In case I haven’t mentioned it here, Kevin and I are the proud owners of one small, yet sometimes overwhelming, fixer upper! Sometimes when I look back at the pictures when we were looking at it, I wonder what on earth I was thinking! Actually, I know what I was thinking – something along the lines of… “Well, this is the only way we’re going to be able to purchase a home so we better have a good imagination!” And that we did.
After living in my grandmother’s home for about 6 months after moving relocating form Lynchburg to Richmond, VA, we knew it was time to find a place of our own. I’d always dreamed of owning my first home, but just thought there was no way we could afford it at that time in our marriage. But, when we saw how expensive apartments were in Richmond (compared to rent in Lynchburg at $400 a month), we thought we might consider condos or townhomes. At least we would be investing in our future rather than just throwing money away in rent each month. Well, one thing led to another, and next thing you know, we’re looking at single family homes. SMALL single family homes, but still single family homes.
I found looking for homes to be incredibly emotional. I found myself getting attached to these homes, only to realize they were either too expensive, or too much work was required to make them livable. I would get attached only to get completely disappointed. I remember crying over the process at certain points. Looking back, it sounds so mellow-dramatic, but that’s how I felt at the time.
After making 2 previous offers that didn’t work out and looking at countless others, we finally stumbled upon our current home. Our realtor had shown us a couple others earlier in the morning, and wanted to take us by this one since it had just gone back on the market. The previous offer fell through because of financing, so this would actually be the first day it was back on the market. Just looking at the house from the outside, we knew it was a fixer upper. We had actually realized that most any house in our price range would be such, so this was no surprise.
My parents happened to be in town, so my dad walked all around it and gave it his thorough inspection. From everything we could tell, it seemed like a great house for us. It was small and certainly needed a lot of work, but mostly just cosmetic. There were larger projects that would be more costly (like adding central AC), but we figured we could survive most of those things until we could save enough money. So, we made an offer on the house and ended up closing on it in about another month.
That was 5 years ago this past March. It’s hard to believe we’ve been in this house for that long! But, I will say, it’s been neat to see things slowly come together over those 5 years. There is still a lot to be done, but we’ve come a long way! Here are just some of the projects we’ve tackled over these 5 years.
– Refinished hardwoods
– New kitchen floor
– Upgraded electricity to circuits
– New backdoor
– New landscaping – shrubs, crepe myrtle
– Added central Air conditioning
– New hot water heater
– Recessed lighting
– Replacement windows
– Hardiplank siding, gutters
– New cabinets in laundry room
– Insulation in the Crawl Space
– Beadboard in kitchen/dining room
We feel so fortunate that we’ve had the support of family and friends to help us along the way. We still have a lot more that we want to do (can we say bathroom, driveway, fencing?), and at times I can get really frustrated with it all. But, when I think about it, I can’t help but be thankful. With the Lord’s help, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot and remain debt-free. And I don’t say that to brag one bit, but just to say that it’s been a very gradual process and the Lord has completely provided. In this world of instant gratification, we’ve had to be diligent to save and then spend, rather than spend and then payoff. And you know what? I think it’s made us much more grateful in the long run.
So, all this rambling to say that I’m super giddy today because we were finally able to mark one project off our list! Let me introduce you to our brand new……………………………………………………………………………….