Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our Christmas Gift to... well, us.

Nolan and I have been looking for a house to buy since late August. We looked at quite a few, but pretty quickly came to the realization that we are weirdly picky about houses. Let me explain-
Redding is FULL of houses that all look like this:

Not that there is anything wrong with a brand new cookie cutter home, in a neighborhood full of the same five houses duplicated repeatedly. This is absolutely the right choice for a lot of people, just not us. Our style is more along the lines of this:

or this:

We love vintage homes. The character and beauty of these homes just cannot be duplicated. The real problem in our home search was that the first (mid century Eichler home) simply doesn't exist in Shasta County. The latter generally exists only in old town, which is less than safe and mainly populated by drug addicts. There is quite literally ONE neighborhood in all of Redding that we had any desire to buy into. ONE that wouldn't feel like settling. Homes in our target neighborhood rarely come available and when they do sell for quite a bit more than we were ready to spend. So we waited... and spent a lot of time trying to talk ourselves into homes we didn't really love. We submitted an offer on a piece of property with the intent to build, only to have the sellers pull it off the market because they were missing proper documentation to sell it. We were feeling deflated and somewhat bitter.

Then this beauty came along:

Okay... "beauty" might be a bit of a stretch. I'm not delusional, I see that it's actually pretty hideous from the outside. Believe it or not though, there is a lot of potential here! She's definitely a fixer (and not like HGTV make your house pretty in an afternoon fixer, I mean a REAL fixer. Like "contractors special" kind of fixer). Luckily we aren't easily frightened (although maybe we should be...)! This baby popped on the market as "coming soon," which meant that for a solid month it taunted us, and we stalked it, waiting for it to become an active listing. Our minds were running wild, it was a vintage fixer, in our target neighborhood... what would they price it at? How bad off was it? Was there enough room for our family of five? Finally the day came when we were able to see the inside, and we instantly fell in love.

Front Door/Deck

These windows sold it for me.

Possibly the weirdest kitchen I have ever seen. Have no fear, it will all go away soon!

Wow. Just.... wow.

Pop quiz everyone, how much is that mid century fire place worth? Google it... :)
By the way, this is (or used to be) the garage... it will be returning to a garage in the very near future!


Windows looking out into the backyard.

Bigger than she looks, isn't she?

Who's seen Fight Club? The lower level of this house reminds me so much of that house...

Just ew. I will spare you from the REALLY bad photos. 

Again, I know she doesn't look like much, but we were in love none the less. Believe it or not, most of what you see is cosmetic. The bones of the house are good, and that's what's important when all is said and done.  
Here's how the house breaks down:
4 bedrooms + office, 2 bathrooms, somewhere around 1700 sq ft., built in 1949. The bottom level of the house which I call the Fight Club floor, is completely separate from the upper level. The house was split into two units, the bottom illegally sublet to a horder, and the top rented to a hippy. You actually have to enter the bottom level from the backyard, as there is no staircase connecting the two floors. The seller originally had the house priced at $179k. WAY too much for this house...
So we waited, and continued to stalk it. We watched it drop to $169k, and then $159k, and decided to make our move. Unfortunately because of the condition of the home, a bank would not loan on it, and we were left with only one option- a cash offer. Thanks to our amazing lender we were able to locate a private investor who was willing to loan what we needed to make an offer. We went in with our very strongest offer, still more than what we wanted to pay for the home in its condition- $140k. I wrote a letter to the seller explaining our offer and telling her a little bit about ourselves, hoping to appeal to her softer side. Thankfully she accepted our offer and 45 days later we officially purchased our home (which we have since nicknamed the "Golden Turd.")

This remodel will happen in several phases. the first of which (phase 1a) is to get the top floor livable so that we can move in and avoid paying rent and mortgage at the same time. Then we will refinance into a bank loan (rather than the loan through our investor) and start our remodel. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but when all is said and done, we will own a home that is designed to OUR standards, in a neighborhood we adore. Most people think we're completely insane, and we can accept that... it's going to be amazing when it's done.

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