Backyard Pergola | Building a Future

This is my favorite update yet! 

We searched Pinterest and found These Plans from Ana White, but honestly
 we just built it to our specifications and kind of did what we wanted with it, 
mixing in aspects of different pergolas that we've seen. 

We love it so much! It makes the backyard feel so much 
more like a part of the house, instead of  a cold empty patio!
We still need to get a few things like party lights, fire pit, rug and a 
table but all of that can wait. The total cost to make it ourselves 
was roughly $450. If we would have paid to have this built I'm almost 
positive it would have been over $1,000

Do you feel like we are constantly updating our house, like I do? 
It's for good reason I promise! 

When Josh and I first met, well no, when we first really started getting to 
know each other and really deciding if we wanted to spend the rest of 
our lives together, we talked a lot about the future. What we both wanted 
to do, achieve and work on. Something that Josh wanted was something 
I never really thought about. A house. With my family, we grew up renting. 
That's pretty much all I've known. For Josh, he knew from the moment he 
got out of high school he wanted to buy a home. He knew real estate was 
the greatest investment. Unfortunately for us, I had terrible credit. I maxed out 
Victoria Secret cards, visas, you name it and they all went to collections. 
Before Josh and I got married, we had to pay them all off before we could even 
think about buying a home together or for Josh, even think about getting married. 

Once they were paid off and we got married, we went to see if we qualified for a loan. 
I was so embarrassed when our bank told us I was the reason why we didn't. 
My credit score was horrible. I felt so bad I was the one keeping Josh from his dream. 
Two years later and my husband keeping my spending to a minimum (a good learning experience) 
we tried again this time qualifying for much more than we wanted to spend! Yippee! 
(We wanted to keep our mortgage low, so if needed I could stay home if we decided 
to have kids. Lucky for us, we had Copeland and because of our small mortgage of 
a mere $900, I am able to stay home!)

House hunting took us months. It was the most stressful thing ever. 
We couldn't find anything within our spending budget and finally we set 
into the idea of paying more and me continuing to work full time. But that's 
not what we wanted at all. And then bam! It was like all was right and we 
found a home way within our spending budget that had everything we needed. 
Not wanted. This was not our dream home, this was our make money off this 
house someday, home.

We couldn't sign the papers fast enough! And just like that we were moving 
into our "new" home. It was the biggest sense of accomplishment we've ever felt! 
It was so surreal to be a home owner at 24 years old! Saving for a down payment, 
purchasing this home by ourselves, although we had family members offer to help, 
we really wanted to do this together, on our own. There are still days I wake up 
and can't believe we did this. I'm just so grateful. 

The house definitly needed work. Nothing major, just cosmetic, like painting, 
new kitchen flooring, new light fixtures, etc.. If we were going to make money on 
this, it had to be updated and if I've learned anything from watching countless hours
of HGTV, it's that house updates payout big time! Especially kitchen and bath updates.
We knew from the get go that we wanted to makeover the kitchen. The biggest 
selling point that I look for is a nice kitchen. We didn't have a huge budget to work 
with, so everything was DIY or bust. We applied for a Home Depot credit card and tackled 
one project at a time. (Home Depot has an awesome offer of 0 interest for anywhere 
between like 6-24 months!). Now, it so would have been nice to makeover everything at once, 
but you do what you can and be grateful :) Once we got the kitchen out of the way, we 
moved onto the bathrooms, painting, flooring and just small things here and there. 
Eventually we turned our house into our dream starter home! It was perfect and still is! 

But with Josh's graduation coming up very quickly (he applies for graduation in November!!!)
we're put in the spot of now what? Where do we go from here? We know we 
won't stay here forever, it's far too small for anymore than the 3 of us and let's 
face it, I am BABY HUNGRY! But it's hard thinking about selling this place. 
We brought Copeland home here, he learned to crawl, walk and talk within these 
walls. We've put so many hours into this place, for what? Someone else? 
We've gone over what we'll do a hundred times, either sell or keep and rent out. 
Our biggest dream would be to keep it and rent it out until it's paid off and then 
keep it for our kids, to do whatever they wish with it. But buying or building 
something else, is where that gets tricky. We've talked with realtors recently 
about all that ans it's pretty intimidating. 

We've also recently started to really talk about and look at land to purchase for our next home. 
Josh is dead set on building, but I really enjoyed buying an older home and giving it 
a little makeover. So we'll see who wins ;) As of right now, Josh wants to buy land and 
sit on it for about a year or two to pay it down some. It's scary, thinking of that. 
Thinking of starting over, after you've already made one place your home. 
It's scary thinking of leaving. Not the state, but leaving the memories.

We'll see what happens in the next couple of years. It's exciting and scary. 
Building a future for our children is what we want most. Being able to provide for
them, giving them more than what we had. It's all for them. Every penny we make 
off this little home, no matter how small, will go into college funds, savings, etc., for them. 
(I keep saying them. I'm not pregnant but just know that there will be more someday) 

What are your thoughts on planning for the future? Thoughts on selling vs. renting? 
Thoughts on building vs. buying? And lastly, I can't be the only 20 year old who had 
mass amounts of maxed out credit cards right?! 

