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  • The Power of Asking

PLEASE NOTE: If you don’t want to read all of this story… we understand. We’ve included a video and cliff notes version at the end!! So, it all started with a Zillow search. One evening during our nightly routine of laying in bed and looking for land together on our phones, we found what we thought was going to be the DREAM LOT! It was incredibly cheap and it was in the most perfect area. We had a lot of “wants” for this property. We wanted it to be close to Short Pump. Short Pump is civilization. There is EVERY store known to man located in Short Pump… even an Apple store! We didn’t want to be so far out that we couldn’t run to the store quickly. That was #1 on our list.

We also wanted to find land that was CLEARED instead of wooded. My dream has always been to live in a wide open field with a pretty view just like where I grew up! My parents live on 10 acres in the middle of nowhere and I honestly love it. I didn’t love that it took 50 minutes to get to true civilization but living in the country was awesome!! So, because of my childhood experience of living in an open field, we hoped for several acres not only because it would give us some breathing room but it would also allow us to have freedom to have workshops and never EVER worry about parking!! We also needed Comcast to already have lines run on the street so that we know that we can pay to have hard wired internet…. which is VERY hard to find in the country!

So, back to that night when we saw this dream land for sale! We went to go see it bright and early one Saturday morning in December and as soon as we turned on the street, I grabbed Michael’s arm and said “Oh my gosh! This is it! I LOVE THIS AREA!!!”. We arrived at the end of the street where there were 15 acres for sale and it was literally EVERYTHING we had hoped for… even down to the comcast boxes! We got so excited and we wanted to contact a realtor so that we could walk the whole property. This is when it gets sad. This road ended with a cul-de-sac and a beautiful wide open field but that wide open field at the end of the street wasn’t the property that was for sale. If you look at the GIS system, the lines of the property that was for sale was a little sliver of field on the left that led back to 15 acres of wooded land with 75% of it in the flood zone. We tried everything we could think of to make the front sliver of this land work. You can see my photoshopped plot ideas below. The restrictions from the property line and the flood zone left us with minimal house options that would be RIGHT on the road. It was heartbreaking because even though this land wasn’t open and gorgeous, it was still in the RIGHT area with internet options and some potential! :

See… I tried! It just wasn’t possible! Yikes!

 

The land at the end of the street that we first fell in love with wasn’t for sale and so we decided to make a low offer on the 15 acres with the flood zone just to see. However, right before we made an offer, our realtor said “You know, you could always just ASK the owner of this property that you LOVE if they would ever consider selling!”. Well, this land was PERFECT and acres of land outside of Short Pump are in high demand so 1. We knew it would be too expensive and 2. If that owner wanted to SELL his land, it would be on the market. So why even bother, right? Well Michael and I went home that night and googled our little hearts out. We found the owner of the land and we decided to take a risk of rejection so we crafted a letter!

We knew that the couple who owned the land lived right beside the property that we were in love with and so we decided to make the letter personal because after all, if there was ANY chance of making this happen, they would probably want to know who their neighbors would be! So, we told them our story and we included a little picture of the three of us. Then, we placed the letter in the mail box without using the US Postal service and evidently, that is illegal. So that was our first strike against us. We left the letter with close to ZERO hope that we would ever hear from them. A day passed and Michael’s phone rang. I stood beside him in our foyer as I listened to a sweet, elderly man’s voice say that he had been thinking about breaking off 7 acres and selling it and we were the first to ask at the right time!! By this point, I was jumping up and down and trying not to let my excitement translate through the phone too much!!!

We immediately called our parents and told them the news… “THEY ARE GOING TO SELL US THE LAND THAT WASN’T FOR SALE!!!”. Well, that excitement continued until we realized just how amazing this property was and how expensive it could possibly be. We prayed about it and then we waited for the offer. I remember it perfectly. It was Valentine’s day weekend in February of 2014. We pulled in the driveway like we always did and Michael got the mail. He threw away the junk mail and then I heard him say ‘Katelyn! Come here!”. We had received a formal letter from Mr. & Mrs. Rich with the price. We opened it and we couldn’t believe what we saw!!! We could afford it!!!! It was a miracle!!!! I cried, called Buddy and Jill, called our parents and we celebrated the fact that we were officially buying LAND THAT WASN’T FOR SALE!!!!!

