In 2013, we bought our forever home.
What does forever mean? Well, we thought it meant that it was a place that we could live, God-willing, for the rest of our lives and maybe even have our kids keep it in the family.
Sometimes, I think it’s our forever home in that we’ll be working on it for the rest of our lives.
We knew that we wanted our next move to be somewhere we would want to live for a long, long time. We wanted some space for the kids to play outside, and wanted to buy it while the kids were still young enough to build the habit of being outdoors. (Jeremy and I have five kids, and at this time they were between the ages of 1-9.)
We didn’t really intend to buy a fixer-upper. Months before we were actually ready to buy, we spent Sunday afternoons driving around Colorado Springs, looking at homes and neighborhoods and refining our wish list: Do we want five acres or can we be happy on one acre? How much treed area do we want? Would we be OK living 45 minutes from our current center of activity?
I don’t remember having many requirements about the house itself. Since we were planning to buy a place we’d be in for a long time, the specifics of the house itself weren’t as important. A house can be reworked, remodeled, expanded; it’s hard to change the land itself or its proximity to town.
When “the old yellow house” in Black Forest came on the market, we drove into the driveway and didn’t even get out of the van before saying, “No way – too much work for the price.”
It really was too much work for the price, but then, they kept dropping the price. And dropping it. And I think I was falling in love with it slowly, while trying not to.
One day, I distinctly remember getting a price drop email and telling Jeremy, “Someone is going to buy OUR HOUSE!” The price had dropped low enough that maybe, just maybe, we could make it work.
So one Saturday, we left the kids with the grandparents and went to look at this house:
I honestly don’t even remember what our initial thoughts were. It clearly needed new everything: plumbing, electrical, roof, major structural reinforcement – and that was before we could even think about making everything pretty. The floorplan was choppy and it was just a little creepy.
And yet, that same day we went to look at another Black Forest property, and were underwhelmed by that house. It didn’t need any work, but it also wasn’t anything special, and we realized that we were going to redo everything in that house anyway to give it character.
Suddenly, we wanted that old yellow house.
Naturally, when we put in our offer, someone else put one in, too, which meant a weekend of waiting and hoping that they would accept ours.
We put in an offer of $230,000, and ended up getting it for $236,000, as-is (meaning that we agreed to ask for no repairs from the seller – where on earth would we even begin to ask?!).
That sounds like a steal today – especially if you didn’t see the house before we renovated it – but while it probably was a decent “deal” in 2013, we have literally put hundreds of thousands of dollars into it, so it’s hard to say we really got a bargain.
We bought this house regardless of whether or not it made any financial sense – it checked all the boxes of what we were looking for, and in the end, if you plan to live in a house for a long time, how good of a deal you got when buying it twenty or fifty years ago is insignificant.
We really wanted to make this house a place that functioned well for our family and created the culture that we wanted our kids to grow up in, so I chose not to blog about the renovation as it happened, knowing that it would be hard for me to not be influenced by people’s opinions of what we were doing.
Now that we’re “mostly” done renovating, I’m eager to share about the process, in part because we poured ourselves into it and are proud of our home, and also to remember what it was like and how far we’ve come (because there are still many days where I just want everything to be finished already!).
I hope you’ll enjoy following along as I tell the story of how the old yellow house in Black Forest became a part of my family’s story.
– Carrie Isaac, Marketing Director at Circa Real Estate Group