The word ‘gut’ serves as a bit of a double entendre in my domain name. Though I initially created the name ‘Gut & Glamour’ in reference to healing the gut, a dear friend pointed out that it also encompassed the another type of ‘gut’ I’m well acquainted with – gutting homes.
We are currently in escrow on our fifth home. We’ve been fortunate in that we began buying homes when the California housing market was on a strong uptick, in 2009. Our first was a darling little tudor Storybook style home in the East Bay, and it was totally hideous on the inside when we purchased it. Red and green carpeting over lovely old hardwood floors, a poorly-laid out kitchen, and orange and green vinly window coverings were just a few of the atrocities. We dove into renovations (GUTting it!) full force, and transformed the outdated interior into a gorgeous (and GLAMOURous!) living space.
When I finally hung up my renovation hat, looked around and loved the finished result, we realized that we wanted to live on the Peninsula instead of the East Bay. So, after owning the home for under two years, we made our move to Burlingame into yet another little, outdated storybook tudor. This process has repeated itself a few times over, and now we are finally back in Los Angeles waiting to close on our fifth home.
Our little flat-roof Spanish house is (you guessed it!) a total fixer upper; just the way I like it. To be honest, I’ve only toured a few homes on the market that have encompassed my style & personal tastes, and I’m just SO. darn. picky. Especially when it comes to aesthetics, and the space I’ll be looking at and living in every single day. I’d rather get a good deal on something with charm, potential, and good bones that I can pour my love, sweat and tears into than a quick, cheap flip someone else has already gotten their hands on and is now charging an arm and a leg for. My friends tease me that I’m the ultimate bargain shopper, and shopping for homes is no exception.
If you are in the market for a home, my #1 tip is to look at the houses that have been sitting for a while with no action. They may be overpriced or ugly, but as a house sits on the market without offers the potential to buy it for a good price increases. Also as it sits, the sellers are probably going to start considering a price drop. If you can offer that lower price BEFORE the price drop happens, you have a good chance of getting the home. Alternately, I’ve seen a price drop happen on a home that has been sitting for ages, and then it’s GONE in the blink of an eye because people reconsider it. Put in that offer before the price drop if you want the home – even if you think it’s out of your price range.
For our Burlingame home, we put in FOUR offers on the house and were flat-out rejected the first three times because it was lower than the seller was willing to consider. However, as it continued to sit and no other offers rolled in, the seller became more desperate and willing to consider our offer. With our current home in Los Angeles, we boldly put in an offer over $100k under asking price (!) because the home had been sitting for over a month with little action… and much to even our own surprise, it worked and the seller accepted. You never know until you try, right?
The above ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are from our last home in Wilmette, on the North Shore of Chicago. I will definitely be sharing more ‘before’ and ‘afters’ here on Gut & Glamour, so keep your eyes peeled for some of my favorite interior redesigns & tips and tricks for getting the most value when you renovate!