I’ve been counting down the days until today (well… Monday, ha). As many of you know my husband and I are the proud owners of a new home!!! We shared our exciting news last week, but as of Monday we now hold the keys in our hands. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of sweet comments, emails and messages. It feels so good to finally be able to share the news.
There are so many moving parts to finding, selling and going under contract on a home. As mentioned in last weeks post, for us that process unfolded a lot faster than anticipated. Initially, Justin and I hadn’t planned on going into too much detail on Style Soufflé outside of interior spaces, but this has been such a fun and enlightening process that we felt inspired to write about the details leading up to owning our first home.
Prior to Monday, we were living in a townhouse in a growing area 20 minutes South of uptown Charlotte that Justin had purchased prior to us getting engaged. Over the years the demand to live in that area has grown significantly, increasing the properties value. Knowing we were in a position to make a profit on the townhouse and in turn purchase a home at a historically low interest rate, it seemed only natural for us to move. Everything from that point on kind-of fell into place. You can read more about the moment we found our beautiful new home in last weeks blog post, “Soufflé’s Sweet Home“.
We discovered our now home on New Year’s Eve day. We fell in love the very moment we saw it, and spent the rest of the evening thinking about it. We had yearned for a place outside the city, with our own backyard, maybe even some land; a home we could grow into. This house had all those things.
Below is a little window into the two months that followed…
January, Week 1
The first week of January, quite literally, was spent gathering information about the neighborhood, going back and forth, talking with our families and friends and just trying to weight out our options. We knew we had to hit the ground running in that the house we loved was located in a highly sought-after, new construction development. In fact, at the time, the neighborhood was only 80% to completion giving us the option to build that same floor plan on a handful of available lots if desired. While we loved this house, there were a few minor things we would have done differently if given the opportunity. For that reason, the ultimate debate was either purchase that house and do renovations prior to moving in, or build that exact floor plan, with the desired materials and upgrades, on a premium lot at the end of that same street.
We considered the cost of each option, met with a handful of contractors and even visited the builders design studio. This is the first time in my life where an actual “pros- and cons- list” was helpful in making a decision. We had hoped the prices would be drastically different, thus making the decision for us however, to our surprise they differed only by a few thousand dollars. We ultimately decided to go with the house we initially fell in love with, “Lot 19” as we called it, and couldn’t be more happy with that decision today.
January, Week 2
As soon as we were certain this was the “home” for us (3 days into the new year) we scheduled a meeting with our realtor that Friday, January 6th, to discuss the next step and sign all the necessary documentation to list our townhouse. We needed the townhouse to be under contract before we could write-in an official offer. Too excited to wait, Justin and I made a mad dash to the Container Store (our favorite store) to purchase bins, packing tape and markers used to label the different boxes. That weekend and the following week we spent every moment of our spare time cleaning out and carefully packing our things.
So all-in-all, the second week of January was spent packing, staging and doing all the necessary things to put our townhouse on the market. We had a painter come to freshen up the paint on a few walls in high traffic areas, had the carpets shampooed and the house professionally cleaned. As for staging, we removed all of the things on the kitchen countertops, in our cabinets and on our shelves. We removed personal photos and placed only the necessary clothes for our day-to-day wear in the second story closets. Only a few pieces remained in the home to ensure that it had a warm feel and would “show well”. We are very fortunate that Justin’s parents had the space to store all of our belongings (they have a large, temperature controlled building on the land behind their home).
That Friday, January 13th, (I know…) a photographer came to photograph our home and by Saturday that photos were listed on numerous real-estate sites and our townhouse was officially on the market.
Knowing that the following Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a nationally recognized holiday, our realtor advised us to hold off showing our home until that Monday, as she was confident it would generate a great deal of interest with many Americans being off work.
That Saturday, I remember being at Justin’s flag football game when we received the first request to view our home through the ShowingTime app. That weekend we received a total of 13 requests spread across both Monday and Tuesday. Justin and I would get sooo excited with each request that came through. It was such a relief to see people interested in our home.
