‘Nother new thingee here on CandysDirt: Tell me Your Real Estate Story. Your home is your Castle, whether it’s $90K or $9 million. How did you find it? What’s the tale behind the sale? Inquiring minds at CD would LOVE to know!

Back in 1993, my soon-to-be husband and I bought a 1600 square-foot house in North Garland near Buckingham and Jupiter. After living in a basement in Queens, New York, living in a real house was thrilling to me. We both worked in the Telecom Corridor, and the home was about three miles to our respective offices. The house was on a cul-de-sac and had these great big trees. At around $84,000, our monthly payments were $880 a month. I was thrilled on every level – new house, new fiancé, new, bright life!

My husband, on the other hand, was terrified about paying the mortgage, even though it was less than we were currently paying in rent. He was so sick he nearly threw up at the closing and had to sit outside with his head down for a few minutes. This tells you what you need to know about us – Tom is the steady, reliable one. I’m the excitable entrepreneurial one.

We thought it was going to be our starter home (ok, I thought that) and that we’d be on to a bigger, better deal in five years. Life is never what you think. When Worldcom laid everyone off, Tom was unemployed/underemployed for two years. We were sure happy that our mortgage was only $880 a month. With the time on his hands, Tom remodeled part-time – including our house – and so we were happy to stay there. Once the Starbucks opened nearby, I had everything I needed.

We probably would never have left that house except — we adopted a teenager with special learning challenges. We found a great school for him in Dallas Academy, but the commute was horrible – one hour roundtrip to pick him up. So, when President Obama had that special housing incentive in 2010, we went for it. Despite the tough marketplace, we had a contract on our house before our first open house! I credit Tom’s incredible remodeling skills and our amazingly beautiful and functional garage. (That’s the photo – wish it was wider.)

We also found our new 1950’s mid-century modern in the Lake Highlands area serendipitously. It wasn’t on the market yet, either. They were having an open house just for the neighbors and I gate-crashed. The previous owners were an architect and graphic designer. They had opened up the house to the studs for their remodel and it was fantastic. In an interesting twist, they were moving because they had just adopted a daughter and the house was too small for three kids. I call our house the dollhouse because it is much smaller than our previous house (and only a one-car garage!), but we love it. East Dallas is fantastic. I’m in love with the trees and green spaces, the lake and the fact that our son can ride his bike to school. The roaming coyotes and occasional lost chicken make it interesting. My husband wasn’t even nervous when we signed this mortgage even though it was twice as much as before. I guess he had more faith in our ability to pay than last time – or else he was too tired from packing up 17 years of stuff.

Cynthia Stine, Publicist, Haley Brand Intelligence