I had a whole list of posts that were supposed to get edited and scheduled for this past week, but after my closing on the 14th was delayed to the next day, and the next, and the next and a few blizzards in between, any idea of a schedule or To Do list kind of flew out the window. That’s okay though because…. I FINALLY BOUGHT A HOUSE!
So many of you reached out and congratulated me on my personal Instagram and it felt so great to finally share this accomplishment with you all! I moved back to Iowa about two and a half years ago with my Corolla full of anything that would fit, about $3,500 in debt, and just a dream of buying a little fixer upper farmhouse with some land. It took a lot of strategic planning, swallowing my pride, saving, and patience to finally make this all come together.
Also let me emphasize PATIENCE, which seems to be my life lesson. I always imagined the home buying process like they show it in the movies. The cute couple walks in, looks at each other lovingly, and then proclaims, “We’ll take it!” in unison to the listing agent, then magically the next weekend they’re moving in. NOT. THE. CASE. We watched houses we really wanted get snatched up in just a day of being listed, almost bought a house that would have been a money pit, had a nasty encounter with the seller of said house who wanted to keep my earnest money, and had to wait over two months for the seller of the house I just purchased to even respond to our offer. It felt like this process of waiting just wouldn’t end.
I wish I could give everyone the magic formula on how to skip the headaches of home buying, but it all comes down to your support team.
My parents took time out of their schedules to come walk through and inspect these homes with me. Much to my annoyance and yet relief, my dad would pick out every issue with the houses we looked at, ultimately saving us thousands of dollars in the long run. My boyfriend was there to listen to me completely break down when it felt like it was just never going to happen. He always reassured me that our dream farm home was out there and kept me optimistic when I just wanted to give up. He trusted me when I kept showing him homes with creepy dolls, sketchy basements, and terrifying Sesame Street murals (wait for the photo at the end). And was the first to give me the most amazing house warming gift. I’m not a diamond kind of girl so this necklace with our house coordinates was so incredibly thoughtful and perfect. I couldn’t be more excited to start this next chapter together!
And of course those who handled the biggest of details, my realtor and mortgage banker. I’m adding links to their names, so that if anyone in Iowa is looking for a home, they can get in contact with them. This is me shamelessly plugging them and trying to to express my gratitude for how hard they fought and worked to make my goal come to fruition.
My realtor, Chris Ranallo, and his team were there every step of the way. We knew Chris through mutual friends so it was great getting to work with someone that knew us and exactly what we were wanting in a home. He walked me through the entire process, always kept me in the loop of what was happening, and fought hard for us to get this place. And he has a guy for literally EVERYTHING! He referred me to a mortgage banker, home inspector, plumber, basement professionals, etc. Everything that seemed daunting he had firsthand experience with, knew prices, and knew the best professionals to handle the job. He was also there at closing to greet us with open arms, gifts, champagne, and drove out of his way to get the house unlocked for us so we could get in that day.
You can check out some of his listings and get in contact with him over on Facebook as well!
The next big piece to the puzzle of home buying is of course getting financing. I initially went to a credit union to find out where my credit was sitting and what I qualified for, but was treated quite poorly. The banker was pretty cold and made comments that left me feeling judged for being a single woman working in retail trying to buy a home by herself. I left rather unexcited about the whole process. I told Chris how it went and he immediately referred me to Chad Harris, with Fidelity Bank. He not only explained everything about the financial end of the home buying process that I didn’t understand, but was excited for me, and celebrated that I was doing this with just my credit alone. He was always there to pick up the phone for me with any question I had and quick to make everything happen… even when the seller was dragging his feet!
Now for a quick house tour!
You guys have been kindly urging me to get photos up ASAP, so here is my little fixer upper and a few of the plans I have for it!
The kitchen is actually pretty big and has the most potential. Just a quick run down of what I’d love to do:
Relocate the stove (and update the stove) to where the microwave cart is, new lower cabinets and rip out the uppers to replace with open shelves, new flooring, adding French doors that open up to the porch where the window and door are split between one of the archways, and remove that wall between the kitchen and living room. I love the arch details, but may just make that one big arch instead for a more open plan. Obviously finding out if it’s a load bearing wall and all that fun stuff will come first, but a girl can (and will) dream for now.
That giant picture window in the living room is one of the reasons I fell in love with this place. The light is amazing in this room and I think adding French doors and taking out that wall will allow more of that light to spill into the kitchen. I plan on painting and changing up the light fixture, but not much else.
Both of the bedrooms are pretty similar. The closets are kind of funky and the paint color is… flesh tone. Or as my friend Jenny put it, “Hot Dog.” Hahaha it’s definitely getting a few coats of fresh white paint. I haven’t figured out an action plan for the closets or anything else just yet.
The Hot Dog paint continues in the teeny tiny bathroom along with some peeling wallpaper. This will be one of the biggest renovations we do down the road. This bathroom makes me slightly claustrophobic and I would love to knock into the wall where the tub is and expand it a bit. There’s a small alcove in the kitchen for where the washer used to be and it happens to be right on the other side of the bathroom.
Now onto the basement and that creepy mural I told you about..
Eyeless Sesame Street characters.. Another fun feature. About half of the basement is finished.. somewhat. This is another area of the house that will be a big transformation. I would love to turn this into a really nice den area eventually. The mural has to go (much to Chris’s disappointment) and that wallpapered wall has to be ripped out. It oddly sticks out from the window about 4 to 5 inches which is a little concerning. We have no idea what’s lurking behind it, but we’ll find out soon. The other part of the basement isn’t anything too exciting.. water heater, furnace, etc.. but there is a small room equipped with shelves and bins that I believe used to be some sort of a canning/root cellar room.
Just off the area I would like to turn into the den is a mudroom that walks out to the back door. Oh and this lovely toilet inside of a closet. This will be Chris’s bathroom for sure! 😉
I’m only kind of kidding, but obviously it’s got the potential to be a bathroom at some point. Right beside this toilet closet is another closet that was locked with a skeleton key that no one had. We didn’t get to open it until we bought the place and I used a crow bar to get in. I shared it over on my Instagram story which you can now check out in my highlights.
I skipped exterior photos because everything is currently under a foot of snow and the backyard is majorly torn up from a new septic install, but I did snap this sign that’s posted on the garage. I’m really curious to learn more about the history of this land, the home, and the farm that was once here.
Thank you all again for being so supportive and encouraging during this process! I couldn’t be more excited to take on the challenges that come with being a home owner and share new projects, recipes, and renovations with you!