The First Project

>> 11.30.2011

We finally took possession of our new house yesterday after the seller's 10-day lease ended.... and after she spent three additional hours (of our time) trying to get a Murphy bed out of the front bedroom. Apparently Murphy bed moving is tricky stuff because the handyman who tried to get it out on Sunday went to the emergency room after it hit him in the head (and I did see the blood). Then yesterday, a one hour job turned into three after the seller's moving people showed up with a small car (?!) to move it to her new house.

Anyways, we're in the house, but already behind on moving! Before we can even get into the space, there is a lot of painting that needs to be done. While I do like the blue colors that are on some of the walls, they just have too many scuffs and discolorations to keep.

There is also a whoooole lot of yellowed trim to take  care of as well.

Before I head back to the house, I'll go ahead and share the very first space I went to after getting the keys...

Look closely and you'll see the grossest closet ever...

Yuck. Stay tuned for those afters and the new paint colors (which I haven't exactly picked out yet).


We Closed Today!

>> 11.18.2011

Who has two thumbs and two houses?? guessed it! We closed on the new house today. The seller will lease back the house for another 11 days so we just walked out of the office and drove back home with a whoooole lot less money and nothing to show for it (yet, of course). I like to call it "the least exciting closing ever." Unexciting is better than stressful and crazy so I'll take it!

Not having the house doesn't mean I can't share some pictures I took while we did the home inspection, right!? Before I start, I'll be upfront with you all, this isn't much of an upgrade as most people would expect to take when buying a new home- for one, the new house is just about the exact same size as our current house. The new house is, however, in a much better location and has the potential for a future addition (current house does not). AND-AND-AND-*this is most important of all*- the new house has a bonus garage apartment in the back that we plan to use for extra income before we build the addition!

So... here it is (really bad, fuzzy pictures and all):

<street view>
You all know me- I'm probably going to be making a lot of cosmetic updates to fit my tastes and the exterior is going to need some tweaking along with a ton of other things. I'll make sure to update you on the full to-do list later!
*selling feature* There's a lot of landscaping already in place and a really nice sprinkler system.

 <view of front entry>
*selling feature* I loved how this home had a designated entry space and coat closet.  

<view from front door into living and kitchen/ dining>
*selling feature*  I love the original hardwood floors that go through most of the house.

 <hallway to the right of the living room that leads to bedrooms and bathroom>
*selling feature* original solid wood doors

<bedroom #2 in the front of the house>

<main bathroom in  hallway>

<current master bed towards back of house>
*selling feature* double windows in almost every space

<other angle of master>
*selling feature* before we build the addition, it will be nice to have the double closets
<dining area next to kitchen>

<view from back door towards living room>

<back porch>

<garage apartment>
*selling feature* we should be able to rent this out easily in the $500-$600 range

<right side of apartment>

 <left side of apartment>

<bathroom in apartment>

We can't wait to get those keys and get started on making this place "ours." Can you guess which projects we'll tackle first?


New House Preview

>> 11.16.2011

We received final loan approval, the HUD documents are in, and we're on our way to the bank to get a cashier's check so it looks like we're really actually buying another house this Friday. I figured this would be an okay time to give a mini black and white preview of  the house we're buying:
It's small, full of character, and nothing like the other homes we almost bought, but I promise that it was the best choice for us. When (if) we do close, I'll share the rest of the pictures and the reasons why we chose this one!


The Homes We Almost Bought

>> 11.10.2011

Before there was ever the mystery un-blogged under contract house, there were three houses that we tried to buy. Of course, I looked at hundreds of other houses online and we visited several without actually submitting contracts, but there were only three (well, four including our house-to-be) that were worth putting in offers on. Now that all three of these have sold, I thought it would be fun to share slightly disguised MLS photos of them and their final sales prices compared to what we offered. And, of course, I'll give you a little insight as to why we went for these particular homes. The funny thing is that they're almost nothing like the house we ended up with!

