How We Got Started

My husband, Jonathan and I have done something CRAZY! I guess our three children could be included but they are innocent by-standers who really don’t have a choice in the matter. However, I keep trying to justify the upheaval in their lives as “it’s an ADVENTURE!!” After 11 years in our first fixer upper home, we decided to move into something BIGGER and BETTER! Well that was my thoughts maybe a year ago when we finally chose to GET with it and get the house on the market.
NO MORE fixer uppers for me! It was a LONG, unending project of a house. We were young newlyweds, no kids, a couple of big dogs (a Great Dane and a Labrador) with LOTS of energy but not a whole lot of money. So our home improvement projects were far and few between. We pulled down the padded rooms of 3-4 layers of wallpaper (not too expensive), painted walls, even painted linoleum (wouldn’t recommend it–eventually it begins to rub off). Then the children came and things got slower but yet we found the time and were very fortunate to find the materials we needed by generous people who were getting rid of excess or through great Craigslist finds. Sure, it might not have been exactly what I wanted but I adjusted my mindset and we would get creative.
After 11 WONDERFUL years, and I truly do mean that! SO many funny memories of us learning from our mistakes, bringing these 3 little babies in through that red front door, entertaining friends and family, saying “goodbye” to loved pets and bringing new ones in, as much as we were ready to move on, it was very hard to leave. It felt like we were leaving a family member behind, knowing that we would never see them again. I cried through the entire closing. I felt silly but just couldn’t help myself. The thing that did put a spring in my step was when my husband showed me the profit we made from the sale of our home. Because we stayed in this house for so long and built up some equity as well as the improvements we had made to increase the value of the home it felt like we had just received an inheritance from our dear, sweet, first family home!
We were able to pay off what debt we had and start afresh! Ok NOW WHAT!?! Put ourselves in more debt? We looked at homes in our local area but just couldn’t find what we wanted. I was thinking, “NO FIXER UPPER!” Something move-in ready. I didn’t mind a little work but not too much.
With no luck and finding that rental properties were almost double the price of our monthly mortgage payment when you take into account looking for a space big enough for your family as well as pet deposits per animal. We struggled with our frugal mindset…hard to break it when you’ve done it for so long. Thankfully and gratefully we asked if we could temporarily move in with my parents who live over an hour away from work and from our church family. We decided building a home would be our best option.
Our Realtor, Kevin Taylor, (he also employs me to take his real estate photos) knew we were post Fixer Uppers and knew it was in our blood. He had a listing that came up in a nice neighborhood, beautiful street, view of a large Texas lake….but the catch???….not fish… an outdated, smelly, leaky, moldy, overgrown vegetation home. NOT INTERESTED! But my husband was curious. I respect the guy, so I agreed to take a look and to my surprise, even though it was all of those things mentioned above, when I stepped out of the suburban I didn’t have the urge to flee. I could see the place had potential… and a low asking price that we could probably get lower. With the “inheritance” of our last home we could afford this FIXER Upper, put immediate funds into it, and buy land to buy for the home we hope to eventually build.
We know renting sometimes might be the way to go, but it wasn’t for us. The thought of living in less than desirable conditions with our fixer upper mentality might be a bit of a challenge for us with a landlord. Throwing double the amount of money out the window for rent and getting nothing in return was an internal struggle. We learned a valuable lesson with our first home, hard work really does PAY off! We liked it so much that we wanted to do it again! Our family thinks we are CRAZY, I’m sure some of our friends think we’re CRAZY! Maybe ALL of them…they’re just being nice and keeping their thoughts to themselves. Who knows? I’ve never been a cookie cutter girl. I don’t mind swimming against the current, maybe it’s because I’m left handed. As many of my choices in life have been demonstrated. I might feel/look CRAZY but I’m driven by goals and the rewards are so very sweet!

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