In 2015, we bought a new build that was filled to the brim with modern amenities. It was beautiful and had plenty of space for us. It was in the perfect area. Everything was lovely- it needed nothing. However, we had bought it as a spec home, so we didn’t get to choose the finishes. It had dark cabinets and dark floor and some of the layout choices weren’t what I would have chosen if we had we built it from the ground up. I couldn’t justify changing out brand new materials just to suit my taste. I also new that the upgrades wouldn’t necessarily come back in equity.
As a realtor, I had the dangerous luxury of being able to look around at everything listed in our area. Though I did love this beautiful house, I wanted a project, not perfection. I knew what I wanted, but it wasn’t going to be easy to find, but I didn’t let that deter me.
My wish list was as follows:
- Slightly to mostly ratchet. I wanted to get my hands dirty and be able to change everything to my specifications.
- Undervalue. I wanted to be able to add appreciation to the home with the upgrades, not go underwater and owe more than it’s worth.
- In-law suite or rentable space. With the aging population and number of college kids that come back to live with their parents, I thought this would give us an advantage, not only for our family, but for future resell.
- No HOA if possible. I wanted to be able to add charm to a house and HOA’s make it a little difficult. We live in a very developed area so I didn’t know if that was going to be possible, but I was sure going to try.
- A pool. If we weren’t going to be in a HOA, I really wanted to have our own pool and a space for us and our kids to host guests. It wasn’t a must-have, but it was certainly on the list.
On February 2018, this house pops up when I put in my search parameters. It’s a little funky, but I immediately see the possibilities. I love the peaked roofs and side entry garage. It also was on a full acre with no HOA in the middle of the city, mere minutes to everything. It was a ranch on a walk out basement with a separate entrance. And, it had a POOL. I made an appointment that day and my husband, youngest daughter and I went to see it.
It was as unusual on the inside as it was on the inside. Dark colors, 80’s oak cabinetry, faux stained glass in the garage in windows, heavy window treatments and yellow ceilings were just the tip of the iceberg. Every unfortunate room only inspired me more and got me increasingly excited. The private tree line lots with space from the neighbors sold my husband. My daughter needed a little more convincing, but eventually she could see the vision. We called the realtor and found out there was already two offers on the house. We offered $4k over asking and we got the house! Our current house went on the market the next day and we got two full price offers within hours on the MLS.
While we were going through all of the contingencies, I did a little mock up of the exterior to try to show my family my vision for the house. Yes, I am sure there are more sophisticated software to do this, but I just used the pen tool on Adobe Photoshop, so it is very crude indeed! I had initially thought to go the direction of the modern farmhouse look. As I lived in the the house though, I was definitely feeling more of a cottage-y vibe.
And here is what it looks like as of 2019! It is not yet completed, but we are getting closer. Stay tuned for what we continue to do to renovate this crazy little house. We fall more in love with it everyday.