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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Our First House, A Tale, And A Mini-Meme..

We had saved and scrimped for 2 years, with the dream of owning our own home. A "North-Ender" until I die, we waited for the right starter home in a neighborhood I was familiar with. In Grand Rapids MI you are a "West Sider" a "South Ender", or a "North Ender"..everyone else was a transient in a suburb, or didn't count!
We found a small house in an old Catholic neighborhood that was an estate sale.. widow had died, family put up for sale. Needed a bunch of work, and the woman had died in the house(I didn't tell my wife this, until later!) No updates, built in the Depression, it was no prize.. It had a an "octopus furnace" meaning an old coal burner converted to gas- all heat ducts were inside walls, cold air registers were on outside walls.. But with $4000 down, the $16,000 house was ours! Foreclosures today resulted because people bought $200,000 houses with no money down! I ripped out bushes, cut down overgrown trees, planted ivy, burned-yes burned old paint off house, and restained it, then painted it.. Ripped out bathroom and kitchen, learned ceramic tiling, took 5 layers of wall paper off everything, painted everything that wasn't moving, all after working a full day. The neighbors loved us, and our porch became a "have a beer and talk" place when dusk was upon us.. I have a picture somewhere of my wife coming home from the hospital with our first born, going into our house for the first time... It was a dinky, older home, but it was that key word- a home....
So this is where you tell me about your first "I bought it" home! What was funny, and what was not so funny...

42 comments:

Akelamalu said...

Our first and last bought home is the one we've lived in for 30 years. It was originally a council house and under the Government's 'right to buy' scheme we bought it. We had spent so much money on it and loved it we decided to buy it and stay! :)

Marjie said...

I met a builder who was charming, funny and red haired like me. He met a cute little 18 year old who was quiet and red haired like him. We were married 7 weeks later, and I moved into his beautiful house. I wallpapered, I changed drapes, 3 years later we sold and moved to a bigger house, and ultimately ended up where we are. We'll have been here 20 years in September, and our kids remember no place else. Not funny, but great memories.

K said...

My first house is a 1956's house, but it had had a lot of work done to it.

The not so funny part - I still live in and probably will for the forseeable future.

The best part - I have nearly an .5 acre of land which is pretty impressive in the DC suburbs.

CDB said...

This was so sweet.. I can picture your face taking that picture of her, coming "home" with the first baby.

We have a 1949 (old, old, old) Cape Cod, and it has all sorts of secrets it's not telling anyone. Which is why we are thinking of changing while we can!

buffalodick said...

Ake- We were there about three years, then moved to our present home, where we have been for about 29yrs.... But that is another story!
Marjie- Just what I was looking for today!
K- I once talked of moving.. my two sons, who don't even live here anymore, said "You can't! This is our home!"
CDB- Home is where the heart is.. I never, ever doubted that!

Just telling it like it is said...

Buffalo: Now that is what I call a man...handling business! I would love to see the picture ...well because you know I love to hear stories about your wonderful family...In my life the things that mattered the most are always the little things;)and the hard work that comes along with it;)

Chris said...

I was expecting a ghosty story since the widow had died there. ;)

buffalodick said...

Telling- I did this for you, as you wished! Can tell more stories as you have awakened many!
Chris- I don't believe in ghosts! I am actually happy the poor woman died where she lived... She was a seamstress, who left needles in every place you could step on them...

doggybloggy said...

lets see I bought my grandparents house in New mexico on 5 acres in 1987 - I still own it and I have this apartment in NYC since 1985 so thats where I am...

Bina said...

My first house is actually the one I'm living in now. I bought it in 2005 and moved in March 19th. The other two houses actually belonged to my ex. Before that? Being military, we never bought a house, just stayed in housing.

So what happened to that house?

buffalodick said...

DogB- Ever going back?
Bina- sold hosues while paint was still wet on the back door, I will try to take a picture of it as it is today....

Katherine Aucoin said...

