Hi guys!! Last time I updated you, I mentioned that CB and I were in the process of purchasing a condo. We closed successfully on June 21st!!! YaY!!! Here’s a brief timeline of how it went down:
- Get preapproved for a mortgage with Quicken. They weren’t our first choice, but we were having a really difficult time with getting preapproved at local credit unions due to our somewhat unique situation. Most places didn’t want to deal with us because of CB’s immigration status (re: he’s an immigrant. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.) and because of my work (seasonal, contract). But Quicken had no problems preapproving us!
- Did a complete 180 with our desires. Originally we wanted a shitty little crack house that we could fix up. However, thinking about how busy we are going to be the next few years with work + school made us reconsider. We decided we wanted a condo with an HOA that would take care of all the maintenance for us. Lawn work is for chumps (or people with more time than us!)
- Get set up with a realtor based out of Clarksville that a friend referred me to. She completely disregarded all of our wants and sent us listings for shit that made us go, “wtf, did you even listen to us?” Things we never even considered. Sometime around mid-April she fired us. We had a modest budget and she found it to be too limiting.
- A work friend set us up with a local mortgage broker who was fantastic, as well as an excellent realtor. This realtor happened to be the manager of the Madison branch of his office, and he never treated us with anything but the utmost respect (despite our small budget). Seriously, I’m sure he makes a shit ton more than that other lady, and he treated us phenomenally. I am so glad we were referred to him!
- Began looking at condos. The market in Nashville is killer right now. Things are going under contract within HOURS of being put on the market. Our realtor was fabulous and repeatedly met with us after work, shortly after finding listings of agreeable places.
- We bid on 3 condos this month and lost all 3. :(
- #1: close to Briley Parkway, 2 bedroom 1.5 baths. It was our first bid and we weren’t so sure of the market. We bid asking price, with only contingency being inspection.
- #2: probably our favorite, on the outskirts of the Percy Priest community, 2 bedroom 1.5 baths. It was beautiful. We bid 8k or so over asking, only contingency being inspection. We found out we were the 2nd choice… the winner paid all cash and like 5k more than us.
- #3: the largest at 3 bedroom 1.5 bath with a full dining room also. It was closer to Percy Priest lake and also gorgeous. We bid 14k over asking, only contingency being inspection.
- We were getting depressed and began looking at apartments. The average 1 bedroom is about 1k a month, whereas we were looking at a $500 or so mortgage. Continued to look halfheartedly at condos, and get more depressed at apartment prices.
- Spent a Saturday checking out an open house on an actual house, as well as viewing several condos. Really liked this one. It was somewhat unusual, with the foyer opening up into the kitchen (I’ve never seen that before!) and the living room in the back. But it was actually move-in ready (#2 needed a little bit of work; the owner was renovating and stopped before completing. Nothing major, but still some work). It had some nice upgrades, like plantation shutters installed over all the windows, a drinking water filtration system, garbage disposal, etc. It also came with all the appliances (outdated, but still). We decided to bid far too much over asking. Like 17.5k over asking.
- Our realtor came back later that day to inform us (sadly) that there was an issue with the HOA. Did you know that if more than 15% of the HOA members are delinquent on dues, that most mortgage companies won’t lend on it? It can impact the insurance/repairs. Let’s say a tornado decimates the community. If the HOA is severely delinquent, they can’t afford to fix it. Our community was 20% delinquent and our local broker would not lend.
- On a whim, I contacted Quicken. Would they lend on it? We were approved for a loan for a 5% downpayment. Quicken responded and said yes – if we’d put down 10%, they’d take the gamble and lend. We were able to do so!
- Me and CB got excited. Our realtor got excited. Because this HOA didn’t allow rentals, it was VERY unlikely for there to be a cash offer (what killed us for #1, 2, and 3). We decided to offer ASKING PRICE and ask for the seller to pay closing costs, gambling that no one else would be able to get a mortgage. Of course, we were also gambling on the HOA revitalizing by the time we decide to sell in the future. And as our realtor said, 20% delinquency isn’t anything like 50% — our HOA can still fix catastrophic damage, I just might not be getting new flowers put in my beds this year.
- Our offer was accepted!!!! CUE ALL THE CELEBRATIONS!!!!!!!
- Inspection went very well. Our home inspector said, “I’ve seen some sketchy places this week. Yours is the first I would have NO issue moving into. You’ve found a good one!” There was a small issue with the HVAC return leaking — we asked the seller to have it repaired and it was!
- Close date set for June 14th!
- I took care of all the details like securing insurance. Most condos don’t have typical homeowner’s insurance. Ours has what is called “Walls-In,” because we are literally only responsible for the things that only impact our unit, like our HVAC system, plumbing inside our walls, and all of the interior finishings. Our HOA is responsible for our roof, storage shed, yard, flower beds, etc.
- I began to get worried because I wasn’t hearing about the appraisal. My biggest complaint with Quicken was their lack of communication. Finally I heard that our scheduled appraisal didn’t happen because our appraiser had a family emergency. They scheduled another appraisal. It happened 3 days before close.
