This week marks five years since we closed on our own little slice of dirt and pile of lumber.
It’s a funny milestone to Andy and me, because when we were house-hunting, we thought were just shopping for a five-year house. We just assumed we’d be ready to move after that.
At the time, this is what we thought would happen five years into the future, in the far-off year of 2013:
- We’d be ready to move back to Colorado Springs, where we’d lived for a year once and loved.
- We might’ve outgrown the house, although it seemed monstrous at the time.
- We might just be ready for a change, because we would definitely be done fixing up our fixer-upper by then.
- (Lofty goal) We’d hoped to throw every extra cent we could at the mortgage and get it paid off by then.
Now, five years into the future, this is how well we predicted our situation:
- We’d be ready to relocate to Colorado: Nope. Not yet, not with the kids as small as they are and family nearby.
- We would’ve outgrown the house: Nope. Still seems pretty big to us. We have no goals of ever living in a McMansion. If we ever adopt a buncha kiddos, we might upgrade for more bedrooms, but for now we realize that more “things” and more space = more responsibility and less freedom, so we’re very content.
- We’d be done fixing up our fixer upper: Yeahhhh… about that. There are still rooms we’ve barely touched! So much more to do here!
- We would’ve paid off the mortgage: If we hadn’t had kids, and I could still put all my income toward paying down debt while we lived off Andy’s income, we probably would’ve knocked it out by now. But we had kids and I left my job, so we’re not quite to that goal yet. We’re motivated and we’ve made lots of progress by being super thrifty, so hopefully soon!
We thought it’d be fun to take a few days and look back on what we’ve done and what’s still left to do. One thing I really want to talk about is our lessons learned from a DIY kitchen renovation, because there are SO many things I would’ve done differently if I could have it all over again. But there are also a few things I think we did right (accidentally!) and it’ll be fun to look back and celebrate those.
Want to see what our house looked like when we bought it?
Funny story: we hadn’t even laid eyes on it when we put in an offer. Craziness, right? We were about to relocate to the Atlanta area from Orlando for my job. My company paid for us to take one house-hunting trip, so we hopped back and forth all over Atlanta with my parents for a whole weekend, looking at ALL. THE. HOUSES. At the time, my mom was a realtor and my dad was a home inspector, so the four of us made a pretty solid team.
We definitely wanted a fixer-upper and were pretty easy-going in our expectations, but after a whole weekend of searching, nothing felt right. We went back to Orlando a little bummed out, but hopeful, and I continued to scour the internet for any new listing that popped up. One day our house came up for sale, and I called my mom and asked her to go take a look. My parents walked the property and took a bunch of pictures for us… which accidentally ended up being our only “before” pictures! (I KICK MYSELF FOR THIS EVERY MINUTE.)
Look, there’s their chihuahua!
They wandered room to room snapping photos for us. The dining room:
The office… (Seriously. THIS is my only “before” photo of the office. Just that ONE DANG WALL. WHY didn’t I take more photos?!!)
…The living room and kitchen…
The half bath, the garage…
(Too bad it has never been that clean ever again. Muahahaha.)
On to the upstairs… (Another chihuahua sighting!)
One QUICK photo of the guest room. (VERY understandable, since the carpet was covered in poop. Yes, literally. I don’t blame my parents for snapping one quick photo here and scooting on to the guest bath!)
The master bedroom:
Third bedroom, bonus room and laundry room:
And, of course the attic, which was apparently very important to my home inspector dad, since he took more photos of the attic than anywhere else in the house. Ha!
Thanks dad, that’s very helpful.
We saw the grody pics and were all: “Perfect! We’ll take it!” hahaha.
We put in an offer slightly below asking price. Not even a lowball. But it was a foreclosure, and the bank had a higher offer they accepted instead. We were bummed, but okay with it. Apparently this just wasn’t “the one.” We planned to move all our junk and our dog all the way to Atlanta and live in a hotel for two months, then with my parents until the right house came along.
On the drive to Atlanta, with all our stuff packed up and our dog in the backseat, we got a call from my mom that the other buyers’ financing had fallen through and the bank had accepted our offer!
We drove STRAIGHT from Orlando to this house and walked it ourselves. We loved it and the deal was done! I remember very specifically sitting on the dirty, stained living room carpet with my mom and looking around. My mom said: “It’s not so bad. It won’t be too much work to fix it up.”
Oh, how funny this is in retrospect.
But we are thankful beyond words for our little fixer-upper and the opportunities it’s given us, to be creative, to problem-solve, to try new things together. We don’t take for granted the shelter and comfort the house gives us, especially compared to the rest of the world. It all seems crazy. And, of course, I’m unspeakably thankful it led to this little blog which is a complete dream come true so much that I can’t even explain it words.
We’ve learned a lot since that day five years ago when we closed and were handed the key! I’ll have more on what we would’ve done differently – and some then-and-now-photos – soon!
How did you find your house? Have you ever made a big purchase sight-unseen?