Buying a fixer upper

In 2009, I was a 31 year old single professional with 10 years of savings in the bank looking to finally own a place of my own. My real estate agent was a really sweet nervous guy, the complete opposite of the archetype shark you imagine. Thankfully, I knew what I wanted and the right questions to ask.  I also knew what to watch out for:  water stains on dry wall, electrical outlets without ground, mold etc….by the time I was looking at my 20th house, I was a pro.

The problem was that the houses I could afford were seriously scary, unsanitary scary. And when they weren’t too scary, they were “slit your wrist” depressing. Nothing cute, no character, no potential, just terrible. And the attitude of the agents showing me these “gems” was just laughable. My favorite was the male agents that kept suggesting that I better come back with my boyfriend or husband. One day I snapped at a particularly obnoxious one and said: “You do know that 1 out of 3 first time home buyers is a single woman these days, right?” “Of course” he had answered looking shocked. That had felt really good.

One day of September, I heard of an open house in a neighborhood I liked. My mom who had been visiting for a week was leaving that day, and we drove by the house on the way to the boat. I liked it instantly. It was a one level bungalow with a big oak tree in the front yard, a little brick patio and a trellis overgrown with trumpet vine (see below). Someone had loved that house.  I dropped my mother off and went back for the open house.

The inside was quite shocking.  Probably the worst collection of wallpaper I had ever seen, mustard yellow shag carpet, cobalt blue painted kitchen cabinets. The house was seriously stuck in the 70s. But it had a good feel to it, it had potential. I stood there, in this god awfully decorated living room (see below), trying to contain my excitement.

The horrendous living room.

I had a just met a new guy a few weeks before, a school teacher, really sweet, not really my type (ha! right). I called him from the house and he stopped by on his way back from work. We sat on a small bench on the back deck and chatted for a while. It just felt right.

The next day I made an offer on the house, well, me and 4 other people. The bidding war that followed was an emotional rollercoaster, but I eventually got the house. On November 30th at 4 pm, I signed the papers and the house became officially mine. Around 8 pm, Louis helped me set up my bed in the dining room (the room that needed the least work, see pic below) and I slept there from then on, moving the bed around as we renovated one room at a time….

The traveling bed.

Stay tuned for home renovation tips and updates.

Categories: Home improvement | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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