Our Foreclosure Fixer-Upper

In our house, it is advised to never say the word “NEVER”.  Whenever one of us makes a broad sweeping statement that includes the word “NEVER”, the tides shift and the thing we swore off becomes our reality.  In this case, it was declared that we were NEVER moving.  Our house was perfect and we were staying put.

Our Main Street House. Isn’t it cute?

The only issue I personally had with our lovely home was its location.  We lived on Main Street, two houses from 13 Mile Road.  Small children and busy roads make for an anxious momma.  But I had plans to add a fence and for now was very careful that my children were always fully supervised outdoors.  I did not feel I had the freedom to say “Go outside” unless an adult was following them out the door.

In the summer of 2012, Shaun declared it was time to move.  Between the business and the second child, he was now convinced our home was way too small.  I admit, the dining room was constantly filled with parts and tools, but we had future plans for a bigger garage.  This declaration came shortly after I returned to work and between work and a newborn, my mind had no room for the idea of moving. Shaun did all the leg work. He scoured Realtor.com and set up all the appointments with our realtor. All I had to do was show up and put in my two cents.

We looked at a ton of houses.  We looked at 8-10 in a day with our baby in tow.  That day I was not sure of my name, let alone if I liked the last house on the list.  All I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and snuggle my baby. We fell in love with one house that needed a lot of work and was over budget.  We fell in love with another that was beautiful, slightly out of budget, and sold when we made an offer. (In retrospect, that beautiful house was outside our budget and would have moved us into a life of ramen noodles and PB&J.) We were starting to lose steam, but kept up the search.

Then one night as I am falling asleep nursing a baby, Shaun declared he found our house.  It was a 2000 square foot colonial on a half-acre lot in Royal Oak.  It was a foreclosure and it was quite obvious from the pictures it needed work. Shaun had a look in his eyes.  I knew as long as the foundation was not crumbling, we were making an offer on this house.  We texted our realtor and made an appointment for 9am the next day.

When we pulled into the driveway, I noticed we ares one house away from a park.  It felt like an omen to me.  I currently had to walk about a half mile to the closest park. The neighborhood was quiet and friendly, we saw neighbors talking and waving hello.  Things felt good from outside. When we went inside things became a little more interesting.

Needs work was the understatement of the century.  The place was a wreck. The pipes had burst and the upstairs floor was ruined.  The boiler was broken and everywhere you turned things needed serious TLC.  Most normal people would have walked right back out the door, but there was something about this house.  Shaun and I saw potential everywhere we turned.  Yes, it would be a lot of work, but we had the advantage of being able to do it ourselves.  Shaun had already done complete remodels on two houses. This house allowed for limitless possibilities, all we needed was imagination and a lot of hard work. Here is a little slideshow of some of the highlights.

Everyone tried to talk us out of this house.  Our realtor begged to find us something different.  My parents kept asking if we were sure it was the right time for this kind of project.  Of course not!  We had a 5 year old and a 4 month old and a brand new business.  This was absolutely not the right time.  But here we were, in this house, falling in love with all the potential we saw.

We made an offer and it was accepted.  We fought through mortgage issues, appraisal issues, and last minute insanity. In September 2012, we closed on our foreclosure fixer-upper. We are far from the end of the story. Stayed tuned for the controlled chaos of DIY renovation on steroids.

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