Now, the most amazing part of the story isn’t that we bought land that wasn’t for sale, it is that we bought it from the sweetest couple. Mr. & Mrs. Rich are our grandparent’s age and since we did all of this without a realtor, we met with them at their home multiple times and they even hosted a neighborhood Christmas dinner and we were the guests of honor!!! Can you believe that?! I could cry just thinking about it. Not only did we find our dream lot, we found the sweetest neighbors too!!!

We had to go through SIX MONTHS of hoops with the county to get the land rezoned and divided. One of my favorite memories was attending the local Planning Commission meeting where they voted on our rezoning. When it went through, we celebrated with what I assume was Mr. & Mrs. Rich’s first “selfie”! :):):) We closed in August and we’ve been playing ball with Bokeh on our land in the evenings ever since!!! Now isn’t that a STORY?! It makes me cry just thinking about it! God had his hand in this from the very beginning! We’re going to live on 7 acres in the country… just minutes from Short Pump… with hard wired internet …. and a view… and we have the sweetest neighbors! We are so thankful!!!

If you want to take a peek of what it looks like, here’s some fun drone footage from our good friend & amazing videographer Tyler Herrinton!!!! Ps. Don’t miss Bokeh Boy at the end… he evidently doesn’t like drones. Also, if you want to follow our house journey, you can follow along on the “Home Made for Hosting” Instagram account HERE! 

 

The Alsop’s Land! from The Herrintons on Vimeo.

 

The house will eventually sit to the right of where Michael is walking here…. 

Most of the acreage is cleared but we have a buffer of trees behind us with an open grove area… that I’m SURE will be full of mosquitos in the summer!! Yikes!

If you can’t tell… Bokeh loves wide open spaces!!

Our little creek!!

CLIFF NOTES VERSION:
– We dreamed of land
– We thought we found land
– The land we loved wasn’t actually for sale
– We were brave and put a letter in a stranger’s mailbox asking to buy the land that wasn’t for sale!
(Found out this was illegal!)
– We prayed… a lot.
– The owners offered us the land! WHAT?!
– We could actually afford it!
– We had it rezoned!
– We bought it in AUGUST! And I still can’t believe it!!
**The full version is much more exciting!**

We’re Building Again, Read The Story Why HERE!

If you want to see pictures of our current home, click Here!

xoxo, Katelyn
32 Comments A Home Made for Hosting, Personal
  1. Annetta reply

    I’m so happy for you both!!! Can’t wait to see you work your decorating magic in this new place. Hope things go smoothly in the months ahead. It looks like a beautiful place.

  2. Elizabeth reply

    So excited for you guys. I cannot wait to see how everything comes together. God has certainly blessed you both.

  3. Patty reply

    Congrats !!!! We just did the same thing here in nc !!! My husband and I searched high and low for a property. All the ones we found would not perk for a home (which everyone said was one in a million). One day on my husbands land hunt he came across 11 acres with a brand new baby blue barn … 3 months later we own the property and our house has started construction !!! I know your excitement !!! I cannot wait to turn that barn into my studio !!

    Congrats again and look toward to seeing your journey !!!

  4. Leslie & Ryan reply

    Guys! This is a DREAM property!! So happy for you and excited to follow your online journey.

  5. Jessica Horton reply

    This is such a wonderful story, Katelyn!! Knowing your workshops will be hosted on this beautiful piece of heaven makes me want to attend one even more now! Congratulations!!

  6. Erika Mills reply

    Is it normal to cry reading this?! I just get chills from how much God has had his hand in this!

