Monday, November 21, 2016

1 Year of Homeownership

1 year ago today, my husband and I became official homeowners.

Of course, we had to do things our way, and purchased a foreclosure in serious need of repair.

You know it’s bad when the actual real estate listing says so:


It took so much to bring this house back to life.’'

Living Room Before Renovations

Living Room After Renovations

We kind of happened upon this house by accident.  Sure, it was in our hometown, but neither one of us was really interested in it.  We were working with a realtor and I had just emailed her a list of things we were looking for in a home and absolutely none of those things are this house.  Usually, I’m all over foreclosures and want to immediately look at them, but I waited probably 2 weeks before I talked my husband into driving us over to take a look.  We peeked in the side door, which was the only area you could see the house.  Because our house sits up so high from the ground, that one door was the only view we had of the entire house. 

And what a view it was.

Stairs Before  Renovations

Stairs After Renovations

We scheduled a showing because you couldn’t see much of the house from that one door!  Because our house is a “special” foreclosure, certain measures were taken to secure the home and contractors were called out to look over the issues.  When we got in contact with our realtor to schedule a showing, there was already a stack of paperwork showcasing some of the problems and repair cost quotes.  After looking over the property, we decided to put in a low offer and honestly wasn’t expecting much.  If we got it, great.  If not, then it became someone else’s problem!

Loft Bedroom Before Renovations

Loft Bedroom After Renovations

So spoiler alert: after a slight counteroffer that we also thought they wouldn’t accept, the bank accepted our offer!  Now that we had this house with soooo many problems, what were we going to do?

We were going to wait until closing.  Now, I’ll never win any awards for being the most patient person ever, so that wait was atrocious.  Because the home was not technically ours yet, we couldn’t begin work or even clean up.  We weren’t even supposed to be on the property.  Talk about buzzkill!  The only time we entered the property with our realtor before closing was when we were allowed to get rid of some water that accumulated in basement from the sump pump being turned off.

Bathroom Before Renovations

Bathroom After Renovations

When closing day finally came and we entered the house on the first night, I had one of those “what have I done?!” moments.  Sadly, that was the first of many.  The road to rehabbing a house is not an easy or pretty one.  Because my husband and I both work full time, it was extremely difficult to find the time to work on the house.  My parents helped out a lot too, but my dad also works insane overtime, so no one was available to dedicate 24/7 to this project. It was nights and nights of getting off work at 7pm and rolling over to work on little stuff for a few hours and all day on weekends when we weren’t working.  It was about 100 trips to the home improvement store and truckloads upon truckloads of materials.  When you don’t do this as an occupation, it can get kind of intimidating.  Luckily, my husband had remodeled houses in his previous job, but working with a small, part time crew is tough!  I wouldn’t recommend such an intense remodel for a primary residence!

Ceiling Fan Before

Ceiling Fan After

Because we didn’t move in until the renovations were officially completed, I have to also mention the two sets of utilities we paid to keep both residences afloat.  Paying two electric bills is tough, especially paying for electric at a place you don’t even live at! Power tools aren’t the most energy efficient, so our electric bill wasn’t super low, either.  Luckily, our house insurance was split up enough where we paid at different times on both places and we received a credit for the old place once we were moved out.

Kitchen Before Renovations

Kitchen During Renovations

Kitchen After Renovations

After all of that real talk, I will say that remodeling this house was definitely worth it.  We ended up hiring a few things out, like the roof and countertop, but the majority of it was done ourselves.  It’s true, we did save an insane amount of money by cutting corners and doing the work ourselves.  If we had to hire every single thing out, it wouldn’t have been worth it…but the house would have been done a lot sooner!

Loft and Railing Before Renovations

Loft and Railing After Renovations

Even though this house is something I didn’t think I wanted, I have such a pride of ownership.  I can look back and remember the day my husband and I spent on the ground, sanding our upstairs bedroom floor.  I remember the hundreds of times I spent sweeping the floor and cleaning up construction debris.  The day my husband said he was going to his job and I found him over there laying the floor and yelling at it every step of the way!  He still refuses to lay any more click together flooring. He even threw his floor tool away! 

It has definitely been quite the learning/growing experience.  There’s still a lot more to do, but the house has come such a long way in the year that we’ve had it.

American Flag

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