Our journey started on May 1, 2015 when my husband, Brandon
and I and our two kids, Deegan and Dawson, went to look at a house in Broxton,
Georgia. The house was built in 1900. It had 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a fireplace
in every room, original hardwood floors, and an upstairs that had the potential
to be actual living space, and best of all, a wraparound porch overlooking
pecan trees that was perfect for a tire swing. It sat on 27 acres and had two
silos and a huge old barn with pig stalls and a hay loft. It was absolutely
perfect. As some would say, a dream house.
So, we put an offer in as soon as we could and it was
accepted. So, the process began. We had the house inspected, the well and
septic was inspected, and we toured the perimeter of the property on a
4-wheeler because it was so huge. Shortly into the process, we got the call
that brought very sad news our way. We were told that because the property was
under conservation use that we could not get an FHA Loan on the house. So, this
beautiful house had just slipped away from us. We were very disappointed but I
had told myself from the beginning that if it was meant to be, it would be. It
just wasn’t meant to be. I told myself that something else was out there that
was better for us.
In the midst of this process, we had sold our house
privately. We had to let our seller know that we were still going to sell the
house, but we needed to find another house now. We had a contingency in our
contract that we had to buy and close on a property on or before August 1,
2015, so we still had time. It was back to looking for the perfect old house on
We bought the house we sold in 2005 and worked
on it for 10 years. The reason we decided to move was there were apartments
behind us and someone had bought a small chunk of land right beside us and
built two rental homes really close together and close to our property, and the
road beside us is fixing to be widened. We felt that if we didn’t sell now,
that we would be stuck forever. We are very private people and wanted to move
where there are no neighbors close by. I’ll try and post pictures of this home later.
Back to house hunting……Like I said, I thought we had
found our dream house when we found the Broxton house, but no, I was dead
wrong. Our dream house was in Camilla, Georgia an hour away from Tifton,
Georgia. Of course we were a little hesitant to look at the house with how far
away it was, but I just had to see this house. The house was built in 1890. It
had 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, one fireplace (the original fireplaces were taken
out…but I’ll get to that later), original hardwood floors, two stories, huge
front porch, a balcony on the second story, awesome woodwork detail in the
dining room and staircase, a swimming pool, and a lean to. It sat on 6 acres of
land and was surrounded by nothing by farmland. It was so peaceful there.
So, we had no hesitation in putting in an offer. Our lender
told us that we could get the house with an FHA 203K loan. This is a loan where
they give you money for renovations and it lumps into your mortgage. We put in
a really low offer because the house had been listed for 4 years and it had
vines growing on the vinyl siding, needed new windows, the pool needed to be
drained, new liner installed and put back in working order, etc. It needed some
love, for sure. Our offer was turned down and we were told for that price that
she would do all the fixes herself and sell it for more money. So, we came back
with a stronger offer and asked her to pay closing. She was ok with the price but
didn’t want to pay closing. So, we came back with a little bit higher amount
and asked her to pay closing and asked her to fix the pool, because we couldn’t
get the loan without the pool being in working order. She agreed on the price
and agreed to pay closing but didn’t want to fix the pool. So, we came up a
little bit more and asked her all the same things again. Finally, she agreed
and we were under contract for $137,500!! Wow!
We had the house inspected and it came back with everything
that we were expecting (lots of stuff was wrong with it but it all could be
fixed). Then, we had to start calling contractors and get estimates. This
process was long and painful because time was of the essence for us since we
had sold our house and it was nearing the August 1st deadline. Some
of these contractors were just a waste of our time, others were very impressed
with the house but probably overwhelmed with it too. But, we finally got a hold
of a contractor from Tifton that had done work on my in-laws house before and
they had done a good job. He gave us a quote that was dead-on to what we needed
it to be with everything that needed to be done to the house with the budget we
had that would give it the best potential to appraise well. Our rehab list
included all new windows, a HVAC installed upstairs, a new roof, and new
kitchen appliances. Our budget was $31,000.
This process took so long that there was no possible way to
close on the house we were selling by August 1st. Anything that
could go wrong during the process of buying/selling, did go wrong. So, we had
to offer to pay half of the buyer’s rent money in order to extend the closing
date by a week. We also had to convince the seller of the house we were buying
that we needed to move in early in order to sell/close on our house. So, on
July 31st we started moving our things over to the Camilla house. It
took us exactly one week to get everything out of our old house. I couldn’t
believe how much stuff we had! We closed on our house on August 7th.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! I was so happy to be done. I had meant for Brandon
and I to take a selfie at our first home together before we closed and I
totally forgot about it until we had left the closing. So, we ran by the house,
got out, snapped a picture, and said our goodbyes before the new owner arrived.
Back to the Camilla house….
