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My first home was an older Mobile home on five acres, cistern for water. Bad driveway, gravel road, very little yard, hard to heat. Nobody wanted it, the people really wanted out of it. That means it was not our dream home, but was better than rent and we could afford it. I think I payed $1000 or $1200 down. We lived there about six years.

I was traveling for a living and my wife didn't like staying there of a night with small kids. So we found a very small house in town, three miles away. It was really a one bedroom with a small sewing room. The small room became our bedroom and we put bunk beds in the real bedroom for our two boys. It was heated with a morning glow gas stove, think wood stove only with gas for fuel. Window AC unit. The place was small no one wanted a one bedroom, it did have a small detached garage. They call them "model T" garages around here. The house was build in the 40's.
We where able to trade the local reality even for the two properties, so almost nothing out of pocket.

We lived "in town" for three years, it was a good home for us. Cheap to live there, it was nice to not have to haul water.
Pretty good neighbors. We saved our pennies knowing we would want something bigger soon. One night I came home from work and asked where our youngest son was. She said he was on the front porch playing, he was not.
Took us about 20 minutes to find him he had went down to play inside with one of his friends. Nothing was wrong, but he had not told anyone. In that 20 minutes all the things that could have went wrong ran through my head. Soon as we got back to the house I told my wife it was time to leave town. I called the same reality we had traded with, he was a friend of mine by then.

The next night he picked us up after work and showed us three places. One of them is the place we have called home for the last 20 years. 8.5 acres two barns and a two bedroom house. The listing had not come out in the paper yet, it would the next day. My friend told me it would be sold by the weekend, they had it listed for a good price, they wanted out bad. They wanted to leave the country and move to the "big city". The couple was very young and newly married, the house had belonged to his recently deceased mother. We put in an offer and $50 to hold it. They took our offer right away.
Our reality friend made me an offer on our home in town, we took it and had enough equity and savings for our down payment on our current home. We built on a few years after that and now have a nice garage. It has been "paid off" for several years now. We will never move again.
I recall when we made the move I needed a riding lawn mower, our place in town was push mowed in 20 minutes. I traded a really nice jon boat and trailer for a pretty small JD mower. The guy got me good, but I was boat rich and cash poor...

Lots of people these days don't understand "starter homes", really we had two of them. We really didn't make money on either one of them, but we broke even when we needed to.
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