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Spend Big or Go Reno: Why we chose to buy a reno for our first home

About three years ago, my fiancé and I were knee deep into house hunting...we had been through three realtors, multiple changes to our home budget, many additions to our neighborhood limitations, which lead us to look at about 300 homes.

I would not recommend making these same mistakes ahha but you live and you learn! So prior to landing our current home we met with a renovator who was about to start gutting and redoing a hundred year old home in our dream neighborhood, he said he could custom a lot of the features to fit my vision and we would just need to agree on the price of the home—-unfortunately that price just kept going up and up and after walking through the home we realized it did not have as much character as i had hoped (or so i am telling myself this now)!

The realization that we had to walk away from what i thought was my dream home completely devastated me, I needed a break from looking at homes, and was ready to throw in the towel for a while....but lucky for me our realtor and my fiancé were not! Aha they convinced me to look at one more home (which truthfully looked like a total dump in the listing) and I reluctantly went to see the house.

The home was very dark, had a million different paint colors splashed amongst the walls, and (wait for it) wallpaper borders and popcorn ceilings YIKES! But beyond all of the cosmetic horror it had great bones! All the original built-in’s, pocket doors, original hardwood floors, high ceilings, original wood molding, three fireplaces, amongst many other little details! It was exactly what a i wanted, something that wasn’t cookie cutter, that had character and history and with a price low enough that we would be able to afford to renovate it and make it exactly what I wanted!

We purchased the house with a special loan, a 203-k loan, which allows you to purchase the home with the home Reno loan built it (and locked in to the low interest rate). If you are looking at a home that may need renovations and do not have tens of thousands of dollars i highly recommend looking at this option!

When looking for our first home i went in knowing i wanted an older home, i have always loved all the character old homes contain from the door hinges to the ornate wood work and leased glass built in, these are the details that you just can’t find in most new builds. We currently live in Pittsburgh, Pa which is filled with 100 year old craftsman and Victorian homes. Unfortunately for us, the real estate market & has been on the up in Pittsburgh and many of these old homes have been scooped up, gutted and flipped—so your options are limited to these cheap flips (that look like they could crumble and the slightest touch) total gut jobs, or expensive Reno homes that look pretty but a lot of the updates just were not to my taste.

Out of the 300+ homes that we looked at i can truthfully say there was only one home that i loved as it was but at the time it was above our budget and we had to walk away. Funny enough that house is about a block away from our current home, occasionally I’ll walk bruiser by it and i still think it’s beautiful but it would have not been my vision it would have been someone else’s (which is totally okay) but just not what i wanted.

My father was a contractor, my Mommom was a colorist and interior design guru, i grew up with a love of architecture and interior design so buying a Reno was my chance to really spread my design wings and live out some hgtv dreams! We touched every last room in this house, it had been a ton of work but being able to see my dreams come to light is just beyond, and makes every splinter, bruised nail, and paint night date night worth while!

I won’t go into detail of all of our Reno trials and tribulations with this post, but i will share the images from the original listing...get ready to feast your eyes on our multicolor home aha

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