How We Got Into This Mess: Buying Our Home
We snuck in through the garage...
It's amazing we even found the house! The address doesn't even match the street. I had seen what would become our biggest, life-long project online years back. It had been out of our price range at the time but had enough of an interesting home for me to remember. It was now a foreclosure and we (my mom, sister and me) had to snoop and see this house.
I grew up in a little village, called Corrales outside of Albuquerque, NM. It used to be a farming community since it runs parallel to the river and is super green in comparison to most of the desert around it. As Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, the surrounding cities grew so did the price tag for a home in Corrales. Most the farms were subdivided as the land was worth more than a farm could generate. Even still, properties can no longer be subdivided less than an acre, horses are in many backyard pastures, ditches are still utilized for irrigating the land, and its an amazing little green hideaway from city life. Now it's just five minutes from the mall. I grew up in Corrales, but since my parents bought their property in 1983 Corrales prices have skyrocketed.
But it's my home-
We had a super cool house in Rio Rancho we had bought as a forecloser and decided to fix up. I loved that house. My kids loved that house. We knew everything weird and cool thing about that house. We bricked the floors, redid the backyard, painted the walls and cabinets and really just enjoyed the home- but it wasn't home. Despite how much we loved it I still found myself day in and day out looking at realtor.com scouring the Corrales landscape. We would go drive by homes that were for sale and dream about the day we could maybe make it work. I had a wish list, but really I looked at anything under a certain price point (still out of budget usually). For years we did this.
And then it happened...
Saturday: I was looking at realtor.com when I saw this house I had seen before on there about a year back. It was big- like real big, and dark and a bit scary, but this time it was in budget. I had never driven by this one. I had to see it.
Sunday: My mom, sister and I piled in the car and went searching. It is amazing we even found it because the address is all screwy. It was a forecloser and abandoned. I know it is technically trespassing even if it's bank owned and no one was around, but we did it anyway. The garage door was cracked and we went in. Holy smokes.
Monday: I called our realtor friend John Clemens and told him I need to go see this house. It got all the info on it and gave me the big news: the house was going to be part of an online auction that would occur in 3 days! It was crazy news, but I still said we have to go look at it.
Tuesday: Carl met us and these are pics from our first walk through.
Wednesday: John explained to us that it would be an open auction kinda like ebay for houses. The realtors bid for you. If we won we would have so many days to come up with the auction fees- a huge lump sum kinda like a down payment that is non-refundable even if the loan does not go through. The house was being sold as is. Nobody knew if the well worked, the septic worked, the roof, the electric, the.. well you name it nobody could tell you and they were in no way responsible for making sure it did. We spent Wednesday making phone calls to see if anyone could look at it all on short notice. Not a whole lot of luck.
Thursday: So without a whole lot to go on and a few screws loose in our head we went for it. We Gave John our cap and went back and forth texting him until about 10:30 pm. We won.
We then had about 1 week to come up with the funds- for the fees. These fees were nonrefundable. Until we paid it we could still back out. So we did what any normal person would do- we called every person we could to come and trespass as well and inspect it. We had the well turned on and pipes fixed. We had the gas turned on and inspected. We had a roofer come and give an evaluation and electrician make sure it all turned on. All our expense while trespassing.
We then cashed out our savings and retirement and prayed. We paid the fee. It was non-refundable. Now, the loan had to go through. If it didn't go through we got nothing back.
In order for this heap of a wreck to even qualify for a loan, it had to pass an appraisal. Houses that have major problems don't usually do so well. We had carpet ripped up and walls painted to hide leaks for when the appraiser came through. We had a cleaning service come give it a face lift. We locked the garage door so no one could see the roof caving in in there. And again, we prayed.
It all worked out...
It all went through. And not only did it all go through, but our Rio Rancho house sold 28 days after it was listed. Yay!!! I don't how, and I still can't believe it, but it all worked out even better. Turned out the house was mislisted and was actually 1000sqft bigger than listed. A whole area of the property we did not believe was included actually was deeded right to us in the signing and we own it free and clear. Everything, for the most part, we got working and with a lot of paint and a good deep cleaning we moved in!
It is a constant project, but I wouldn't have it any other way. When I was younger I used to draw out my house that I wanted one day. I would always say I was going to build it so it was a big H. The middle would be a big living room, one side would be the kitchen and living spaces, and the other side would be the bedrooms. There would be a big courtyard in the front and one in the back. I wanted two acres so I could have room for my horses and take them for trail rides down the small ditch. Oh, and chickens. That's my house- our home.
We started working on the house right away with fixing up this fixer upper, but sometimes it feels like a bit of a drop in the ocean. It may take us a decade to make a dent, but we're doing it. We are really doing it and we love it.