Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our house: Then & Now

Yesterday was our third house-iversary. AD and I celebrated with Jimmy John's and getting our taxes done. Exciting, right?

What is exciting, in my opinion, is looking around our home and seeing how far it’s come in three years. Of course, if you asked my husband, he'd look around and see all that's left to do.

Taking both of these perspectives into consideration, throughout the next few weeks, I'll be doing a series of Then & Now posts to show what we started with, what our house looks like these days, and what’s left on our [never-ending] to-do/wish list.

For today, I’ll give you a bit of background information. AD and I moved out of the house we were renting and into a one-bedroom apartment in May 2009 to get serious about saving up for a house. In November, we started looking. And making offers. And getting turned down. That cycle went on for a couple of months. By the time we found our house, we’d looked at over forty houses and made six other offers.

At first, we weren’t even looking at houses in our city because we’d heard it had certain regulations for rental houses, and we wanted to be able to rent out our house if we ever needed to. But the other cities we were looking in didn’t have much left to offer in our budget, and time was running out on the first-time homebuyer tax credit, so we expanded our search.

Our realtor arrived before us and had basically written the house off before we even stepped inside on that first tour. It was a foreclosure, and in the upper range of our budget. There was a puddle on the hardwood floor in front of the kitchen sink. It had appliances, but they were ancient. It had two bathrooms, but one of them looked like it needed industrial cleaning before it could be used (or so we thought). And the whole place was filthy.

But… it had four bedrooms, two baths, a somewhat open floor plan, a fireplace, lots of storage in the kitchen, a basement, an attached garage, a fenced yard, it was in a nice neighborhood with a variety of older home styles and old growth trees, and we were willing to put in the work it needed. So we put in an offer and the bank eventually accepted.

However, the inspection revealed that one of the bathrooms needed more than a good cleaning—the shower had been leaking for years and some of the studs in the wall behind it were rotting. With this damage, the house would not qualify for a FHA loan, and in order to rip out and redo the shower so that we’d be approved for the FHA loan, we’d have to do a 203k rehabilitation loan in conjunction with the FHA loan. Which meant more paperwork, work, deadlines, inspections. But we were game.

The day we closed, the crocuses in our front yard were blooming, and AD was in short sleeves. Yesterday, we had a high of 28 and my bulbs were poking up through the snow. Last year, we had a high of 75. Crazy Michigan weather!

We would not have been able to complete any of the work on our house without:

AD's dad, who came up from Maryland to play the role of general contractor

My parents, who worked their wallpaper stripping, spackling, and painting skillz

Our old roommate, the trim-painting princess

Stop back soon for my first Then & Now post!

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