This house couldn't have been a better first home.
And for a long time we didn't think we would ever sell it.
As our neighborhood continued to grow...more and bigger homes were built. Restaurants and shops were added. The economy got better and house prices started to rise. Quickly our hidden neighborhood became a hot spot for Atlanta real estate. Brian and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the transition, but frankly every old home that was torn down really hurt my heart. After having P & K we knew that our house as is, with just 2 bedrooms and 1 bath would not accommodate our family of four for too much longer. The past two years we've continued to weigh the pros and cons of adding on to our home. Adding on would allow us to stay in a prime Atlanta location and of course we'd never be able to beat the current mortgage we had. But adding on would also eat into the equity of our home and because we happened to be in an Atlanta hot bed for construction, building costs were sky high. So, we waited, and continued to discuss our options.
This uncertainty started affecting renovation decisions for the current space. For example the bathroom. It was in need of a major overhaul since day one, but because it sat at the back of the house, we knew that an addition would change that space completely. I hated the idea of throwing significant funds into a bathroom makeover, only for a year or two later to add onto the house. So, we've been living with a bathroom that was starting to fall apart.
Over the years we've replaced most major appliances. Like the AC, furnace and water heater. All updates were pricey but worth it. Two major things still not updated were the roof and plumbing. And while neither of these were giving us any current problems we knew they would need be be replaced in the next several years. Not a huge deal if we planned to stay in this house, but an expense we would hate to spend should we sell.
So, last year we really got serious about making some decisions. In looking at real estate, we knew that there really was no way for us to afford a house in our current neighborhood. So, if we wanted to stay, the only option was to build on.
In possibly selling our home, Brian and I started talking about what our 'perfect world' situation would be. We would love to stay in our current school district...we would love to buy an older home...we would love to still have a private back yard...we would love to have a park and hopefully some restaurants/shops to walk to...and in the perfect world we would love to own a second property one day.
We started our search last spring. We considered new areas, we even looked at one house and seriously contemplated putting an offer on it, but a lot of factors ultimately made us pass. We found a lot of options we liked, but price points would prevent us from owning a second property. What we really needed was to find a location that offered in town living at an affordable price. That's when we started to discuss the area near our old apartment. Still considered an industrial part of town, I frequently drove near the area to shop local thrift and antique stores, and after all it was only a mere two miles from our current home.
One day last spring, I drove through the neighborhood that Brian and I had so regularly walked years earlier. There they stood, those quaint cape cods. Some had been given new landscaping and a fresh coat of exterior paint. Others, stood in need of some TLC, not being touched since I last saw them. The sidewalks meandered by each home and eventually led to the ballparks that I forgot existed. Further down the path led to tennis and basketball courts that were being newly renovated. A pair of playgrounds near soccer fields bridged the way into another neighborhood. I turned around to drive back down the cape cod lined streets. It's funny but my memory had remembered these houses as being bigger than they actually were. In reality they were small, but charming in their own way. I knew right then and there that this place felt like home and the perfect place to raise a young family.
So started the search for a house. One came on the market soon after my drive through the neighborhood. Brian and I loved the house itself, but it had been quickly flipped by a contractor. The finishes weren't my style and because everything had been 'renovated' asking price was at the very tip top of of our price point. Ugh. And in order to afford the house, the offer would need to be contingent on us selling our current home. Within a matter of hours the home had multiple offers. We realized the buying market now, was much different than when we bought our first home five years ago. Our gut told us this wasn't the house for us and frankly we weren't quite prepared to put an active offer on anything.
Another came on the market, this time the price was practically unbelievable. But with the low price came a house in need of desperate and major repair, it didn't have central air for one. We knew that a major renovation with one year old twins and Brian having a full time career, just wasn't a possibility at this point of our lives. And like the previous cape cod, multiple offers were placed on the house before we could even consider making an offer ourselves.
Over the summer and into the fall we kept our eye on real estate in the area, with nothing else coming onto the market. We were advised that if we seriously wanted to be in that neighborhood, we would need to already have our house sold. Due to the nature of the current real estate market, bidding wars were to be expected and having an offer contingent on selling our home, would pretty much be a deal breaker to any seller. We wanted to be in the neighborhood so badly, but the thought of selling our home, moving into an apartment and hoping something in our price point would come on the market, just didn't seem like the best thing with little ones and a dog. I had almost resigned to the fact that this just wouldn't work.
One afternoon right before Thanksgiving, while driving through the neighborhood (I did this whenever me and the kids went to the grocery store), there was a sign 'for sale by owner' in front of one of the houses. I called the number, got the info, and immediately called Brian. We contacted an agent, and by the end of the week viewed the home. Like the story of Goldilocks, it wasn't 'too new and renovated' but it wasn't in need of 'too big of renovation'...it was just right! It still needed a lot of work, but nothing that couldn't be done over time and DIY-ed. It was perfect...for us. I'll spare you all the details, but after a month of negotiations we were able to get all parties to sign a contract that included a contingency to sell our current home.
I spent the start of the week cleaning and staging. Took listing photos on Wednesday and by Friday, our agent listed our home. (view photos below using right & left arrows)