Taking the Long View
It’s not lost on me that I have now “sold” two houses on a street called Longview because when it comes to pretty much everything in my life so far, I’ve been planning for the future with streams of income and winding pathways that look a little different from your average 40-year-old mother and wife.
Building our spec house on Longview amidst the pandemic charged lumber-and-worker-and-paint-and-everything-we-needed shortage of 2020–21 was no different.
My journey with Longview began largely by accident when a 12-year-old girl heeded her father’s careful life lessons to always have a pen and paper on hand to take messages on the house phone. Back then, my dad operated his many entrepreneurial businesses from our home and the calls came in constantly. My mom and I were trained to be up-to-speed on his projects so we could answer basic questions and help when he was out “in the field.”
Dad was building houses back then and one day, a call came through that I happened to pick up. One of my mom’s teachers at the school where she was principal heard Dad was building on Longview and called the house to learn more. Of course, I tagged along to see the build in its various stages of construction and knew more details than any normal pre-teen would. I loved that house and I told her exactly why. When Dad connected with the teacher later, she said after talking to “your daughter,” she had to see it — and bought the house shortly after.
That was the first house I sold on Longview.
Twenty-five years later, the street was calling me back and I bought a piece of dirt not far from the original property Dad built. While it started as an investment piece, I came to realize it needed a home. A place for a family to achieve their American Dream. I envisioned them moving in and sitting on the front porch faster than my brain processed the decision that we were going to enter the world of home construction for the first time.
So I dove on in.
I always say there isn’t much point in life if you aren’t learning things along the way that make you better. Maybe that is why I keep trying new things. Making this spec house a reality was a baptism by fire of learning.
While we were under construction with our builder, lumber prices went up 300 percent, subcontractors were unavailable and when they were they charged double, and paint was literally not in stock at Sherwin Williams. A company that “paints the world” had no paint for one tiny corner of Williamston, South Carolina.
Sometimes you learn the hard way.
Against all odds, we made it through and the final product is one I am proud to stand behind for the finishes, details, and every brick of the foundation I lovingly labored over selecting these past seven months.
The last step was for my “little spec house that could” to find its owner. Of course, in a housing market inventory this low, the process was fast and its new owners are retired pastors. I get chills just thinking about them rocking on that porch we dreamed up.
But I also feel pride deep in my core thinking about the house I brought to life on a street I love, where I helped my dad sell the house he literally built five doors down.
Building a community takes more than houses, but the houses certainly help, too. And I am grateful to play a small part in the journey.