The Surprising Gift the Previous Owners of Our Home Gave Us After We Moved In

published Nov 20, 2023
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Credit: Stephanie Nguyen
Crown flowers in the author's new yard

When my husband and I bought our first home last year, we were most excited to finally have a place to call our own. There was a lot we didn’t expect to happen during our homebuying journey, but the most unexpected thing of all came from our house’s previous owners.

The home we eventually settled on drew us in immediately: we were transfixed by its freshly painted exterior — a vibrant blue — and the landscaping outside. A beautiful plumeria tree greeted us as we pulled into the driveway, while well-manicured plants lined the gate leading to the fenced-in yard. 

The place definitely had curb appeal, and as we headed inside, we were pleasantly surprised by all the things we ended up loving about it. My husband started mapping out his plans for the garage and outdoor space; I was busy dreaming up a reading nook and office in a spare room. Naturally, we put in an offer and crossed our fingers that we’d be chosen. 

Our offer was accepted (!) and after a long escrow process, we finally closed and moved in this summer. At this point in the homebuying game, things get quiet as you settle in. You don’t really expect to hear from your real estate agents, let alone the previous homeowners. In fact, many buyers never chat with their home’s previous owners, as correspondence is typically handled between real estate agents.

This was not the case for my husband and me. In the first few days of officially moving in, our real estate agent told us that the previous owners wanted to send us something. That’s when we realized just how much the home meant to them.

Soon after, we got an email with an “owner’s manual” attached. It was a 32-page document that detailed all the love and care they had poured into it. This clearly went beyond a typical home inspection, where you’re informed of the condition of the place. Page upon page, we gleaned insights as to not only what they did, but why they did things. 

Credit: Stephanie Nguyen
Hibiscus in the author's new yard

There were technical records on things like the sprinkler system, water heater, and drainage, as well as more thoughtful notes on stuff that we never imagined asking or had been curious about. For instance, a roll-down shade outside the kitchen window (which we never really understood the purpose of since there were already fabric shades inside) had been installed because the sunlight reflecting off a neighbor’s window could be extra harsh at times. 

Then there was a guide on plant selection, in which they shared the best time to see certain flowers in bloom and recommendations on when to cut down or trim trees and plants. They left us orchids that bloom at different times, which we’re excited to see blossom throughout the year.

The sweetest part of it all? Their well wishes on the first page, welcoming us into the neighborhood and hoping that we’ll enjoy the home as much as they did. Even without the custom-made guidebook, I could tell the previous owners put a lot of effort into the home. The book felt like they were passing on a baton of knowledge to care for it. 

We’ll make our own changes to make this house feel more like our own, of course, but I love the idea of sharing the details with the next owners if we were ever to move. This house will be a place we pour time and energy into — and where we make a lifetime of memories. It’ll be a lovely tradition to carry on.

This article originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: The Surprising Gift the Previous Owners Gave Us After We Moved into Our Home