Saturday, February 6, 2016

World's Okayest Fixer Upper

Well, folks, here we are. You are about to embark on the second craziest decision Blake and I have ever made (applying for a house parent position with a three-week-old in our arms was the first).

Blake and I began to talk about our "next five years" and "next ten years" type plans about a year ago. While we revisit these discussions often, we try not to do it so much that things get confusing and we don't have a clear plan. At that time, we weren't imagining we would be leaving Willow Springs this early, but we felt that, while we had the means necessary to do so, investing in our own house to rent out for a time--and possibly live in at some point in time, should we be back in Shawnee for Blake to earn a nursing degree--seemed like a wise idea. We began to keep our eyes open for a property in Shawnee.

Some of the things we were considering as we looked was a property that was well within our budget, not something near the top of it. And, should that property be something closer to the outer spectrum of what we could afford, it needed to require little to no work to be move in ready. We found only one property in this category, and we gave an offer sort of as a "let's just see what happens" move. As we predicted, the owner wasn't interested in this offer.

Another house we found was in easy walking distance to the OBU campus, in a decent neighborhood, and was ridiculously small. However, we thought it would be a quaint little house perfect for a small family or two or three OBU students. It was near the very bottom of what we could afford, leaving plenty of room to basically tear out the entire inside and start from scratch. We also made an (extremely affordable) offer on this house, but lost to a better offer. However, we were hardly disappointed--we still felt like the right house was out there somewhere, and God was intervening to make sure we would find it.

One day, we were browsing Zillow to see if anything looked interesting. We happened upon a foreclosed house that, based on the pictures online, seemed like a crazy good deal. We decided on our next day off we would go check it out, but figured there would be some sort of catch, most likely that it would be close to destroyed in person. We drove up and couldn't believe how much better it looked than we had anticipated. Soon, we set up an appointment to see the inside, and once again were pleasantly surprised.

Not to say it was immaculate by ANY MEANS. To give you an idea of what we were working with, this was the reaction of the realtor who initially showed us our house:

However, in spite of this understandable reaction, we figured a few things: 1. That, considering our budget and the reality of the state of the house, this would be both an affordable investment as well as one that would keep us on top in the end. To give you an idea, a renovated house in this area of Shawnee sells for almost triple what we paid for it. 2. We could afford it because we had plenty of time to renovate in increments, which would make it much more reasonable. 3. We could afford it because Blake knows how to do EVERYTHING. 
So, we made an offer. We got the house. Blake has done basically everything thus far. 

The house is in a great neighborhood, on a corner lot. It's two stories. This photo and all of the following photos were taken when we had done literally nothing to it yet. As you can see, it came with its own complex ecosystem!
Here is one shot of the backyard, where you can see the garage (the brick building), and an add-on that had been on the house for I'm not even sure how long. It had a bathroom complete with shower and a hot tub inside. There was no saving the add on. It was a moldy, ridiculous, dangerous mess.

Here is another view of the backyard where you can see why there is no way in the whole entire world that we are keeping that pool.

Okay, the liner from the pool makes it look scarier than it actually is, but I am really excited about this gazebo in the back yard. Once the pool becomes a fire pit (or whatever in the world we do with it), I think it will be awesome for backyard bbq's and all sorts of fun stuff. 
So, it's a little blurry, but there is even more backyard that wraps around the back of the house. This is in the back, where you can walk out to the backyard from the master bedroom. It has a deck and a huge pecan tree coming out of the middle of it. It was a poison ivy jungle back there. 

I am sticking with the "World's Okayest" theme in transition from the house mom blog to the fixer upper blog for a couple of reasons, one being that it will easily transition in reader's memories, and the other being that there is probably no okay-er fixer upper out there than me. Brace yourselves for a few embarrassing stories on my part. The name is not because our actual house is only "okay" or that Blake is only an "okay" fixer upper (if he were writing this blog, it would be called "Yes, Blake Knows How To Do That"), but because, while Blake has taught me a lot, there would probably be a lot more done on the house if I wasn't his usual fixer upper coworker. 

I can't wait to take you room by room of the house and show you what we have done, and everything we are going to do. While I think almost anything is more difficult in practice than in thought, the renovating of this house has been more difficult in some ways than we anticipated. However, I am happy to say that after just over seven months of hard work, we are still hopeful about the house. Moving into it this weekend will be a little bit like camping in some ways, but we feel good about how far it has come. 

Oh, and if you are even slightly more learned in handiwork than I am, if you felt like volunteering to help with projects, Blake would probably kiss you right on the face. 

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