A single girl's home adventure

In the beginning-

on September 19, 2013

I just found out my offer was accepted!  Pending inspection, I will be the owner of 1.400 sf mid-century ranch!

But that’s not really the beginning.  The beginning starts with me, landing on a futon in my bestie’s parent’s house, figuring out where this 31 year old’s life should be going.  After a breakup I had to move from my previous living situation.  Hence, the futon.  And what 31 year old, college educated, world traveled young adult doesn’t picture herself living on a futon in her best friend’s parent’s house?  In an 8×6 room, with a small dog?  Oh wait, that would be no one.  It’s a pretty dismal place to be at this point in my life. (not that my hosts are anything but wonderful – seriously, so welcoming and accommodating and helpful!)

I looked into renting, but anything I would want to actually live in is going to be $1,000 a month or more. So – buying, right?  If I’m going to be spending that much a month, I want something to show for it.  Besides, how hard can it be?

This being me we’re talking about, I start the lists and the planning.  Lists of neighborhoods (not even areas or school districts) I would buy in, lists of wants vs. needs (an ever-changing list), lists of deal-breakers.  I have to have a plan for something this major.  I can’t just fall into something, can I?  My hard and fast criteria weren’t that complicated: 3+ bed; 1.5+ bath; at least 1.000 square feet; good school district (for resale value); able to buy well below value, preferably a fixer-upper, but with good mechanics.

Immediately I find what I think is my dream home – great school district, in need of some TLC, has been on the market for a while, 2 blocks from one of my dearest friends.   My realtor finds out it’s a short sale, but I’m willing to wait if I like it.  I walk through and there is considerable updating needed, so we bid lower than asking.  Imagine how lucky I felt? The first house I saw I loved.  So I sign the offer and wait. And wait. And wait.  And finally the bank responds – they’re not budging.

During all that waiting, what was I doing?  Pinterest.  I had all the future renovations and wall colors and furniture pinned.  I was committed to this house.  I had plans for this house.  I seriously debated increasing my bid, but the taxes and necessary repairs would’ve been tough to swing.  So I deleted the pin boards, and tried to move on.

New search, expand my potential neighborhoods, and take a harder look at what I really need vs. want.  After looking online for a long time and walking my dog through several neighborhoods I have a list of several houses to view.  There’s a couple I think are really strong possibilities.  There’s a couple that are on the list because they’re near other possibilities.  There’s a couple where I don’t know what to expect because the pictures online don’t give much away.

And wouldn’t you know?  The 2 I thought I would like the most I hated.  The pictures didn’t really give the details and the feel of the houses, and both just felt choppy, cheap and wrong.

One of my “eh, might as well take a look houses” had really strong potential though.  It was a typical “storybook ranch” for this area, with a big addition.  But it was seriously outdated – the carpet is a turquoise/royal blue in most of the rooms, there’s paneling in 2 rooms, and the kitchen has tile counters and linoleum floors that may be original to the house.  It is UGLY.  But there’s hardwoods under most of the carpet, and the major mechanicals are all fairly recent.  There’s a couple issues – a minor electrical upgrade needed, the windows aren’t vinyl (but do have storms), and the roof has maybe 5-7 years left in it.  It’s actually the ugliest house on the street.  But it’s listed at a reasonable price for the neighborhood and it’s liveable – nothing HAS to be done right now.

After thinking on all the houses I’ve seen to this point, I wait another 2 days before I tell my realtor I want to go for it.  But I would be more comfortable with a lower sale price (seriously – mushroom pictures on the tiles – those HAVE to go).  He works his realtor magic, and today I signed a contract and sent it to my attorney for $13.5K lower than asking – and the mortgaged amount will be almost half of what I was pre-approved for, leaving enough money left over each month to do some work on the house.  And the final price is about $30,000 lower than most of the surrounding houses, so I know that I can put quite a bit into it without making my house the most expensive on the street.

So I’m feeling pretty darn good today – there’s a light at the end of my futon-sleeping tunnel, and I know I’ll be able to swing this financially.  Especially since my bestie is looking to rent a room – instant extra income and grunt worker —- I mean reno assistant.  My little dollhouse dream is becoming a reality!  I love love love decorating, so I’m excited to have a whole house of my own to do whatever I want with.  And I’m excited to try out all the DIY tricks I’ve seen over the years.  Since everything needs to be updated I’ll have a lot of “canvas” to work with. Of course, I’m expecting some set backs and disappointments, but it’s all part of the journey, right?

Now to start some new Pinterest boards while I wait for the inspection 4 days from now.  And then the waiting for the closing… oh patience, I wish we were better acquainted…



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