We had to buy some window AC units to put upstairs in the
Camilla house so that our kids could actually stay up there. Otherwise, no one
could stand it up there. It was absolutely hot. Meanwhile, we couldn’t close on
the house until the pool was fixed and in working order. At this point, we were
waiting on that.
August 5, 2015
After being in the house for a couple of days, our insurance
agency went to the house to take pictures. Then, the phone rang and I was told
that they could not insure it. I begged them to tell me what I needed to do in
order for them to insure it. The next day, they told me that if I could take
down all the vines off the house and trim the bushes that that should work.
August 8, 2015
So, that weekend, Brandon, my parents, and I were going to
do what we needed to do so that we could get the house insured. Saturday
morning came and Brandon opened the backdoor to run an extension cord outside
and he was attacked/stung by wasps. All over his head, shoulder, and hand. Not
a good way to start out a long, hot, working day. I gave him some aspirin and
my parents brought some Benadryl spray for the stings. So, after that little
mishap, we started removing the vines, trimming the bushes, and pressure
washing the house and boy, did it make a huge difference to the look of the
house. I took pictures for the insurance agency and sent them Monday morning
and was told that they could insure us! YAY! Another battle won!
August 10, 2015
We came home that Monday and noticed that the pool guy and his
crew had helped themselves to our chairs that were put away, they had dug
through Brandon’s outside stuff and used his wheelbarrow, shovel, hose, etc,
AND they left coke cans and cigarette butts everywhere, AND the junk that was
in the bottom of the pool that they had to remove, they dumped right next to
our shop stuff (fence panels and brand new PVC pipes).
I was FURIOUS! How could people be so inconsiderate of
someone else’s belongings and property? So, Brandon and I went around picking
up their trash and putting up our belongings that they had helped themselves to
and made sure to put them up where they wouldn’t be able to get to them or use
Also, when we came inside the house we noticed that the
thermostat was completely off and it was hot. Brandon went to go find the
source and found that the breaker at the AC unit had melted inside the breaker
box. He had to call the power company to come out and shut off the power so
that he could remove the breaker.
We were without air that night. We had about three box fans
set up in our room. The kids were fine upstairs because they had the window AC
August 11, 2015
Tuesday, Brandon got a new breaker and breaker box. When he got
home, he had to call the power company again to come shut off the power so that
he could fix the problem. $70 later + one totally awesome, handy husband = AC
in the house once again! That day we noticed that the pool people hadn’t
August 12, 2015
Brandon decided to leave work early Wednesday to go check on
them. On his way home, the pool guy calls Brandon and tells him that Brandon
needs to take him home that day because his van broke down in our driveway.
This made him so mad that he called me to tell me and had to pull over to the
side of the road because his chest was hurting. When he got home, he took his
blood pressure and pulse and it was 151 over 103 with a pulse of 93. That was
insane! I told him to take some aspirin and lay down. Thirty minutes after he
got home, they banged on the door and asked him if he had something cold for
them to drink. Seriously? What kind of people don’t bring what they need
somewhere that they are working?? Before they left that day, the pool guy told
me that he put duct tape where he wanted the water line to stop and told me
that when it reached that point to shut off the water and his vacuums. I lost
it with him. I started shouting at him that I wasn’t going to do that, that it
was his job and that he needed to stay while it was filling and turn it off his
self. He didn’t like that answer so he went and turned down the pressure of the
water so that by the time he came back the next day, it would be about where he
needed it to be. P.S. He had found Brandon’s hose again and used it to help
fill the pool.
August 13, 2015
Brandon decided to take off from work because they were
supposed to finish the pool on Thursday. Well, Thursday, the guy came and got
his broke-down van and left and stayed gone a good amount of the day. He
finally came back later and started working on the pool. We had noticed
Wednesday that there were wrinkles in the liner and all four corners were
bulging out really bad like they were being stretched and there was air behind
Brandon told him that he needed to fix that and he said that
the seller had ordered the wrong size and there wasn’t anything he could do
about it. Why would a “professional” pool guy install a liner that they thought
was the wrong size??
Meanwhile, my lender called me to tell me that she had been
battling with Pre-funding about my file. They wanted me to hire an FHA 203 consultant
to oversee the rehab process and that just wasn’t feasible. It would cost us a
lot of money. So, they came to an agreement that we wouldn’t have to one so
long as we had the well and septic tested since it had sat for 4 years without
anyone in it. The health department claimed they had recently done those tests
on that house so they filled out the paperwork and sent it on. So, we were
clear for closing!