  7. Suzanne reply

    Oh WOW!~ God works in mysterious ways and he definitely had His hand in your vision. I can’t wait to see the finished product. That land looks gorgeous!!
    CONGRATS!!!

  8. Lauren Jones reply

    OMG Katleyn!!! That land looks perfect! I can’t wait to see it all finished! P.S. I think my favorite part of the video was definitely Bokeh at the end :)

  9. Melissa Farmer reply

    CONGRATS!

  10. Amy Owen reply

    I love seeing God’s favor over your life as you continue to exalt Him! What a beautiful story!

  11. Macy reply

    This story gave me chills! So excited for the three of you. God works in mysterious ways <3

  12. Kristina W. reply

    How incredibly exciting! I love the video, it looks like a gorgeous place to live. Makes me miss Virginia! I love the Bokeh ending to the video too!

  13. Ashley Powell reply

    Katelyn and Michael (and Bokeh!), I am SO excited for y’all!! What a beautiful property!! I cannot wait to see what you all do with the land! And thank you for being so transparent and open about this whole story…your faith through everything that has happened is so inspiring! I’m just so thankful to know you and to be able to follow along! Hugs!!

  14. Sydni reply

    Oh my gosh this is SO PERFECT!!! Praise God for working all the details out!! How precious are your neighbors!! Bokeh looks so happy too :) :)

  15. Alison Mish reply

    Guys! It is so beautiful!!! Couldn’t be more excited for you!

  16. Catherine reply

    What an awesome story!! And the land is beautiful! Congratulations! I can’t wait to see your dream come to life!

  17. Jodi reply

    Congrats!! What a blessing! We’re in the process of buying land ourselves and reading your story gave us so much encouragement! Thanks for sharing your heart and this beautiful story :)

  18. Robyn reply

    Beautiful! The land, the story and your blessings!

  19. Leandra reply

    Congratulations! That’s so amazing! I can’t wait to follow along on your journey.

  20. Beverly Lilly reply

    How incredible!!!!! Crying with you of God’s goodness!!! love love love!!!!!!

  21. Colleen Smith reply

    If you and Michael ever decide you need a 4th member of the KJ team…Ill put the FIRST to send a resume ;) This is just AMAZING! You all are truly inspiring! I cant wait to see where this road leads! GAHHHHHHH…PS building homes with acreage in the country (but within civilizations reach) FOR.THE.WIN!!!

  22. Brittani Croft reply

    What an incredible story and a real blessing. Living in the country is the best :) So excited y’all found everything you hoped for and then some! Our neighbors are incredible too so that really is the icing on the cake! Congrats!

  23. Mandi M reply

    YAY!!!! God is so good! He knew a plan for y’all and this location. I’m so excited it’s all coming together!

  24. Rebekah Carter reply

    Amazing story!! And the pictures of Bokeh running in the field are just way too adorable. :)

  25. Jeanne reply

    I love this so much!! I currently live on a good bit of land in the country and while the drive stinks, it’s a lot of fun to be surrounded by quiet and beautiful scenery. Can’t wait to read more about this story!!

  26. Brooke reply

    Katelyn, I am overjoyed for you, Michael & Bokeh! And your story reminds me more than ever that I need to start praying more. There are things I want, but haven’t been diligent in praying for them & that is going to change. Thank you for your testimony!

  27. Darcy reply

    I have been following you for several years, but have been so excited for this next journey for your family :) I have been praying your gorgeous house would sell and was sad with you when it didn’t and to come back today and see that it finally sold and this is the big reveal gave me chills. What a blessing and this forever space is God’s great gift in every way. The land is breathtaking and I cannot wait to follow the progress!!! Luvs and hugs Darcy

  28. Tiffany McClure reply

    I teared up reading this! I’m so happy and excited for you guys!! I’ll be saving up to go to a workshop here!! I’ve always wanted to. You guys have such huge hearts, God is going to use your new home in SO many ways!

    Congratulations K, M and B!

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