When Paul and I got married, we really thought we'd never own a home. We felt called to give our lives overseas for the kingdom of God, and felt like that would prevent us from ever buying and putting roots down somewhere. But as is often the case, God has plans that don't necessarily go in a straight line like we imagine they will. When we'd been in India for seven years as a family, my body spazzed and I got so sick I lost over 40 pounds. Most of you know that story, but, it ended with our returning to the states quite unexpectedly.
Once we realized and surrendered that we were back to stay, we scrambled to figure out what we were going to do. Paul ended up going to work with my dad, which was a really good fit for our family. But, it meant that we wouldn't qualify for a home loan for two years. I had figured out that now we were back, we'd be able to buy a house, and I was anxious to do that. But since I'd been waiting so long, and since I'd moved so many times, I had definite things in mind that I wanted. And living in a not-so-old suburb of a bigger city didn't provide those things. I wanted an old house, like at least a hundred years old. I wanted traditional charm and character, like colonial houses. I wanted a bedroom with a window nook set out on the roof. Big trees. Columns. Big porch. Like houses built in the 20s and 30s. Problem was: our town didn't start building neighborhoods until the 50's.
I watched the market, stalked zillow. I saw what was available in our little town and for how much for two years. It was hard for me to find something that I liked, let alone that I loved. But one day last summer, in June, my mom mentioned that a friend of ours knew the house across the street from her would be for sale soon. So I drove by. I couldn't believe what I saw. I had seen this floor plan a few times before in town, and had thought it could work for us...
This is what I saw! Big tree! Big front porch! Dormer windows!! It was also in a beautiful well kept neighborhood. A neighbor next door was out in his yard and I pulled over to ask him about it. It was vacant, and he asked if I wanted to go in and see it. Of course I said sure! He let me in through the back door.
I walked through it in about 15 minutes and really thought it could work for us. I came home and told Paul about it and made him go back with me (we let ourselves in the back that time!) The problem was, it was being foreclosed on, so we had to wait on that process.
Over the next few weeks, I drew out the floor plan, thought about how we'd remodel it, and how much we could afford to pay for it and still be able to afford to remodel it. Because it was in terrible shape.
This is the living room and dining room. It had new windows, but they were unfinished. The dining room was missing the lower part of the wall and had no flooring.
Kitchen: new sliding door, unfinished, subfloor, no base boards.
Kitchen. No backsplash or floor, desperately needed the cabinets to be cleaned/refinished, and new counters
Laundry room: totally gutted.
Main bathroom: subfloors, 70s counter...
Main bathroom shower: nonexistent! There was some tile board there, but some down to the studs as well.
Basement: it would need to be finished into a bedroom, with an escape window on that back wall, and an office if the house would work for us. Also, the siding was unfinished on the exterior and the driveway was missing the concrete in one large area.
The good news is, the bedrooms and family room were in decent shape.
Second bedroom with double closets
Basement family room: all it needed was new carpet and paint
So, I did a bunch of research to find out that it was being auctioned in August. At the auction no one made a bid and the bank ended up with the house. I also was able to find out their opening bid on the house, which is what I figured they would list it for. At that price, there was no way we'd be able to buy it *and* renovate it. So I pretty much put it out of my head. But, I did sign up to get the updates from the bank so I'd know when they listed it, which I thought would be in November.
But, they surprised me big time!