Closing Out (a home)

When we moved to the Gorge, two and a half years ago, we envisioned living in Hood River or White Salmon. Close to work and close to play. The reality of the housing market kept us from our ideal spot and after a few months of living with Jess’s parents, we desired a place of our own. As I’d discussed in my more recent posts, part of the reason we moved to the Gorge was financial. We needed to keep our housing costs low. Rent in the region is absurdly high for the wages earned, and since we were sitting on a bit of coin from the sale of our last home, we could greatly cut out housing costs if we were to buy… in The Dalles.

The Dalles will be further covered later, but for now I’ll sum it up as frustrating. We also wanted to buy something we could put a “little” sweat equity into. We nearly put in an offer on a little Craftsman style home in Carson, but pulled out as it would be at the very top of our range and we only saw the home, and town, at night. The first home we put an offer in on was on the west side of town. It needed a little work, but the asking price was too high, so we low balled an offer and were rejected. The next house was in middle of The Dalles and in good shape in a good community. Incidentally, it was nearly the same footprint and layout as the previous home. A cash offer beat us out.

And then there was this new listing. Just a few blocks away from the in-laws. Rough, but not absurdly so, for a good price. So we made an offer. After some negotiation, it was accepted and a couple months later we took possession. Turned out it needed new plumbing, a revelation that came after we moved in. That required us to move out for a couple weeks. The rest of the remodel has been staggered across the last two years. We started with the main bathroom, into the living room, followed by the kitchen and dining room. We painted the exterior and Jess worked hard on the landscaping and the results speak for themselves!

Kitchen in remodeled home

This year, we set in motion to renovate the basement. In April, I finished moving the laundry upstairs next to the kitchen and immediately afterward started on the office. Then it came time for the basement itself. Nearly 700 sq. ft. of space to reconfigure. I started on the project around the same time I applied for a new job. I knew that this could put me into a massive time crunch, but I wasn’t worried. After some interviews, a trip to Bozeman and a job offer, the project was under full swing, and under pressure.

It was about a 6-week turnaround to strip to the studs and refinish the space. We pulled out a closet in one spot, put two in where they made sense. The bathroom was finally replaced after the previously mentioned re-plumb pulled it out. New (now opening) windows replaced old windows on the west end. The walls were textured and painted. New LED lighting was installed. New flooring was laid. On top of this, other house details were getting wrapped up. I was in the attic, on the roof, fixing gutters, cutting holes and filling others. It was extensive; it was exhausting!

With the photographer coming on a Thursday morning, our deadline was Wednesday night. The house was done! It went up on the market shortly after and within a few days and nearly 30 showings, we accepted an offer. Just a month later, it closed! So now we live in the wake of that, and gaming out our options in Helena. It probably won’t be until 2020, so who knows what we’ll be getting into. I can tell you this for sure though: I won’t be tempted in quite the same way by a fixer upper!

Posted by Brent

A God fearing, husband to one amazing woman, and a father to a handsome son (with another child on the way!) A media making, camera wielding, sometimes-running, outdoor enthusing, tinkering, coffee loving man. Oh, and he also does some IT stuff... Brent lives in the beautiful PNW! He is the founder of Thirty Five Media, member of Approach International, and Web & Media Manager for Headwaters Economics.