Our House Buying Story Part: I

Our House Buying Story Part- 1

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.

Our Old Apartment
                                                         Our Old Apartment

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.

Our Old Apartment
                                                   Our Old Apartment

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.

Corey's Garden at Our Old Apartment
                                          Corey’s Garden at Our Old Apartment

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

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Lake Cliff Park

This time of year is so beautiful in Dallas. The flowers are blooming, the sun is not trying to melt your face off yet, and everyone is outside enjoying life.

Unfortunately for me, Corey suffers from allergies as many people do. So if I want to go outside and enjoy the weather with him, I have to suffer through sneezing and snotty noses. Corey decided to suck it up enough for a few minutes to take me to Lake Cliff Park.

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History lesson time. Lake Cliff park was founded in 1906 unofficially, officially 1914. When it first opened it had an amusement park, water slide, skating rink, three theaters, a casino, and Dallas’s first municipal swimming pool. Back then it was probably THE place to be.

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Now it’s a beautiful outdoor space to spend the day. It’s a HUGE park. If it wasn’t for Corey’s allergies and my disdain for sitting on grass, we would be having romantic picnics here every day. There are tables, grills, and lots of large trees to accommodate your picnic needs. There is a lot to discover around this park, so let’s get going!

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First we came across a pull up bar! Now I am physically incapable of doing a pull up. My feeble arms can barely hold me up, nevermind actually pull up my whole body. But if you are in such shape, come enjoy a park workout!

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Next we find the rose gardens! The rose garden was designed in 1934 and has a really pretty variety of rose bushes. I almost went a little crazy and started pulling all the roses off but then I remembered that is not proper park etiquette.  I recommend coming here for a tasteful engagement or prom photo shoot.

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Doesn’t that look like something you would find in Paris?!? Just imagine all the Spanish signs are actually in french!

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There is actually a ton of flowers all around the park. I recommend going soon before the spiteful Texas sun burns them all to a crisp and leaves everything brown and in danger of bursting into flame at any moment!

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There are some random statues/art, so go around and learn something new!

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You can live in this building!!!! I’m really dying to go in and take a look around, but I think it’s mostly condo’s these days.

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The first thing you see of the park from the road will probably be the giant fountain. I’m guessing you could once swim in it, but I would not recommend that now. Unless dirty trash water is your thing, then go for it. Joking aside, it’s a really impressive pond. Sit like Corey, and enjoy the beautiful water view!

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What park would be complete without a playground?! This one comes in the theme of “Go America!”

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And finally, we have the natural/wildflower area. Or more commonly known as, wild snake pit. I hate hate hate snakes, so I remained a safe distance away.

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Lake Cliff Park is a bright spot on the Dallas landscape. In a city so lacking in green space, its refreshing to have this spot just a few minutes from my house.