This past year (and a half?) my fiance and I took on a huge project. I'm not even sure if I can call it a project at this point but rather a compilation of projects. First off, we bought a house. It was foreclosed and vacant for two years. The house was in a perfect location for us: close to bars and restaurants in a thriving urban/suburban neighborhood close to Cleveland. The neighborhood was very walkable, the people were friendly, the housing stock was great, and the streets were narrow and full of canopy trees. We loved the location of the house: it was near Detroit Ave., the main corridor running through downtown Lakewood and it was close to the Metroparks. It also featured a spacious third level that we could use for a master bedroom and walk-in closet.
Though the back yard was small (like homes in Lakewood), it did have a detached garage and a decent size basement with two storage units.
Here are some before pictures of the initial walk-thru of the home:
After we knew for sure that we wanted the home, we had to go through the long and tedious process of closing on the house through a Fannie Mae 203b Renovation Mortgage. This allowed us to basically renovate the home and finance the payment to the contractor into our mortgage. Fannie Mae introduced this concept as a way for homebuyers to fix up foreclosed or run-down properties that were in need of repair. We were able to do a streamline 203b mortgage which allowed us to fast track the payment process to the contractor.
Through this program, we had to hire a licensed and insured contractor to complete a substantial renovation within six months of our closing date. After which, the broker will inspect the home to make sure the work was completed as outlined in the original proposal from the contractor. Once the work is approved, final payment is issued to the homeowner who then forwards to the contractor.
Overall, the entire process--from the day we begin looking at homes until the day we finally completed the renovation and inspection with our contractor, took approximately one year. It was a huge weight off our shoulders when it was complete!
Brandon E. Young