It’s hard to know where to start when something has been such a long time coming. But I guess I’ll start at a good part and tell you about our first fixer upper I’m affectionately calling “our pearl”. I’ve lived in apartments with mice, close quartered townhomes, military housing with concrete walls(try hanging a photo in concrete), a new construction with flat paint and builder grade carpets that pilled, and countless lackluster rentals. But nothing, nothing, took the grit, determination, waiting and praying that finding, owning, and fixing this house took.
That said, no home has offered so many life lessons, or given as much satisfaction as Pearl either. I’d even go as far to say that nothing has taught me as much about God. Sounds dramatic, but it’s been quite a journey… I’ll have to tell you about the years leading up to calling this place home sometime. But today, I want to to jump right in to the exciting part. When I bought her at Auction last year.
We bought her in April 2018. I went to an auction while by husband was deployed. Honestly, I was dragging my heels and wishing someone could go in my place. But, we had seen her a few months prior and really felt like she might be the one we were waiting for. We had heard the horrors of foreclosures but after all we had been through trying to secure affordable housing in New England, that didn’t stop us from trying. Unfortunately, the auction was set to take place after my husband would leave. And though I hoped to find another way, the only way to try to secure this house and that was attending the auction. No chance of the auction day moving up. But a strong chance of it cancelling all together. When the day came I mustered every bit of courage I had and went to the auction against my will. We literally got the numbers back on what the bank was owed the day prior, and it didn’t look good. I took that as a good reason to call the whole thing off. If my husband had been home this might have been really fun, but having all the pressure on me…I’d be a very happy lady if I never had to do that again.
I followed the rules and showed up when I was told. At least and hour before our home would be up for grabs, giving me time for anxiety to build after seeing people come and go for each property being auctioned of prior to ours. Some auctions only had one person, and they still walked away empty handed. Right before ours was up things started to get crowded. All the seasoned couples who knew better than to waste time coming early started shuffling in two by two. We were moved into a conference room with standing room only, and the bidding started. This always looked so fun on t.v.! The attorney was bidding on the behalf of the bank, and I had to outbid them. Once to rest of the room gave the verbal that they were out, the bank and I had a show down and I finally outbid the bank by $500. The property was ours. I couldn’t believe it, in a room full of people, and feeling out chance was slim we had won!
I was so drained from the emotional rollercoaster of the process I don’t think I moved of the couch all afternoon. And, the emotional rollercoaster was only just beginning. Imagine hitting your head on a wall, while jumping through hoops hoops, and not stopping for a month. We did finally close on the house at the end of May which felt like nothing short of a miracle. A key code and keys weren’t included at closing because that’s a luxury item when you’re dealing with foreclosures. But we were so antsy to get in, and see what we had bought, we couldn’t even stand it. We had purchased the property sight unseen. Seeing the property in advance, also not allowed.
It was getting dark and seeing as there was no power to the property the kids and I took matters into our own hands. But the angle grinder to get the key was futile when the key the lockbox contained only worked on the door knob we had just broken off. So we called in backup and a family friend came and helped us take the door of the hinges. When we stepped inside it was rough y’all. I’m still not exactly sure how long the house had been empty approx 3-5 years. But imagine a mouse and squirrel frat party that lasted that long, and you’ll picture our house. Nuts and debris everywhere. And those were the pleasantries compared to other things I came across. They were living large! We had out work cut out for us. But how very relived I was that there wasn’t anything serious going on, at least to the naked eye. While waiting to close I had to fight back fears of finding 4 feet of standing water in the basement, or worse.
I started the clean up process right away, and it was intense. Meanwhile, I was working with the water company, electric, inspector, etc. None of those things straightforward due to issues like the prior owners lapse in payments, equipment being removed from the property. My husband arrived home at the beginning of July and we moved in shortly after. We proceeding to work around the clock while living in it. The plan was to get it cleaned and painted. And put in new flooring. Absolutely essential, then move in. Then we would work on things at our pace. But things never go as planned, especially in situations like these. We ended up doing the major kitchen overhaul right out of the gate because of standing water in kitchen subfloors.
One of the many loads of unsalvageable items left behind
Here’s some, but definitely not all before and after pics!
We’re still working on the house. I think with home ownership there is always more to do! That can feel fun or an overwhelming chore depending on the moment!
Thanks for reading along. I’m excited to share more with you soon!