So it begins…

Okay, I know I’m sooo late to the party, but I’m starting a blog. A DIY blog. If watching an opinionated, sarcastic, Jesus-loving, homeschooling, spray-paint-addicted, thrift-store-shopping, lazy perfectionist (What? Those two things can co-exist.) struggle to make the world around her just a little bit prettier sounds like your idea of a good time, you’re in the right place.

So, we just celebrated twelve years of marriage and we recently closed on our seventh house. Seven houses in twelve years sounds crazy, huh? Haha,’s been five years since we bought our last house. Wait. What? I just did the math and totally shocked myself that we haven’t bought a house in five years, no wonder I was itching so badly. We didn’t buy our first house until almost a year into marriage (though not for lack of trying, more on that later) and we haven’t bought one at all in five years. That adds up to six houses in six years. Then the bubble burst, lenders got stricter, we got busy (homeschooling and breastfeeding and laundry, oh my).

front of house

The house looked like this on closing day. (You know I didn’t take this pic, right? #trashcart)

We haven’t been doing nothing, though, in that five years. We’ve moved three times, renovated two of our rentals (one of which we sold), and completely gutted our own kitchen (hubby built the cabinets by hand over a year’s worth of nights and Saturdays), as well as redoing every room in the house (some more than once) and helping friends with their projects.

We just love to DIY. We don’t know how to sit still. Well, I don’t know how to sit still unless you count Facebook or Pinterest, but my husband is getting the hang of it. He’s the one who encouraged me to start this blog so we could track all the projects. He’s for real…I’m not just saying that. He didn’t know how to hold a paint brush when we first got married, and I’m pretty sure he could build us a house from scratch at this point. He’s a self-starter, fast learner, and he doesn’t usually get too mad if he comes home from work and I’ve knocked down a wall or busted out the hearth. I love him. A bunch.

I wish we had a blog/diary of the last twelve years. To look back over all that we’ve learned would be so fun, but I didn’t even know what a blog was back then (did they exist yet?) and we couldn’t afford the internet anyway, so whatever…but I’m starting now. I like being fashionably late.

fall trees

The street looked like this within a month of closing.

This house that we just bought has been a doozy. Let’s be real, I don’t say “doozy.” It’s been a real pain in the butt. We’ve bought short sales, a foreclosure from HUD (The Department of Housing and Urban Development), conventional directly from the seller…we’ve done every kind of house buying there is and this one was harder than working with the government, y’all. I don’t say “y’all” either unless I’m really trying to bring out the hick and let you know that I’m serious. Anyway, the only thing that was more frustrating was the first house that we ended up not buying. I promised you that story…

We got engaged in 2001 and immediately started looking for a house to buy. The plan was for me to move into it until we got married and then he would move in. But then we decided to only be engaged for two months (We’re kinda decisive like that!) so it turned out that no one would actually have time to live in it first.

So, we found a house, made an offer, they countered..several times.. It was a couple going through a divorce (so sad!), one lived in TX and one in CA. The house was in OK. Clearly, it was a mess. They couldn’t agree, let alone us all agree, and this was back before you just scanned documents and emailed them for electronic signatures. Seriously, it was twelve years ago, not 50. Why does it seem like such an archaic method? Anyway, there was a lot of faxing back and forth from our state to both their states and finally we agreed. And then we set a closing date. It would be on my birthday. Mid October. Then we found out there was a tax lien, you see, these people hated each other…so much so that they both just moved out of state and stopped paying the bills. They were more willing to lose everything to spite each other than they were willing to agree or spend anymore of their money “on each other.” (As if paying taxes is spending money on your wife. Take note, guys.)

The realtors on both sides worked their tails off trying to get this all cleared up. The listing realtor even paid thousands of dollars out of her own pocket for some repairs in order for it to appraise and be insurable, banking on getting that money back at closing. Closing was pushed back a couple of different times waiting on the tax lien to be taken care of so we could get a clear title. Then, finally, we were set to close the day before our wedding. Mid November. Yep. We were to take a break from decorating and run to closing real fast before the rehearsal dinner. No problem.

And then… there WAS a problem. Still couldn’t get clear title. I was paying for my own wedding, and could not pay to put anyone up in a hotel. My entire family was coming in that afternoon and was planning to sleep at my new house. I lived in an apartment with three other girls, there was no room there. My hubby lived in a house with three other guys, no. Just no. My realtor realized that she either had to rent me a block of rooms or get me that house if she didn’t want to ruin my wedding. So, she worked out a deal with the other realtor and got me those keys. We put futon mattresses on the floor and everything would be fine.

Except there was no heat. The gas had been shut off. It was November. Thankfully, my parents and sisters didn’t tell me that night that there was no heat. I got to rest and not give it any thought. They waited until the next morning, shortly before I walked down the aisle. No heat for my baby niece’s bottle or for my parents to shower. Awesome.

Anyway. It was a lovely wedding!….fast forward… our realtor and lender and the other realtor all promised to work everything out while we were gone on our honeymoon. We were told that we would close on the Monday after we returned, we turned our phones off (people did that back then), and had a great honeymoon! We checked our messages on the way back home. We weren’t closing. Oh. my. word. That’s it. Done. I’m so over this house. So, we get back into town from our honeymoon at 1am and immediately go to the house (where we have mattresses, clothes, wedding gifts, etc.) and start moving things into my apartment. We returned the keys the next day. My hubby and I lived with my three roommates for two weeks until we found a condo to rent. Six months later, after quite a battle, we finally got our earnest money back. The listing realtor ended up buying the house and flipping it for a nice profit. And that is the story of my first fixer-upper that got away.

winter trees

Two weeks later we had this. #timeflies #slowdown

We waited a while to try again to buy a house. And then we bought two in a year. Then another one two years after that. And then three more in two years. We currently have a few rentals and have sold a few houses. We’re not rich. Being a landlord is not a get-rich-quick plan, it’s more like a retirement plan. My husband has a day job, one that keeps him very busy. We aren’t as young and energetic as we used to be, nor do I have the time I used to. I don’t think we’ll buy six houses in the next six years. This isn’t us “getting back in the game.” It’s just us doing what we love.  I’m a homeschooling mom of three, I know we can’t keep the pace that we have in the past, but I’m excited for number seven.

So there you have it, a quick synopsis of our home-buying beginnings and an even quicker summary of the several homes that followed. Oh how I wish we had all of that documented! So, here we go. Home number seven! Let’s get this party started.

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