Let me show you why sometimes hoarding is a good thing. You may have noticed in my entryway makeover post, which you can catch up on here, that I did a little lighting update. The flippers made some “interesting” choices in lighting, by “interesting” I mean they went to Home Depot and bought the cheapest lights available. This meant there was a cowboy light in my entryway.
Now i’m not completely against bringing in some more western influences into my home decor. In fact, I have a cowhide rug that is one of my most favorite things, butI really wasn’t feeling my cowboy light. Luckily, past me thought ahead. Continue reading →
Entryways are often my favorite place in a home. It allows you the chance to do something a little more fun and crazy than you would normally be allowed in a whole room. When I was house searching, any house that had a proper entryway got a few extra points in my mind. I was so excited to do something KRAZY with a capital K when the house we bought had a proper entryway.
The entryway was pretty blah when we bought the house. Blah brown tile, blah brown walls and super blah cowboy lamp.
My dream was of course was to use some gorgeous wallpaper, but my walls were pretty heavily textured and I ain’t got time or money to get that sanded down. I had to consider other non-wallpaper, but still WOW options. I considered everything from ship lap to chalkboard but nothing was really popping to me. Continue reading →
I had some requests from my loyal followers (shout out Therese) to post part two of our house buying story. You can read Part: I here. Where did we leave off? We decided to move south! When I say south, I mean South West Oak Cliff. I still wanted to stay in Oak Cliff, but I was prepared to explore some lesser known areas.
Once we decided we really need to refocus our home search I spent a few mornings driving around Kiestwood park and it’s surrounding neighborhoods. That is the best way to decide if you like a neighborhood. Drive around different times of day, and get out and walk around. I like to pretend I already live there and i’m out for my evening or morning stroll. I wave at the neighbors and pretend they are my neighbors. I do stop just short of walking up to my favorite house and pretending it’s my house because I don’t want to go to jail ya’ll.
I very quickly fell in love with Kiestwood and its shaded streets filled with mid century homes. I fell in love hard. I have a distinct memory of driving around the neighborhood and crying because it felt so cozy and I just had to live there. I have a huge soft spot for mid century homes and Kiestwood was house after house of beautifully preserved mid century.
On one such driving morning I passed a house with a for sale sign up. I immediately pulled over and looked up the house. Nothing. I couldn’t find a single mention of this house on the MLS. It was 7am so I waited an hour or so until normal people wake up to call the listing agent. He had just put the sign up and it was going live that afternoon. Me and Corey went to go look at the house and it was so great. It wasn’t perfect, it needed some work, but it needed the kind of work that was fun. Refresh some bathrooms, redo countertops, etc. It was priced wayyyy under our budget and the backyard was perfect for us so we decided to go big on our offer. We offered 5k over what they were asking and opted for a very short option period. We both felt good. I really didn’t think there was any way we wouldn’t get the house. For you real estate newbies out there, going 5k over ask is a big statement. 5k ain’t nothing to us. We wanted this house an extra 5k worth.
About two days later we found out we didn’t get it. There was one other offer that was very similar to ours, and they went with that offer. I was very shocked and Corey swore off buying a house. He said he didn’t want to go see anymore houses and get emotionally attached and he really thought we would never get one at this point. I too was having doubts. Even though I’m an agent and tell my clients that it may take awhile but everyone finds a house. I was doubting my own words.
It is kinda crazy how attached you can get to a house you have only been inside once, but that feeling is real. It stayed with me a long time on that house, and sometimes I drive by and it still makes me a little sad.
There was another house on the market a few blocks south of the dream crusher house, so we went to take a look. The second I walked in I hated it. Straight up hate. I hated the floors, the tile, the awkward backyard, and the carpet in the bedrooms. I walked in and couldn’t find anything I liked. I’m usually someone who can see the potential in any house. I can walk in and take walls down in my mind and imagine what a brand new coat of paint can accomplish. Obviously looking back, we were both still very upset and were still picturing the house in Kiestwood. We walked out promptly and put that terrible ugly house out of our minds.
A week later, the house was still on the market and I casually suggested we go take a look again. The previous house reject was starting to sting a little bit less now. We walked in and I thought we might be in a different house. Our hearts were a little more open and we both saw the potential this time. I saw that if I painted the walls white it would open up the living room. I could paint cabinets and add concrete counter tops in the kitchen. Instead of seeing the awkward backyard, we saw the potential for a huge relaxing backyard oasis. It was a flip house, but that didn’t mean I could changed things to fit my style. We drove around the neighborhood (Brettonwoods) and ogled at the heavily treed yards and unique houses.