- That appraiser demanded a thorough HOA review survey. This took my HOA week to finish. Needless to say, we did not close on the 14th and we were very upset.
- We got the final clear to close that Friday!
- We met our realtor at the title company early on Tuesday the 21st, signed the papers, handed over a bigass cashier’s check, and got our keys!!
WE HAVE BEEN RENOVATING EVER SINCE!!
But wait, you may say, “I thought it was move-in ready?” It was! However, it was not aesthetically pleasing to us. I will let the following photos do the talking.
We are tackling this in stages. Here are some things that we have either already done, or plan to do:
- Remove every last square inch of wallpaper.
- Repaint all of the rooms in beautiful, soothing, cool colors. No more warm colors!
- Replace many of the light fixtures. We are going full LED. Those that aren’t replaced outright will get new bulbs. All of the ceiling fans will either go, or be replaced with more modern ones.
- Swap out the plumbing fixtures. The brass upstairs has to go. Downstairs has a shiny chrome that is more acceptable, but will still be replaced for continuity’s sake (same fixtures upstairs and down). We also eventually want to change out the kitchen fixtures.
- All new appliances. Only keeping the stove (Whirlpool, convection oven, self-cleaning… you can tell it was bought recently). Sell the old ones on Craigslist.
- Make it a smart house with the Nest equipment.
- All new door hardware. From brass to satin nickel. All metals will be either black, or satin nickel.
- New furniture. All we kept was my pub table set. We are living with the couch that the owner left for the meantime (mine were old and ratty, and this one is surprisingly comfortable). We bought a new, king-sized mattress that is currently on the floor. Our old queen is in the guest bedroom/gym. We are currently waiting on our new bed to arrive. We ordered from IKEA.
- Install floor-to-ceiling bookcases in master bedroom that wrap halfway around the room. Make them look like built-ins. We are also currently waiting on these.
- Convert coat closet by front door to a small mudroom area. Remove the doors because they just get in the way.
- Make closets more functional with closet systems.
- Insulate/weatherproof the shed.
- Better insulate the attic. The entire upstairs is at least 5 degrees warmer at all times. We haven’t decided yet on whether we’ll blow it in, or put down strips.
- Pimp out a home gym, complete with power lifting equipment.
- Rip out the carpet and install laminate flooring.
- New bathtub (I dislike this one. It’s shallow and uncomfortable. CB is not yet quite on board with this plan, but dammit, I’m hopeful)
Oh, and as for how we’re arranging things… since it’s relatively small, at approximately 1250 sq ft, we have to be very careful and mindful of what we use and storage. We did some hard negotiating. So what we came up with is a bit non-traditional, but it’s working for us!!
Kitchen: Stays a kitchen. It is my favorite room in the house. It’s almost complete and I love it.
Living Room: This is our home office. We are both constantly at our computers, either playing or doing homework (and one of my jobs is at home, on my system). We don’t own a TV – we stream things on our computers. So we’ve set up two desks, and kept the current couch. This is definitely not your typical living room. Maybe “den” is a better word?
Master Bedroom: Houses a king-sized bed and my library. I think this room is going to be gorgeous when it’s done. Right now it’s a mattress on the floor, lol. But I can see it coming together! It’s going to be moody and comforting and romantic. There won’t be any furniture in there except the giant bed and the massive bookshelves thanks to some smart closet systems. Well, maybe there’ll be a cat tree. It’s their home, too.
Second Bedroom: This is our gym. We’re setting it up with a power rack and full Olympic lifting equipment. My bike is currently housed there because our shed is stuffed, and I may set it up on a trainer for the winter. Our queen-sized bed is also in there, so this is also kind of a guest room. But that’s definitely its secondary function.
And here is the paint palette we have decided on:
Sherwin-Williams: Essential Gray, Pewter Cast, Peppercorn, Tranquil Aqua, and Revel Blue.
We used Essential Gray, Pewter Cast, and Tranquil Aqua in the basement. Peppercorn and Revel Blue were new picks to us and WE LOVE THEM!! I’m so excited by our entire paint palette; everything looks so lovely!
So basically, everything has been wonderful. It’s so incredible to have a space that we own. So far our HOA has been doing a good job maintaining the exterior. Our neighbors are exceedingly quiet (although we did get a really good neighborhood 4th of July show). The neighborhood itself is great; super safe with kids playing. I enjoy the location near the lake – I’m 20 minutes from work, 25 minutes from school, and far enough removed from downtown Metro Nashville that I don’t feel like I’m in the big city.
I hope you guys don’t mind me diverging from my typical food-related posts to present home diy things. Don’t worry: more keto content will be coming. Now that we’ve moved, I’ve literally cooked every meal but one (hit up B-Dubs for some .50c wings last Tuesday), and have been solidly keto again. And there is this glorious little grocery store a few blocks away that has magnificent meats. Don’t worry, recipes are coming!