Florida Bound

The first weekend in November, we took a long-weekend trip to Florida with my parents and I told you I didn't take any pictures.  Well, here's the thing:  I lied.  I did, in fact, take a whole slew of pictures, they just weren't of us living it up on the beach or lounging around our condo.  I didn't take any of those pictures because we didn't do any of those things. You see, we had a busy agenda.  We were there to look at properties, and look at properties is what we did.  We saw ten properties in one day, which may not sound like a lot but trust me, it took all day and got very exhausting.  The next day we went back and looked at the properties we liked from the day before.  We took pictures and crunched numbers and drove around neighborhoods and got ourselves psyched up about the possibility of owning our very own beach house.

I didn't show you pictures back in November because I couldn't, but now I'm ready.  Of all the houses we looked at that weekend, this is the one we fell in love with.

Apparently, at the time, I didn't feel the need to get a good shot of the front of the house.  This is the best I've got.

But this house, the one that we affectionately called Flip Flop, stole our hearts right away.  Even with it's drab green color, hideous chocolate brown trim, and lack of an actual "front" (the front door is located under that porch you see in the picture, which is the side of the house), we could see so much potential in it.

The inside needed lots of work, but it still had so much we loved.  Things like wide molding around the windows...

...an open and airy living room and dining room...

...and this cute little nook at the top of the stairs that would be the perfect setup for a mini kids playroom.

Sure, it had it's fair share of flaws, too.  The kitchen had been completely stripped of all of its appliances...

...and the third story loft had a rotted-out door.

There were flaws that would cost us a pretty penny to fix, too.  Things like the exterior paint colors, bathroom upgrades, and a hole or two in the sheet rock.  But that didn't bother us!  Nope, by the time we loaded up the car and hit the road on our way back home, we were already wearing our rose-colored glasses and had hearts twirling around our heads.  We were in L-O-V-E.

My mom and I had the whole house decorated by the time we pulled up in our driveway.  We were so excited about all the fun we were going to have at our new house!  Only one problem:  we didn't actually own the house yet.

Here's where I should back up a little.  This little adventure all started with my oldest brother, a commercial real estate banker.  Having done a little work in the Florida area, he convinced us all that the depressed housing market there was something we had to get in on and take advantage of.  This was the time!  Obviously, it didn't take much to sell me on the idea.  We were gonna buy a vacation house!  In Florida!  We would be able to go to the beach any time we wanted and walk around our cute neighborhood and holy cow, just think of how tan I was going to be this summer!  (!!!)

When we returned from our long-weekend vacation, we shared all of our pictures and findings and calculations with my brother and his wife and made them fall in love with Flip Flop too.  By the end of the week, we had put in our first offer on our family vacation home.

This is where things started going downhill.  You see, Flip Flop was listed as a short sale (meaning the house was listed at a price that was lower than what the owner still owed on it).  Without going into too many details, I'll say that "short sale" should be a four letter word.  Steer clear of them, my friends!  For three and a half months we rode the real estate roller coaster of "They accepted!" "They changed their mind!" "We got it!" "They want more money!" and so on.

After three and a half months and more than a couple false celebrations, we decided to throw in the towel.  If they wanted more money for our dear Flip Flop, they were just going to have to get it from someone else.

Don't worry, this story still has a happy ending.  During our roller coaster ride we got pretty tight with our realtor and also made some new builder friends.  We crunched numbers some more and decided we could still take advantage of this market, we'd just have to do it a different way.

And that thinking is what makes us the new proud owners of this:

Sure, there's no three story, drab green house standing there, but it's our very own lot!  In Florida!  That brush that you see there is aaaaaalllll ours and we couldn't be more thrilled about it.

And look - a palm tree!

Our little lot resides on this charming little brick street.

Sigh...those little hearts are twirling around my head again.  This girl's in looooove.

Obviously we have big, big plans for our lot.  We're hoping things might get started on those big plans sometime soon.  Until then, my mom and I are cleaning our furniture stores right and left.  More details about some of the deals we've gotten soon!