Even though we were seeing the potential, we needed a third opinion. My parents came and looked with us again, and they said we were crazy and this house was beautiful. That gave us the push we needed to make an offer.
We made a pretty reasonable offer and it was very quickly accepted! I know I had doubts as we were going through the closing process, and i’m sure Corey did too. I was terrified of actually buying a house and all the work that went with it. I was afraid to leave our cozy corner near Bishop Arts and our tree house apartment. I came so close to saying we should back out so many times, but I always stopped just short of saying it aloud. I kept my doubts away and enjoyed the last month in our apartment as best I could.
Now that I have been in our new house for almost a month I’m so glad we made this decision, and i’m so glad we ended up with this house. The day we closed and we put the first roll of paint on the wall I felt at peace. We might be incredibly broke and have a mountain of to do items, but I feel so at home here. Before we moved, I kept saying we could live in this house a few years and then move back to North Oak Cliff. Corey now says he doesn’t want to ever leave this house. “Bridal Wreath 4EVER” is Corey’s new favorite quote. While i’m not committing to anything 4EVER, I can see us living here for many, many years.
PS: Our cats LOVE the new house and they can’t believe we ever made them live in that tiny shoe box apartment (their words not mine)
Montreal was never even on my radar as a vacation hot spot until about 3 months ago when I was spending a few hours doing my favorite activity: searching for cheap flights on kayak.com. Quick google search and I saw that Montreal is a beautiful AND budget friendly place to visit. SOLD.
Getting there was not too painful, we did have one layover, but I think the whole entire flying time was only 4 hours. We almost missed our flight from DFW because we were tired and it was early and we were just being stupid. Once you get to Montreal, get cash out immediately. I was surprised how almost everywhere we went only took cash or Canadian debit cards. The good news: the US dollar is very strong against the Canadian dollar so everything is extremely affordable.
We stayed in an AirBnb which I highly recommend. There are a lot of hotels in Old Montreal, but if you are a young person wanting to stay in some place hopping, stay in The Mile End or LA Plateau-Mont-Royal like we did. These two areas are filled with restaurants, pubs, and just so much to do. Rent someone’s apartment and live like the locals. I wonder if locals stuff their face with pastries at the same rate I did?
Our first full day was spent frolicking in Old Montreal. The streets here are really beautiful and you get your straight up old stuff along with many museums, churches and or course, tourists. One thing I loved about Montreal as a whole was the amount of parks and green space. There is a beautiful park along the port in Old Montreal and we just sat and enjoyed the weather. And pastries. We enjoyed many pastries. I think my total croissant count reached 15. We took a free walking tour of Old Montreal to get some history in. For dinner we had rotisserie chicken at Romados. There are many rotisserie chicken places, but we listened to our hearts and Anthony Bourdain and went to Romados.
First thing in the morning we went to Jean-Talon market. We ate our way through the marketing sampling cheeses, fruit, pastries, and crepes. You could really spend hours here walking through all the stalls and marveling at all the fresh veggies and fruit. To work off all our sampling we tackled the mountain, Mont Royal. I was expecting an easy breezy hike, thus my outfit consisted of some cute little flats and a fun sweater. Oh boy was I wrong, so wrong. After walking up stairs for 15 minutes I was very mad at Montreal for building such a large mountain. The view at the top was worth it at least. Nothing in Montreal can be built higher than the mountain so you get the best views up here. The walk down was much easier, although my shins were screaming the next day.
As a treat for our hard work hiking, we went to a Cat Cafe. I LOVE CATS. Is there anything better than drinking coffee while cute kittens play around you? NO! That is not even a real question. For dinner we had a classic, Schwartz’s Deli. Smoked meat is gooooooood.
We took it easy this day on our feet, but not our bellies. We did a small bakery tour starting at St-Viateur bagels, pastries at Hof Kelsten (best croissants right here), and finished off with a Wilensky’s specail at Wilenksy’s.
Quick nap after all the eating and then drinking! We took a pub tour in the Latin Quarter district and spent the afternoon sampling beers and learning some local history. As if we hadn’t consumed enough food and drink, after the pub tour we headed to THE place to get poutine, Poutine La Banquise. I had hot dogs in my poutine and it was wonderful and disgusting all at the same time.
