My New Home: Hard work pays off as Crye-Leike, REALTORS clients and new parents renovate foreclosure in Cordova – The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
By Stacey Wiedower, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Most couples are content to give roses or chocolates as Valentine’s Day gifts. Not Nathan and Kaitlin Metheny. At least not this year.
This year, their gift to each other was a house.
The couple closed on their Cordova home, in the Lee Line Farms neighborhood near Houston Levee and Macon roads, on Feb. 13 after nearly a year-long search. They purchased the three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,800-square-foot home for $99,900.
Ten days before the couple signed on the dotted line, daughter Zoe was born.
“I kept telling people we were in a race between baby and house because we didn’t know which was coming first,” Kaitlin said.
So one of the couple’s first priorities in getting their new home ready to live in was finishing Zoe’s soft lavender nursery.
The home, which had been in foreclosure, wasn’t exactly move-in ready, so the Methenys dove right in to a full-on renovation.
Nathan ripped out all the carpet, which had taken a lot of abuse from the home’s former occupants. He set to work repainting walls and trim, and getting the floors ready for tile and new carpet.
“We did all the painting and drywall — our friends and family helped,” Nathan said. “We pretty much had painting parties every weekend. We’d order six to 10 pizzas and go to town.”
The couple also replaced all kitchen and bathroom fixtures and bought a new refrigerator. They still have plenty of work to do, including stripping remaining wallpaper from the kitchen walls, repairing and painting walls in the guest room and tiling the kitchen and bathroom floors.
The Methenys had the home in livable condition within two weeks of their closing.
“We enjoy doing house stuff,” Kaitlin said. “A foreclosure is not a good idea for somebody who doesn’t want to do all the work.”
With the help of Realtor Carol Massey of Crye-Leike Realtors’ Olive Branch office, the couple had been looking at foreclosure listings for months, seriously considering two others before settling on their new home.
They didn’t flinch at their new home’s neglected condition.
“We came in one day on my lunch hour,” said Nathan, who works in the exhibit samples department at Medtronic and also serves in the Tennessee Air National Guard. “We were in the house for not even 30 minutes and we knew this was the house we wanted.
“We had been trying to steer away from foreclosures at first because we weren’t sure that we wanted to do the work, but once we started seeing a lot of them, we knew it was nothing we couldn’t handle.”
And the perks of buying a house in the current real estate market outweighed the drawbacks. Not only did the Methenys buy the home for far less than its appraisal value, they also took advantage of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency program for first-time buyers and received the federal housing tax credit.
Among the first items on the agenda were to paint the entryway, living room and hallway a soft gold. A beige sofa and chair, large coffee table and aqua-and-brown striped curtains anchor the living space. Nathan rebuilt the room’s corner fireplace, which is topped by a TV niche.
“(The previous owners) had mosaic tiles liquid-nailed to the wall around the fireplace,” Nathan said. “I had to remove the wall and reconstruct it.”
The living room opens to the kitchen and eating area via a long breakfast bar. The Methenys plan to paint the two rooms after removing all traces of old wallpaper. They also plan to rip out vinyl flooring and replace it with tile.
Down a front hallway are Zoe’s room, a guest bath with soft violet walls and black-and-white accents, and the future guest room, which currently sports a paint job left over from the previous owners — bold, wide stripes in bright blue and yellow.
Across the living area in the split-floor-plan home is the master suite. The Methenys painted its walls slate gray, adding touches of blue and brown in the bedding and artwork. The master bath contains a whirlpool tub — one of Kaitlin’s favorite features of the house — and a separate shower, double sinks and his-and-hers closets.
Just outside the master suite, a stairway leads to an upstairs room that Nathan plans to one day turn into a playroom, or “men’s den.”
“The house has come together, and in the last three months it has become more of a home,” Kaitlin said.