My husband and I were so blessed to close on our first home last year. We had rented apartments while he was in the military, and then we rented a house while we went through a period of change after the military. We rented another apartment when my husband moved our family a few hundred miles for his new career as a military contractor, and less than six months later, we moved again when he accepted the offer of his current dream job a thousand miles away. (Yes, you read that correctly; we moved twice in six months.) And so when I agreed to move here, my agreement was contingent upon our buying a house. So we did . . . one year ago today.
We feel as though we looked a long time, but we really didn’t–maybe a month–since our relocation was hurried. We did look at a lot of houses, and we found some really nice ones, but this one was nearly perfect for us because 1) we loved the location, 2) the neighborhood is great, 3) all the bedrooms are on one end of the house, 4) all bedrooms other than the master are on the back wall, 5) it was already fenced, 6) it has more than one bathroom, 7) the rooms are relatively large, and 8) it has a large kitchen. We paid a little more for it than we wanted to, but we have never regretted the decision to buy or to buy this particular house–and we still love it one year later.
This house was built in the 1960’s, but we were thrilled that it had been owned by only one family, and the family kept great records on its maintenance–at closing, they gave us owner’s manuals for everything and records on and receipts for house maintenance, some back into the early 1980’s. In short, the house had been well maintained. It had not, however, been updated for much of its life. At the time the house was listed, the owner was 94, and his son opted to do some renovations to maximize the value of the home. From what the neighbors have informed us, until pre-sale renovations, the house still had some of its original kitchen appliances, its original bathroom tile, and even carpet throughout the house–even in the bathrooms. Whatever the house’s appearance was prior to listing, it looked much different by the time the realtor took the listing photos:
I knew we wanted to make changes–some of the fans were clearly outdated, and I knew I would eventually want to make some changes in the bathrooms–but the house was move-in ready. And I loved it. After a two-hour debacle at closing, we were finally handed the keys. The day we took down the for sale sign was easily one of the happiest days of our lives. After six years of marriage and countless hours of watching HGTV, we finally had our own house!
When we bought our house, we created a plan for improvements to it. But we have learned a few things since then.
- A move-in ready home may still need work, even if it is new and even if the home inspection went well and the appraisal was spot-on the contract price.
- Your home inspector may have missed some things, even if he or she was thorough. Home inspectors do not open walls to see what black mold or other disaster may be lurking. We used Pillar to Post (review coming later), and the inspector misinformed us on a few things and missed a few things as well.
- You should not make any major changes to a move-in ready house in the first year after you purchase it because you learn more about what you need and want as you live in the house. If you make huge changes, you will change your mind.
- Even if you complete only small, inexpensive projects in the first year, you will redo one or two of them at some point in the first year.
- Home improvements never end. If you are online–and especially if you are on Pinterest–you will find something else you want to improve in your house.
Regardless of the problems we have found and the projects we are redoing, we love this house. From the day we moved in, we have loved the vintage front door:
We have loved the original hardwood floors:
We have loved the big picture window:
We have loved the storm door:
We really do love this house. It has such character!
What do you love about your house? Post pictures of your favorite house feature on this blog’s Facebook page!