After an 8 hour food coma, it was time to leave the wonderful Montreal! Montreal ended up being one of my favorite places to visit and now i’m super excited to explore some other parts of Quebec and Canada as a whole!
Our house buying process was not easy. The beginning, middle, and ending were all incredibly difficult, but we got through it. Now we have a house that I LOVE.
We have wanted to buy a house since we graduated college, but the expense always held us back. We actually fell into the process by accident. We were very happy with our apartment and it was hard to imagine living anywhere else besides Oak Cliff. We thought we couldn’t afford a house in North Oak Cliff with the current market, and that ended up being kinda true.
I was doing an MLS tour (local real estate board tour of houses) and fell in love with a house on the tour. It was located in Elmwood, which is filled with smaller mid century homes. The house was across from a creek and I could picture ourselves living there so perfectly. Corey was pretty sure we still couldn’t afford to buy, but I tricked him to go look at the house anyways because I knew once he saw it he would love it too.He did love it and the seed was planted. We were not even approved for a loan yet, but we immediately went online and got approved from one of the lenders I frequently worked with.
The truth was, the asking price was way out of our range, and I thought the house was overpriced. We submitted an offer about 10k under ask, and I knew it was a LONG shot, but I was just happy to be starting the process. I knew we wouldn’t get it with our bid, and we didn’t, but at least we took that first step.
We started looking more seriously and I think a few weeks went by before something popped up in our price range. We saw the house within the first six hours it went on the market and again, fell in love. It had a great layout, was in a great neighborhood, and had a ton of potential. Looking back we were ignoring all the red flags. The house had potential yes, but it needed a TON or work. It was a rental house and the tenants hadn’t really taken care of it. It need a lot of landscaping work and a fence. The bathrooms were pretty grimy and it had obvious foundation issues. Ignoring all the bad things and only looking at the house through rose colored glasses we submitted an offer at asking price. We went under contract and I think we both thought this was THE house and were so excited. However, the inspection happened and made our dream world crash to the ground.
It needed a new roof like yesterday. It was just super old and in danger of getting some serious leaks if it rained. New roof quote came back at 10k. Yikes. It also had worse foundation issues than we even suspected. A ton of dirt would need to be excavated by hand, and it had to be done immediately, and the estimate was 15k. Double yikes. We just could not afford it and asked the seller to fix the roof and foundation. We kept fingers crossed for days waiting to hear back.
The seller let us know they would not be fixing anything, it was all on us. We talked and tried to justify going forward, but we couldn’t afford 25k of repairs right up front. We had no choice but to terminate the contract. We were pretty depressed and this point had all but given up on buying a house. We were out $500 from the inspection and option fee, and although we wanted to keep looking, we didn’t think we could handle another rejection. We also had a pretty good set up at our apartment and I think we both silently decided to be happy with what we had. We even decided to book a vacation to Montreal to have something to look forward to.
Now looking back, i’m so glad we didn’t buy that house. We would have been so broke and it was so much work. We would have spent years doing the work slowly and I am not a patient person. We were so excited at the prospect of owning, we weren’t thinking realistically about our situation.
So a few weeks went by, we went about our life. Of course once you decide you want to buy a house, it’s hard to accept apartment living. We started to explore farther south, still Oak Cliff, but not what most people think of as Oak Cliff. We discovered Kiest park and the surrounding area’s filled with beautiful mid century homes. I still held out that I didn’t want to live that far south. We could walk to Bishop Arts from our apartment in under ten minutes. Why would we give that up?
I spent some time thinking about what I wanted in a home. I wanted more space. I wanted to be able to work on furniture and hoard more vintage finds. I wanted a larger kitchen because I love to cook. We started to look at how frequently we went to Bishop Arts. We probably went only once a month to eat/drink. It’s not exactly an everyday place. I had to leave Oak Cliff just to find a decent Kroger. I had to drive to the other side of Dallas to do most of my daily shopping. Corey accepted the idea of moving south much more quickly than I did. I think I still felt sad about leaving the Bishop Arts area right up until we moved.
Even though I was still a little uneasy about moving south, we decided to start home searching again, and open up our search area….
Our house buying story Part: 2 will bring us to an “undiscovered” part of Oak Cliff