Sharing a look back into the buying process and the original project list for my townhouse renovations.
Buying a home is a big decision. Buying a home and diving head first into renovations is a whole new level of big decisions. When I started looking to buy my townhouse, I looked at all the things. Every option from houses to townhomes and condos, places that were in budget, under budget, over budget, move in ready, not-so move in ready. You name it, my realtor and I looked at it. I had my profession of being a designer on my side in this situation because I got pretty comfortable with being able to walk into a place and within 5-10 minutes really knowing if it was an option or not. I crossed places off my list just as quickly as new ones went on the list. In the end, the right place came around and here we are.
If I could recommend anything in the home buying process, it’s know your limits and have a great realtor on your side.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
First things first, know your limits – your comfort zone. Becoming a homeowner comes with ups and downs, including home maintenance and projects if you’re anything like me. I knew what my comfort level was going into my home search. Being a designer and having a very handy father, I knew I could take on a level of home projects or renovations so I wasn’t afraid to look at something that needed a little TLC. A whole renovation however, well that kind of just fell into place.
Second, find a realtor that fits your needs and will work with you as a team member. You want someone on your side during this process. Believe me, I had no idea what I was doing. For my Charlotte people, you may have heard of him before, Andy Griesinger (@andyg_realtor) he’s a popular guy around town. I’ve been friends with Andy for a few years now and I knew he was someone I could go to and ask all the questions. Looking back at the first place we looked at, I was crazy to even look at it. It was out of my budget and I’m sure Andy thought I was crazy too… but I had to start somewhere. He set me up with all the right people I needed to talk to to get the ball rolling, and we went from there.
And now for a little story time. Everything with this townhouse quite literally just fell into place – it couldn’t have worked out any better logistically. Some of you may know that I’m still living in my current apartment in the city. I’ll be moving into the townhome in a few months! This gave me enough time to renovate and be move-in ready for a roommate and my pillow studio (her moving timeframe fell before mine and I needed an office space!) Here’s how it all went down:
MAKING THE DECISION
FIRST VISIT | I saw the townhouse online and went to see it on a Friday with Andy, I wasn’t familiar with the specific neighborhood, but I knew the area. When we saw it for the first time, I knew it was great and had so much potential, but needed a ton of work but it needed more work than I could make a decision on.
SECOND VISIT | My dad happened to be coming through Charlotte the next night (Saturday) traveling back home to Florida and I managed to convince him to stay long enough to see it Sunday morning before he hit the road again. We went and saw it for the second time with Andy. My dad confirmed the projects that needed to happen and we mentally made a priority list. This needed to happen to see if it was even worth us putting in an offer on.
THE LIST | There were two major unknown problems with the townhome that we pointed out and had to put some thinking (and budgeting) towards to make the final decision. There was a soft spot in the private bathroom floor upstairs and the stairs were flexing and felt really loose under the existing carpet. Question was if these were budget breaking problems or if they were easy fixes, we wouldn’t know for sure until we owned it… This then opened up a whole new side of the list where I started adding my needs like the new kitchen and bathroom, and my wants like the pantry, office wall, etc.
PRE-BUDGETING | Doing some pre-budgeting and creating the “what if” list was so helpful to seeing the purchase price vs. a renovation budget and how that would all work with payments, my budget, etc. Planning this out even before we placed an offer was amazing. I went into offering (and negotiating) confidently. Again, knowing my limits because I had thought through each scenario.
Putting in an offer on a home and going through a negotiation is normal these days. We pushed for a quick closing date so we could manage our timeline for the renovation projects… especially since there were still two large unknowns. Every single person involved in the closing of the townhome was amazing. We ended up closing in 2 weeks (whoa) and the day I got the keys, my dad showed up with his truck filled with tools ready to go. We hit the ground running and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it – the good the bad, the wins and the fails. I’ll get more into all of that later.
Here’s a look at how my project list came to life:
UNKNOWN #1 | Private Bathroom Floor had a soft spot and some creaking. This floor was connected to the kitchen ceiling below. Having to go into the kitchen and the bathroom gave me the opportunity to focus on those projects in full. These two spaces needed all the TLC they could get.
UNKNOWN #2 | Stairs were flexing and felt loose underneath the carpet. The carpet was old, dirty and nasty so ripping it up to get to what was underneath was a must, but also an unknown. What was underneath? Would I have to re-carpet? Were the stairs fixable?
PAINT, PAINT, PAINT | paint everything – walls, ceilings, doors and trim
I’ll be sharing so much more townhouse details and behind the scenes in the coming weeks, you can also expect before and afters as well as new projects! My project list is already piling up for 2020. I posted an empty home tour, how I got scammed out of a washer/dryer, and my plans to swap some lighting around the townhouse – and of course all of my instagram stories where I documented things along the way are saved into my highlights.
Photos by StudioAH