Great post BD!

We bought our first house three months before we got married. We lived there for about 13 1/2 years until it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Our girls did most of their growing up there. Besides the flooding, the worst part of the house was the plumbing. It must have been done by a drunk because we had warm water running in the master bedroom toilet.

KB said...

Do you have a pic to share?

My first home was also haunted...by hubby's ex! But seriously, it was small, cosy and a labour of love.

Hit 40 said...

We got a deal too on our first home. They had cats, but they did not clean up after them.

After ripping out the yellow carpets in a couple rooms. I literally swept up a large pile of car urine!!! JUST GROSS. After sweeping and washing the underfloor with bleach, I sealed the floor with bullseye.

I could never do this again. But, we flipped it making about $80,000 after 5 years of work - landscaping, paint, etc. No big money items in the fix up. Just light cosmetic.

The neighbors also loved us. It had an awful weedy yard when we got it.

doggybloggy said...

I threaten to move all the time....its just that I love NY - I came here on purpose - remember?

TavoLini said...

Well, you know plenty about the first house we bought together--14K and just a little elbow grease ;)

My first house, the red house--I worked two jobs (averaging 70 hours and seven days a week) to buy. I finally quit job #2 about 18 months ago. I rented the master bedroom to a few different people before Tavo moved in with me. It was a foreclosure and the second I walked into it, I knew it was for me!

Great post, Buffalo!

TavoLini said...

...and I can't believe you BURNED the paint off!!!

G-Man said...

Ha!!!
We were renting a house for 125 a month...Nice house.
The landlady abruptly told us that her daughter was getting married, and she was giving it to her and we had 1 month to move out. We found a small 2 bedroom, one bath, full basement, one car garage in the city for 23,900. This was in 1981. We sold it in 1990 for 19,900. And was glad to get that!!

buffalodick said...

Katherine- So sorry that you lost your home to the hurricane.. Ever going back?
KB- I wish I had that kind of energy today!
Hit40- That first house becomes a mission to make better!
DogB- Someday, I think you'll go home..
Tavolini- I still have scars from that burn job!
G-man- 1975- bought for 16,000 bucks, 1978 sold for 30,000 bucks..

MarmiteToasty said...

This house I live in was me first house that I bought with me tosser X just before we got married, was was only gonna keep it for a few years, do it up from its tumbled down state, but we started to do it how we liked it then the kids came a long and I loved my little house and this village...... then the tosser left me and me lads I bought him out... cos this house was all me lads had known and at the ages they were they needed stability, one being the house and area..... and so still I remain... been here 28 years....... bloody hell.... unless a knight in shining armour comes trotting by, this will be me first and last house..... except, I wont need a 4 bedroomed house when me lads have gone..... will only need one plate and pot and knife and fork LOL

sorry I aint been around much.... I have much going on at present, and just trying to do whats best for others before me lol....

x

buffalodick said...

Marmy- Why do I always feel warm when you reply? I know you love your children and house, much like I do, I have a four bedroom home, where one is now the "Computer room", and two sit vacant... I am a person who feels where you are is who you are...Everything isn't about money- sometimes it's about roots..

MarmiteToasty said...

If ya feel warm ya must be standing to close to the logfire LOL...... :) you my dear man, know me to well..

x

MarmiteToasty said...

ps..... my little house was built in 1904 so its almost as old as me LOL

x

buffalodick said...

Marmy- Your heart is made of gold, that's all I know... You are a keeper!

Katherine Aucoin said...

We're not going back, East TN is home now. The girls have adjusted beautifully. I didn't mention that Katrina was the 3rd time we flooded. Re-doing, replacing and running from storms gets old and stressful.

MarmiteToasty said...

:) except, no one wants to keep me LMAO...

x

buffalodick said...

Katherine- (Beautiful name I like,) I understand, and as long as you have no wishes to have a disaster repeated, as long as you are happy- live where you will!
Marmy- Quit pretending you were made a turtle, I'm not the only man who sees past your noise!Or the shell you have made....

