**If you missed part one, check it out here**
At this point in time, our plan was to keep the Brooklyn House and rent it out. Once the Myrtle House renovation was complete, we would move in and continue to rent out the Brooklyn House. This would be the beginning of our real estate investing (or so we thought). In order to fund the renovation for the Myrtle House, we knew we had to save as much as possible and we nervously asked my parents if we could stay with them temporarily. (They sweetly agreed.) We thought the renovation would take about a year and cost around $25,000 (hilarious).
We spent the next few months making minor repairs and improvements to the Brooklyn House to make it more enticing to a tenant (i.e. installing washer and dryer hookups) and then it was on the rental market in November. By December 15, it was rented, we were moved out and bunking up with my parents!
Living with your parents seems to be a highly debated topic. It is going to be different for every family, but for us, we found an arrangement that worked for both parties. My parents didn't charge us rent, but we tried to help out as much as we could around the house in return. We would mow the lawn, take out the trash, dog-sit, and help out with home repairs as much as we could. I can see how this situation wouldn't work for everyone, but I think my parents genuinely enjoyed having us there and we felt the same.
We moved in with them at the end of 2013 and we "finished" the renovation in the fall of 2016. Those were some of the most trying, stressful, exhausting, and painful years of my life. We worked SO hard during those months and I am SO SO SO happy they are behind us. Basically during that time period, our lives looked like this:
- Work 9-5/6 Monday through Friday at our day jobs
- On evenings of said work nights, we would work on our side retail business, Lovey Dovey Darling
- On Friday night, we would get in the car, and drive three hours to the mountains to work (i.e. manual labor) on the Myrtle House, then drive three hours back on Sunday night
- Repeat week after week
For some of that time, we did hire a contractor to help with the structural aspects of the renovation as well as the systems. Once we got the place to subfloor and drywall, it was on Brian and I (and a few generous helpers like my sister, Kristin) to finish it out. We might skip a weekend of work if a family member was celebrating a birthday or if there was a wedding, but mostly, we were at the house.
On top of the crazy hours, we were on a super tight budget. After we paid our bills, almost all of our income went towards the renovation. Week after week we were writing thousands of dollars worth of checks for subcontractors and materials.
Please know, I am not saying all of this to complain, but I think it is important to note that there was a lot of sacrifice during this time. We raided the clearance end caps at Target for marked down cans of soup and boxes of mac and cheese. We only ate out if there was a birthday celebration and tried to find cheaper items on the menu. We didn't go to the movies or shop for clothes.
One of my favorite quotes is from Dave Ramsey. It goes like this: "Live like no one else so that later, you can live like no one else." This quote got me through a lot of the tougher times. It can be depressing to watch your friends buy fancy new cars and bigger houses, or see Target come out with cute new clothes for the next season knowing you can't buy any (darn you, Target).
In the midst of all of the sacrifice, there was a lot of good that came from this experience too. I have a whole new adult relationship with my parents that I never would have had without all of this time together. We had pizza & wine nights and watched Netflix together. Brian and I have this shared experience that, while at times I thought could break us, really made us stronger. We are SO much better at budgeting since we had to be so tight with our finances and at working together.
Sacrificing on food and fun was one thing. The intense hard work that went into renovating a 115 year old neglected house is a whole other story. :)