After listing and selling The Birchman House in a matter of days, Melissa and I found ourselves homeless with nowhere to go. Luckily, my parents were kind enough to let us move back in for a few months. We knew we wanted to move to the Fairmount district so that we could be within walking distance to BREWED (which we were about to open) and I knew that I wanted to buy another house that needed work. We had just made a good amount of money from renovating and selling The Birchman House and my plan was to reinvest that money into another fixer upper that I could fix up and then sell again in a couple of years (you don't have to pay capital gains taxes if you sell your house after living in it two years). We also wanted something a little bit bigger, and it had always been our dream to have a big front porch.
We looked at a ton of houses, but we just couldn't seem to find the right one. I had made several offers on different properties, but we kept striking out. Either the house was already fixed up, too small, not close enough to BREWED or was too expensive. Finally, we put the house hunt on hold and I went out on the road with GRO for a short two week tour in the Midwest. One morning, while we were in Ohio for a festival, I woke up in our hotel pretty early (it was 7:30 am, which may not be early for most people, but it is in musician world) and I couldn't go back to sleep. So I started my daily house hunt searching on my Zillow app. There was nothing new to be seen, so I decided to do a quick search on Craigslist to see if anybody might have listed a house on there.
And then I found it. Someone had listed a house just thirty minutes before and I instantly knew that it was going to be our next home. It was just a few blocks from BREWED, had a huge front porch, was the perfect size, was definitely a fixer upper and the price was just right. I knew I had to move fast because this was the best deal I had seen in months, so I immediately hopped out of bed and called the owner. When he answered, I told him I wanted to buy his house. I let him know I was going to be sending him a contract when we got off the phone and that I couldn't go actually check out the property, because I was actually in Ohio. He thought I was crazy! He had just listed the house thirty minutes prior and was completely shocked that I would make him an offer without even stepping foot in the property. But if there is one thing I have learned, when you find a great deal you don't hesitate. In real-estate you have to move fast. So I typed up an offer and I immediately emailed it to him.
After I sent it, I called my wife up to tell her that I had just made an offer on a house and asked her if she would go check it out later that day. She was hesitant at first, but luckily she went along with it and went to go check it out later that day. She loved it. The house was the perfect size, had great original 1920's charm, and was in a great location. She got the contract signed for the two of us and by the end of the day we were on our way to our second house adventure. I understand that this may sound crazy; I just put an offer on a house I found on craigslist, had never seen, all while I was in Ohio. But when you find the right deal you have to take some risks and go for it. I would say that this has really been instrumental in all of our success with real-estate. You have to know your area, diligently hunt for properties, and move fast when you find a deal.
Thirty days later we were closed on the house and the real challenge ensued. It was time to bring the house back to life and get it move in ready. This was a bigger project and a bigger house than our Birchman property, but I had a blast working on it.
We painted the boring brown exterior a fun blue, did some landscaping, put in a drip irrigation system, and installed a big back deck. We opened up the kitchen into the dining room, painted the cabinets white, added a bar made out of reclaimed wood, hung funky wallpaper, installed a glass chandelier, and put in an industrial faucet. We also pulled up the tile and painted the old pine floors a fun striped pattern. I relocated the entrance to the laundry room and downstairs bathroom, and finished off the new entrance with with a sliding barn door system. We painted the entire interior and scraped all the popcorn ceilings. The original wood floors had been painted black by the previous owner (not shown in these pictures), so I sanded them down, white washed them, and sealed them with a special clear coat that would leave them natural looking. It all turned out super cool. We added a reclaimed wood wall to the upstairs TV room with salvaged wood from another home I was working on in Fairmount. And last but not least, we tiled the master bathroom with subway tile and I built a custom vanity out of an old desk that Melissa found at an antique store. It was quite the ordeal, but we really made this house our own and it looked fantastic!
So now the moment you have all been waiting for. Here are some of the before and after pictures:
This was a fantastic house and we made some great memories here! But I am the type of guy who is always looking for the next project. I listed this house 2 years later while we were on vacation in Mexico for double what I had paid for it. I didn't think anyone would buy it for quite some time because of the high asking price, but we had 4 offers on it in less than 24 hours. The rest is history and you can read about our next project, "The Ice House" here.