Thank You: A Letter to the Family Who Lived Here Before Me

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My fiancé and I recently bought our first house. We learned that buying a house is a whirlwind of emotions and it comes with an overwhelming amount of responsibility. We were incredibly anxious to get the keys to our first house—I think our dog who had grown up in an apartment was even more excited—but what we found within the first month of living here was something unexpected that we can’t thank the previous owners enough for. This is a thank-you letter to them.

Dear home sellers,

Thank you for not going color crazy. During our house hunt, two of my most common complaints were 1) this all-white house has no personality or 2) how in the world will we ever paint over that deep red? Instead, your choice in paint colors was extremely tasteful. A blend of sea glass blue and early harvest yellow with white trim and oak hardwood makes the whole house feel warm and cozy. These neutrals are anything but boring. You even left us some extra paint and a list of all the paint names for future reference.

Thank you for giving this house proper TLC. We braced ourselves for the worst when we met our home inspector. We had heard horror stories and we could only imagine the amount of work that would have to go into this 19-year-old house, which included all original appliances and systems. However, we—and our inspector—were pleasantly surprised at what little had to be done. Our list of home repairs and improvement projects were slim from the get-go thanks to your dedication to keeping this house up and running. We should also thank you for leaving the tool bench behind and the details on the home warranty plan. I’m sure both will come in handy.

Thank you for setting the bar high. A few weeks ago, my fiance and I were raking leaves—a never-ending task it seems—when a neighbor came over. She raved about your landscaping skills. She, too, was in disbelief as to how you kept the front yard so pristine, let alone maintaining the wooded backyard.

It wasn’t but 20 minutes later that another neighbor introduced herself to us only to mention that you had been gracious enough to also help her with her yard. My fiance and I both looked at each other. We—standing in an ankle-high pile of leaves—were not yet ready to commit to landscaping two yards full of red oak trees. However, your generosity certainly motivates us to be better housekeepers ourselves and to be better neighbors too.

Thank you for helping us envision raising our own family here. Believe it or not, this house was the only house that felt like a home when we toured it. You had a candle burning somewhere—I swear, I still get whiffs of it every now and then—and you had family photos displayed throughout every room. It was clean and well-decorated. You hadn’t packed your bags yet, which was helpful for us to imagine how we could fill and use each room. This lovely, lived-in look gave the house a special charm that none of the other houses had. It was bigger than I thought my fiance and I could handle, but we ultimately took the perspective that it was a house that we could grow into.

After moving in, we found two very special surprises. A heartwarming growth chart is still penciled on the bonus room doorway. I get a glimpse of it every time I do a load of laundry or vacuum. We also found heart-shaped notes on a closet shelf that you cut out yourselves as letters of gratitude for each other. “Your faith in God” and “your love for our family” are some examples of your love letters that helped my fiance and I remember what really makes a house a home.

It’s not the paint colors, landscaping, or furniture. It’s love that makes a house a home.