Our First House

I didn’t want to buy it. I thought we were going to be in over our heads. Our parents didn’t even want to us to buy it. They ask,”Are you sure you want to buy this? It’s an old house and it needs a lot of work.”

Sure enough, my wife had a vision and I’m glad I trusted her gut.

We got a great deal on a cute old house near Uptown Westerville. It had been a rental house for Otterbein University before we bought it. Before that, the house had been owned by the same family and woman since 1907. The history alone was very cool. Just knowing that this woman lived in this house through the roaring 20’s, prohibition, and both World Wars was very intriguing to us. Regardless of the history involved, when we took possession in Dec 2010 it needed work, and we were lucky I was unemployed at the time having just graduated with my Masters. Who buys a house when they are unemployed? We do. The potential was undeniable. The upstairs had one small bathroom adjacent to a small hallway which had no purpose other than to be in the way. So we went full Chip and Joanna Gaines on this house before it was even trendy. We gutted the bathroom to the studs and started from scratch. New drywall, flooring, everything. We put new carpet throughout the house and painted every corner of the house because the trim and the walls were both painted Otterbein Cream. The porch was a horrific Otterbein Cardinal red. It was quite a sight.

Over the span of our 4 years in the house we added new front and back porches. The front porch was original to the house when we bought it and it was in rough shape. It was barely hanging onto the house by the time we redid it all. I personally rebuild all of the gingerbread trim on the new porch in an effort to keep the aesthetic of the original porch. It was quite an effort but it was worth it. That old house deserved the best new porch.

If you ever find yourself driving in Westerville, my first house is on the West side of State St, just north of Uptown and south of St. Pauls Church. It’s the only yellow house on the street. The new homeowners have since added a fence and taken great care of our first house. I’m glad it went to good homeowners, but it will forever be the home that Lauren and I fostered our love of renovations, old houses, and started our family. I hope you can find your first house too. The love you will develop for an inanimate object like a house is tremendous. I look back fondly on the memories created in that old house.

Following the sale of that old yellow house we purchased a newer 90’s built home. And guess what? We renovated it and have added a new chapter to our renovation obsession. But we can save that story for another post.


Zach is a Mortgage Advisor with State Bank in Dublin, OH. He writes and speaks regularly on personal finance, business development, and leadership. His focused approach on educating clients through the mortgage process allows him to help hundreds of new homeowners each year.

Learn more about Zach at mortgagecoachzach.com

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