Let me tell you a story…the story of our house.

Alex and I knew we wanted to buy an old home and rehab it. Mainly because, in our city, it is HARD to find land to build. And we really wanted to be in the center of town…even harder.

So we were constantly on the hunt for an older home. Maybe one an elderly person wanted to be finished with. We wrote letters, asked around, and dang it…it was harder than we thought!

There was a house we LOVED…and guys…squatters were living in it. There were syringes and diapers and it was choas. But we {okay I} could see the beauty behind the mess. We put an offer in, wrote a letter, and prayed.

And an investor/rehabber won that house.


May 2016…The Day I Found Out We Lost Out On The West Villa House

Let’s talk financials here. Rehabbing an old home takes a TON of money. You’re buying the house, and then doing all of the extensive work to bring the house up to code much less up to modern standards.

It’s crazy expensive.

So when an investor buys that house. They are doing EXACTLY what we would be doing {buying the home, spending money to rehab it} and then they want to sell it for profit. Which makes the end cost SO high.

Especially with the size and age homes we were looking into. These investors were wanting $750,000-$850,000.

Nope. Not for the Wendels.

We couldn’t do that. We needed to buy the house first, and rehab it on our own.

We even went to the lengths to let the rehabber start, and then try to negotiate with him. And he wanted much more than we could afford.

So we walked away. And I was devastated! I had pictured picnics under this huge tree. Like had these picnics PLANNED.

Then our current home went up for sale. THE WEEK AFTER I had written a letter to the owner and threw away because I got cold feet.

Alex sent me the listing {here’s the link to the listing with pictures from before our rehab} and my heart sunk. I knew we wouldn’t get it.

They were doing a ONE weekend open house, would take offers only on Sunday and then make a decision that day.

We toured {along with over 500 other people} the house and knew it needed a ton of work.

They listed it well, so we knew there would be a lot of offers.

We made an offer, wrote a letter, and prayed a miracle would happen.

And we lost it.


A month later we found out ANOTHER investor/rehabber had won.

So…I made the call. And we set up an appointment with him.

Here we are before the appointment…so flipping nervous.

November 2017

And you all…he was so sweet!

He really talked us through the possibilities and options.

We knew this was going to be another money pit, but we bought our old house under foreclosure and had a decent amount of equity in the house.

This is when we started to PRAY and dream, and Alex was so hesitant! We would drive and sit next to the house and dream. We were so hopeful, but terrified.

November 2017

This is where it’s going to get confusing, but I want to share this information because it was so helpful to us, and it may be helpful for some of you!

{And y’all…don’t ask for the numbers…just to save my husbands sanity}

We knew we couldn’t buy the house up front because the house wouldn’t appraise currently where we needed it in order to get a traditional loan for the house and we didn’t want to get into a construction loan.

So, we negotiated that we would sell our home, pay for the renovations as we went along, and then buy the house when it was finished.

This was a HUGE risk for our builder. He had to trust that we would pay for things along the way.

But this man took pity on us, I think, and jumped into this with us.

I doubt he’ll ever do it again…because it was stressful at times…but I’m so thankful he did!

When a builder does a home like this, he makes decisions so quickly. We took more time deciding things, which pushed the timeline. He bought this house with a group of investors…and they wanted their money back. So he was being patient with us, while also dealing with the other investors.

He extended so much grace to us!

So, we put our house on the market, and ended up getting $100,000 more than we anticipated.

Which was a HUGE blessing because we spent a little over $100,000 more than we originally budgeted.

I know that’s shocking to a lot of you, but we ended up doing more than we had planned in the beginning.

We moved in with Alex’s SAINTLY parents for six months while we rehabbed.

I was PREGNANT and hormonal and man it was a wild ride.

Austen was two and potty training and trying to figure out what the heck was going on with his life.

But living with Alex’s parents was the greatest blessing.

I know not everyone could live with their in-laws…but my in-laws aren’t normal. They’re helpful and fun and supportive.

It was such an incredible relief to have that community while we were in such a crazy stage of life.

We did new HVAC, new electric, new plumbing, new insulation, new drywall on all exterior walls, we had to put tons of headers in to support us removing some walls, we did two and a half new bathrooms {as well as roughing in another bathroom on our top floor} all new flooring, new tile, new kitchen, we painted the exterior of our house, we removed an exterior door and window, we added new trim details inside that required a TON of craftmanship, and Lord only knows what else. It was a huge renovation.

And we did it in about 6 months. Which is QUICK for this big of a job!

By the end of the renovation, it appraised higher than we needed, and we bought the house!

We signed the papers TWO days after we had Hudson.

All of this to say this house did NOT fall in our laps. We fought hard for it. We prayed, we discussed, we crunched, we cried, we did all of the things.

And we’re BOTH so thankful!