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: II

Our House Buying Story Part- 1 (3)

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.

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                                                                   The Entryway

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.

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                                                                    Dining Room

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.

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                                                                         Kitchen

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.

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                                                                     Guest Bath

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)

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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

A House In Mansfield

A House In Mansfield

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.

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!