, home repair)!!!
So happy for you! Congratulations!
Also saying a prayer for your dad.
Nerina Field says
This post makes my heart smile, I am so so happy that you have found your bliss. As I reminisce finding you oh so many years ago, your journey has been incredible. The blogging world was much smaller then.
Huge congratulations, I hope the next chapter of your adventure together continues to bring so much joy to the both of you.
Your Dad is in my thoughts and prayers everyday!!
Sending you strength, peace and an abundance of love xOxO
Thank you, Nerina, I so appreciate your support and encouragement all this time. I have the best readers out there!
Mike Tadlock says
Rhoda, I am so extremely happy for you! Certainly God HAS had His hand on your life and direction. Blessings to you and Mark! Praying for your dad!
Mike, thank you so much!!