Disclosure: This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust Mortgage. All opinions are my own.
Eleven years ago this summer we were selling our custom home and were looking for an older home that needed renovations as a way to get more house for our money. At the time we were also building spec homes on the side to supplement our income as I had just left my job to stay home with our children. Since we had experience building, we set out to find a hidden gem of a home that we could renovate and make our own. First, we had to determine what our nonnegotiables were. For us, that included a home with all of the bedrooms close together for our growing family, a large kitchen with lots of cabinets, a decent laundry room, and a nice flat yard for the kids to play. When we found the house that we would later make our home, it met many of our needs. However, everything in the house was ugly and outdated, there was 12 x 12 stick on mirrors in several rooms all over the walls, there was only a laundry closet, ugly wallpaper was everywhere, the outside looked rough, and the inside smelled terrible after being vacant for several years. Sounds like your typical dream home, right? Here’s where you have to use your imagination.
We found that although the house didn’t have everything on our list as it was, we could use our imagination to create a home that would fit our family’s needs well. For example, since we gutted the kitchen we were able to move the layout around and add a laundry room instead of having a laundry room closet as in the original design. And, the crazy stick on mirrors that covered entire walls and ugly wallpaper were only cosmetic issues. Once we replaced all of the flooring, light fixtures, plumbing, cabinets, and repainted the walls, it looked and smelled like a brand new house. The outside was easy to restore by having a couple of overbearing trees removed and new landscaping.
So how did we discover this diamond in the rough? At the time we were obsessed with watching a show called Flip this House. It was kind of similar to the now popular show Fixer Upper where they take a house that is outdated and redo it so that it meets the needs of the homebuyer. We were fixer uppers before Fixer Upper was cool. In that show we saw many examples of how they took a house, that was by all accounts rough, and turn it into a beautiful home. As a result, when we were looking for a home to renovate we went into each showing concerned much more about the bones of the space than the details. Basically, we were scouting for a home with a certain range of square footage, number of bedrooms, a potential large kitchen, and a nice lot. Beyond that, we could change most things about the house if the price was right. You truly have to be willing to look for a home with potential. Remodeling a house is all about perspective and using your imagination to look past features that are old and outdated knowing that it can be transformed into your dream home.
After scoping out the true measure of our project, we set out to create a budget before putting an offer on the house. When planning for a remodel, it’s important to consider both the funds required to remodel and the purchase price to have a full picture of the total cost. There may be some things you want to do right away, while others may be a project for another season. After considering all of the changes and the potential cost, we moved forward with our bid. To make a long story short, over the course of the next couple of months our new home went under a total renovation. It is unrecognizable today compared to the house we purchased. We’ve been here almost eleven years and have continued doing little projects along the way. I so wish I had great before and after pictures from the very beginning, but I don’t. Eleven years ago, I didn’t have a camera phone. I do have a picture we took a couple of years ago of our family room remodel the second time around pictured below. The fireplace was already there in the before pic; it was just covered with sheetrock. The second picture is our finished second remodel complete with a stone fireplace, hardwood floors, and crown molding all done by my handy husband.
Finding the right home isn’t always easy. However, with the right tips and guidance, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you are looking for a hidden gym or trying to decide if a DIY project is in your future, “Your Guide to Home Buying” is a helpful resource from SunTrust Mortgage to get you started. It defines the process from beginning to end. Understanding the process, and keeping an open mind of home buying helps give you the confidence to move forward when the time is right.
At SunTrust Mortgage, we make it a priority to learn all about your unique circumstances. Confidence starts with a conversation.
This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust Mortgage. All opinions are my own.