House #1
A 2,325 sqft foreclosure (rare for the neighborhoods we looked in)
Pros: Good location, great view, wood floors downstairs (stained carpet up), lots of space
Cons: It is partially down a steep hill (bad for our cycling and running, future kids), not really part of the neighborhood because of the hill, larger than we wanted and McMansion-like, history of water damage because of the sloped driveway, the yard was tiny and not fenced in
List price: $334,900
Our offer: $300,000 The day we made our first offer, two other people came in and created a bidding war. We still weren't sure about the location and didn't want to overbid because of "the war" so went in at a price we wanted to pay. Obviously, it didn't work out for us and we're happy we don't have to deal with that hill!
Sold for: $330,199

House #2
A 1,584 sqft ranch home in great neighborhood
Pros: Location, lot size, great layout including formal entryway, a ton of potential

Cons: we would not be able to move in without doing a ton of structural updates including foundation and electrical work, almost every square inch of the house would need work
List price: $299,000
Our offer: $250,000 This was a solid offer based on the neighborhood comps, but the seller only came down to $290,000. We came back with $265,000 and pointed out the work that needed to be done. He came back at $274,000 and would not budge so we walked.
Sold for: $260,000 Yep. Our realtor said that we probably did all of the work convincing him that he was priced too high and let the next buyer get all of the rewards. It's okay in the end because it was the farthest north that I wanted to live and it needed a TON of upfront work that Nate wasn't especially excited about doing.

House #3
A 2,080 sqft mid-century home on a quiet street

Pros: curb appeal, mature trees, school district and neighborhood (several $500k+ homes), lot size, a ton of potential, newish roof, obviously cared for
Cons: bottom of a hill, not walkable at all, needed a lot of immediate work, parts of the layout were strange- no windows in dining room and small master bathroom

List price: $339,000
Our offer: $305,000 and no counter offer. We then came up to $320k, but didn't feel comfortable going any higher based on the location and the amount of work we would need to put into the home.

Sold for: $330,000

 Again, the house we ended up with is almost nothing like the three above! The one common factor among all of the homes is that they're all the worst (read: cheapest) homes in the best neighborhoods. I will say that house #4 tops them all as far as location goes- and it's all about location-location-location!

How many offers did it take before yours was accepted?


Moving and Hoarders

>> 11.09.2011

So... I'm still being really superstitious about the new house. The negotiations have been over for a while, we breezed through the appraisal (it appraised $20k over our contract price), and locked in a historically stellar interest rate (<4%! for 30Y).... but I'm still not quite ready to show pictures until we've signed that big stack of papers at closing (set for NEXT FRIDAY)! Even then, it looks like we won't be in the house until November 29th because we're leasing the property back to the current owner while she makes moving plans. This date has changed three times already- so, who knows! I am seriously excited about sharing our *crosses fingers* new house having more thrifty renovating and decorating posts in the near future (oh, and there will be a lot to talk about), but for now all I've got are my deep thoughts about the A&E Hoarders show... 

I've already admitted to everyone in the blogosphere that I'm half-hoarder and that I have certain addictions, but I've realized more than ever while pre-packing that I have some behaviors that tiptoe right on the edge of being totally crazy! Thankfully, those professional organizers and behavior therapists on Hoarders (which is way better than the TLC version) seem to be speaking directly to me. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks that I've been using while deciding what to get rid of instead of move into our new house:

1. Buying home organizers will not make you organized. I have boxes with labels, ones with drawers, ones with lids and without... but they're not what makes me an organized person. I make me an organized person by knowing where my things are and by focusing on using organizers to keep the things I need-- not by finding things to keep in the organizers!

2. The memories are not attached to the physical items. Take a picture of the item if you'll to see it to hold on to the memory. Flash drives are so much easier to store!

3. Holding on to the guilt of never using something that you buy will weigh down on you mentally and physically on your house. Just let it go and learn a lesson for the next time. I blame one too many garage sales for this!

4. Ask yourself: How much time would it take to complete your projects? Will you be able to finish them by next week? When will you get around to finishing them? 

5. Remember... having the tools doesn't make you a mechanic, owning the machine doesn't make you a person who bakes bread, and storing books doesn't make you a person who reads. In my case, it turns out I'm not a person who sets the table every night. It turns out that couple napkin sets will do.

6. When in a tough spot, rate your need for the item in question- '1' being trash, '10' being your family, '9' as food, shelter, etc.  This week, I watched a man rate a rusty tool as a '9,' although the therapist eventually got him down to a '4.' Yikes!

Does anyone else feel like they're actually learning something while watching the Hoarders show?

PS I don't recommend the one about animal hoarders!


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