January, 2020 – First Offer
I first saw the acorn hill home on a dark, cold January night in 2020. We did our first walk-through at 5 pm in the dark using our iPhone flashlights to see the rooms which did not have any lights. We were warned by our realtor as we stepped onto the front porch that there was already an offer on the house and if we were interested we needed to make an offer tonight. I had been looking for a home for about two years at this point and nothing had felt right. As soon as we stepped foot in the living room I knew this home had potential, even if it was in rough shape at the time. It was so gross my realtor didn’t even want to put her purse down and my family thought I might be nuts taking on a house that needed so much work. The floors were covered in dirt and the sheetrock was cracked and popping in places. The ceiling had tiles, the whole house had settled making all the floors and walls crooked, and the fireplace needed to be replaced entirely. There were cobwebs everywhere along with a kitchen cabinet/counter that was completely rusted over.
Despite the house needing to be completely renovated I could see the potential of what this home could be with a little love. We wanted to move forward with an offer but found out the next morning that the seller was going with the offer that was already on the table, and they were looking for a quick sale.
I went on with my life over the next week pretty bummed out having missed out on this house. I had only had that gut feeling of a house feeling like a home once before, and was outbid on that home as well. At this point in the home search I was feeling pretty weary. About a week later I was sitting at my desk at work and I got a text from my realtor. She said the previous buyer backed out after inspections and we were back in the game! I told her ok let’s make an offer tonight. I was a little skeptical that the other buyer backed out after inspections but was definitely going to do an inspection of my own to determine the scope of the work. We were then told that there were two other scheduled showings the following weekend, so they wanted to wait to accept my offer. Frustrated that they were waiting for other offers to be put on the table now after not waiting to consider my own offer the week before, my realtor went to work to try and get me this house. She was able to negotiate the terms and our offer was accepted (and under asking)!
We were doing a 203k loan which essentially means the price of the renovation is built into the mortgage, so you are paying for the future value of the house while the renovation is completed. There is alot of paperwork involved in a 203k loan so it took us a long time to close going back and forth with the contractor. Everything has to be very specific in terms of exactly what is being renovated and the exact cost of every item including labor. We closed on the house on a rainy day in April, 4 months after first seeing the house.
We started on the renovation right away. We first had a mason come out and do the walkway out front (there wasn’t one before) and refinish the front porch (which was concrete and cracked). He also had to do a significant amount of work on the fireplace (we tore the old one out) and the outside of the fireplace was causing water damage inside the house. The mason worked for about 3 weeks before the contractor started.
The inside renovation took about 6 months to complete. We originally weren’t going to tear the house down to the studs, but we soon found a problem. There was no AC in the home previously and the owner traveled a lot and was not home frequently, so there was never any proper ventilation. There was mold on the sheetrock and once we tore it off we found mold on the studs of the home as well, particularly around the bathroom were there was no vent. We remediated the mold and ended up having to get new sheetrock in every room except the living room, where we were able to keep the original. We tore down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to open the space up, and we had to re-plumb and do all new electrical throughout the house.
After a long 6 months we officially closed out with the contractor in October, 2020 and I was able to move in!
The rest is history! As this was my first home I didn’t have any furniture already. I lived at the acorn hill home with only a bed for 2 weeks, and then only a bed and a desk for 3 months! I sat in the living room on the rocking chairs when I wanted to watch TV. We did not get the couch until the end of December, and the table came in February. It was definitely an adjustment to live in a home that was partially finished, but it was worth it in the end! I was able to select pieces for each space over time and had to be very selective as the home is only 804 square feet.
The next project at the acorn hill home is turning the three season porch into a laundry/mudroom. This project started in the summer of 2021 and we are doing it ourselves, so it will definitely take longer than the home renovation did. This will add an additional 81 square feet to the home making it 885 sq ft. Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts on the steps of this renovation!