Friday, February 7, 2014

The great house update

House update

Two years ago we found ourselves expecting a baby, living in an apartment, and realizing that the housing market had hit rock bottom. My husband, the planner and real estate agent, saw the silver lining, and one afternoon our house hunt began. Just like that.

We had known we wanted a house but we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. After selling our first house, we spent two years living in an apartment, footloose and fancy free. And while we were there we began narrowing down just where we wanted to live. After securing the general areas we liked, within a week of his announcement we began actively searching. In a market such as the one we are in now, if you want to buy you have to be ready to jump. Houses are on and off in a matter of days and knowing exactly what you want will help things move quickly and far more smoothly.

We had a list of must haves: attached garage, 3 bedrooms on one level, an area for a home office, 2 bathrooms would be nice, a dining room and at least 2000 square feet. We didn’t care if it was updated or in it’s original state. In fact we preferred the latter; not wanting to pay for someone else’s updates. Knowing what we wanted allowed us to breeze through 10-15 homes in a matter of a week. We would walk in, look around, see what we could do and how the home flowed and either keep it on or knock it off the list. Obviously the fact that my husband is a remodeler helps in our ability to rehab something!

When we walked in the house we eventually bought, it was nice. There were definite features we liked: the big windows, layout of the bedrooms, amount of square footage and the fact that there were 3 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms. We looked at it once and came back within days for a second walk through and then made an offer. Just like that. We knew that what was missing was primarily cosmetic and would be easily fixed with some hard work and money. And the area was the perfect compromise for my city living desire and my husbands want of a suburban neighborhood. Although we don’t live in the most prestigious neighborhood or even where some would begin their search, we live on a street that has some history as almost every neighbor has been here for 10+ years.

Because of all the above logistics we were able to secure our house for a significant discount especially after it under appraised. Although deals like our house are very infrequent these days, knowing what you want and being able to act quickly is really important.

But back to the house. Our house is a 1965 split level. This house is NOT our style. We are farmhouse/cape cod/craftsman people. This was a huge compromise on our part. But given that our budget would only reach so far with our must-haves, it was a compromise we were willing to make. We have 4 bedrooms, 3 on one level, 3 baths, 1 full and 2 3/4, and 2300 square feet. Our bedrooms are on the smaller side but our living spaces are quite large. And we have a dining room. YAY! Compromise is usually the name of the game when it comes to house buying.

Before we even moved into our house we immediately entered the room dimensions in my husband’s design program and we began our own listy-mclisterson of updates. Let me tell you that list is mind-boggling and it’s to come…because if you are anything like me, you are curious!

And like every list, it will take time to knock our items off especially since we only pay cash for any updates we do. Not too mention that my husband does remodeling and investing as a full time job… but I’m ready to start writing about our house and the changes we’ve made and I’d love to have you along for the ride. Coming soon will include what we have done, what we hope to do, our kitchen reveal and more.

Are you buying a house soon or have you? What were your must have’s?

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