Crazy Found a Whole New Gear

There’s a scene in the movie Seabiscuit where the injured jockey Red Pollard (played by Tobey Maguire) tells his substitute jockey, “now show him the stick at the quarter pole, and he’ll give you a whole new gear.” And this last week, crazy in our lives found a whole new gear.

We’re buying a house.

And not just any house. A unique fixer-upper opportunity with a 203k rehab loan. We signed a contract this weekend.

Not the best picture (you can see more here) but one my daughter took so it’s special. We’d seen the house on the realtor sites but hadn’t really perked interest until Seth shared a link to this posting on twitter and Facebook. I was intrigued at that point and sent the link to my wife and we, after some discussion, decided to go look at it. It hit all the items on our wish list but one. It’s close to our current house. It’s big. It has lots of bedrooms. It’s big. It has hardwood floors. It was well under our max price we were willing to pay. But it wasn’t ready to move in to (which was the item on the wish list that was least likely to achieve).

We liked it. Huge, compared to what we have, and the layout was really good for us. Six bedrooms on the second floor meant that we’d have the room assignments we were hoping for, and all of them are as big as our second largest bedroom here. There’s plumbing available on all 3 floors, and the kitchen, which we’ve wanted to upgrade here, needed gutting anyway so we’ll be able to put in the kitchen we want, not get stuck with someone else’s dream kitchen. Oh, and did I mention no carpet?

We got a pretty good deal on the sale price, but there’s a ton of work with this loan before close, and we’re estimating it’ll be at least the price of the house again to fix it up. And we think we’re still getting a pretty good deal.

The house needs a lot of work. Electrical system is in disarray and may need started again. There’s no air conditioning or ductwork so we’ll be putting in zoned heating and air conditioning throughout, replacing the boiler (which is suspect) with forced air heat. The roof needs a little work and the kitchen needs to be gutted and started over. Those are the big rocks, and there’s some plumbing and painting on top of that as well as finishing the third floor into a master suite (there’s already plumbing up there for a master bath…it looks like there was an apartment there).

I won’t know for sure how long the rehab will take for a while. We’re estimating a closing date (have to have a bunch done with estimates before close) in early September. I’d like to think the house could be done by Christmas, or at least ready to move in to but that may be pushing it with the work that needs to be done.

We’re very excited about the increased space. Each of the first two floors has the same square footage as our entire house, so it’s like we’re doubling space plus adding a master suite on top of it plus a drier, bigger basement. There’s no “out building” so we’ll have to store lawn tools in the basement for a while but that’s a small inconvenience at this point.

Do we have time to pack, move, and manage a home rehab? (Thankfully not in that order)

Nope. Not even close. I have four classes left to finish and a comprehensive final exam for my Master’s degree over the next five months. We have nine children and busy lives. But everyone wants more space and I think we’ll be able to pull together and get this done. Stay tuned for more details as we work for a September closing!

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