We Bought a Fixer Upper - Say What!?!?!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm not sure if I've ever told you this before, but we live in a tiny little mining town about a 5-minute drive from the main city. It's the total opposite of suburbia where the homes have three garages and 5000 square feet of living space. (Which is totally fine if that's your thing but for some strange reason I much prefer the creaky floors and lack of closet space that you get in older homes.) There are quite a mixture of house styles here  - from one street of old three-story mansions to many streets of tiny shacks. We are fortunate enough to live on one of the nicer streets - about two minutes from the local school and several parks. While some folks have done an amazing job at maintaining, updating, and fixing up the houses in the area, many of them have become run-down and, well, ugly.    

I'm not sure if I've told you this before either, but it's always been my dream to flip old houses. I love the idea of taking a crusty old out-dated house and fixing it up all cute-like while still maintaining it's old-fashioned character and charm. More specifically, I've been dreaming of fixing up some of the run-down houses in the town where we live.

The problem that Alex and I have is that we are just waaaaaaay too busy. With two full time jobs, renovating our own home, two dogs, friends and family, hobbies, and now a new baby - it's basically impossible to even conceive how we could pull off flipping a house.

I'm sure you are wondering then, how and why did we just buy a fixer-upper? Well, let me explain.

Right now, Alex's parents live out of town in a small retirement community. They've been wanting to move back to our city for awhile (to be closer to the Coopster of course) but house prices are ridiculous right now and the thought of taking on another mortgage and the hassles of owning another home isn't what they were looking for. They are retired and want to enjoy traveling, etc.

So, Alex and I bought a second house. His parents will live in it and pay just enough rent to cover the mortgage. They will get the perks of living in a house without any of the responsibility. We will gain the equity of another property AND have babysitters close by. Win-win if you ask me. 

Wanna hear the fun part? We went one street over from our house and bought the UGLIEST, MOST DISGUSTING HOUSE ON THE STREET. Just to give you an idea, the previous owners apparently kept snakes, rabbits, chickens, and goats in the basement. Goats, people! The house was so grimy that I wanted to throw away my shoes after walking through it the first time.

I'm sure that many people will think we're crazy, however we were able to look past the grime, gunk, and junk to see that the house had good bones and lots of potential.

Are you ready to see how horrible it is? Here is the fixer upper in all of it's ugly glory:



Ummmmm, yeah. Now that's ugly.

What's really neat is that friends of ours live on the same street as our fixer-upper, in the exact same style of house. They've worked really hard to fix theirs up and it's sooooo cute. We'll keep their house in mind while we work on fixing up ours. 

Here is our friend's home (and inspiration):


To say the least, it's been a crazy busy two months (me with the baby and Alex with working out the house purchase). We get the keys tomorrow so I'm sure it's about to get even crazier around here.

P.S. This story has some more interesting twists and turns to it that I'll share for another day....... ;)

P.S.S. Raise your hand if you think we're nuts!

P.S.S.S. My hand is up. What were we thinking!?!?!? Hahaha.

43 comments:

  1. oh this is SO exciting!! Can't wait to see what you do with the place - I don't think you're crazy at all!!! Your inspiration house is to DIE for as well!!

    And I'm TOTALLY with you on the desire to have a smaller older home with character than a cookie-cutter new house!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Christina. We've been wondering if we made the right decision so it's soooo nice to hear everyone's positive comments.

      I know what you mean about the inspiration house, and they've done such a nice job on the inside as well...... we've got our work cut out for us that's for sure!

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  2. Whoa, that's crazy and awesome! Looking forward tithe transformation.

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    1. Thanks Jen!

      P.S. LOVING your basement reno progress. I've been following along like a stalker (our basement is still demolished..... sigh....)

      :)

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  3. Wow! Congrats on the new purchase! I love what you're friends have done with their place and I'm sure you'll be able to fix this place up as well. Good luck! (And don't forget to share all the details along the way with us readers!)

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    1. Thanks so much, Amanda! We will fill you guys in for sure - with the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm sure there will be lots of ugly.... hahaha.

      :)

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  4. You will do an amazing job fixing it up Sarah! I cant wait to see how it turns out.

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    1. Aw, thanks Kendra! I'll make sure to post our updates....... :)

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  5. How fun! Can't wait to see the renovation process!

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  6. Maybe nuts, but fun ones, and making the most of life! My husband and I would theoretically love to do something similar (ok, well, that's exactly what we have been doing for over 10 years). After buying our place, a new neighbour commented on all the work we had ahead, and that basically we needed to gut the place. We optimistically disagreed. Uh huh. Gutting would likely have been the easiest thing to do. And now, whenever I check real estate listings (because of course I can't help myself, even though I have no real intention of moving. Likely.) I keep yearning for the old, beat-up, neglected places with "potential" - love making something new and fresh again, and putting my own stamp on it. Hope you have lots of fun even in the midst of what will surely be a wild time.

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    1. We've talked about it for a long time, too. So it's pretty cool that we're actually taking the plunge!

