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
A’s home buying starts back in May. She contacted me because she had thought about buying a small starter home, but didn’t know exactly where to start. We met for a quick cup of coffee and got the ball rolling.
As everyone knows, this market right now is CRAZY. I think a lot of people don’t even know how crazy it is until you actually try to buy a house. We probably saw about 30 houses, submitted offers on 4, before one actually stuck.
It can get very depressing and frustrating when you find a home you love and don’t have your offer accepted. Especially when you are bidding above asking. It gets especially frustrating when that happens 4 times, so I have to give a lot of credit to A for being such a trooper and not giving up.
We started looking for houses in Arlington and Grand Prairie with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. After many showings, and some offers, we saw a cute little house in Mansfield set on a quiet street with a backyard view of a horse barn. It was a little out of the way, but the house was the perfect layout and right in our budget.
Of course there were multiple offers, but we went with our highest and best, and had the offer accepted! The inspection came back pretty good and with just a few more negotiations and a little waiting, closing time came and went.
This story was all about the house searching process. Sometimes my clients find a house the first time out, sometimes it takes 30 showings. Eventually, everyone finds the house perfect for them.
A lot of people ask me about the option period. What do you have to pay? What do you need to do? What happens if you want to back out? Well I have all the answers!
So you found a house you love! Yay for you! Now you submit an offer and it gets accepted! Double YAY. As soon as the other party signs the contract it is “executed.” If that word sounds big and scary it’s because it is. JK words aren’t scary. As soon as the contract is executed, your option period starts. How many days are in your option period? Time to check the contract. Most of the time it is 10 days.
So what should you do first? Start calling inspectors. Your agent should have a list of reputable inspectors, and if I am your agent I have a huge list of inspectors that are super great at inspecting things. I tell my clients to start at the top of the list and start calling! Try and find someone that can come out within the next two days.
An inspection costs anywhere from $340-380. When you meet the inspector out at your future house for the breakdown, bring that check with you!
Your inspector will give you a quick rundown on the condition of the house and any problems they noticed. They will also send you an official report later on that is very official with official inspection words.
So you got the inspection and the inspector says “Good news! This house is perfect! There is absolutely nothing broken!” That will probably never happen in the history of home buying. But if it does, good job you are done.
Instead your inspector will probably tell you “Well the house could collapse at any minute and it’s a miracle the roof has not caved in and the plumbing is leaking under the house and I found a dinosaur in the attic.” That scenario is actually way more likely. But do not fear little baby bird home buyer! Time to ask for repairs! You can ask for whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean the seller will do it.
So what happens if you can’t agree on repairs? Well that is what the option period is for silly head! You have the right to terminate for any reason during the option period. So you can politely so thanks but no thanks house seller. You will still be out the money for the inspection and you will not get the option fee back (about $100) but at least you didn’t buy a house with a dinosaur in the attic.
So there you go. Option Period. See it’s not that complicated!
I’m so excited to be finally sharing this experience with you all! It was hard to keep hush about all the exciting real estate things happening in my life, but I have learned you shouldn’t get too excited until everything is signed on the dotted line. A tiny million things can and will go wrong during a the home buying process.
My client, let’s call them “C” was a first time home buyer who wanted a north Oak Cliff home that had some historic charm. Lucky for me, Oak Cliff is full of historic homes. There are a lot of garbage homes as well so I do have to do some sifting. I also learned that there are some real estate agents with magic photoshopping skills out there.
The first home we looked at was in Beckley Club Estates. It was recently updated and had a great kitchen.If you have never been to Beckley Club Estates you should really go check it out. At first you feel like you might be murdered as you drive under 35, but don’t worry! Just keep driving and then you will see a glorious wild peacock and you have arrived! While C really loved the home, it had another offer already that the seller was going to accept. In this market, that happens all too often. It is always best to never get too attached to a home, which is a tough lesson to learn BELIEVE ME. I have fallen in love with so many homes and then start pinning all night about what i’m going to do to the house only to not get it and then have all these pins that I have no use for. It’s just sad. Don’t get attached.
