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We Bought a Fixer Upper. Now What?

Aug 4, 2021

Remember that one time Scott and I bought a fixer-upper? I definitely do. Every. Day. I wake up, and there it is, staring me in the face, like my dog, calling for my attention.

I think this place Scott and I bought is just another pet. Like Obi, our forever puppy chihuahua, this home (land, house, and all), needs a lot of attention and tender love and care. Frankly put, it’s a bit of a mess. But it’s our mess, and we have so many dreams for it that we can’t wait to make reality.

Why We Bought a Fixer Upper

Why did we buy a fixer upper again? I’ll be honest, I’ve asked this question a few times since we’ve been here.

Our last house was brand new, and I loved it. When we sold it, I was heart broken. We only lived there for a short almost two years, and I didn’t think we’d move so soon.

So why go from that to this?

I think it was a couple years in the making. We sold our beautiful new house in 2018 just before Scott was deployed with the military, and before he took a year-and-a-half contract job in Afghanistan. In those two years, we had a lot of conversations that revolved around, “What’s next.” And somehow that led us to Missouri.

As we started looking at housing options, we both fell in love with the idea of land. We wanted land to grow and play on, a place to create a homestead, maybe a home with a pond. We had so many dreams. And with these dreams, we realized the best option, to get those things was to get an older home on the land we love, and then turn the house into our dream home.

And so here we are–on land that we love, with lots of trees, plenty of space for a garden, an orchard, and some animals, and lot’s of room to grow and play. Now to make the dream house.

Fix All the Things

It’s no joke when I say we bought a fixer upper. This place truly needs a lot of fixing.

Before we closed on the house, we had an inspection done. The list that came back was LONG. We had the seller fix a few things, just so we could pass VA requirements (she was selling as-is), but it wasn’t much. There were holes in the facia, issues with electrical, problems with the siding. And those were only the things we learned of before we closed on the house.

Once I got the keys and started exploring a little more, I learned the furnace was broken and needed to be replaced. After Scott and I moved in, the fridge we bought with the house died. Also, the dishwasher top rack is broken, the kitchen sink is cracked, mice lived in our pantry, some of the furnace outlets don’t work, the foundation is learning one way, and so on and so on… And a few months after living here, we found out the ram jack that was placed in our main supporting basement wall is leaking, which means whoever put it in, didn’t fix the real issue.

That’s only the house stuff. We have a scary detached garage that Scott says looks like a crime scene (mostly the bathroom), a pond suffering from overgrowth, and an entire yard full of weeds and other things that need to be trimmed down.

Our list to get this place to “dream home” status is giant.

So Now What? Our Plans

Yeah, we bought a fixer upper with a lot of issues. Now what?

The list seems daunting. And I’m not sure how we’re going to tackle it all, just that we’ll do our best. But we do have plans.

This Year – 2021

First, prepare for baby. This wasn’t initially on our list, ’cause we were unsure if we’d ever be pregnant. But here we are expecting a baby girl before the end of the year. So, we have a few things to do to prepare for her arrival: get her nursery set up and fix some of the furnace situation so we’re warm during the winter.

Clean up the pond. There is a lot of shrubbery growing around the pond that needs to be trimmed back so the pond can thrive and we can get down and around the pond.

Take out the trees by the detached garage. We have plans for the detached garage, and in order to achieve them, we have to get rid of the growth, even the giant trees, around the garage.

Next Year – 2022

Start a garden and compost pile. We have the perfect spot for both.

Build a new shed/detached garage. Read on to see why.

Turn the current detached garage into a guest house and move in. Yep, you read that right. Our big plan is to make the current detached garage into a guest house and move in while we fix up the main house. This main house needs a ton of work, and the best way to get things done is to be out of it.

Big plans. Huge plans. Right?

What we have planned for the main house is still to be decided. We have thought about some ways to fix it up and add on. We’ve also discussed the possibility of tearing it down and re-building. We’re still figuring it out. But we have time.

My greatest advice to anyone who buys a fixer upper: Don’t get overwhelmed. Take things one step at a time, or as Scott likes to say, “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” It doesn’t need to be done all at once. Find a way to make it work for you, and chip away as you can.

I’m excited for our future plans. And I can’t wait to design that guest house. It’s going to be amazing!

Do you have any advice for us fixer uppers? Let me know in the comments.


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