Do you have the Vision? Buying a House that needs love.

When Hubs and I set out to buy our first house, I had strict criteria. The most important of them was NOT UPDATED.

If I could write that on my list 3 times, I would bold the first, underline the second and italicize the third. I might even throw it on there a fourth time so I could make sure it really was NOT UPDATED!

This was critical for my home search because I didn’t want to overpay for my house. I didn’t want to pay for someone to throw some sloppy cosmetic updates that look nice today, but will completely fall apart before too long. Sure, cosmetic updates are nice when you walk into a home, but in my hot selling market, these updates were done on the cheap to exponentially increase the asking price. I also didn’t want to pay for updates that I may want to change. In the name of efficiency, I didn’t want to update twice.

I didn’t want to play the update game. I’ve been a renter for a long time and I knew I couldn’t tell the difference between cheap and quality craftsmanship. I stuck to what I knew I could rely on: Good bones. How is the foundation? How is the layout (reasonably speaking)? How is the construction? How is the house holding up?

We found what we were looking for.

The house we bought needs love. It was a single owner 1960s house. We got a deal on it because they needed to sell it and they didn’t want to update it. I’m being kind when I say it was ugly. I bought Grandma’s house with its green carpet throughout, 1 blue bathroom and 1 green bathroom! So much tile!

The best thing about this house is that it didn’t show well at all. Grandma died and the house hadn’t been cleaned in a long time. There were cobwebs everywhere. The cabinets were grimy. I’m thankful I didn’t have to take my shoes off when we entered.

This all sounds horrible to someone without vision. Those without a vision are overwhelmed by it all. One visitor (who may have visited too soon) could barely hold back their distaste. “You have a lot of projects ahead of you.” Others, I specifically told not to visit because I knew they wouldn’t be able to handle it. These are the people that buy move-in ready houses and pay the premium for it.  Move-in ready houses are fine for other people to buy, but this was my house and I didn’t want that.

I had the vision.

I could see beyond the house today and imagine it as the house it would be.

The house has a lot going for it. The layout is great. The location is even better. The neighborhood is established, quiet and safe. The house is on a dead end street. The bones of the house are solid. There is so much potential.

In only 3 short months, Hubs and I have made incredible progress. We cleaned, cleaned and cleaned some more. Then we:

  •  Installed new toilet seats
  •  Painted the ceilings
  •  Painted the walls
  •  Replaced most of the flooring ($$$) – Carpet for the main living areas, hard surface in the kitchen and family room.
  •  Replaced all the outlets, changing them to white (and some to USB!)
  •  Rejuvenated the shower experience! New shower head, fixtures, and a curved shower curtain rod.
  •  Replaced the vertical blinds with double rod curtains.
  •  Painted the bathroom cabinet, replaced the hardware.
  •  Replaced our front and garage entry door. Both were non-compliant. ($)

This house has been a team effort for us. Hubs and I shed equal blood, sweat and tears during this labor of love.  I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but if you have the vision, buying a house that needs love can be incredibly rewarding.

After 3 short months, you don’t need a vision to love this house anymore. The house looks great. I can’t wait to start inviting people over.

… Maybe I should get a living room couch first.

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