The final decision was based on two things: 1) The out-of-town lot would have much better solar potential. We have been solar energy enthusiasts for a long time; our current house is a passive solar design. The general openness of the neighborhood, and the fact that the back of the lot faced almost due South, were both conducive to solar design. 2) I had the realization that the large flat lot would be perfect for a Mediterranean courtyard house, mostly on one level. I’ve been enamored of Mediterranean design in general and interior courtyards in particular through trips to Provence (in southern France), Italy and Argentina. A one-story design would also make sense for us as we got older.
The last time we checked, the in-town lot was still for sale.
We quickly decided to go for it. We made an offer on the lot, with the agent’s advice, and it was accepted. Of course, this was well before the real estate market crashed, so prices were high. Fortunately, loans were also readily available at that time, and we had no trouble lining up a lot loan, with some of our cash as a down payment. We closed on 12 June, 2007. The sellers lived in the house next door, and had owned the lot for over 20 years, since they built their house.
We had a celebration picnic on the lot with four of our closest friends and the sellers. We kept inviting passers-by to stop and have a drink. It was a jolly occasion, and we planned to make it an annual event, but somehow that never happened. We spent the rest of 2007 and the first half of 2008 planning our daughter’s wedding, before we seriously got back to planning our house. We set a time frame of three to four years from the closing date to be moved in. We made regular trips to “visit the lot” in the meantime.