August 14, 2015
Brandon decided to take Friday off as well since the pool
guy didn’t finish Thursday. Well, the pool guy made it back and finished
filling the pool with water and installed a new motor on the pump. The pool was
finally completed but we weren’t completely happy with the turnout. He didn’t
even clean the ladder or steps before filling the pool with water.
we were ready to get him out of our hair! I was still trying to get someone to
have the pool guy fix the wrinkles and the corners of the pool, but by the time
I got home Friday, the corners had really calmed down and looked much better. I
also realized that nothing was going to get done about the wrinkles in the
liner. At this point, we are ready to close! In the contract, we signed that we
would close within 5 days of the pool being fixed. That night, we started
pressure washing the concrete around the pool.
We still have a lot more pressure washing to do. But, it’s a
Saturday, August 15, 2015
My mom called in the morning and asked what our plans were
for the day. I told her we would be outside working on trimming bushes and
pressure washing, etc. She said that my dad and her were going to take a
motorcycle ride and wanted to come to Camilla. I told her that we would be there,
so, come on! Around lunchtime, I was inside doing some laundry and finished and
came outside. As soon as I came outside, I saw Brandon running around the
corner. He was telling me to get my car keys that my dad laid the bike down and
my mom was hurt and I needed to go get her. So, frantically!, I’m running all
over the house searching for my car keys. I even dumped my purse out on the
stove and I could NOT find them! Then, Brandon found them laying on the kitchen
counter. So, I get in my car and haul tail down to our drive way and got my mom
and put her in the car. She had hurt her ankle and was in a lot of pain. We got
her into the house and propped her foot up and put it on ice and gave her some aspirin.
She didn’t want to go to the hospital. I asked her if she heard it pop or snap
and she said no. She was able to rotate her ankle just a little. My husband had
broken his ankle in a car wreck years ago and we still had his crutches and
boot. So, we went and got her a crutch so she could hobble around and see some
of the new stuff we had done around the house. Before they left, we put the
boot on her and shoved some ice down in the boot for her hour and half ride
home. A friend of hers finally convinced her to go to the doctor that night and
she found out that she fractured it on one side and broke it on the other. My mom is always on
the go so I knew that she would hate being out of commission for a while.
After my parents had left that day, Brandon and I continued to tear down vines off of
the house and trim bushes. We also added an area next to the lean to so that
he could have added storage outside temporarily until we can build a shop for
Over the weekend, we were having to plunge the toilets every
time we used the bathroom. So, we snaked the lines and it didn’t seem like
anything was clogged in there. So, we thought maybe we needed a new toilet.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Brandon removed the toilet and snaked the lines and it was
fine, so he installed the new toilet and flushed and it was doing the same
thing. NOT GOOD! So, he went under the house and found sewage under the house
due to a loose pipe. NOT GOOD EITHER! Can we say “gross”? We had no water out
that night. We got our camping toilet out (aka 5 gallon bucket with a toilet
seat on it) to use until we could figure out what to do.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
When Brandon got home, he started digging down to the septic
line going to the tank and found an access hole. When he removed the cover, it
was full. He started calling about getting our septic pumped and the prices
were over $200. I was not happy. At this point, I’m starting to feel like maybe
this house is a money pit. He decided to snake the pipe going to the septic and
encountered some vines. He kept at it until he got one big mess of vines that
was quite hard to pull out and VOILA, the sewage/water flowed to the tank.
I ran inside the house and started flushing toilets, tested the washing machine,
ran water in the shower/tubs, and it worked fantastically!!
Friday cannot come soon enough! It seems like this has been
the longest process of my entire life and I can’t wait to say that this home is
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
I asked Brandon to stop at Lowe’s and buy some galvanized
piping so that we could make a light fixture for over our pool table and also
so we could make a barrel that we had into a bar-height table for the billiard
room. We didn’t get much done that night but we did get the barrel finished.
I know that I’ve talked a lot and I know that all of you
have been waiting to see pictures of the house. So, here is a tour of the house
and property (please remember, there is a lot of work that needs to be done)!!
Pocket Doors between the Living Room and Dining Room
Pretty Picture window in the Dining Room
Kitchen (Cabinets are made out of wood from a 100 year old barn)
Eat-in Kitchen Area
Downstairs Hall Bathroom
Closet under the stairs
Upstairs Bedroom #1
Upstairs Bedroom #2
Upstairs Bedroom #3
Upstairs Bedroom #4
Swimming Pool (described as “beautiful pool” in realtor’s listing)
We also have 18 to 20 chickens that we keep for eggs and
Brandon built a chicken coop with measurements to fit on a trailer. He built
the coop out of old fencing materials and old windows. I think it looks
gorgeous! He measured exactly right. The coop fit “like a glove” onto the trailer.
Here are some pictures of getting the coop onto the trailer with the help of
his dad and brother.
August 20, 2015
That’s it for now folks! I’m ready to close tomorrow!