Don't you just hate it when you're following a blogger, reading about home improvement projects, maybe a recipe or two, a post or 3 about their latest family vacation...and then out of the blue, they announce "Oh, hey, we've bought a new house and we're moving next week!"
Before I scare all 10 of my readers, about half of whom are close friends or family, no, we haven't sold our farm, and no, we aren't moving.
But we did just close on the purchase of 3 houses in town last week. And it was anything but sudden.
After nearly 10 months of negotiating, surveys, redoing surveys, waiting, frustration, easements, quit claim deeds, well share agreements, waiting, recording plats and other really-not-fun legal and real estate type stuff, we finally were able to sell our house in South Dakota. For Sale By Owner is not for the faint of heart.
Why did we sell it? Long story short, being long-distance landlords is not for us. And owning real estate that we had no use for was taking too much out of our budget. Plus, we had some dreams that we wanted to pursue here in the Ozarks, and dreams cost money.
We had hoped to buy a building on our town square, but we just couldn't make that pencil out financially. Everything either cost more than we had to spend (no debt for us) before the cost of remodeling was figured in-
was priced low, but the cost of remodeling would be so high that the building wouldn't be worth what we had into it once we were finished, and probably exceed our available funds too.
So on to Plan B.
What did we buy?
1) a small Craftsman bungalow that needs work
2) a small, not really sure what style it is, but it's cute and has really high ceilings cottage on a corner lot. That needs work.
3) a really-not-at-all-cute-but-it-came-with-the-cute-cottage house That needs so much work, we may or may not tear down eventually.
What in the world are we going to do with these 3 houses?
Well, first, we're going to fix them up.
The bungalow needs a new roof, and we need to decide whether to return the front porch to its original open style, or whether to replace the crummy windows, fix the floor (the floor needs re-done either way), insulate and heat it. It also needs all of the depressing dark brown paneling and cheap ceiling tile removed from the main floor.
Once the paneling is gone, we'll evaluate the condition of the walls and decide how to proceed. We were delighted to see that the original hardwood floors are still in the 3 main rooms, and other than some water damage under a window, in remarkably good shape. And even more exciting, the original woodwork is still all there, and most of it has never been painted!
We are hoping to put a set of french doors on the garage, and turn it into a space for me to fix up furniture. John really hates when I get paint on the concrete in our basement, patio and his shop floor.
For the cute little cottage, we know that at the very least, there is a lot of floor joist repair and probably some foundation work that needs to be done. The roof is in excellent condition though, so we think it will be worthwhile to fix the house.
At this point, the plan is that one of the houses will become a vacation rental, and the other will become a tea room/sandwich shop offering as many local ingredients as are feasible. We originally thought we knew which would be which, but as we've begun work, we are re-thinking our plans. Time will tell. We are planning to keep these two houses on the front burner, but we are not going to rush the process. We will have to work very hard to stay within a budget so that we end up with two strong, beautiful houses and no debt.
I hope you'll follow our journey, and if you know anyone who might be interested in our progress, please share!
If you have any questions about this crazy project we've taken on, please ask them in the comments section!