Scarlet said...

Great story! I'm living in mine now...and it's going on 13 years. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant when we signed the papers. The backyard was a forest and now we have a banana, avacado, lime, grapefruit and coconut tree. There's nothing like real coconut juice, btw...it's good for the kidneys and it's also good with a little rum and pineapple (as you may know).

buffalodick said...

Scarlet- You get fresh fruit, and I get pine cones! I think you are getting the better deal!

JihadGene said...

I bought a small house. Sold it made a little money. I bought another house (little bit bigger) and made a little more money. I bought another bigger house only to give it Obama so he can spread some of my wealth around the hood....yeah that's why I work and pay taxes.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh hush it, I aint no turtle, Im a tortoise :) = ya mean people see through the 'wellabit ard' person I am? :)

x

Mona said...

That is such a sweet story! I wish you would add that picture of Mrs. Buf with your first born son for us to see!!

I did not buy a house. I bought land and got my house constructed from scratch...the digging of foundation and all...We don't have home depots in India and we have to look for masons, plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc. on an individual basis. also we shop for different things from different areas ( they are not sold under one roof like Home Depots here) so we had to run helter skelter, buying things like cement, bricks, iron , wood, fittings ( both bathrooms and electrical etc. ) and we had to get all the doors and cabinets and closets custom made right there itself. (I had designed most of them myself). We went to buy marble for flooring from as far as a thousand miles away!

It took us three years to get the house built, and then we had only the base made on the walls, as we ran out of funds, and could paint it only after four years , although we shifted in earlier.

Anette said...

I still live in the first house we bought. And I hope I will as long as possible.
The house is from 1847, And when we went to look at it, I looked around at the people who also came to see. In their faces I could read dislike, and thoughts of how much there was to do before it could be to live in. What I saw was my home, a beautiful, big enough, special house, with so much potential! It was just 5 houses from where we rented another old house, so we knew this was meant to be, we could continue to live where we loved to live. We only went to look at one house,in our hunt for a house of our own, this one, and that was enough for us. As you probably understand, I love our house!

buffalodick said...

Gene- We took every cent we got from the first house and bought our second home "Equity out" When all borrowers were paying 11-12% we paid 8%! Been here 28+ years now...
Marmy- You know what i mean!
Mona- Quite an epic! I'm sure the effort was well worth it!
Anette- Sounds like a cool house! I love how they overbuilt those early homes- they were meant to last!

starbender said...

My first house was a 4-bedroom bungalow. It had an awesome yard, which was used to throw many parties.

I miss that house.....

buffalodick said...

StarB- The first house always brings back memories...

Casdok said...

I just love the house i bought after i got divorced. C and I are still in it 12 years on.

buffalodick said...

Casdok- The house we live in now has been ours for about 30 years...

urban vegan said...

What a story!


Our first home was a worker's cottage in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philly. Previous owner had lived there 54 years, and the house had that "old lady" smell. It was tinier than it looked when we did the walk through. and I cried when we we could barely get the mattress up the 1920s staircase. There were only 2 tiny closets in the place--a disaster for clothes horses like us.

We ripped out the carpet to expose the hardwood floors, painted the fireplace bricks white (they were the 70ish looking bricks --and not in a good way), we landscaped the tiny yard and replaced all the appliances and painted the kitchen cupboards the color of tofu. We hated it while we lived there--my 6'3" hubby kept knocking into everything in that tiny place.

We sold it in 3 years and doubled out $$. And now we live in the loft of our dreams

buffalodick said...

UrbanV- Sounds similar to ours- fake fireplace, no storage space, two dinky bedrooms, and one smaller bathroom! It made a mobile home look spacious!

Angela in Europe said...

What a nice story and a good lesson to all of those people who think they have to have $200,000 homes!

buffalodick said...

Angela- If I wouldn't have had to raise a family, even less would have been plenty...