The design for the kitchen has come in from Jessica at Cabinets.com and it is what dreams are made of! Surprisingly, her design choices were eerily similar to our vision, so it was great to see it come to life. Check it out and tell us what you think!
An important thing to keep in mind when remodeling is resale. We are making decisions that we love, while also appealing to buyers if we are to sell in the future. Kitchens sell homes, so we put a LOT of thought into every part of the design, beginning with this article from HouseLogic.
For our design, we went with white cabinets. The kitchen as it is feels dark and small, and we thought it was important to make it look and feel as large as possible. We've decided to take the cabinetry all the way the ceiling and top it with crown molding to give the illusion of height.
I've spent half my life working in restaurants and certainly had a list of needs for the kitchen. First things first, open up the wall between the kitchen and the living room to create a breakfast bar. Not only will this open the kitchen up but it'll transform the living room from "the room that no one uses" to a casual and lounge-like extension of the kitchen.
We were still stuck on how to configure the layout, so I consulted with my dad, who's done countless renovations in the past. We're going to place a counter-depth refrigerator on the west wall where the dishwasher is currently placed, a cooktop and an oven on the east wall where the refrigerator currently stands, and place the dishwasher on the north wall, giving us 11 feet of continuous counter space.
We are still undecided on some items. I'm lobbying for hardwood floors, but Tom is concerned about how they'll hold up if we have an unfortunate leak. Tom would like granite countertops, but I like things that make a statement and had been hoping for concrete countertops. There is still plenty of time to come to an agreement and plenty of choices to make in the meantime.
We are homeowners! Years of saving up and patience holding out for our perfect home have paid off! We have closed on the perfect house for us in the perfect location!
We have 45 days until we have keys in our hands, but there is plenty we can do until then. We'll begin by ordering our cabinets and, if Tom lets me, we can start packing the apartment.
Well, here we are! We've spent these past few weeks putting together an idea of what we'd like to see in our home. That means a lot of late nights on Pinterest for me! Tom and I share a similar sense of style, but we have a hard time making decisions on what to have for dinner, let alone flooring.
We had a meeting this week with our contractor, Mike Kilbane from Precision Home Repair. We walked through each room of the house, shared our ideas, and took in his feedback on how he thought he could make it happen.
The largest project will be the kitchen remodel. We'd like to open the wall into the living room to allow for a more open concept. By removing the soffits and reconfiguring the layout we're hoping to add more storage and maximize the available counter space.
We've been working with Cabinets.com to come up with a new design. Mike took measurements for us and sent us rough draft floor plan to send to our designer.
We can't wait to see it all come together, but in the meantime, we've got our work cut out for us. To help out our crew, and to save some money on our end, we will gutting the kitchen ourselves. This means wallpaper removal, tearing out the cabinets, removing the appliances, pulling up the ceramic tile flooring and removing the soffits.
But first, we've got to get to the closing table!
We've stayed true to our list of wants, and after seeing a few houses, we've strengthened our list of needs. So far, nothing is giving us that feel-good feeling. It's also peak season for real estate and we've been busy with the business. We needed to hit the road to our cabin Up North to relax and clear our heads.
Our lease renewal was waiting for us when we got back to the apartment. Tired of our search, and shocked by this year's rate increase, we decided we needed to shift our home-buying strategy. A couple miles up the road, Barb Schaefer, our realtor who moonlights as our mother/mother-in-law, was thinking the same thing. She opened our property search up to a higher price range and the new prospects filled our inbox.
The next day she took me to tour five houses that fit our criteria, starting with the one closest to home. I called Tom to tell him I think we found the one. I loved it. Barb loved it. And we knew (hoped!) Tom would love it. He wrote an offer on it that night, sight unseen.
And this is the beginning of our home ownership journey! Our offer was accepted! We all went to see the house the next day. Luckily, Tom loved it too. It needs some work to make it our own, but it has great bones, and the neighborhood is absolutely incredible!
So please join us while we work to make this house our home!
WE WROTE AN OFFER! We wrote a strong offer on a home in a lovely neighborhood with mature trees that backs up to a nature preservation. As we were standing in the family room, someone behind the scenes must've yelled, "CUE THE DEER!", because there she was — a sweet doe coming to greet us. We'll take it!
Emotions were running high again. And again we began talking about what our lives would be like living there. I loved the shed, the garden, and the feel of a lot of property without all the maintenance. Tom loved the addition off the back of the house, a huge great room.
Unfortunately our offer was beat by a stronger cash offer. It's simply the name of the game. In most cases, cash is king. This only means there's something better out there, which is fine by me, because this house was great!
Having some fun with the home search!
This aggressive spring market certainly has buyers motivated. The competition is pretty stiff and we feel demand may be raising values more than we'd be willing to pay for what the houses have to offer. Luckily, our circumstances do not require us to find a house by a certain deadline. Our lease is up at the end up July, but we've the option of renting month-to-month. We certainly haven't given up hope, we've only got more creative!
We have found the first house that we could actually see ourselves living in! Because we feel we've been looking for so long, we are very excited. Maybe too excited.
Multiple factors come into play here. The market is very hot right now, so if we want this home, we'll have to jump on the opportunity. But there are some turn offs.
The emotional rollercoaster has been hard on me, and Tom, too, I'm sure. One moment we are imagining ourselves settling in and the next we are being realistic about the red flags we were so willing to look past at first. So we went and saw it again. And after talking we agreed, this just can't be our house. But we had our first taste of what we'd like to find and that was awesome!
If we can offer any advice, it would certainly be to go with your gut. If you've got a bad feeling, trust it. You're the one that is going to have to live there everyday. And if this one doesn't work out, it typically means there is something better out there for you.
SCHAEFER TEAM IS CHANGING THE GAME WITH VIRTUAL HOME TOURS.
I think we can all agree that the bar is set pretty low for property photos online.
There are certainly things you should look beyond, like clothing and clutter, wallpaper and paint color. Other things you should give a harder look. In our case it was heating/cooling systems and exterior materials.
Remember to pick a house for its good bones and not just the fixtures & appliances. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for a gas range.) Luckily, you're working with a Realtor who will show you the way.
Once we found a house that met our criteria, we'd check it out on the map, either through the MLS or a Google search (added bonus if there was Google Earth footage). We plugged our top picks into the GPS and hit the road.
Plan a quick drive by of your favorite houses to see how you like the street, the surroundings, or to get a feel for the traffic in the area. Keep in mind, we weren't scheduling appointments to see the house, we're just trying to get a feel for the area and its surroundings. We were able to rule out all our first round picks just by driving by the property.
Have you previously listed your house for sale and been disappointed with the quality of the photos? Contact the Schaefer Team to learn how they use professional real estate photography a 3D Virtual Tour technology to market their listed properties.
If your home is currently listed, please disregard.
It is not our intent to solicit the listings of other REALTORS®.
There's an old saying, "The cobbler's children have no shoes." In a similar story — our story — the REALTOR® is still renting.
Hi! We are Tom and Kerry Schaefer. Tom is a licensed broker, Kerry is a project manager and designer, and we both work with Real Estate One. We were married in September 2015 and have been living in an apartment on a lake in Clarkston for nearly five years. We kept our wedding small and low budget knowing anything we'd end up buying would need some work.
Barb, the original Schaefer of the Schaefer Team, has proclaimed that 2016 will be the Year of the House. Now that we've officially overgrown our 900 square feet, we absolutely agree and are ready to start shopping. Please join us on our journey as we make her prediction come to life!