Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The FIve Year Plan....Seven Years Later

In 2005 the year we got married, my husband and I decided to stop renting and buy a house. We didn't have much of a budget, but this was just before the housing market went to shit and the banks weren't being so stingy with loans yet, so it was okay. I remember meeting with the finance officer and hearing that we were approved for one hundred thousand dollars. I was so excited. I had dreams of large kitchens ad open floor plans. Then we saw what one hundred thousand dollars can buy you, and I crash landed into reality. Even in this part of the country, where housing is more affordable than most other places, it doesn't go far. People on HGTV are re-doing their bathrooms for the amount of money I was supposed to buy an entire house with. For a while we looked at house after house of small, old , dirty, and questionable areas of town. Then our realtor asked would we be willing to consider foreclosures. Not a bad idea, we thought. After all, The Big Kid is in construction (he's a Brick Mason - he was just an apprentice back then). We could most likely do renovations ourselves. So we started looking at foreclosures. The problem was, we needed something that we could live in AND reno at the same time. And have you ever been in a foreclosure? Most of them are completely trashed. We saw houses that had everything right down to the wires stripped out. When people are kicked out of their house, they are not likely to offer the re-paint before they leave. We even saw one house that was supported by a jack under the floor and for safety reasons, while we touring, we had to stay around the edges of the main room. Another house had a bird living in the wall. And of course you know all foreclosures are sold "AS-IS." Then one evening, our realtor called and said he had found this house that was being sold kind of silent auction style and we needed to go look at it because we had to have our offer in by 10pm that night if we wanted it. It was in a completely different area of town we had been looking in, though not unfamiliar. In fact, we had not been looking in this area because we assumed it was out of our price range. This particular house was in an older neighborhood, with smaller houses, but really nice sized lots. When we looked at the house, it was far from my dream home, but at this point we'd been looking for a year and were more than ready. It was only 1072 sq feet, but had a partial un-finished basement. It needed alot of work (one of the bedrooms had black and red stripes painted all over the walls - we should've bought stock in Kiltz primer), but it had a huge, fenced in back yard with fruit trees. There was a big hole in the kitchen counter, but all of the light fixtures worked. In was certainly enough space for the two of us. In the end, we bought the place for 82,000. We never planned on being here forever. We came up with a five year plan to get the place fixed up and hopefully sell it for a profit. I secretly thought five years was generous and we could do it in three. It's amazing the things you think when you don't know anything. Well, we've managed to paint the stripes, and replace the roof and windows. The basement is still unfinished and there is still a huge hole in the counter top. (It's covered with a cutting board). Now there are four of us. It's been seven years since we made our five year plan.

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