Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our offer wasn't accepted...

Someone beat us to the punch. There were 2 offers on the house, and the bank chose the other offer. We are in back-up position, so there is still a glimmer of hope - but I'm not holding my breath. If it was meant to be, things will change. In the meantime, I only hope that the new buyers will make this little house everything it can be.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wait and see...

Here is what I hope to transform the house to.

The offer to buy back "The Heather House" has been submitted! Now it's a waiting game... I wrote a little story to go along with the offer, explaining a bit of the home's history. I'm sure people are wondering how the home could have gone from so cute, to so bad. It was truly heartbreaking walking through the house. I think the thing that made me the most upset, was talking to the neighbor before I had even entered the house. He ranted on and on about how the house should just be "imploded". He needs to sleep with one eye open. No one is tearing down my little house. It's the house with 9 lives. I can already envision the transformation. I'm thinking a taupe color exterior, black shutters to go with the white window trim, and maybe a red door. Put a little front porch on the house, and tastefully landscape - you just wait! Inside, the walls will be re-textured and painted a warm sand color, the doors and trim all white. Re-finish the hardwood floors in the living room and put plush carpeting in the bedrooms. The kitchen will have a new cabinet set with stainless appliances and maybe a track light. Granite countertops and a new back door. In the bathroom, I would update it with a new vanity, oil rubbed bronze fixtures and neutral colors.

I'm ready - just give me the green light!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Old pictures of the "Heather House"

Here are a few pictures of what the inside of the house used to look like. Remember, I was single, 23, and all-girl. This was the playhouse I never had as a kid.

This was my horse "Willie". He helped keep the acre of land cleared. I fixed the fence and boarded another horse on the property.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Heather House, chapter 2

So, my little house is for sale again. We owned it for 10 years after we moved out, and sold it to the long term tenants who rented it - thinking it was a win-win. We rolled the proceeds into a larger apartment building, and they became homeowners. It broke my heart a little each time I would drive by the house when they were renting it. Broken down cars littered the driveway, Christmas lights were stapled into the metal siding (not even on the roofline!) and left up year-round. The yard went to shambles and they really let the place go. We thought maybe home ownership may make them care for the home a bit more, but we were wrong. Once they purchased the home, they began falling behind in payments. We helped them out on several occasions, paying their mortgage to keep them current, and then having them repay us on paydays. One day they were approached by one of those loan modification companies. They were told if they got behind 3 months in payments, that they could be helped. So they did. 3 months later, the loan mod company said it turned out they couldn't help them after all. They lost the house in foreclosure. I found the home the other night on the MLS, and was shocked by the photos. It's not the house I left 14 years ago. It needs some love. The description on one of the Real Estate websites read "total fixer - possible teardown". It's so sad. My husband and I talked about it again last night. I'm hoping I can convince him to take this leap. We would most likely fix it to sell, not rent again. I would love to give my little house another re-incarnation!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The "Heather House"

My first house. It was love at first sight. I was living in a small 1 bedroom apartment with a little dog and dreamed of a cute little "grandma house" with window boxes and flowers. I would stop into Real Estate offices and ask if there were any little "grandma houses" out in the sticks for around 50K that might be available. They laughed me all the way out the door. Keep in mind, this was 1989 and homes could still be purchased for under 100 thousand. My dreams were a little lofty.

I used to drive by this little house at an intersection and thought it was the cutest little house. I never saw anyone come or go. I looked a little closer, and realized the wires had been cut, and that it appeared vacant. One day, I went into the local title company and asked for some information on the property. It turned out the house had recently been sold to a company called "La Petit Academy", a large daycare company. I found the contact phone number on the information they gave me and called to inquire about the property. It turned out the man I spoke with in Kansas City Missouri was from this area and knew my parents! What a small world!!! I explained to him that I loved this little house, and wondered what the plans were. He told me they had plans to tear it down and build a daycare on the property, but that the plans were about a year out. I asked if it would be possible for me to go in, fix it up, and rent it for that year. He didn't see a problem with that, so we negotiated a fair rent amount. We decided I could take the first 2 months rent free to account for repairs needed to fix the place up (hook up water, power etc...) and then the rent would be $300.00 per month. Considering I was paying $450 for my 1 bedroom apartment, this was a great deal!

I climbed in the bedroom window (with the help of my mother) and took my first walk through the house. My mom walked around with her hands up, careful not to touch anything, and I on the other hand, was in love. I pulled a corner of the dirty, matted disgusting green/gold shag carpets and found some hardwood floors. I knew with a coat of paint, a good floor scrubbing and some throw rugs, this could be a really cute place.

First came the power, then the water, then the overhaul. There was a small cabinet in the kitchen, a moldy fridge in the corner, and a bathroom we won't even talk about. I sprayed the fridge down with Tilex, ripped out the existing kitchen cabinets and went to the wallpaper store. I purchased a few cabinets from "Ernst Hardware" (remember that place??) and started putting my little house together. Keep in mind, I was 23 and single at the time. My dream was to make this little house as "girly" as possible. I painted the exterior door pink, along with the window trim. With a little elbow grease, paint and love - my little house became a home.

A friend approached me after I had moved in, and asked if I was interested in renting the spare bedroom. I agreed and collected $150 in rent from her. I then was approached to board a horse on the property which brought in another $100.00. My rent was now just $50.00!!

Then the phone rang. It turned out the plans had been bumped up, and they were ready to demolish my little home. I was so sad. This was my little dream house. I had painted, wallpapered, put in a new kitchen and curtains. All of my hard work was going to be smashed into little pieces. That's when the lightbulb went on. I approached La Petit, and suggested a crazy idea. I said "If I can find a lot to move the house to, and take it off your hands - saving you thousands in demolition costs, can I take the house with me?" They agreed. I had exactly 1 MONTH to move the house, or they were bulldozing it. I grabbed a "Little Nickel Want Ads" news paper and started my search. Sure enough, there was a lot for sale. It turned out it was just a mile from where my home sat. I called the owners and arranged a meeting. Guess where I had to go? Across the street. They owned a rental property across the street, so I walked over and met with them. I told them all about the house and my plans for it. They were sweet senior citizens who loved the idea. My name became "sweetie". "Well, sweetie, here's what we need to do..." I had no idea how to tackle this beast, but with their help, I hired a mover, acquired the permits, dug for the foundation, moved the house, and then refinanced to pay them off.

Once on the ground (which took a bit longer than expected, but well worth the wait) I painted the house light blue, put heart shaped shutters on the windows, eventually planted flowers and put up a pickett fence, and my little "Heather House" became my first home.

My family shook their heads at my crazy dream. "Who does this??" they would ask. It was a changing point in my life. I educated myself in every aspect of home improvement and took pride in what I had done. I installed the kitchen, the roof, painted, wallpapered, plumbed, hauled, cleaned - you name it, I did it. When I got married, my husband rolled up his posters, packed his duffel bag, and moved in. Yes, it was a little "foofy" for this big, football player-type guy, but he married a gal with her own home. I later got my Real Estate license, and both my husband and I are in the business. We own many rental properties and multi-family properties. I am never without a toolbox, drill and plumbing kit in my BMW. I am the fix-it girl in my home. My neighbors call up and ask my husband "will you check with Heather to see if you have a hack saw?" I ask what kind of blade he needs.

This was my first home. I will always love this little house with it's heart shaped shutters. It will forever be "The Heather House".