Sunday, November 3, 2019

Life is Better at the Lake

My blog posts are few and far between, and there's a couple good reasons for that! I started a new business, which I'll save for a future post, and Meezy and I fulfilled one of our long-time dreams! For the past few years, we've checked out lake houses for sale every few months. We've seen what's available on the local lakes and even driven 1-2 hours outside of town if something looked promising. A couple properties piqued our interest along the way, so we made offers under list price. But, we never came to an agreement on any, usually because we didn't LOVE anything enough to pay more. We would have settled for a good deal on a house that checked most of the boxes, but luckily for us, those sellers weren't interested. We didn't know at the time that something much better was in store!

The best part of this story is where it all began. We embarked on this adventure because of a casual conversation at a neighborhood moms get-together. I was chatting with a neighbor I met for the first time that night, and we were discussing our upcoming weekend plans. She said her family was heading to their lake house, which obviously caught my attention. I inquired as to what lake the house was on, and she informed me it was Callender Lake. I had never heard of that body of water before, but I smelled an opportunity! She told me it was a private lake located 1.5 hours outside the metroplex. I told her how long we'd been searching for a house of our own, and she said, "There's a cool part of the lake called "The Island" and I know there's at least a couple houses for sale on it." Well, that's all it took! That night I went home and searched listings on Callender Lake.  I found a couple that seemed to fit our requirements and Meezy agreed. We scheduled showings for the next day and hit the road.

As promised, it took us 1.5 hours to get there, with the last 30 minutes spent on winding 2-lane country roads. (The ones that are fun to drive on). The entrance to the lake is gated, so we had to call the sellers for access. They buzzed us in and we eagerly drove the last 2 miles to The Island. After pulling up to the first property and seeing the half acre lot and view, I'm not even sure we had to go inside the house! The excitement was growing. This could be the one!

The lake access was wonderful with an established retaining wall and dock, there was an existing boat house, the backyard was large, flat, and grassy, and the rear of the house had a massive deck facing the lake. This is definitely what we had envisioned over the past few years. Now it was time to check out the house. Meezy and I weren't all that interested in nice, new, and fancy furnishings (or paying for them). We really just wanted good space so we could have friends and family over and everyone would feel comfortable. This house checked that box! It was 3,700 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. There was an upstairs master and a downstairs master (with adjoining bonus room). One of the upstairs secondary bedrooms was massive, with room for multiple beds. The living room, kitchen, and breakfast nook were the heart of the house, with easy access to the back deck. Most of the house had probably been remodeled in the 1990s, and it was certainly livable as-is. Meezy and I were pretty certain we had found the one.

After leaving that house, we visited the other house for sale on The Island. It couldn't hold a candle to the first one! Yes, it was nicely updated, but it didn't have the space and lake access we were looking for.  We left Callender Lake ready to make an offer on the first house we saw.

I called my mom on the drive home to tell her about our findings. She had often shown interest in our lake house searches and sometimes I'd bring her along for a showing. She loved what she was hearing and asked if she could check it out with me the following day. I was fine with that, because seeing the property one more time and getting someone else's opinion before making an offer wasn't a bad idea.  The two of us hit the road the next day and made another visit to Callender Lake. As I suspected, she fell in love with the place too. So much so, that she turned to me and said, "I think your dad and I would like to get in on this." I couldn't believe it! Not only would this cut our cost in half, but it would truly make it a family lake house!

We came to an agreement with the seller on a reasonable price, negotiated a couple of repairs, and even purchased the majority of the sellers' existing furniture so we didn't have to start from scratch. I really can't believe how this dream of ours finally came to fruition, but I'm so grateful for the awesome memories we've already created during our first year of ownership. We've turned this house into such a fun hangout place. Here are a few of our improvements:

-We bought an old-school Off-Road arcade game, a foosball table, and a video poker machine for indoor fun
-We installed a trampoline in the backyard
-We installed a brand new built-in hot tub on the back deck
-We replaced a built-in ice maker in the kitchen with a built-in beer fridge
-We strung up outdoor lights around the boathouse and above the back deck
-We bought a small fishing boat, a kayak, and 2 jet-skis (and tubes)

There have been repairs needed along the way too, but that's expected with any house you own. Luckily, there are two families splitting all the costs, so it softens the blow! Here are some pics from our adventures this past year:

And these are the views that make you forget all the stress of your daily life: