Categories
Renovation

Lessons and experiences when buying a first home

I wanted to sit back and reflect on the last 9 months and how we went from renting an extremely small townhouse to living in a 2400 square foot home with a screened in pool.

As we all know 2020 was a tough year for many people and that included us. At the time in April 2020 my husband and I both worked for Macys in different roles. By April 2020 we were both furloughed without knowing what our next step would be.

Thankfully my husband was called back in 2 weeks so at least we had one income coming in. I went on unemployment, focused on my parents, dove into my social media, started my LLC and my blog.

In July 2020 I was called back to work and kept my salary which was a massive blessing. After that we realized that with the Cares Act and the low interest rates we could afford to buy a home. It was extremely stressful. Here’s what we dealt with:

  1. Competitive Market – As the rest of the country, South Florida’s real estate was hot in 2020 and still in 2021. Every house we looked at had a line backed out the door to view the home. It was extremely intense and disappointing process. Every time we went to look at a place it had a line of people going in to view it. So competitive! One time as we were looking at a space, an offer was put in and accepted. We never even made it to tour the backyard!!
  2. Ran our credit too soon – I regret going with the first mortgage broker/company so quickly and we ran our credit too soon so we really could not leave and move on to anyone else. I just did not want to go with someone else and run my credit again while trying to buy a home. LESSON – try not to run your credit so many times when you are buying…it will hurt you financially when you are trying to get a loan and it may lower my loan amount.
  3. Out of state Mortgage company – We worked with Rocket Mortgage for buying a home and I regret it. They were ok but they did not work hard to get us the best deal and did not advise us on anything. I literally had to ask and find out on my own.
  4. 401K woes – With the Cares Act we were able to withdrew funds to put towards the downpayment. This was by far the most stressful thing for me because usually you are penalized if you take 401K money out before you are like 65 years old. The good thing is, it didn’t penalize us. I just worry with everything when it comes to retirement funds.
  5. Our loan for the house was very low compared to our income – I was extremely shocked and we had decent credit. This just shows that working with a major company virtually with no emotional attachment or real engagement it did not work in our favor. The person we worked with just really did not care honestly and it showed. I knew some friends who made less than us and had decent credit almost received the same loan amount.
Our updated entrance with a ramp for my dad to go in and out easily. Family first!

Well let that all sink in a bit lol. Any moments when you purchased a home that just blew your mind?

More details to share for another blog session! Share your buying home experience?

XOXO,

Jessi Morgan

Categories
Before-After Home Decor Renovation

How we transformed our backyard

This is by far the biggest transformation we have done with our home since we purchased it in 2020. Our original backyard had great bones but we needed to update severely. I am so excited to share with you the renovation of our pool area.

When we bought the house the backyard originally had the following:

  • Screened in patio
  • Chattahoochee flooring
  • Massive amount of potted plants
  • Much needed resurfaced pool

When we took on this backyard, we had a vision from the beginning. We wanted a mini oasis that we as a family could relax and enjoy at all times. My husband especially loves being outside and he was so excited to take on this project! I wanted more than anything to make this happened.

First, we chiseled away the chattahoochee surface. Chattahoochee is a pebble like rock that was used for deck surfaces in the 1980s & 1990s. It was extremely popular back then, the key was you had to get it resealed about every 5 years or so to keep it looking neat and safe to walk on. When we bought the home, the previous owner failed to reseal it and the pebbles/rocks were loose and you could not walk to the pool without shoes.

Next, we realized that that in order to install turf around the pool we needed to have a border surrounding the pool. The original design had the chattahoochee all the way to the tip of the pool. If you do not have a border or copping around the pool, the surface you have will mildew. See below the difference between having copping around a pool vs not having it.

Next, we decided to redo the entire pool. We replaced the tiles and resurfaced the inside of the pool. We hired an amazing company called Ivero Pools and they literally worked non-stop and completed the pool in less than 3 weeks. The pool transformed the space entirely.

After, the pool was completed we then hired a company to lay down turf grass. Turf will last close to 20 years or more and we wanted a green grass feel to surround the pool. Since turf is expensive and based on square footage if we laid turf in the entire backyard it would have cost over $5500 and counting. Our backyard was 850 sq feet and vs us covering the entire backyard we left about 280 open to lower the cost.

Here is the breakdown of what we did:

  • Having 850 square foot backyard equaled to the turf costing over $5500. To remain on budget we decided not to turf the entire area.
  • We took 280 sq ft and decided to make it our dining space.
  • To give the backyard some contrast we decided to lay deck wood tiles in the space that we did not lay the turf. We absolutely loved it.
  • We are using the same patio furniture that we had before.

I feel so blessed that we could do such an amazing transformation. We cannot wait to host people in our beautiful backyard. Just this past weekend we sat outside and enjoyed the start of the NBA playoffs.

This renovation of the backyard made me realize that I can do anything if I believe and plan. Because of this backyard I am working on returning to school to study interior design. What project have you worked on that inspired you to do bigger and better things?

Shop some dupes and looks from my backyard!

