Photo by Stephanie Staton
We found a fixer-upper farmhouse that fit our criteria (and budget) and are putting our DIY skills to work, pronto.
After about two years of throwing around the idea of putting our small suburban home on the market, we finally did it. To our surprise, it sold in six days! With less than a month until moving day, our realtor scrambled to find the perfect farm for us—a worthy challenge given our budget and wish list:
- Decent driving distance to and from our offices
- Easy access to the Interstate
- Minimum 5 acres
- House in need of upgrading with character and at least three bedrooms
We quickly discovered that even the fixer-uppers pushed the bounds of our total budget, leaving little to no money for the fixing-up part. We searched high and low for just the right house to no avail. Time ran out and we moved into my parents’ basement. Commuting 140 miles each day, the search began to feel dire.
In addition to the listings our real-estate agent sent daily, my husband and I started doing some digging of our own. I kept coming back to a house on 10 acres that I skipped over in our initial search due to its small size (one bedroom). We set up a showing and visited the farm with our real-estate agent. The rolling pastures and proximity to town were perfect, but our first step in the door fell far short.
A large hole covered with plywood in the center of the kitchen was only one of many disconcerting features, but as we walked through the house, I could see potential—not to mention the beautiful original features, such as 5-inch base moldings, original doors and a big back-to-back fireplace with period wood mantles and tile. Knowing the house was in rough shape and would require a lot of work, we continued our search exhausting all options—and, quite possibly, our agent.
But a second viewing sealed the deal, and we moved forward with the process. The home inspection revealed many issues we knew about, as well as some we didn’t. The chimney had been cut off just below the roofline, someone had done a terrible roofing job, and there was an unknown amount of termite damage to the substructure—even the termite inspector could only guess at the amount of damage because the house sat inches above the ground with very limited access to see underneath it. He informed us that the damage also indicated the previous presence of powder post beetles.
After much negotiation on price, given the state of the house and its appraisal value, we purchased the farm and started demo. In this blog, I’ll recount the tales of our farmhouse renovation, so stayed tuned!