We were 1st time buyers, and didn’t know much about the industry until we started going around with a realtor. Both my husband & I grew up in India, and the construction is completely different. Like everyone else, we had big dreams—I wanted a nice turnkey home with a huge kitchen, a big master bedroom with an attached master bathroom, a walk in closet, guest bedrooms which could accommodate our parents or relatives, a backyard where my son could play, and more—the list was pretty long. And then we got our reality check. To get everything on our list, we would have to spend a fortune, and that’s something we did not have.
We had the option of buying a 3 bedroom townhouse or a slightly larger but older single-family home. We opted for the single-family home. Instead of paying the monthly fees, we could save that money and use it to turn the house into our DREAM home. Before making this decision, we invited our friends over to look at the house for another opinion. Their friendly advice was, “What the hell do you see in this home?” It was going to be a lot of work, and we had no idea where to start. Back then, I was on a dependent visa, so I wasn’t working and I didn’t know my contractors. We were about to make the biggest investment of our lives.
My husband wanted to get the single family home and I was leaning more towards the townhouse since I thought it would be easier. But we ended up buying the single-family home, and I’m so glad that we did. I wasn’t very proud of it at first. In fact, there were a lot of moments in which I was extremely frustrated with the house. It had a popcorn ceiling and similar walls. My son was very young at that time and he was always getting hurt, so we had to scrape it off the walls. We had cheap IKEA furniture and white walls until we could afford more. I don’t even have “before” pictures of the home, because I totally hated it. It was depressing to be in the house and I always wanted to go out. I didn’t like inviting anyone over because I didn’t feel like the house represented our family.
And so we slowly started working on the house. One of the first projects I took over was our bedroom at that time. I used my newly learnt faux finishing and one-stroke painting skills in our bedroom. Once I finished the painting job, I totally enjoyed that room; every day I woke with a big smile because I loved the way the sun shone into my room. I had a mural with a wagon full of flowers in the corner, and it felt like living in a field of flowers. I started feeling much more content. We got our green card and I was able to work. After that, I started working for different companies and really got into the Interior design industry. I started making connections with the right contractors, right materials and started loving my life.
It has taken us a couple of years to get this home to where I wanted it to be. Now we have our DREAM home, complete with a nice functional kitchen, a huge master bedroom suite with a fantastic master bath, 2 beautiful guest bedrooms, a nice room for my son, and a nice backyard for our princess, Sandy the golden retriever. Anything is possible when we DREAM.
Make a list of things that you have always wanted, what does your DREAM home look like? It is possible to achieve anything in your home. Renovations are not easy, but that’s the best way to get your DREAM home while on a budget. And you also end up building equity. It’s just smart investing.
If I had to start over, would I do this again?? Absolutely.