So, as mentioned, we've been looking at places to live when Mark retires, in a few years, and we know we want mountains nearby. Our dream choice is, of course, Montana, but good luck getting anything there for less than a million (and we are most certainly not millionaires).
North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountain area is our most likely candidate, and we love the landscape (see the second video down in the side bar), but the real estate market is overheated, right now, plus the only "blue" areas are Boone (which is overly expensive right now) and Asheville itself, which has a housing shortage and is especially overpriced.
But after being called "communists" and "low-class liberals" in Blowing Rock for wearing masks indoors, we definitely do not want to jump out of the Trump/crazy-conspiracists frying pan and into the fire, by moving from Kentucky to living anywhere where that could happen on a regular basis. We could live in a cabin way off the grid, I guess, but it's not a good idea when you're getting older, and we want like-minded people around us.
Thus, our third choice is the mountainous regions of Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York, and Massachusetts. Well, Massachusetts isn't that mountainous, but it's close to just about anywhere you'd want to go - ski in Vermont or NH or upstate NY, visit Boston, NYC, or Philly on a weekend, or to the beach.
Plus, the historical architecture is just inspired - well, when someone hasn't overly-modern renovated it (those examples are featured in the second part of this post :/)
We'd also like a little bit of land for our horse, rather than boarding him, if possible, but that's a tall order - but and we were surprised at the land actually being cheaper in this area, but there's just one catch - the property taxes are higher, so it works out about the same as North Carolina, in the end.
First, I'm going to show you the "yes, please" type of homes we'd consider in our price range - meaning the owners have respected the integrity of the design, keeping key elements, even if I didn't particularly care for the decor - and though renovations or additions have been made, they're respectful of the design and make sense, and nothing has been done that can't be undone (unlike the next list following these)
This first one wins the prize as our favorite thus far - an early Federal colonial in Hardwick, Massachusetts, which was built in 1775, sits on 0.8 acres, but has a barn and surrounding pastures, and is only $339,000 ...
If the interior reminds you of Shaker, remember that the Shakers were fond of simplicity, and therefore preferred the Georgian/Federal colonial look, only even more simplistic.
Other houses in our price range, in the area, that get it/have done it right, even respecting the design integrity with additions and renovations ...
Just a bonus, the Town Commons in Barre, Massachusetts is one of the prettiest in the Northeast ...
Now, as I've mentioned, only two things I'm snobby/judgmental about (well, three, if you count loud/belligerent-type Trump supporters) - architecture and film - because I figure if you have the money to do either, do it right - don't just be throwing crap up in our faces and expecting us to pay a high price ;)
Having said that, I do NOT mean people who have fallen on hard times and can't afford the upkeep, or even older people on a fixed income - I mean people who obvious have money (and you can usually tell, by just the photos), who have so over-renovated, modernized and changed the structural integrity of the home, that it can't be undone :/
Now, with these next homes - starting with the least offensive to the worst - it's not that the interior design/decorating is necessarily bad (though in some cases, that, too).
No, the problem is, they're charging more money, despite the fact that they've removed all, or nearly all, of the best elements of the original design (exposed wood beams, wood-paneled walls, fireplaces).
In other words, the interior does not match the exterior, and they've been so modernized and genericized that the home cannot be period-identified from the interior.
For example, would you ever know that THIS ...
Ouch - my eyes!
I ... don't even know what to say. There are no words, for whatever is going on in this house ...
The one positive I can say is that they kept at least a few of the original elements in a few of the rooms, but mostly, nothing that has been done to the rest of interior, especially the kitchen, can ever be undone, and doesn't make any sense at all ...
Okay, now I'm definitely mad, and I don't want to discuss it any further, and no one can do anything about it ;)
I beg of you lol - if you have the money - do NOT remove or cover up the original architectural/design components of your early American home with drywall, if you can help it, like exposed beams, wood framing around doors and windows, fireplaces, etc. Replace what you must, paint what you must, but do NOT remove these elements.
Other homes likes yours that did do tend to sell in the multi-millions versus ... whatever that is that you've done lol.
PS - And here's a "maybe" consideration, though it'd be stretching our budget.
Manchester, VT, 10 acres, gable-front Federal/Greek Revival mix, built in 1834 - $420,000
Besides the higher price, the other reason it's a maybe is because though the exterior and the acreage and mountain view are amazing, but the interior is, well?
Did Barbie sneak in, in the middle of the night, and paint and put up that wallpaper or-?
Obviously, these are older people, likely on a fixed income, so let's not be too hard on them - and yet Pepto-Bismol pink paint was an extremely odd choice to pain that old wood, if they want to sell.
However, they did keep many of the original elements (despite painting and wallpapering them odd choices).
Painting over that Pepto-Bismol pink and removing the wallpaper is a quick, easy, relatively inexpensive fix that their real estate agent may want to talk to them about before a sell?
It's an easy fix, yes, but it's not move in ready, so tack on those extra expenses (I'd probably strip the pink paint completely and stain the wood instead), and perhaps updating the heating and cooling systems, and we're way over our budget.
If someone with more money than we've got came in and restored this home right, 10 acres in Vermont with this sort of view, in an historical home, could sell for well over a million.