Housing Rosemary, Part III

We’re sneaking up on 11 months since I moved into my rental home, and never in a million years did I think that I’d remain in this little rental for this long. I was quite confident that I’d find my new “forever home” lickety split.

It’s been a long and winding road, searching for my “forever home” and in that time, I’ve switched back and forth from old houses (1950s) to new (1990-2010) back to old (1930s) and every place in-between.

I’ve looked at ranches, two-story homes, foursquares, Tudor Revivals, Colonial Revivals, International Style, Cape Cods, classic Mid-Century Modern houses, Log Homes, and plain old farmhouses. There have been many interesting experiences, such as the time I crawled under a house with a licensed home inspector and pointed out a couple things he missed.

When we emerged from the crawlspace, he offered me a job with his company.

Or the time I met another inspector at a house that I was going to write a contract on, and he said, “Rosemary, is that you?” And I said, “Mortimer*, is that you?” And he said, “Why, I can’t believe I’m standing here talking to you! I haven’t seen you in 30+ years!” (The benefits of returning to your home town after a few years.)

We caught up with each other and then after a few minutes of “old home week,” he took me aside and quietly said, “You really need to be cautious if you’re going to buy this house. I was under this house 18 months ago, and it needs a whole lot of work.”

And there was the time I ran into an old high school chum when I was looking at an old house and she said, “Be careful with that one. During the last Nor’easter, there was about 12” of water in the basement.”

And then there was that “interesting” real estate agent that I met at an open house in Suffolk. She asked me what I did for a living. I responded casually that I wrote books about old houses. She replied with, “I sold the very first Sears and Roebuck kit house ever built in this country, and it was right there in Portsmouth, Virginia” and I laughed and said, “Oh my goodness, there’s so much wrong with that seemingly simple sentence that I can’t begin to explain it, but please do tell me, how old is the roof on this house?”

In my desperate bid to find myself and start a new life, I keep hoping that this housing question will soon be settled. In the meantime, I continue to read, and write, and pray, and hope that there will be a day when my first and last thought of every single day is not “why did he do this to me?”

As always, I’ve deeply grateful for every prayer, every loving word, and every kind comment.

* “Mortimer” was not his real name.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read Part I (“Housing Rosemary”), click here. Part II is here.

And I could always buy a lighthouse for $15,000!



Today, I was looking at a neighborhood in Chesapeake, Virginia that was once populated with 1950s houses and vast expanses of farmland. Today, it's awash in these less-than-aesthetically pleasing McMansions, which are priced at $350,000 and up. Not my cup of tea.



In my house-hunting travels, I've seen some goofy things, such as this random toilet on a sunporch.


In my house-hunting travels, Ive seen some goofy things, such as this random toilet on a sunporch.

Whenever I see a house with a heavy-duty cage around the a/c compressor, I know I'm in the wrong neighborhood. And I think that three deadbolts on the door is another sign. This house is in Portsmouth, Virginia.


Were running out of room in this 1,500-square-foot rental. The newest addition (the bigun) is Cocoa Puffs.

We're running out of room in this 1,500-square-foot rental. The newest addition (the big'un) is "Cocoa Puffs."


One of the loveliest gifts I received yesterday came from Clyde Nordan (

I've looked at homes throughout Hampton Roads and points west, but every now and then, I've dreamt of grabbing my passport and fleeing the country. The image above is courtesy Clyde Nordan of Clyde Nordan Photography in Portsmouth, Virginia.


The First Sears House? Nope.

The First Sears House? Nope. This Sears Westly is at the corner of Winchester and King Street (Westhaven section). This house was featured on WVEC-TV several years ago (about 2004). It's been sold and remodeled and sold and remodeled a few times. Most likely, it was built in the mid-to-late 1910s.


To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read Part I (“Housing Rosemary”), click here. Part II is here.



  1. Dale Wolicki

    Okay my friend, you need to remember you are house hunting during a very hot housing market with low interest rates. Anyone who is cautious or frugal such as yourself is going to get shoved aside, by those rushing to purchase an overpriced house without proper due diligence.

    My goodness, this scenario seems all too familiar. I can almost predict the results.

    Use your time wisely. Find a good sturdy house with charm and architectural character that is reasonably priced.

    Deals are out there if you take the time to investigate.

    Even more so you can avoid really bad deals if you take the time to investigate.

  2. Sears Homes

    Thanks, Dale. You have really been in on this “house-hunting business” with me from the beginning.

    Being a cheap girl, I look at the money I’ve spent on rent and feel like weeping. However, with every house, I get a better idea of what I want and don’t want.

    It’s been a long, slow education.

    Thanks for your kind words.

  3. Janet LaMonica

    I really enjoyed reading about some of the interesting things that have happened to you while house hunting.

    Your house is out there somewhere, and you will find it!

  4. Dale Wolicki

    Not to say “I told you so” but way back at the start of this campaign I suggested an RV camper.

  5. Sears Homes

    Teddy doesn’t like houses that move. 😉

  6. Sandi Daniel

    I agree with Dale! Airstream, Baby……just saying! Teddy gives a paws up on that one!

  7. Dale Wolicki

    Exactly! South for winter and north for summer. Just let the bill collectors try and find me when I got no address!

    The Detroit area is having the same trouble you are in Virginia.

    Desirable older homes are over priced but are still being bought up quickly.

    Several friends have had me do a walk through on an older house they want to purchase and despite the fact I tell them “nope, you don’t have the skills, time and money to renovate this shack”, they still went ahead and bought the house.

    A few months later when these idiots start calling to whine about the house they find it strange I don’t return their calls.

    Due Diligence takes time but it can help to avoid huge expensive problems far away in the future. Sadly, today’s homeowner only stays in a house a few years and they don’t have to put down any money for a mortgage, so they really don’t care about the problems us old timers had to face such as title work or a 20% down payment.

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