We currently live in a rental house in Northport, Alabama. Right across the river from Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide).

We signed a 2 year lease before we got married and that is coming to an end April 30th 2016.

Our house search has evolved over the last few months.

October 2015-We started out planning to buy a house for under $30k in a more up and coming side of town where the demographic is lower income and student housing. Our thoughts were, buy cheap, live in it for 2-3 years max and it will have paid for itself. If we don’t want to sell or can’t sell we’ll rent it out because  rental value is so inflated being this close the the University and several very desirable student housing complexes we can avoid losing money.

The reality was we couldn’t find THAT house and keep our quality of life at the standard we wanted. These are where we started:   

 These houses needed too much work ($30k+ easy), were too small (talking 900sqft range), and in a side of town we’d have to be more cautious in and I care about my family and dogs too much to worry about that. This was all before we knew I was expecting, so it was a good choice to move away from this.

Next came looking for foreclosures that we could get for around $50k that had a much higher resale with less work. Problem with these…you have to act FAST, really fast and you can’t low ball the offers. You have to come in very close to what you want to pay for it in the end. I drove myself nuts searching everyone. Note to anyone looking for a house, Zillow and other similar sites don’t get the houses until DAYS after they’ve been listed. My advice; Look up every Real Estate listing office in your area and check their sites like crazy…and get yourself a realtor. It’s their job to do that for you (I’m a control freak so I never stopped) and YOU don’t pay the realtor you hire…(surprise!)…the SELLER pays your realtor. That’s something I didn’t know.

After missing 3, what I felt like were really good houses I chalked it up to them not being meant to be. Two ranchers and one L-shaped beauty with the moldiest 1970’s finished basement you’ve ever seen, which got a contract on it pretty much when we walked out of it. They got a $120k house for $45k….lucky ducks…hardwood floors, huge deck, huge house (period). Just told myself it wasn’t meant to be and moved on.

We were still determined to find something we’d at least break even with…

I was tired of looking at this point. We knew we were expecting a baby so we switched gears, after all we need to find a house and close before the end of April! We said if we didn’t see something that was a decent deal the week we got back, we were going to just start looking for a good house that was move in ready. We decided to take a break until we came back from our cruise or so we thought.

Our agent called us on January 2nd, the day before we were leaving for Mexico and said she had something she wanted us to see. A foreclosure, where no investors were allowed (big plus) that was accepting offers until January 10th (the day after we got back from Mexico), so that’s why she wanted us to see it ASAP. We met her within 30 minutes and LOVED IT. We made an offer higher than the listing price because it was truly a jumping off point in this situation and it was a you got the house or you didn’t situation. We offered to pay all closing except $1,500 that the seller would handle to sweeten the offer. We’ll never know if we barely got it or got it by a long shot, but we’re paying 58% of what it was mortgaged for the last time it was purchased in 2006 (peak market).

So, here it is:



  • 1,542 estimated sqft
  • 3 bedroom 2 Full Bathroom (Master has on-suite)
  • Living room with vaulted ceiling and wood burning fireplace
  • Kitchen with large breakfast nook
  • Laundry room with pantry and cabinets
  • Carpet and Linoleum throughout
  • 2 car enclosed garage with storage room
  • Large screened in back deck
  • Chain link fenced backyard
  • Large concrete driveway

Here are some of my ideas for the exterior. Ideally before we sell it I want it to look like the image with the hanging ferns!


Here are the images that were on the listing…they’re pretty awful, but you’ll get the idea.

Living room looking at front door

living room
Living room looking at fireplace

Breakfast nook adjacent living room and across from kitchen

Kitchen with crappy appliances and L shaped peninsula

Dirty laundry room with pantry closet

porch 2
deck facing neighbors

deck facing driveway

house from lower yard

back yard
yard from in front of deck

deck from yard

garage from driveway

inside garage
garage interior

1st bedroom 2
first bedroom (small) looking into hall (hall closet and master can be seen)

1st bedroom
first bedroom has odd molding color choice, but crown none the less (NURSERY)

2nd bedroom
2nd bedroom

2nd bedroom 2
2nd bedroom with view of hall and hall bath

hall bath
Hall bath vanity

hall bath 2
hall bath

master bedroom 2
Master looking into hall

master bedroom

master bathroom
Master Bath

Some things I really like about the house:

  • The bathrooms are plain. White counters & simple fixtures
  • The kitchen is plain. Light wood cabinets & white counters
  • The house has recessed lighting in the living room, kitchen front porch, and back deck.
  • No funky colored features in the whole house! (carpet, counters, tubs, windows…)
  • The front door
  • The screened in deck
  • New roof in 2013
  • It HAS heat and air (so many we looked at would have to have it replaced ASAP)
  • Laundry room size and setup

Things that will be happening:

  • A HUGE WHOLE HOUSE SCRUB DOWN! (kitchen and all baseboards were icky)
  • Patching holes in the walls
  • All new kitchen appliances
  • Pro carpet cleaning and spot repair
  • Painting the entire interior…all of it
  • New light fixtures for almost the whole interior
  • painting the can lights white (they’re gold and the outdoor ones have rusted)
  • New front, back, and garage lighting
  • Painting the kitchen cabinets (white? I’m seriously considering darker lowers)
  • Painting the laundry room cabinets (will definitely be a funner* color)
  • Filling in trim/crown gaps
  • Window treatments

Things I want to happen if the budget allows:

  • Tile the kitchen, breakfast nook and laundry room floor (something darker)
  • Tile the bathroom floors
  • New kitchen counter tops (they’ll be fake marble laminate)
  • Get the porch upgrades completed (wrap beams, new shutters & new hand rails)
  • These items will be done for resale before we move regardless, I’d just like to do them now.

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