Patti and Sheldon Aubut's home in Houlton Wisconsin
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May 27, 2003
Patti and I moved to Hudson thinking we would rent for at least a year or two, but once here the thought of all that money being thrown away was killing both of us. We started thinking that we would start looking in a few months and maybe by the time our year lease was up we would find something. We were having a very bad case of sticker-shock though as prices here are much, much higher than they were in the Duluth area. We were beginning to think that there would be little we could afford unless we moved right into the city of Hudson and then what we would have would not get us much. A couple of weeks ago we went for a ride in the sidecar rig and decided to go look at a house in Houlton that our realtor pointed out. We drove by the house and Patti said, "No way I'd live in that" to which I responded, "But it has a great garage." I guess we all have our priorities, so I crossed it off our list and drove around the block to head home. As we came around a corner there was a blue house that from the back looked really nice. Patti says, "Wish that were for sale" and as we turned the corner there was a "for sale" sign!!! It was a cute house with a fenced in back yard in a very small town just across the St. Croix River from Stillwater Minnesota.
Patti was insistent that I call the realtor the next day, and I did and found that it would be in our price range. I asked if it would be possible to see it the next day. Patti was working so I went alone and I hadn't noticed that the place had an in-ground pool! After looking at it I thought it would be a wonderful place to live be it may be too early to think about buying as we have a one year lease on the townhouse. I was going out of town on Thursday for a motorcycle rally in southern Illinois but I made arrangements with the realtor for Patti to see the house on Friday.
We talked about it and she asked, "What happens if I like the house." I told her that if she liked it we would sit down the next week and look at our finances, talk to bankers, and possibly make an offer, but we would have to figure out what to do about our lease. I also asked her not to spend any money right now because we may need all we can get for a down-payment.
I was at Big River State Forest, on the banks of the Mississippi in Illinois on Friday night and couldn't get cell phone service until I discovered that if I went up on the levy I could get out. Finally got hold of Patti and we chatted for a couple minutes before she said to me, "you're going to be mad at me." I said, "why." She: "I bought a little something." I said, "I hope it was nothing big, remember we may need all the money we can get to buy that house."
She told me, "I'm sorry, it was big. I bought a house." I said, "WHAT?" She said she loved the place, made an offer, pre-qualified for a loan, found a nurse at work that had tried to get into the townhouses we are living in but they didn't have any openings and she was still looking for a place. Turns out she will be subletting the town home from us. Before I even knew about it were were dealing on a house. Funny thing is that Patti really low-balled the offer and settled for a very low price, about $24,900 less than the original asking price. The guy had already moved to Florida and really needed to get rid of the home quickly.
This is really a blessing for us as I now have something called "Post Polio Syndrome" and about the only exercise I can do is "low impact aquatic" and Patti had injured her neck on the job some time ago and the best thing for her is also water exercise.
Looks like we will be closing on it the end of June. We are quite excited.
July 22, 2003
We are in the house and it is wonderful.
July 28, 2005
We've been in the house two years now, third summer, and absolutely love it. Taking some time for me to get the gardens in shape but we're getting there.
I made a huge mistake yesterday. Patti and I went for a ride in our Chrysler Crossfire and stopped by our daughter Kelli's house in Somerset Wisconsin. Her, her husband Mike and their kids live just across the road from the Apple river. When we left we headed up County Road C and only got one block when we happened on a house for sale, on the wide part of the Apple River which is actually a nice size lake. Patti didn't notice the sign but my mistake was saying, "Wow, $199,000 for a house on the river." Of course then I had to turn around and go back to it. House looks like it needs some TLC but it has 100 ft. of shoreline. Just yesterday I was telling Patti that "they'll have to take me right from here to the nursing home. Man was I wrong. I wouldn't mind having a house on water but it really isn't a priority for me, but Patti is a fisherperson and loves to live on water. She had a house on a lake when she was married to previous husband and had a pontoon boat and all the fixings. Now we are trying to see if we could make a deal work. I've got some real concerns about it though. I'm just finally getting our house to the place that I want it and I'm not sure that I want to start over on a fixer-upper. Also the basement is very close to the same level as the river/lake and one has to wonder if flooding is a problem. Our taxes would triple to about $260/mo which can be a killer. We shall have to see what it looks like inside as we haven't even been in the house yet. I've posted more photos of our present house here.
June 12, 2007
Patti and I hooked up with our realtor, John Kawohl (RE/MAX) and we were able to get in the house and look it over. Had about two nice points and maybe 500 problems. My gosh, it was a DUMP. Water damage, black mold, smell of mold everywhere, joists that were made up of two foot sections of wood spliced over whole ceilings, dirt floor in garage (but it was a four car garage), wiring that would never pass code, and on and on and on... What a mess. The will be lucky to get $100,000 even with 100 feet of shoreline. And it is a flood plain, so getting it financed and insured would be a nightmare. I'm really relieved as I really don't relish moving and starting over rebuilding a house and property.
May 9, 2010
Just a quick update. Patti lost her job June of 2009 and hasn't been able to find another so times are tough and money is tight. We fear losing our house, especially now that we've turned it into a true "home". We love our home and other than the financial struggles, which of course effects many Americans, we are doing pretty good.
38 Peterson St
Houlton WI 54082
Sheldon's Cell (612) 481-9300
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Sheldon T. Aubut, all rights
revised June 14, 2010