Hello! It’s been a while since I have posted. That’s because I have been swamped. My last post shows the completed renovation of my home, but in May of this year, I sold it!
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Buying my first home was a dream come true. I always wanted to buy a fixer-upper and turn it into something of my very own. I bought my home at a low-interest rate in April 2020 just before the pandemic home prices skyrocketed.
See the Before & After Renovation.
The first month I started working on the home immediately doing most of the painting and some demolition myself. Then I hired several contractors and left the hard work to the professionals. It took almost three years to completely transform my house into the dream I always wanted. I remember back then I was sure it would be my forever home.
The pandemic definitely affected my decision to buy and with a low-interest rate you must be wondering ‘Why would I ever sell?” The truth is that houses require lots of time, energy, maintenance, and money. Although money wasn’t an issue, the truth is it’s not easy to live through a renovation. If you are planning on buying a fixer-upper, just know that it takes lots of planning and patience. It’s much easier to dream of renovating a house than to actually live thru the stress, noise, and chaos of contractors.
Everyone has different experiences, and I don’t mean to be negative, my house was one of the best investments I have ever made! But I just want to share the reality of living in a home while renovating. Home improvement projects can be fun, and a little sweat equity goes a long way. There is no greater feeling of pride and achievement than seeing that special DIY project completed with great results! Plus the added value to your home.
The Cost Of Home Maintenance Skyrocketed
Although I had a low mortgage, the costs of maintaining my home skyrocketed due to climate change, frequent snow storms, and landscaping. Owning a home in the woods surrounded by hundreds of trees meant the constant worry of one falling down on your house.
I’m a city girl and although I loved the peace and quiet that comes with living in the woods, the location was just wrong. Many rain and wind storms would cause the trees to fall blocking the main roads and causing power outages for up to eight days. Having no power meant no heat or water, but also no access until the roads are cleared of fallen trees.
I Almost Froze To Death
In December of 2022, we had a deep freeze and the temperature dropped from sixty degrees to negative twenty-five degrees in one day. Dangerously cold weather caused the power to go out for two days. Everything literally froze including my house, car, and trees. My neighbors, whom I miss dearly saved my life.
My neighbors helped me get my car started and I went to check into a hotel. I spent two nights there and was able to return to my home on Christmas Eve when the power was restored. This was not how I planned to spend the holidays! The temperature in my home dropped to thirty-five degrees. I imagined myself in the future as a little old lady being trapped in my home and possibly freezing to death. That was my wake-up call!!
Without my neighbor’s help, I would have frozen to death in my home. I had no idea how to use a generator so I never bought one. (I know that’s not smart) but the truth is that I wasn’t willing to spend thousands of dollars on one either. Lesson Learned! The whole experience caused me to re-evaluate my home and my future. On Christmas morning, I woke up and decided that this would be my last winter in Connecticut and started packing!
Things To Consider Before Buying Your First Home
- Location-Your home’s location is everything! Do you love the city, beach, desert, or the woods? Is the area prone to floods, frequent storms, or natural disasters? Are there frequent power outages?
- Size- A bigger home means higher heating and cooling costs. Think about the size of the home you will buy and consider how much living space you will actually need. Will you and your family be comfortable in a larger or smaller home?
- Money- Always be prepared for emergencies. Keep a huge cash reserve just for those types of expenses. It may prevent you from becoming house poor.
- Health- If you suffer from any type of health challenges or disability, you may need to hire out for maintenance such as landscaping, housekeeping, and snow shoveling. I have RA, so my disability sometimes prevented me from being able to take care of such simple tasks that could easily be done by a healthy person. But this also makes owning more expensive.
- Status- Are you a single man or woman, or a couple? I can tell you from experience that it’s much harder to hire contractors as a single woman. I don’t want to deter you, but the reality is that some contractors will think that you don’t know anything because you’re a woman. Those types will often try to overcharge, so be sure to get at least three estimates for your projects. In my experience, I was often asked if my husband was home because they would rather speak to him. (haha) It gets to be annoying pretty fast!
- Resale- Should you decide that you may have chosen the wrong house, are you able to sell it in a year? If this is the case try to improve the home as much as possible and then sell it and make a profit!
In March of 2023, I put the house on the market, and within three days I had twelve offers. I was stunned and very emotional. I thought that I had more time or that it would sell by the end of summer. Before I know it I was packing my Pod Rental and preparing to close.
I have no regrets, I absolutely loved my house and am proud of the hard work that went into it. I know that I was meant to transform that house, but not meant to stay forever. It was my starter home and In just three years I doubled the value after completing the renovation.
I’m very grateful for the experience of home ownership. Will I buy another home? Yes! This time I will put more time and thought into the next house and it will be in the right location. Somewhere warm and sunny. It will also be low maintenance and move-in ready.
Housing Needs May Change Over Time
As you age, your lifestyle and housing needs may change. I realized that I was only using three rooms in the home and that I didn’t need that much space. At times I felt as if the house owned me with all of the care that was required. Sure I could have invested in a generator, but that’s just one more thing I would need to maintain.
I also thought about my future and how I wanted to retire, and that’s when I realized I wanted my freedom. The first night I moved out I was nervous and wondered if I had made the right decision. That night I checked into a hotel and got the best sleep ever! When I woke up the next morning I felt as if a heavy weight was lifted.
Do I miss my house? Absolutely! But I’m ready for the next big exciting chapter because I moved to California!
Helpful Tips To Consider When Selling Your Home
- Plan Ahead.
- Hire a trusted realtor.
- Make sure the market and timing are right.
- Prepare your home and start packing.
- Prepare for the home inspection by making necessary improvements beforehand.
- Set a realistic price.
- Consider the closing costs and taxes.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and that you found something helpful. In my next post, I will share with you my experience of moving across the county three thousand miles away! I wish you the best!