Last year, after a two-year search for a vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, my husband Chris and I found the ‘perfect vacation home on this magical island off the coast of Cape Cod. Our life has come full circle; we loved the Vineyard and vacationed with our children years ago and after my husband and I purchased a timeshare on the Island, a random decision, we decided to sell our vacation home in New Hampshire, trading the mountains and lake for the beach. Our search an easy task you might think since the Island is home to many charming locales filled with homes perfect for vacationing. Not so quite so simple as we realized that we each had certain requirements, non-negotiable, driving our quest for just the right home in our price range. We calculated that during our two-year search we viewed over forty homes with our very patient and professional broker, a must when looking for especially a vacation home. Katie never pushed a house on us, always listening to our feedback and tailoring her list of showings to complement our requirements. One benefit of our long pursuit, we expanded our knowledge of the towns on the island – each with distinctly different attributes- helping us in our search to find not only the right house but the right area for our lifestyle – and exactly when buyers fatigue set in and when we thought we would never find the perfect home – my Chris’s search online discovered a house, out of our price range, that was just what we wanted.
Looking at the photos online I did notice that the house was a little dated with colors that appeared to be right out of the 1990s when the home was built. We’d tackled renovations before so we weren’t discouraged by the task. The funny thing about real estate photos online, without too much effort, kind of like house photoshopping, you can enhance a property to appear more enticing to potential buyers. Driving up with anticipation my initial reaction to the house was first sadness viewing a beautiful home, neglected, tired, unloved, then once we toured the house and grounds, I became excited with the prospect of showering this home with love and attention, transforming a mistreated house into the perfect vacation home for our family. Reading my initial notes on the house – I kept detailed records on all the houses we visited – the list of flaws and blemishes, copious in number, filled two pages in my notebook. After we finished looking at all the homes that day, Chris and I knew we found our vacation home, shabby, outdated, decorated in a kaleidoscope of mismatched color, waiting just for us to see potential where other found faults.
When we saw the home this photo was actually two years old. The family that owned the home had moved away renting out the house to tenants who damaged the home. The outside did not look this good nor did the inside live up to the photos online.
With the help of our ever-patient broker we negotiated a price considerably lower than the asking price as the original price wasn’t reflective of the condition of the home nor the cost of all the necessary renovations. I like to say we paid more than we wanted for the home and the owners accepted less for their property than they expected.
After our extensive search, we finally found the ideal house for us to transform into our dream family vacation home. Our next step was to list our vacation home in New Hampshire where the housing market was stagnant with homes for sale for years. We purchased that home sixteen years before when it was even sadder and in more disrepair than the home on Martha’s Vineyard. With our extensive renovation inside and out the little contemporary, renewed and regenerated, looked happily out onto a beautiful passive lake deep in the mountains of New Hampshire. Fate stepped in – all the stars aligned – we sold our New Hampshire home in a few short weeks: closing the door, easily ending that chapter in our lives and opening the first chapter in a new exciting new book.
Mountain Lakes in New Hampshire
After the closing on our new vacation home, not knowing any contractors on the island, we once again turned to our broker Katie for contractor recommendations for the renovation we envisioned on our home. Martha’s Vineyard is a summer vacation colony and as Katie strongly suggested we do our remodeling in the winter when contractors are slow, the island in hibernation, definitely before the awakening preparations for the summer season begin. With our to-do list in hand, we interviewed contractors finding the right person to oversee all the interior work bringing new life to our tired home. And I love that after all the renovations in the home are completed our family’s cherished new vacation memories will be color the walls once again with happiness like a bright new coat of paint
And now the fun begins!