Sunday, January 31, 2010

Starting Over

A large portion of our remodeling of the house will involve simply fixing a lot of the problems that are already present. First thing is to address the water damage in the kitchen that is also connected to the laundry room. We've started to take up the wood floors and take out the sheet rock in the laundry room. Once we got in there, we realized that there was water damage underneath the cabinets. So, new cabinets may be in our future.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

First Week: Essentials

After we closed on Monday, we got busy organizing and making appointments with vendors just to bring the house up to par.

On Tuesday, we had the carpets cleaned, which I was worried about because there were several heavy stains. However, Stanley Steemer came through, cleaned our carpets, and made them look almost new.

I consider it a HUGE blessing that the day of our inspection on the house it was pouring rain. Because of the rain, we were able to see what areas of the house were leaking. The entire roof will eventually need to be replaced within the next 1-5 years, but for now we're making the essential repairs that are needed. One of the largest areas that needed work was the area around the chimney. The wood beneath the existing shingles was completely rotted and new shingles needed to be put down.

Roof Before:

Roof After:

And finally for the first week, we had the HVAC unit serviced to put out heat above 55 deg F! Luckily, only one part needed to be replaced on the entire unit which was a relief. To replace an entire HVAC unit would have put a lot of our renovations on hold.

So far, all of our repairs have come either at budget or under. Hopefully, things will continue to go this smoothly.

Monday, January 25, 2010


We officially closed on the house! It wasn't as long and grueling as I thought it would be. I think signing all the initial paperwork for the loan application took longer.

The atmosphere in the attorney's office was extremely laid back. The attorney, our realtor, our loan guy, my husband, and me were cracking jokes, talking about football, and discussing the politics of the current housing situation. All the while, the attorney just kept shuffling papers our way to sign and initial. Hard to believe that one of the biggest, most stressful decisions in our life was being made in such a delightful atmosphere.

It was refreshingly different from trying to buy the house some 4 months ago. When we made our first offer on the house, we kind of low-balled our offer expecting a compromise in the middle. However, we were outbid by another seller, this was in September 2009. In October, the house came back on the market, and the seller contacted our realtor to let us know. The seller sent a memo letting us know they were informing us and 2 other interested buyers about the house coming back on the market. So, that time we offered almost full asking price, but the seller countered at full price (we were somewhat expecting that with there being competition) but they also counter-offered to another buyer. For some reason, they accepted the other buyers offer (for all we know they flipped a coin). I was crushed!

Then, before Thanksgiving of 2009, the house came back on the market at $6,000 less than the original price. We had our realtor contact the selling realtor to let them know we were still interested but wanted to know what happened with the other offer. Apparently, live termites were found in the crawl space section of the house. There was no evident damage to the house and the seller treated the property for the existing termites, but the other buyer backed out. So, we decided to try for offer #3. The day we put in our 3rd offer which was was above asking price, the house goes up for auction . . .

We were completely blind-sided by this! The selling agent couldn't have told us during the Thanksgiving holiday that this was going to occur, but they were performing this whole process in first gear anyways. A week after we put in our 3rd offer, we put in an online bid for the house at 95% of the listing price because the auction house would tack on 5% premium fee. Three days after we put in our bid, we got the news . . . they accepted our offer! I was elated, but I also knew there was a lot of work to be done before closing: start our loan application, get an inspection, and also get ready for Christmas. But we got it all done, somehow . . .

Then, in a quarter of the time it took to get our offer accepted, we were signing the papers to close on our house, our project house, our home, the place where we'll raise our kids, play with our current pets, build a life. And it all was surrounded by a conversation about how the Vikings blew the game, but this football-loving southern gal wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Pics

Here's our initial pictures of when we first fell in love with our house. It's obviously a diamond in the rough, but it's ours!

We originally saw the house in September 2009, and 3 offers and one auction bid later . . . we finally have it. My husband has been such a Mr. Fix-It since he was able to hold a screwdriver. Me, however, I have no remodeling experience whatsoever! So, this should be an interesting journey. However, the house is worth enough to me to get my hands dirty.