Aaron and I purchased our first home together the summer of 2012. We had been dating for about 6-7 months when we started looking (I know – crazy, right?!) Much like Aaron and I, the saying of when “you know, you know” applies to the home buying process too, at least it did in our experience.
-Our Home Buying Story-
My good friend Kat helped us find our house. We knew we wanted to live in South Scottsdale and had put down an offer near the 101 and McDowell. We didn’t get that house, so we were a little discouraged when Kat called me first thing on a Friday morning. She had all of the listings on MLS memorized in the area we were looking at, so much to her surprise a house popped up on the bottom of her listing saying that it was over 60 days old. She told me that she had already called to put an offer on it on our behalf and explained that if we didn’t want it her and her husband would purchase it as an investment property. The realtor on the other end said that two other buyers ended up falling through late in the process and thats why it wasn’t coming up in her MLS listings prior to that morning. He gave his word to Kat that he would sit on her offer until I was able to go look at the house after work. The listing only had four photos and didn’t give off a great first impression. Thankfully Kat has experience renovating houses, so at 5pm when I got off work she was able to walk me through what it would look like. Aaron worked evenings and wasn’t able to look at the house so we sent solely off my gut and Kat’s advice. Aaron suggested that we confirm our offer and look at the house again tomorrow with my parents. Needless to say, it all worked out perfectly! The other realtor received two other offers after getting off the phone with Kat, but since he gave her his word we were set to move in on my 27th birthday, August 15th.
-Our Home Renovation Story-
In all transparency, Aaron and I did not have a large savings for the down payment on our house or the renovations. We looked into a 401K loan for small fixes until after we saved up some money, which a lot of that went to our wedding, and later refinanced our house to be able to do larger renovations. Our house was definitely livable as is, but we wanted to change a few things to make it a house that represented our personal style and also made it convenient to live in. The owners whose trust we purchased the house from were the original owners since it was built in 1959. They kept up with the house throughout the years, so we did not need to completely gut the entire home. The very first things we did were the front and backyard landscaping and minor cosmetic changes like interior paint.
The renovation took place in stages and the first big stage started in December 2014. We had been married for almost a year and had our first dog-son for a little over 2 months when Aaron started to remove the large brick fireplace. At the beginning of 2015, we put most of our belongings into a POD on our driveway and moved into our two guest rooms. Phase one included the bonus room, kitchen, living room and master bedroom. During this time we didn’t have a working kitchen, only the fridge. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary without a ceiling in our house and I left a company after almost five years to work in a completely new marketing role. Life felt like complete chaos! Not to mention, the 2-4 week project ended up taking a few months. But, once we opened up the kitchen, rerouted our A/C, tiled the floors, and ripped out the faux wood paneling in the master room, I knew it was totally worth it!
The second renovation didn’t feel as invasive when it was all said and done. We knew we needed to redo the guest bedrooms and both bathrooms, but the thought of opening our safe place to strangers, dust, dirt and noise all over again made it easy to push it off. We eventually retextured the walls, replaced carpet, re-tiled the bathrooms, replaced the tubs/shower, cabinets and mirrors, and it felt like a completely new home! One that we were proud of, comfortable in and excited to buy furniture and decorations for, which in my opinion was actually the hardest part! I think we did a good job decorating the living area, but the bedrooms were tricky for me to visualize. We never really committed to the decorations in the guest rooms.
After almost 6 years of creating “firsts” for the Fox family, we’ve decided to list our house and start on our next project. I’m definitely emotional about leaving our first house together, especially after all of the blood, sweat (mostly Aaron), and tears (mostly me) that went into it. However, we are talking about our family’s future (more on this later) and thinking about how nice it would be to have a garage, a walk-in master closet and a master bathroom with his and her sinks and a tub. We looked outside of Scottsdale, but a good friend of mine told me that “the one thing you can’t change about a house is its location.” So, we have committed to looking in and around our current neighborhood. Our house was officially listed on Thursday by our good friend David Jones of Carmelle AZ Homes and he held two open houses this past weekend. In case you’re interested in a home in South Scottsdale, click here for more information. Follow along on our home buying journey… I’m sure I’ll need a lot of emotional support (wine, please!) during this stressful time. I know it will be well worth it in the end!