XOXO,

Jessi Morgan

Categories
Lifestyle Renovation

Tips on fixing up a Fixer Upper Home

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We were so excited when we bought our very first home that is a fixer upper. As many people know in the last 10 years “fixer upper” homes have been very popular but at times people underestimate how much it really costs to fix it up.

We completely revamped the entrance to our home. See below for picture before.

Our home was built in 1976 so it is over 40 years old…so yes a little dated. When we first saw the home we were overwhelmed with the size of it and we loved some of the great features like the high ceilings and the wooden beams.

Before we removed all the plants and tall grass.

As we started moving in we also paced ourselves on fixing it up. Here are the 10 pieces of advice I would share with you when it comes to renovating a fixer upper home.

  • Pay close attention to the inspection paperwork – This is so important because it gives you the key details of what needs to be fixed and the timeline needed. The electrical panel in our home had paint all in it, the previous owner painted the room and just did not even cover the panel! There was white paint all in it and in order for us to have homeowner’s insurance we had to get that fixed within the first 30 days of moving in. All that detail was in the inspection report. PAY ATTENTION TO THAT PLEASE! It will give you guidelines on what to prioritize first.
  • Appliances – Ensure your appliances work. Check it yourself with the inspector! If something does not work ensure the seller fixes it or lowers the sell price of the home. Important! This should be one of the first things you fix when you enter a new home. The dryer we had was the original one…I repeat the original one. I did not check it when we had the inspection. It took 2 cycles before the clothes were dry. It was frustrating and we had to replace as soon as we could.
  • Paint goes a long way – One of the first things we did was paint the inside and outside of the home. The house was lettuce green so in order for me to mentally be excited about the new house, I had to paint it. As soon as we did that, it felt like a new home! We painted the inside a pure white. White represents fresh and a new start, it is a great color to start with.
Painted the walls completely white to start over. In time we may warm it up but for now it was a great start to see the vision I wanted for this house.
  • Pace yourself – Do not push to get everything done at once if you cannot afford it. It is not worth renovating a kitchen if you have to finance it and struggle to make the monthly payments. Many families save for years before they update their home, it is normal. Do not feel pressured to do upgrades if you really cannot at first.
  • Work your way from the bottom up – If you hate the floors in your new fixer upper, save and get that done first. One mistake I regret is updating our bathroom vanity and not doing the floors first. What happened to us was the tile on the floor is not manufactured anymore, so it was extremely hard to find a tile that matched. So if you want to redo your kitchen and you hate your floors, do the floors first so then you can easily install everything else and your floors are consistent.
Before & After of the kitchen. We liked our floors so we didn’t need to change them.
  • Focus on one room at a time – You will feel that you got a lot done if you completely finish one room at a time when it comes to decorating. I focused first on the office/closet, then the kitchen etc. I literally went from room to room and decorated. I had a theme and I made sure it reflected from one room to the next. It becomes depressing if you do not finish an entire space at a time I feel.
On the day of our closing!

Hope you found these points helpful! Stay tuned for part 2 of my advice on updating a fixer upper! How has your fixer upper Reno going?

XOXO,

Jessi Morgan

Categories
Before-After Home Decor Lifestyle Renovation

The Evolution of our Powder Room

The famous saying that you have to crawl before you walk…well that is extremely accurate with own boho powder room. For those you are not familiar, my husband and I moved into our first home in September 2020 and it was a true fixer upper.

The challenging Space before

First, the previous owner was a nice mother & daughter who lived there for 25+ years. They decorated here and there, but you can tell the two had not updated the decor in years. So when we bought the home we had to have a vision and one of the first challenges was the powder room.

Also, I have an earlier post about the first phase of this powder room, check it out if you like!

Next, for phase 2 of powder room Reno, I was in need of filling the second wall in the space to reflect the rest of my home. I have been decorating my home to fit a boho semi-modern, semi-mid century/industrial feel and I want people to see that in every area of our home.

Here is what we did to elevate this powder room more:

  1. Add Shelving – This was not my first choice, but I came up with the idea after two floating shelves wouldn’t fit in my kitchen. So the result was to put them them in the powder room, and I love it. Since we had white walls adding dark wood floating shelves creates contrast just enough to have an amazing statement. Check out my favorite shelves below…


2. Concrete/cement pieces – in order to have a rustic/industrial feel that I do love to incorporate into my home, I wanted it to reflect in my powder room a bit more. I found some really neat pieces that were inexpensive from amazon for my decorating. See below…


3. Marble bowls & coasters for more contrast – I like mixing materials in a space to give it that boho feel a bit. Check out the bowls I purchased as well as my other favs:


4. Faux Plants & Wooden frames – To top it off and give some height to the shelves I bought some faux plants & wooden frames from Target. I wanted some earth tones and greenery in the space to finish the look. Check out some amazing duplicates from Amazon below:


Happy shopping! Visit my Liketoknow.it page to shop more of my looks. Click picture below:

www.liketoknow.it/bossinfashion

XOXO,

Jessi Morgan