Update: This post is mostly a before and after of our first house in Columbia with a few pictures of “The Pulley House” when we bought it. After five years of major renovations, we sold our house in Decatur and moved to Orlando. Check out The Pulley House: Before & After.
When Amy and I were planning our move from Florida to South Carolina in 2005, we knew that we wanted to buy. Having lived in 3 different tiny apartments during our last 2 years in Gainesville, we were fed up with renting and desperate for a place of our own. Knowing that Amy’s graduate program at USC was going to be a 5 year commitment, we forked over every penny we had toward a down payment and dove head first into home ownership.
Given our still-fresh-out-of-college budget, most of the properties we found needed work – a lot of work. I don’t think a single house we looked at was staged to sell and many of them were, well, pretty boring. We prioritized our hunt by location, price, and personality. After a lot of online searching and 2 trips to SC, we found our first home. It was a 1970s contemporary fixer-upper with a ton of personality. We spent just over 5 years in the house and in that time we made some major transformations. Just check out some of the before and after shots below:
In April, Amy and I relocated again from Columbia, SC to Atlanta, GA for my job. We weren’t all that excited about selling our first home at the bottom of the housing market but we priced it low and put it out there. Thanks to the blood, sweat and tears we invested in all of our DIY renovation projects, we got it sold in just over 2 months. We figured we’d buy here once we sold our place in SC, but after weeks of searching we decided that Atlanta’s record low home prices were still just too high for us to buy. This was especially true if we wanted to be in a safe neighborhood with good schools and find a house with as much character and potential as our place in Columbia. Instead we committed ourselves for over a month to finding a long-term rental option.
Love at First Click
A couple weeks ago though, something crazy happened. Amidst a busy weekend of scouring padmapper and scheduling rental viewings, Amy checked the real estate listings again and found a funky 1980s contemporary fixer-upper that was priced to sell. It needs work – a lot of work, but we immediately fell in love. The place is on a quiet street in Decatur, a small town inside the Atlanta perimeter that has one of the best school districts in the state. Location, price and personality – check, check and check. We made an offer, then a few counters, reached a deal, scheduled inspections and arranged financing. We don’t close until the end of the month, but everything is locked in at this point so we figured we’d go ahead and introduce everyone to our next crazy project house:
Right now you probably think we’re a little bit insane. Honestly, we feel that way ourselves but in a few years, I guarantee this place will look completely different. Hopefully for the better.