The second home we looked at was in Elmwood. Elmwood is a neighborhood on the rise. It has some great Tudor homes and many of them overlook a creek with a natural wildflower area. This home had so many great things going for it. It had a HUGE backyard and across the street was a wildflower area and the creek, so it had a beautiful view. C fell in love and wanted to submit an offer. Unfortunately, she was leaving to go out of the country for a week, so we had to wait.
You always want to make sure you will be available for a few days after you submit an offer. Once it is accepted and executed you will need to schedule an inspection immediately and be available for negotiations.
C came back a week later, and while the Elmwood house was already under contract 😦 two new houses had popped up. One was a cute green cottage in Winnetka Heights and the other a completely renovated Tudor in Elmwood.
The Winnetka Heights green cottage was full of historic charm. Large front porch, porch swing, and claw foot tub. It needing some small updates, but overall so good. AND there was a cute cat outside that wanted to so many pats. Any house with a cat is a win for me! The Elmswood tudor was so beautiful inside. The flipper did a fantastic job of updating everything to perfection. C had a tough choice to make.
She thought about if for a few hours and decided to go with the Winnetka Heights Cottage, as I knew she probably would.I’m sure it was the outside cat that swayed her. We wrote up the offer quickly and submitted it with fingers crossed. The waiting part after you submit an offer is the worst. I seriously hate waiting. I will send like twenty emails to the agent asking the status, so buyers, I get you. I get you dawg. Waiting sucks.
The seller came back and accepted the offer!!!! Most people right now are going through a rough time and having to submit multiple offers on homes before one is finally accepted. We were lucky, and C had a talented real estate agent that had the first offer accepted 😉
We were also lucky and got an inspector to come out the next business day. Good news: house was not falling down. Bad news: It was smelly and wet under the house. We had a plumber come out that day and I helped him discover the problem. By help I mean I stayed in the air conditioned house and turned on faucets while he crawled around in the muck under the house for two hours.
We got through the after-inspection-negotiations and were on our way! More waiting until the next big hurdle, the appraisal. The whole house buying process is so much waiting and you will lose all your hair from the stress of waiting.
Finally appraisal day was here! It was a little disappointing when the appraisal came in under. At this point we had to do some more negotiations, which were luckily pretty painless. FINALLY everything was good to go. Closing day came and went with no big issues.
I’m so happy that C decided to use my as her real estate agent. I am super jealous of C’s new home and I know that she will enjoy it for years to come!
This one goes out to all the Dad’s in the world. If anyone deserves a sweet new house with a basketball court, outdoor grilling area, and movie theater, it’s our Dad’s right?
This one is for the basketball Dad. The Stephen Curry’s of the world. This Dad plays a pick up game with the neighborhood kids and never lets them win. He is too good to let a ten year old beat him. Sure the neighborhood kids cry, but they need to learn that you can’t win at everything
This is for the fancy hipster clothes loving Dad. I’m thinking the David Beckham dad’s of the world. They like to look good and they will spend 30 minutes choosing an outfit if they want. They don’t care if you make fun of their bow tie.
This one is for the wine loving Dad. If you watch Scandal (and if you don’t you should you crazy person) then this is totally a Papa Pope Dad. This dad can smell a wine and tell you the year. All wine mostly tastes the same to me, so this Dad would probably be so ashamed I was his daughter.
This is for the dad’s that love the movies. I’m thinking the Steven Spielberg’s of the world. Although if your dad was Steven Spielberg I doubt you would be getting him JUST A media room for fathers day. If Steven Spielberg were your dad you could probably afford to buy Hawaii for him.
This it totally the room for my dad. He is in a super cool rock band and loves ping pong. Cool dads that love to rock out only in this room.
I don’t even know what’s going on in this room, but it looks like a golf man cave. The only golf player I know to make this dad analogy work is Tiger Woods. I’m pretty sure he is a Dad, so this room is for him.
