In March, on our last scouting trip to Bend, Oregon, Todd and I went to see a house that had recently come on the market—again. We liked the house instantly. In so many ways it was perfect; exactly what we were looking for.
The layout is ideal with a master bedroom on the first floor along with the living room, dining room, kitchen, pantry (whee!), and laundry room. The second floor is all guest bedrooms and bathrooms, and a sizable bonus room over the garage. And storage. Oh, the storage! Actually, the amount of storage space kind of scares me, because the more space you have, the more stuff you’ll find to fill it. I could learn to live with it.
Then there is the location. We wanted space and this house sits on approximately 5 acres. Technically the house is outside city limits, but it's only 15 minutes from downtown. Half of the property is landscaped and half is left natural in all its wild high-desert glory. Then there is the view. The house faces west with a breathtaking view of the majestic snowy Sisters.
After leaving Bend that last time, Todd and I continued to dream and scheme about this house. When we arrived in Bend permanently six or so weeks ago, we went to see the house again. We felt the same way about the house this time as we had on our first visit. Intuitively we knew this house was meant for us. Much like how we knew McKenna was meant to be our puppy when we brought her home from the rescue as a foster-to-adopt. I’m not sure we really picked either McKenna or this house so much as they picked us.
We were seriously considering putting in an offer. We knew the owners were motivated to sell. The house had been on (and off) the market for a year. We can understand why it is slow to sell. The house is large and the rooms upstairs are oddly shaped because of the pitched roof and dormers. This is not a house that’s going to appeal to everybody—just the right somebodies.
To our realtor’s credit, she encouraged us to do our due diligence to determine if this property would satisfy the requirements to become a B&B. A very reasonable and, arguably, the “right” way to approach this decision. I started making calls to the county planning and environmental health departments. I also reached out to a land use attorney. In the midst of these activities to get our proverbial ducks in a row, however, I realized that I was feeling hurried and graspy—a sign that tells me I have veered off my right course.
I took a step back and assessed the situation based on what I knew. Technically the house meets the county planning department’s requirements for a conditional use permit to operate as a B&B. But even with every “i” dotted and “t” crossed, there’s always the chance that the planning committee will not issue us a conditional use permit. It's a crap shoot.
The real question wasn't will this house pass muster as a B&B. The most important questions we needed to ask ourselves were these: Was this a house we would want to live in regardless of whether we can turn it into a B&B? And if we don’t act, will we regret not having pursued the house? For both Todd and I, the answers were "yes" and "yes." We called our realtor and told her to draw up an offer.
After some back and forth with the sellers, we landed on a purchase price. The escrow process has been bumpy so far and a successful outcome is iffy at this point. Todd and I both know that if this house is meant to be ours, it will be. And if the escrow falls through, there is another more perfect place for us out there.
In the meantime, we continue to take steps in anticipation of our desired outcome while remaining unattached to it.
We’ll know more soon …