Sorry for such a lengthy post! I just felt compelled to share our story on this.
When I was in high school and even the couple years out of it, I just never really knew 
what I wanted in life. I was lost and going down a bad path. Josh completely changed the
way I view things and think. I just know that there are girls in high school that read my blog
and If I could share one thing with you it would to make right choices. Plan for your future. 
If high schools totally sucks for you, like it did for me, I promise it gets better. You just have
to be smart in your choices for your life. Really think about what you want and go after that.
Be a good person, have a good heart and things will work out. Maybe not quite how you 
envisioned, but you just got to be a little optimistic :)  

Okay I'll stop now! Bye! :)


Val @ Chicken Scratch. said...

WOW!!! WAY TO GO HUBBY!!!! Ironically we have a crew outside building a big pergola at our house right this very second!!! Yours looks awesome!!! I can't wait to see what a change it makes to our house tonight when they are done! :-)
Way to go working so hard to turn around your credit!! As far as moving. Oh my….it's SO HARD to move from the home you bring your baby home to. When we sold our first house I seriously cried for nearly a week and felt such a sadness for a long while. I was def. not emotionally prepared for that. It took me by such surprise since I'm not usually a very "soft" or emotional person. But no matter what you guys do it will be a fun adventure. A place to grow your family and make lots of new memories!! I will say, we did the buy existing route with the perfect floor plan and really good build/structure and planned to make the updates ourselves…We get such a thrill out of DIY and seeing reno's through ourselves BUUUUUT it's really difficult financially and time wise with kids (as you already know) but once we had our son. OH MY…..Whew. TWO kids totally changed the ball game on how quickly we could cross off the to-do list!
Anyways, I can't wait to see what you all do! You have fabulous style and work ethic so no matter what you choose its going to be amazing!!

Meagan said...

Your backyard looks amazing - you guys did such a great job with that pergola (no idea they were called that haha). I thought that my boyfriend and I would be renting for a lot longer than a year (two for him) - but next week we move into our new condo and I'm so excited. It's going to be more money per month but I love knowing that we're paying into something that down the road (4-5 years or so) will pay off when we either sell it or rent it out... It's such a huge step!! And it seems like you guys are on the right track for your next steps too - so exciting!! I can imagine it would be tough to part with a home that you've made so special and that has so many great memories. Hopefully you're able to rent it out, but if not you will definitely get to make some great new memories when you do move. :):)

Love always, Jess said...

One of my teachers in middle school constantly reminded our class about her son that was swimming in credit card debt. IT seriously scared the crap out of me. I didn't get a credit card until I was 19 and even then I never bought anything on it I didn't have money in the bank to pay it off with right then. I only used my credit card to build credit. I am so glad for that amazing teacher that taught me such a valuable lesson. I am happy you guys were able to get out of it though, such a burden lifted I am sure.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I am so happy you wrote about where you are today and how you got here - it is so easy to relate to you. I am 23 and I face some of the same obstacles as you! My husband and I bought our first home 2 years ago and knew we had to renovate our basement into an in law suite to rent out (this was the only way we could afford our home). Also, our house was a bit out dated so we but some money into our home to increase the value.
Personally I would choose buying over renting if you are able to afford a down payment. Renting is sort of like paying for a dead horse. And I would love to build my own home someday! It may be stressful in that sense but start planning your dream future home now - thank goodness for pinterest and houzz :)
Your pergola looks amazing btw!


Christina Zurowski said...

I really appreciate your sharing about buying a house. I, too, had terrible credit from too much shopping and married a man with excellent credit. We haven't quite paid down the debt completely, but we are working on it. Your post helped me realize that it can happen even if it takes some time! I came across your blog from your video review of the Graco Modes stroller and noticed our babies are near in age so I thought I'd check out your blog. I'm glad I did!

Katie said...

Reading this I felt like this was my life story as well!! You were definitely not the only 20 year old that had maxed out credit cards. I had awful credit and my husband always wanted to buy a house. We ended up living with my parents for awhile so I could get all the debt I'd accumulated for credit cards, that had gone into collections as well, paid off and boost my credit score. I know how you feel when you say it was embarrassing going to the bank and learning you have awful credit. Thank goodness for husbands that love us and keep us to minimal shopping ( I still get bad when it comes to shopping sometimes though).

We finally bought a house (again, like you, after months of house hunting we got a fixer upper) and we always said it would just be our starter house, we only want to be there 5 years or so (it's been 6). Fix it up and sell it. We've thought about expanding our family (we have a son that's almost 2) and I just don't think we will have enough space so I've been looking at other places. Our dream as well would be to keep the house we're in and use it as a rental and then buy land and build our dream house that we would be in forever. Unfortunately we live about 30 minutes north of Seattle and there aren't a lot of options for land in the areas we want to be in and what we can find wouldn't allow us to keep our current house as well. Thinking about leaving our current home though is so hard. We brought our puppy and our son home here. We worked SO hard to make this place our home. We have an excellent neighborhood and neighbors that have become best friends. So why would we leave? It's hard.

Jade Graham said...

No legacy is so rich as honesty