Thursday, April 16, 2015

Update: Buying Our First Home and Why You Should Always Keep An Open Mind

If you follow me on Facebook then you probably know that in the beginning of March we purchased our first home!

This was one of the most exciting things for us as a family because we had always dreamed of owning our own home but everything we looked at before this just wasn't for us.  The homes were either too small, not in a very good neighborhood, or just not what we were looking for.

I have had envisions of my dream home for years, (just look at my Pinterest) but I noticed the more houses we looked at, they just didn't fit what I wanted.  The floor plans were all wrong, and it just wasn't what I had hoped for in our home.

That's when we decided to look at some older homes and try and get a fixer upper.  If there's one thing I learned in my 10 years of looking at homes, is that older homes are built WAY better than the newer homes.  When the market picked up and the housing market was booming from 2002-2006, the houses were slapped together quick to make a sale.  And you can tell.

The home that we rented for the past 5 years was built in 2006.  It was beautiful.  It was new.  But it was also starting to show that it wasn't built very well.  Cracks were appearing everywhere, things were starting to burn up, and things were falling apart.

When we first met with our realtor last year, I wanted a newer home.  The criteria that was given to my realtor was very strict and I refused to look at any home that were built before 2002.  ( I know what you're thinking, what a spoiled b****. . . . ) but living in a newer home for so long, I was sort of accustomed to living a certain way and I didn't want to go backwards.

We searched for months with no luck.  The floor plans just didn't make any sense to us.  There was so much wasted space in these houses and the bedrooms just weren't big enough.  The houses were too small and anything that was large enough to fit our family was completely out of the price range we wanted to spend.  None of these newer homes had any character.  They were all the same.  Nothing stood out to us.

The biggest part of my "Operation Dream Home" was my kitchen.  I wanted my kitchen to be a separate room.  I wanted a lot of counter space and lots of cabinets for storage.  I found nothing.

Every house had the kitchen in the middle of the house, hardly any cabinets, and barely any counter space.  Some of the houses even had hood range microwaves that were hung so low, making a huge pot of soup would have been a challenge!

The more time passed, the more discouraged I got.  I just couldn't understand why nothing met the expectations I had.  That's when my husband fed me a dose of reality and put me in check and told me we needed to start looking at a few older homes.  I was against it!  I knew the older homes would end up being disgusting, needing lots of work, and not being at all what I was looking for.

I was right!  The houses got more gross as we went along.  There were even a few times we walked in and walked right out.  And I can't forget the one time I didn't even have to go in.  One look at the outside, there was no way I was going in there without the proper protective gear on.

At this point.  I gave up.  For 6 months we looked at nothing.  Anything that was sent my way, I turned down.  I felt that our home just wasn't out there and it wasn't meant to be that we would ever own our own home.

A bad experience with trying to get a new refrigerator from our rental realtor AND a positive pregnancy test later, we decided to look one more time.  I came across this house we had seen for a few weeks but I always skipped over.

I decided to go look at it.

Our realtor was shocked.  He told me the house was worse than the pictures and that it was in pretty bad shape.  ( I guess he started to know me pretty well towards the end!)  And he was not lying.  I walked in thinking it wouldn't be so bad.  The more I walked around, the more bad things I saw.

But this time it was different.  I knew this was the home we always wanted.

Was it brand spankin' new and gorgeous?  Not at all. But I saw something in this house..

The layout was PERFECT.  I believe this home was a custom built home because in all the models of homes we've walked through over all these years, I had never seen this floor plan.

It was everything we've been searching for.

The kitchen was huge, the 4 bedrooms were gigantic,  and it had three bathrooms!

It had a Florida room the length of the house, a huge garage that my husband would live in if he could, a fenced yard, and more square footage than the house we rented.

It had triple the amount of closet space than my rental had, it was on a safe dead end street near our kids school, and the roof was only 2 months old!

And not only did it have more than enough room to fit our growing family, it had a fireplace and a bay window that I had always dreamed of!

And not to mention the price tag.  It was SO much cheaper than all these newer homes and had a million more things to offer and so much more space.

I had to look past the negative, and think about the positive.

I didn't see all the dark wood trim EVERYWHERE in the house.  I saw what I could make it.
I didn't see the holes in the wall, I knew we could fix them.
I didn't look at the horribly blue sponged wall that would eventually become my daughter's room.  I saw a gorgeous pink room fit for a princess that we could eventually make it.
I didn't even really look at the dark dungeon these people called their kitchen.  I saw my dream kitchen.

 I saw potential in this house.

There was nothing in this house that money, time, and paint couldn't fix.

When you look at older homes or even newer homes that need some work, you have to look past all the faults.  You have to envision what you could make out of this house.  And that's what we did.

We didn't look at anything as being impossible.  We looked at the house as a project.  A very VERY large project.

After inspections being done and appraisals being completed and everything else in between, everything fell into place.  The house was built so well, we faced no problems.  We knew the house would be treated as a "shell' and we would make the inside the way we wanted.

Here we are, a month and a half after our closing and we are still doing renovations.  We've gotten a lot done in a short amount of time and everyday we do a little more.  We hope that on our year anniversary of buying this home, we will have everything completed and done!

I think I've rambled on long enough but I wanted to give an update and let everyone know where we're at in this whole process.

I also wanted to give some type of hope or encouragement to families going through the whole house buying process.  It's not an easy one.  In fact, it's probably the hardest and most stressful experience you'll ever go through.

But if you keep an open mind, it can be an enjoyable process too.

Over the next few months I'm going to be sharing some of our updates we've completed, some budget friendly tutorials on how we've transformed rooms in our home, and some future projects I'd like to take on!

Keep checking in! :)


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