To say that my wife Eva and I made this decision on a whim is not stating anything new. In 2010 we were driving home from a Town Hall meeting at The Great Northwest Community Improvement Association, and in the less than the five minutes it took to get to our house, we made the decision to move. This time, for completely different reasons, we were driving down the road to grab some dinner, and before we made it to the restaurant, I think the decision had already been made.
We closed on our new home in Helotes, Texas, five years to the day from when we moved into our home in Natalia, Texas. You can read all about our incredible experience in Natalia at Living Out Here, a blog that chronicled our time on three acres of fun known as Stoney Island.
In our new home, the change is incredible. While I think our house itself is slightly nicer (okay, a lot nicer) than what we had, the property is like cramming ten gallons of shit into a five gallon jug. We can pretty much fit our entire yard into our old house; it's that tiny. Looking out the windows and seeing someone else's window is a change; being able to give an ounce by ounce status of their hair shampoo is a shock!
So your first thought has to be, why? Why move? After all, moving to Natalia was one of the greatest decisions we've ever made. We have never, not even once had a single regret in that decision, and we wouldn't trade our time there for anything. When we moved to Natalia, both our kids were in the military and lived in other states. If it wasn't for my job, something I'm somewhat attached to, we could have moved anywhere because there were no other real attachments (no offense to family and friends). Then, our kids moved back to San Antonio and they started producing grandchildren! We went from having one granddaughter to four, all rather quickly. Eva found herself driving into town almost daily, just to get her fill of grandbabies.
So the conversation that led to the move was based upon a frazzled Eva, having made multiple trips to watch kids and admitting that the drive was getting to her. What if we could sell our house, make enough money to put a good down payment on a new house, closer to the kids, yet still enjoy to comfort of a large yard with room for the grandkids and our dog Gracie to play? What if we could recreate our outdoor oasis, a fire pit, a place to enjoy the cool nights like we did in Natalia?
Honestly, that was enough motivation to give the idea some real thought. And by the time we were eating our chicken at the Bill Miller's, it was settled that we would give it a serious looking into. An hour later, I had crafted an e-mail to our Realtor, Justin, and not long after he had replied with, "I absolutely cannot believe this!"
On the first weekend our house was listed on the market, it rained all day Saturday. On Sunday, we had back to back showings. By Sunday evening, we had sold our house!
Eva and I were very methodical in our search for a new home. We had figured out the features that we needed and drew a circle on a map to narrow the search considerably. We made great use of the resources from our Realtor, but also used Zillow and Trulia to help get looks into the homes we thought we might like to see. It is amazing how you can eliminate potential showings simply by doing some homework.
On the big day, we had at least ten properties lined up, most of them in the Alamo Ranch area. We hit it first thing in the morning and had only one or two houses that we would consider going back for a second look if it came down to it. Our plan was to take a break for lunch and then start again in the afternoon, but Justin suggested we take a quick tour of a house that was closer to Helotes and La Cantera.
I walked in first and before Eva had even made it inside, I had already announced to Justin that this was the house. The size of the yard was laughable compared to our three acres in Natalia, but inside, it was exactly what we were looking for. The floor plan worked, and the features of the home really sold it. I did have to ask if the bidet in the restroom conveyed.
On the fifth anniversary of closing on the house in Natalia, we closed on our new house in Helotes, or as we like to call it, New Stoney Island. I am hoping that I can find enough free time to provide some updates to this blog, tell you about the work we do on the house and the places that have become our local favorites. And if you happen to be in the area, we'd very much appreciate your suggestions on restaurants and neat places to visit.