January, Week 3
Our house was on the market, and showings had begun.
On Monday, January 16th, we had a total of 10 showings – 3 of which were within the same hour. For the first three showings I set outside in my Jeep… our toiletries, Tucker and his toys in tow. Balling my eyes out I might add. I was surprised at how emotional I was over seeing people one-by-one parade through our home. For Justin, our townhouse was a commodity whereas for me it was space that held some of our most treasured memories: where we returned after getting married and Tuckers first and only home.
Late that afternoon our realtor contacted us with exciting news. We had received three offers, one being an out-of-state cash offer from a family in New Jersey. Another came through within 6 hours of the first showing (this individual would ultimately win the bidding war on our townhouse). Because of this, we decided it was best to not accept any more requests outside of the confirmed showings for the next day.
On Tuesday, January 17th, we had total of 5 showings scheduled. Several more came through that day with little to no warning. For those of you unfamiliar with the ShowingTime app, individuals can request to view a home 30 minutes prior to their desired time. This can be rather cumbersome when you run a full-time business out of the comfort of your home. After two days we were at our wits-end with feeling as if we lived under a microscope, and consider ourselves very blessed that our home sold as quickly as it did – within 6 short hours (we ultimately accepted the first offer received)!
Speaking of which, our house was on the market for a solid two days, with 5 offers and 2 counter-offers! Sold!
January, Week 4
Now with our townhouse under contract and a closing date set for March 6th, we were now in a position to put an offer on our first real home.
The day we submitted our offer, I worked remotely from Justin’s office to be close to him when (and if) we received ‘the’ call. When we received the news from our realtor we were in the car riding home. It was Friday, January 27th. We pulled over, hugged, cried, laughed and hugged some more. That evening we drank champagin, while waltzing through Crate & Barrel putting gift cards to use that we received for our wedding. We were homeowners (or soon to be)!
While the past three months presented my husband and I with challenges that we found joy in working through together, it also fostered a new love for all things home, garden and HGTV. My husband now has a crush on Chip Gains and has added “flipping a home” to his ever growing bucket list, haha. I can’t say I’m opposed.
This is has been such a rewarding experience and we are excited to share more with you as we make this house our home. After announcing our move we received a handful of questions that I wanted to answer below. That said, if any of you have any questions or advice please don’t hesitate to message me! The whole construction thing is very knew to us, so we are more or less learning as we go.
Q & A:
What were you looking for in a home? We knew we would have to make sacrifices, but in a perfect world we wanted an open floor plan that offered custom features and site finished floors.
What was the process like? Incredibly fast! I really enjoyed the process and probably asked way too many unnecessary questions. My natural fascinated with the housing market enabled me to retain information like a sponge.
Did you factor renovations into your budget? Absolutely. We factored the renovations in our budget prior to purchasing the home. I also want to add that we have zero furniture… nothing! So we are completely starting from scratch. Therefore having a budget was vital!
How did you go about selecting a designer? I was introduced to Traci Zeller of Traci Zeller Designs by way of a customer builder in Charlotte. I loved her work and had an immediate connection with her (we were coincidentally wearing almost similar outfits at the time we met). She was within our budget and I felt would do the best job in helping us create a home that matched our style.
What are your thoughts on a contractor/ how did you go about choosing one? My one tip of advice would be to thoroughly consider a contractor before hiring them. Ask to see photos of their work and speak to their past clients. I could go on and on about tips on choosing a contractor. For that reason I have a whole blog post scheduled that is dedicated to this one topic. We’ve had a so-so experience thus far.
Pink Couch? haha, I laugh because I love that speculations over the pink couch has brought about so many social friendships with y’all. We’re either considering a blush couch or blush velvet chairs with gold hardware for the dinning room.
Thank you all so much for the outpouring of love and support. I was so excited to finally share the news with you and hopefully explain my absence on Style Souffle as of late.
All my love,