A Love Letter to Our Starter Home

To our starter home, with love:

When we were looking at houses in 2014, we were in a very different real estate market than what we’re seeing now. We walked through homes and were able to really weigh what we liked and didn’t like before we had to think about an offer. After visiting what felt like a sea of misses (i.e., a house with burn marks from the previous owner setting herself on fire plus a home that had a Poltergeist-type boulder in the basement that the house had been built around), we drove down Dwelley St. not knowing much about the town. And we fell in love with you — our future home.

The weekend before closing, my now husband and I drove to Dwelley St. for a visit. My husband describes himself as being nervous while watching me run down to the mailbox in the dark and coming back pumped because there was junk mail with my name on it at the new address. I was totally oblivious as to what was happening until he got down on one knee outside on the bricks by our deck and asked me to marry him. We moved in to the house we dubbed “Dwelley” the following week and were married nine months later.

I’ve written about not knowing if I wanted to have children the traditional way and remember having that epiphany in our living room. We’ve celebrated and hosted holidays and birthday parties at Dwelley. During the pandemic we did a virtual birthday celebration for our son and a surprise drive-by birthday celebration for my stepkids. We’ve said goodbye to pets and brought home a puppy. Pre-bed dance parties, laser gun fights, and countless scary movies with jump scares, screams, and laughter have filled the rooms of our home. Little by little, we undertook new projects to make the house a home, whether it be new siding or a patio that we tried to lay out ourselves (then quickly realized we are not DIYers). We built up the house to be everything we wanted. But eventually, we knew we needed more room.

We weren’t really looking for a new house. We had a specific list of things we wanted for our next move, and with the limited inventory out there, we knew we wanted to ensure we had a place to move before we put our house on the market. We were simply looking at the online listings and seeing what was out there. The real estate market today is not slow and steady — it’s more of a highlander-type battle where there can truly “be only one” in the end, and it’s not always the highest bidder. The term “seller’s market” is no joke.

We attended two open houses, and while we liked both of them, there wasn’t even enough time to think about how much we liked them because they were gone the next day. We also realized that if we really wanted to pursue a house, we needed to have our house ready to go on the market. In October, we had a pod delivered, and day by day we emptied our house out to the bare minimum, with donation pickups every week. On October 14 we saw a house online and thought it looked like it checked most of our boxes. We went to an open house two days later and fell in love. We were lucky to get an accepted offer, which meant it was time to get Dwelley on the market. Cleaning aside, packing forces you to look at what you’ve accumulated and saved and ask if you really need it. It’s emotional, therapeutic, and stressful.

The week before we were scheduled to have photos taken of our house, a not-so-friendly nor’easter hit, and we were without power for five days. We lost a tree that took down power lines and had to continue to work remotely, pack while we had daylight, keep our sanity, and entertain our toddler. Our home listing went live on a Wednesday afternoon and within 12 hours we had 10 scheduled viewings for Thursday. By Friday morning we had seven offers, one of which we accepted.

Amidst feelings of shock, excitement, and relief, it seems ironic that we were essentially closing the door on Dwelley almost seven years to the day that we started our journey toward building our family as a married couple. We’re thankful for the memories we’ve made and are excited to know Dwelley will be home to a new family with children to make new memories in. Our story began with Dwelley, but it’s certainly not over — we’re looking forward to the next chapter.

Thanks for the memories.

Courtney was raised a Navy brat, growing up in Washington, South Carolina, and Virginia before her family put their roots down in Florida. She studied at Loyola University New Orleans earning her degree in communications PR with a minor in English, and she earned her master's in marketing from SNHU. She moved to the Boston area in 2008, where she met and married her partner-in-crime, John. Mother of a 16-month-old, stepmom to two 12-year-olds (boy and girl), and dog mom to Abita and Riley, Courtney is raising her family with a love of the outdoors, scary movies, and lots of laughs. Courtney works in marketing/PR and events and lives on the South Shore. She has a passion for cooking and traveling. She volunteers her time as a Gold Award advisor for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and serves on the friends board to her local library. She loves days that start with coffee and end with champagne.