And last but not least, this is dad room is totally for Ron Swanson. Ron Swanson would build all that furniture himself while drinking a glass of Lagavulin,
For this edition of Want It Wednesday, we are going country ya’ll! This house was featured on the Ebby Blog, and I just had to share it. Now probably most people wouldn’t consider McKinney “country” but I do. If I have to go beyond 635, then its the country. I hope you city folk will agree 🙂
Now here are some details on this house in case you have a big pile of money laying around:
Priced at $750,000
On 10 acres of land
5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3,759 square feet
Barn/workshop, 3 car garage, covered porch, and fenced in backyard
Oh man, I think I want to move to McKinney guys! I never thought I would say that. I have this small part of my heart that loves country homes. I will thank HGTV for that.
Perfect entry way that just shouts “hey you are about to enter the most precious home you have ever seen you will want to throw up it is so perfect!!!!!!!!!!”
So in my mind, a cool young family live here. I’m sure you have seen them around. That perfectly dressed mom and dad who look so effortless even though they probably haven’t slept in like a year. And their kid has on a freaking bowtie and looks better dressed than me. I hate them, but can’t help but respect.
I wish I was cool enough to have a lime green island….I would never be able to pull it off. Every time I would have someone over I would just be trying to prove how cool I was to justify a lime green island.
WHAT I NEED THIS. This bedroom is totally ridiculous in size, but yet somehow, I need it.
Now this house is just messing with me right? Is this the kind of bathrooms you get in McKinney? My bathroom is literally the size of a broom closet, just enough room to squeeze in and out.
Slow clap for the colors in this house. They just really nailed that laid back without trying too hard but yet still fun vibe.
This laundry room puts mine to shame. My washer and dryer has crusted detergent running down it, this one is so perfectly perfect I am about to run into traffic so I can go to laundry room heaven.
So this is described as a “barn with loafing shelf” WHAT IS A LOAFING SHELF?!?!?! Is that where you house your loaves of breads? I would bake so much bread if I lived here.
Ok so this is where the house lost me and why I don’t move to the “country.” My three greatest fears in life are 1. aliens 2. possums 3. rats in that order. This yard is just asking for an alien ship to come and land in the front. And there are probably possums and rats abound. NO THANKS
And that concludes this week of Want It Wednesday! Did this house convince me to give up on the city life and become a country girl? Almost. I would love to sit and bake bread all day but I have a feeling that there are a lot more chores than just baking bread when you are living in the country (McKinney).
It’s another estate sale round up! This one comes a little late, but there is still time people!!!! It will be super rainy in Dallas this weekend, so nothing better to do then shop til you drop.
Our first sale comes from J&S. I think I included one from them last week too. I did end up going to the one last week, and everything was WAY overpriced. They have some good stuff this week so might be worth checking out.
This stuff looks so ugly as is. Makes me want to puke. BUT if you paint it, beautiful! That is the magic of paint. They have some nightstands in this same style as well.
Now THIS is pretty good. If you have the right room, no recover necessary. Make sure you give this one a good sit. You don’t want to spend money on a chair with old gross stuffing. The stuff gets hard over time. Also if this is listed over $65, walk away. These sales get a little crazy with their prices on wing backs.
I want this. I love gold. I love trunks. It’s a win all around.
Final Verdict: I might check this out on the last day, see whats left and snatch it up for cheap
Okay this next sale might be a total bust, the pickings are slim this week, so i’m stretching it a little bit.
This estate sale caught my eye because of this picture. Any house that has a lot of dishes probably has some good smalls. If you are looking for small accessories to fill your home, look for pictures like this.
If you recovered these chairs in a more modern fabric, you got yourself a cute set friend! Wicker and bamboo is so IN right now. Everything in my house would be bamboo if it didn’t make me look like a crazy person.
NEXT! This sale is good guys. Real good. REAL REAL GOOD.
I spy with my little eye a campaign desk and bamboo china cabinet. Drop whatever you are doing and drive here. Buy these now!
Most people don’t have room for a sectional this big. But go ahead and buy it anyway. MAKE IT FIT. Again, give it a good sit, if it’s comfy then give them all your money.
I have a weakness for ceramic animals. Its totally impractical but I can’t stop. I was meh on this sale before, but seeing this little guy made me jump up and grab my purse. Also that little chair is freaking adorable! Anyone can recover that little chair and stick in a corner to make your house look fabulous!
Overall there are some good pickings out there. The weather sucks anyways. Go forth and buy buy buy!