Updated: Mar 19, 2020
Can you believe it? Because we can't! We've been house hunting for 8 months and finally landed on a classic 1950s home that is full of character and is a little bit of a fixer upper. We have 3 months until our wedding, so we are in full-on renovation mode until then. Keep reading for answers to your top questions!
When you were house hunting, what were the top things on your list?
J: A fireplace, 2 bed - 2 bath, preferably with a basement, and a big yard for the dogs.
E: I really wanted hardwood floors. I was also looking for a place that we could make our own. Finding a little bit of a fixer-upper was perfect for that.
How did you know this house was "the one?"
E: For me, it was the price plus the character of the house. The bones were perfect. We had the hardwood floors, the fireplace, the rooms were a decent size. I knew that even with the major things that had to be done, with the price being so good, it would be worth it to us. The yard was good. It was almost like thank goodness we didn't get those other houses, because this one was really the better option.
J: Yeah, I think for me, of course checking off those things on the list. Again, the fireplace, the yard, etc., etc. But the potential the house has to be worth 40% more than what we bought it for when we're only putting 20% back into it is what makes it worth it for me.
E: Yeah, which is the whole game plan. That's what any homeowner wants if they know they're going to move again one day.
J: If you're ever buying anything resembling a fixer-upper, that's what you want. You want to get your money and time returned to you. You don't want to waste your time. You want to come out on the other side with a decent return for your work.
J: The master bath because I want a big bathroom with a big walk-in shower. Since the house already has a fireplace, this is my other top item on my want list.
E: The kitchen! It's so cute and has a lot of potential. I'm wanting to keep it simple and timeless.
What are you most concerned about with this project?
J: Getting everything done before the wedding...basically in 3 months' time.
E: I think it can get done. Don't you?
J: Yeah, if we work like we have the last 2 days. We're exhausted.
How much of this are you doing yourself?
J: Hopefully around 75%. We'll have professionals cut down some trees, replace the roof, check out the plumbing, etc., etc. Oh, and once we frame in the master bath, we'll have someone do the professional tile work.
E: Yeah, we don't want cracked tiles in the shower.
J: I'd prefer not. We'll also have them make sure it'll drain properly. Just all of the big stuff. Everything else we can do ourselves.
Where do you think we'll butt heads?
E: I personally think it's on design. I have a vision you know.
J: Well, we've already butted heads on a room. Actually it's been 2 rooms so far, and those have been the only rooms we've really worked in. *Insert laugh* I really don't know. Maybe design.
E: Well, I have a vision in mind, and that's what I'm going off of.
J: I'm just trying to keep "the vision" as cheap as possible. The less we spend, the better. I'm trying to make practical things work with what we want.
What are some things that you've learned so far?
E: For me, it's all the technical stuff. If you want to move stuff around the house, like adding a new bathroom, you have to think about moving all of the plumbing underneath the floors to make that work.
J: So far, the dumbest thing that I should've known that I didn't was the breaker for the water heater. I mean, I looked right at it.
E: It was literally labeled.
J: Yeah, I don't know what happened.
Are you glad you got a fixer upper?
J: This isn't really a "fixer upper." If you wanted to, you could just paint the walls in this house and move in. But we're doing more than that, mainly because of "the vision." I share that vision too, though, so I think we're doing the right thing.
E: Yeah, because it's all about what we want but also what the next buyer will want down the road.
J: The hard thing about fixer uppers is that everyone wants them, but they go quick. And they're hard to find at a bargain.
E: And the thing about our house-hunting journey is that we've been looking while the house market has been at a high, so people can get away with selling their homes for more than they're really worth.
J: Right, and we are now running out of time with only 3 months left. At the beginning, we were looking at some true fixer uppers, like the Henson House (Emma's note: The Henson House was one of the first we visited. It had good bones and was gorgeous but was a total drug home. The whole thing would've had to been gutted and 100% redone.) The very first one we looked at was over 100 years old. We were looking at total gut-jobs. Honestly, I'm glad we had people who thought of us. We just lucked up on this one. It just came to us.
That's totally right. We are so excited to start this new journey of homeownership and call this place our home! We know we couldn't have done it without the support of our parents and families, the help of our community bank of choice, First National Bank, and our realtor Sam Officer. Thank you, Lord, for allowing us this opportunity.
We'll keep you updated.
J & E