Category Archives: life in a fixer

life in a fixer part 2 – jobless, but not homeless

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We still had about 5 months left on our lease at the condo. Brian began the never-ending task of fixing up the new home. I helped where I could, mainly with painting. It was hard to spend much time on a project with a nine month old who liked to crawl everywhere and get into anything within her reach. I worked on starting a small garden, planted a strawberry patch, and tried to keep up with cutting the grass with our human-powered push mower. Things moved slowly, but we had our nice little apartment to live in for awhile.

In November, we flew to the midwest to spend Thanksgiving with my family and celebrate Cora’s first birthday. It was a good visit, and we came home ready to tackle more projects and make our home move-in ready. We had a new surprise waiting for us. Brian found out that work had slowed up too much at the office and he no longer had a job. We had a small emergency fund left after buying the house, so we began to live off that while Brian started applying for employment elsewhere and switched to making progress on our fixer full time. We really needed the house to be habitable at the end of our lease; we couldn’t afford to pay rent without an income for very long. It was crunch time. Brian often worked late on the house.

Through it all, we had an odd sense of peace. I wasn’t worried about being homeless because we couldn’t pay the mortgage or rent. As soon as the house was livable, we could move in and have something concrete. No one could kick us out. It was a liberating thought. And so, at the end of our lease – the last few days of January 2012 – we moved into the house. The wood floors were still drying (we finished them with pure tung oil), so we could not unpack and were limited to small pathways of freezer paper to walk on. The kitchen cabinets were still scary and I only used a few of them. Two of the rooms only had the subfloors and the drywall needed to be mudded, sanded, primed and painted. The house smelled like tung oil. We were home. That same week we found out that I was pregnant.

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Keep reading!

Part One    the beginning

Part Two    jobless, but not homeless

Part Three    buckets and bugs

Part Four    kitchen remodel

Part Five    the floors

Part Six    the stairway

More coming soon…

Epilogue    life after a fixer

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life in a fixer – the beginning

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We had given up looking for a house. After searching for quite a while, even putting in an offer on one home, it seemed like we just couldn’t find what we were looking for. We were not afraid of buying something that needed work, and hoped to find a home we could invest in and add value to. Things seemed to be going slow, and we had just welcomed our first baby into the world, so we consigned ourselves to renting. We continued to save, and planned to use the money for paying off the remaining student loans, which would allow us to be debt-free. We signed a year lease to rent a condo and settled in, for about 5 months.

I often find it amusing how God works when we give up. He seems to wait until we have exhausted every last effort in our own strength, and collapse drained and helpless. Once we decided that buying a house was not an option for us at the time, an investment property surfaced. A friend of my husband let us know about a house that had just become bank-owned. It was not on the market yet. We had saved enough to pay for the student loans, and did not want to step into a mortgage. So, we decided to offer the bank what we were able to pay (the amount we had set aside for student loans), and did not really expect that they would accept our proposal. We told them it was all we could do. No negotiations. They had a week to decide. A few days later we got a call that they accepted our offer. Later that week we brought them the check and finished up the title transfer. The house was ours. We used our savings and purchased our first home.

As we turned the key to our new house and stepped inside, I was not sure what we had gotten ourselves into. This was a major fixer-upper, but it was ours. It had good bones. The first thing I did was plant a garden.

Keep reading!

Part One    the beginning

Part Two    jobless, but not homeless

Part Three    buckets and bugs

Part Four    kitchen remodel

Part Five    the floors

Part Six    the stairway

More coming soon…

Epilogue    life after a fixer