Current Living Room

So more than half of the stuff in my current living room is for sale, so I wanted to take a few pulled back snaps of what it looks like now. Fleastyle took some great pics and did a home tour including my dining room and a few kitchen pictures, so please be sure to read her article!

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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

What is an Option Period?

Home Buyer Series

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!

First Time Home Buyer: Winnetka Heights Cottage

North Oak Cliff, Winnetka Heights

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.

Closing

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!