      :)

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  7. I do have to admit you are a little crazy.... but you know I love it so its cool. I am super excited for you guys and I am sure us readers cant wait to go on this journey with you guys. You will make this something amazing, I can already see the possibilities. I know you probably feel overwhelmed right now and at some moment you may regret it with everything you have going on, but goals and challenges are things that people like us need. Good luck and I cannot wait to hear the stories!!

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    1. Well you're definitely right about feeling overwhelmed already.... but I think it will be fun.

      Maybe.

      Hahaha.

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  8. Congrats!!!!
    Can't wait to see what you come up with :)

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  9. My hand is up, but you have what my family calls the crazy gene! We just can't help doing this kind of thing! Really, I am just a little bit jealous! Good Luck!!!

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    1. You might change your mind about being jealous once I share the pictures of the inside and backyard.

      Hahahaha!

      I think you're right about the crazy gene though..... we've definitely got it!

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  10. Sarah, I'm with you all the way - I can see the potential in this little ugly duckling! Can't wait to see how it's transformed. Have a great week. Sharon x

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    1. Thanks Sharon!

      The inspiration photo sure helps with seeing the potential!

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  11. AnonymousJune 20, 2012

    That doesnt seem very crazy to me....Im sure your inlaws and friends and family will help around when they can to get the fixer upper ready and going in no time..you mentioned you work full time? Does that mean you will have free daycare now that the inlaws are living practically next door? THAT would be a huge bonus!

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    1. I'm off on maternity leave right now but eventually if I ever do return to work (wah wah wah) having some family nearby will be soooo handy.

      Did I mention it's five houses down through the back laneway? It's almost like having babysitters right next door. :)

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  12. Wow. A little bit crazy but a lot exciting. Can't wait to see what you do with the place. x

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  13. My dream! You are describing my dream! I'll just have to live vicariously thru you! :)

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  14. Loving this. Can't wait to see where you take it! ...Would love to see inspiration pics from your friends too ;)

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  15. I think you are both smart and not crazy at all! Plus your baby will get to see them and I think that's most important! Like all the rest said I really can't wait to see what you do with it♥

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  16. How exciting!! Can't wait to hear more & can't wait to see what you all do with the place!! I know that you will turn that ugly duckling into a beautiful swan!! :)

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  17. Wow, you guys are brave! I can't wait to see how it turns out. Your friend's house is SO cute!

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  18. Holla! You straight up crazy!! Crazy awesome;) How exciting. It will be so great to have your in-laws close by to babysit!!! Do you they care at all what you do to the place? When are you getting started? Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! This is going to be fun to follow along:) Ps. Your new house is cute, just needs a makeover.

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  19. Oh all the possibilites, I can't wait to see what you do to it.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa!! We're excited but you're right...... there are sooooo many choices already. :)

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  20. You are so wonderfully ambitious! I'm not sure if you get the DIY network but I LOVE Rehab Addict Nicole Curtis, I'll surf your blog and watch that show for ideas to do to my cute old house! Hey, here's an idea, you can come and fix it up! HAHA! Have fun in your new adventure!

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  21. Goats?! That is crazy. But I think you're on to something good here, and sounds like it's win-win for everyone! Excited to watch the progress!!

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  22. First, my hand is definitely up and think you're crazy! BUT...the perks of having parents live close by is they take care of you no matter how busy you are so I totally understand where you guys are coming from. There is so much potential with the "butt ugly" house! Your friends house is so adorable, perfect inspiration for the new house. How long do you think renovation will take until Alex's parents will be able to live in there? What are some of the top priorities for the current ugly duckling?

    But, I'm really excited to see updates!! Keep us posted Sarah!

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  23. I look forward seeing where you take this little house, I can see the potential, but a great deal of work. You and hubby can do this and make it work!

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  24. How exciting! Wow, you guys have been incredibly busy. But what a wonderful place for Alex's parents to stay and be close to you. It'll be filled with wonderful memories in no time (well, maybe not in no time...). ;) Can't wait to see how it transforms!

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  25. Yé for Sarah, Alex and Cooper! Hopefully our houses are the cutest ones on the block ;)

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  26. So much potential! Join the nuts club. My hubs and I did the same thing...only we're living in it! It was goat free though!!! hehe Right across the street is the house with the bells and whistles that we looked at. Looking forward to this journey! xo

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    1. right there with you freckled laundry!! We did a lot of the remodeling before we moved in but ran out of time! So here we are in a house with one functioning bathroom and LOTS of touch up work needed!! It's hard juggling remodeling projects and babies. oh well.... it's fun!

      Sarah- I'm a new reader and am in love with your nursery. I want another baby just so I can use your room for inspiration! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see the progress of your new home. We call ours the hunk-o-junko!

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  27. Once you get past the cleaning part I'm sure it will be much better. It should be easier to deal with updates and making it pretty when it is at least clean (the basement.) Then you can work on the other part and reap the rewards of having the parents nearby while building equity. I would call that smart planning not crazy. I wish the house prices here would allow something like that but no luck.

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  28. This is a fabulous idea and I think you are supper smart!!!

    Can`t wait to see your handy work.

    S
    xo

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