Ready to Renovate: How We Found Our (Foreclosed) Home

Consider this your "how-to" for purchasing a foreclosed home.

Jennifer Treadwell and her family of five have packed up their home and are moving west…well, to the west part of the North Texas, that is. After selling their home in Lochwood, they opted to purchase a serious fixer-upper, and are here to tell the tales of remodeling successes, failures, and everything in between. To view all of the posts from this series, click here

When I tell people that we’ve bought a foreclosure, the response is a calculated mixture of awe and concern. I get it. I’ve seen The Money Pit. Tom Hank’s voice is in my head repeating “Two weeks?” every time we talk to a contractor.

What most people want to know, though, is “How?” To be sure, there have been many steps in this process where our footing was unsure, but we learned as we went. If you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, then we have surrounded ourselves with some of the best. This process has been relatively painless because we aligned with the right people.

First things first, moving out of our previous home in Lochwood while nine months pregnant should have been a nightmare, but I’ve honestly spent more stressful days at the spa. Paul of The Uptown Butler and his crew of angelic hosts arrived at my home, packed everything, arranged for a storage unit, deep cleaned, and even hired a plumber on the fly when an unforeseen emergency occurred. I rest easy knowing that our possessions are well cared for, and will still be in excellent condition when we move in.

We found our foreclosure through Hubzu, an online auction website which sells foreclosed properties for banks. We endured a few rounds of auctions before they finally sold it to us outright, because no one else even bid on it. . . no, really. My only regret was using Hubzu’s title company throughout this process, as they have created problems for us.

Next, we needed financing. Few people are aware of a loan product which exists to allow you to mortgage both the cost of the house and the renovations. A Homestyle Renovation Loan (the conventional version of the FHA 203K loan) through Homebridge Financial has allowed us to finance everything with one mortgage, so long as the end product is worth more than the amount borrowed.

To secure our financing, our chosen construction company had to create a bank format specific bid. Many contractors had no patience for formatting the bid this way, and even fewer wanted to be held to a bank inspector’s standards, a requirement to receive financial draws during construction. All of that changed with Longhorn Construction. Their quick response times, attention to detail, and distinguished tastes set them apart from other companies. Finalizing the bid to the bank’s satisfaction took two painstaking months, but they hit every deadline and wowed us with creative solutions.

Now understand that I’m sparing you, dear reader, the crazy emotions involved in each of these steps. Weekly, we’ve been told the harrowing news of something gone wrong, that inevitably ironed itself out the following day. That’s why having the right team is so important, these people have worked magic behind the scenes, ensuring a fabulous outcome. Tom Hanks could have been so fortunate… “Two Weeks?”

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