I’m going to babble here for a minute, so if you’re just here for the pictures, scroll down! There are lots.
Jon and I first started talking about buying a house in spring of 2012. Truth be told, I had been thinking about owning a house for pretty much my entire life. My mother is an interior architect, and I inherited from her a deep love for old homes. Jon was more interested in getting a foreclosure or something equally affordable. We didn’t have much money at that point, so we agreed to wait a while and save money renting.
A year later, right in the heat of wedding planning, I had the house bug hard core. I’d convinced Jon that we should really take advantage of being first-time home buyers with a low-interest, minimal down payment FHA loan (I’ll write more about that at a later date). Unfortunately, many of the foreclosures we were looking at didn’t qualify, but with the help of FHA knowledge and two raises, we realized we could look at homes with a little bit bigger price tag.
This was our wish list:
- Had to be in one of our top neighborhoods (we basically narrowed it down to three in Kansas City, Missouri).
- Nothing built later than the 1930s (my personal style preference).
- At least three bedrooms so that we could have office/studio space and a kid or two some day.
- Had to have decent (for the city) yard space for potential gardening.
- Preferably more than one toilet.
- If major rehabbing was necessary (bad foundation, flooring needing to be redone, bad roof, etc.) then the price needed to be considerably lower than our top limit. Basically, if there was going to be any major project, our price point dropped by about $30k.
We looked at several houses. Size for the price was often an issue. A few didn’t qualify for FHA loans. Major renovation projects were a deal breaker a couple times.
Sooner than expected (about a month before wedding day, in fact), we found our house. At the time we made an offer, they were asking $14k more than our budget, but it had been on the market a while (at one point it was priced at $34k more!) We decided that we didn’t want to mess around. We offered exactly what we could afford. After some balking, they accepted it, and even ended up throwing in a new roof! The best advice I can give to potential homeowners is KNOW YOUR BUDGET, stick to it, and be prepared to walk away! Even though we have run in to some issues since purchasing the place (more on that later), we still feel like we got an amazing deal.
The house was built in 1910 and has likely been renovated many times in the last century. The most recent renovation was done by the folks we bought it from. It’s two stories with an unfinished attic and “finished” basement (again, a story for another time). It has three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. It is in our top neighborhood, the same one I grew up in, close to work, school, and family. The backyard is large for the city, with potential room for a driveway or even a garage if we decide we need it some day. Basically, the house is everything we wanted!
Now before we get going with the tour, I’d like to apologize. We have lived in this house nearly four months and I have yet to photograph it furnished. You see, I don’t want to do it unless it’s clean, and it’s never all clean at the same time. Excuses, excuses, I know. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures the day we had our housewarming party. The house looked so presentable that day. But alas.
Actually, I am in the process of photographing it now, but since it could be a while before that’s done, I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up just yet. So in the meantime I hope you are satisfied with this tour of our house, comprised of photos taken on our final walkthrough.
What I love most about this house is the openness of the first floor. It’s somewhat uncommon in houses so old.
It was renovated for the purpose of selling, so yes, it was a flip. But the style of the work done is fairly consistent throughout the house: modern, but not so much that it loses any of its original integrity.
The kitchen is my favorite room in the whole house. Standing at the sink, I can see out in to the backyard, through the dining room to the living room, and down the hall, through the front door to the front yard. Basically, the entire house. Standing in the kitchen is essentially what made me fall in love with this house.
As to be expected, due to its age, the bedrooms aren’t huge.
Fortunately for us, they have relatively decent closets!
What is/was your wishlist for your first house? What renovations would you be okay with tackling? What are your dealbreakers?
Stay tuned for more updates, our visions and plans for the home, the trials and tribulations we’ve already dealt with, and (eventually) a furnished tour!