In 1981 our South Portland home was getting a bit crowded. You wouldn’t think adding one tiny baby would make the house suddenly too small, but that’s what happened.

Moving day for Gail Caiazzo and her young family followed months of visits to homes for sale in South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth before she finally found the place that checked all the boxes, in Saco. Photo courtesy of Gail Caiazzo

My husband gave me a list of “must haves” and “must not haves,” along with a list of “would like to haves.”

Since he is 6-foot-5, the first must-have on the list was high ceilings. Having a wooded backdrop was also a high priority.

He was not interested in taking the time required to look at potential homes. I was given the task of finding the “home you want to live in for the rest of your life, because I am only moving once!”

So it began.

My 4-year-old son and several-months-old daughter spent many hours in car seats, traveling all over South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth.  Those trips through a variety of homes, while time-consuming and exhausting, were very exciting for a young mom.

After many months of failing to find the perfect house, we decided to expand our area of search. Hank worked at Unum, so he did not want to go too far. He agreed to adding Saco to the list plus looking at houses we could not afford with the hope of perhaps lucking out with a lowball offer.

I began to work with a real estate agent in Saco, who pushed hard to have my husband accompany me to view listings. I assured him I was perfectly capable of finding the home my husband would be willing to look at. I also told him the home would have to “blow my socks off” before I would ask Hank to take the time to look at it.

In June 1982 it seemed my search was over. The property was located at the end of a road on a cul-de-sac. The house backed up to a game preserve so nothing would ever be built behind it. High ceilings, four bedrooms, 2½ baths, huge living room with a fireplace, attached oversized two-car garage … the must-haves were quickly checked off.

During the initial tour, my real estate agent commented, “It’s not fair that you are wearing sandals, because this house will blow your socks off!”

Finally, I had found a place I knew Hank would love. The only problem? It was $35,000 over budget.

Later that day, as we went from room to room, I sensed an offer would be made before the evening was over. I think the sunken living room, which featured a cathedral ceiling and fireplace, clinched the deal for Hank.

We put in a lowball offer within our budget. We put down a deposit, then for several days crossed all our fingers.  It was the house of our dreams, but would our crazy low offer even be considered?

On our daughter’s first birthday the call we were praying for came.

Two weeks before our son started kindergarten, moving day was a huge celebration.

filed under: