Awhile turned into five years. When we dipped our toes back into the market in 2010 much of the housing market heat was gone. Unlike other parts of the country that saw huge price drops, the market for single family homes in most parts of DC merely cooled a bit, so there was still some anxiety on our part that the market was going to penalize us yet again for only having a cash down payment rather than a butt-load of trumped up equity in an existing home.
So even though we had escaped the effects of the worst of the housing bubble, when it came down to it, we were like most first-time home buyers and we kind of dove in with our eyes wide shut. I should say that in the five years that we waited the market out, we kept a near constant eye on the multiple listing service (MLS) and knew that there wasn't much to choose from. When we finally got serious in early 2010 we were really disappointed with what was on the market. Then one day I came across a house that was a little ugly but seemed to have a lot of potential and was on a good sized lot. Although we don't have kids running around, my husband likes to garden in a major way and we were hoping for the pitter-patter of little paws. When I showed it to him he said that he had already seen it and had thought it might be a good one for us.
We did end up getting the house for less than the asking price, but given all the deferred maintenance and sprucing up the house needed we probably paid too much. Never doubt the power of "staging" a home when buying or selling.
Since we bought the house in 2010 we have:
- restored all 22 of the original wood windows from 1934
- added new, working shutters on the front of the house
- refinished the floors from a kind of yellowy color to a darker brown (that we had custom mixed and then failed to keep track of the formula)
- replaced the AC system which died a month after we closed on the house
- replaced a leaky water heater
- replaced the washer and dryer
- made major repairs to the slate roof which hadn't seen any maintenance in decades
- removed a total of five enormous trees
- updated the electrical system (heavy up, new panel, and all new switches and outlets throughout the house)
- had four chimney flues relined
- put on new copper gutters and downspouts
- replaced two toilets
- ripped out old galvanized pipe (which didn't really solve our water pressure problems)
- ripped out an enormous amount of ivy ground cover
I am sure I am missing a few things here and there but those are certainly the big ticket items.
|The old door with a broken old knocker looking awfully festive.|
|One of four fireplaces in the house--all of which needed to have their flues relined to be operational.|
|A view of the living room after we had made an improvement or two. The walls are Benjamin Moore White Dove.|
|Another living room shot showing the fireplace with its sexy new flue (i.e., one that works).|
|Lucy showing off the new floor finish.|
|A view of the dining room after the bad raspberry was gone. Here again is Benjamin Moore White Dove looking decidedly cooler in this light.|
|Dining room view showing the new french doors that replaced he vinyl sliders that were here when we bought the house.|
|What a lovely, sunny attic bedroom right? Except that the ceiling/roof has almost no insulation and that queen size bed is inflatable. No queen is ever going to make it up those steps.|
|The back of the house showing the new french doors and our experiment with Farrow and Balls Cooking Apple Green on the narrow kitchen door.|