10 Things I wish I had been told about buying a farmhouse

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If such a thing existed as pre-farmhouse counseling (you know, like pre-marital counseling), I sure could have gotten benefit from getting some before we bought our house. Pre-Farmhouse, I had these idyllic ideas of sitting in my pristine farmhouse kitchen sipping a hot cup of coffee while looking out over my homestead admiring the way that the chickens and the goats got along. There would be the delicious scent of bread baking in the oven and a warm fire flickering away in the fireplace. I would finish my peaceful cup of coffee before heading out to the hen house and collecting freshly laid eggs to cook my family a wholesome breakfast.

Fast forward to Post-Farmhouse. . .Yeah.Freaking.Right. While I’m {slowly. very slowly} growing to love (“love” is a stretch most days; “tolerate” is probably more realistic) my farmhouse, it’s definitely not all it’s cracked up to be. Before you start thinking I’m an utterly negative person, hear me out. There are a lot of great things about living in a farmhouse. Trust me, I’ll write all about those. But, there are some things that I wish I had known before signing up for this journey!

10 things I wish someone had told me about buying a farmhouse (before I bought the farmhouse) in no particular order:

1. Things do not move as quickly as you think they will when it comes to renovations and house projects. No matter what, you will drastically underestimate the time it takes to complete a project.

2. Renovating an old farmhouse will test the strength of your marriage. A lot. Dan and I once had a “heated discussion” about whether he should rip out a wall in our dining room and I was against the idea. The next day, he found a 3ft crowbar hidden behind the wall he tore out. I was convinced it was karma granting me permission to knock him out.

3. There is never enough time, money or energy to get it all done.

4. Old farmhouses are DUST MAGNETS. You could literally dust and sweep every day. I don’t have that kind of time. Or energy. So, I live in a house that looks like dust bunnies are part of the decorating scheme. The words “farmhouse” and “clean” are not synonymous. Unless you check Pinterest. Everything is perfect on Pinterest. This is not Pinterest, this is real life.

5. Mice will be the roommates you can’t ever seem to evict. You might not always see them, but you always know they are there. They leave their mark. Everywhere.

6. Spiders and assorted creepy crawlies will be the other houseguests from hell.

7. It is next to impossible to keep an old farmhouse totally warm in the winter without going bankrupt. Invest in sweaters, blankets and cozy socks.  Save your money and don’t try to warm the outside. Old farmhouses have far too many passageways directly to the outside to expect your heat source to remain indoors.

8. No matter what you do, you will run into issues you didn’t expect when completing a project. Old farmhouses were not built to today’s building codes (or any building codes, in many cases!) and stuff doesn’t always make sense. There will undoubtedly be surprises that you won’t see coming. Some good, some bad. Some expensive. Verrrrry expensive.

9. You may find some very very cool stuff along the way. In walls, in tiny little corners of an attic or barn that have long been forgotten, buried on the grounds, etc.

10. Even when it’s hard, and it will be, and you question your sanity . . . or your friends question your sanity . . . or you seriously start researching whether it’s considered arson if you burn down your own farmhouse, try to remember that it will one day be worth it. You might not believe it for a very long time, but keep at it.


4 thoughts on “10 Things I wish I had been told about buying a farmhouse

  1. So true! We lived in a house in town for 6 years that was built in 1900. Never had nice or spiders. Moved into a farmhouse last summer and still can’t get rid of them!

    1. I know, Shannon! The mice issue just puts me over the edge sometimes. We, too, have lived in some older homes before but this has been an especially interesting journey. After almost 3 years, I still haven’t quite figured out the secret to getting them OUT and keeping them OUT! Ick!

  2. Oh, the mice and spiders! I’ve been fighting them since we moved into this farmhouse twelve years ago. You didn’t mention the the well maintenance or the fact that when the power goes out so does the water. For loooong stretches if there’s a big storm.

    1. Oh gosh, you’re right! I had totally forgotten about the water going out every time the power is out. Luckily for us, it’s only happened a handful of times in the last couple of years and usually for no more than a day. We did go 2 days during a big snowstorm earlier this year. The well maintenance for us has (fingers crossed!) been less painful but I am sure I’ve now jinxed myself! 😉

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