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Our first question to the auctioneer when we walked into the house, the monday prior to the auction, was “Why an auction…why not list it.”  He gave us the answer we were looking for.  The home owner had owned the house for 40 years.  It was too much for him to handle and he was downsizing to go live near his kids. He knew it needed to be updated but didn’t want to deal with it.  He also didn’t want to wait 3-6 months for his house to sell.  He was retired and had living to do.  He wanted it gone quick.  It was paid off and he was ready to leave it.

Source: Mcurdy auctions

Source: Mcurdy auctions

….So the hubby and I prepared and decided how much that we wanted to spend.  We did this by calculating what we wanted to put into the house and we used comparables in the neighborhood to evaulate its current worth and potential worth.  We did some serious research.  All of that led to our highest bid price.  Now, let me explain that I will not be telling you any of our financial decisions.  I really think its important to keep that private.  I will share how we prepared to bid…without sharing our actual bid.  I am sharing our expereince just in case yo u might want to bid in a real estate auction.

Here was our mentality….

  • We were not in a hurry to buy.  We like our rental and are fine staying here for longer.  We recognized that houses do not sell often on this street and do not sell for cheap.  This was a once in a 30 year opportunity.  We will be looking for houses after the first of the year, but not right now. This house was worth bumping up our house buying time a few months.
  • I didn’t have to have this house.  It had my heart but it didn’t have my world.  If we got it…AWESOME.  If we didn’t, it wasn’t meant to be.  I have a strong faith in God and I know that He will place us where He wants us to go.
  • We were going to buy a steal. That was the goal.  We were not going to buy the house…even at the price it should be listed in a traditional sale, in its current condition. The price it should have been listed at was still a steal.  (hint:  we used comparables to figure this out)  We wanted to buy it under that great price.  The only way we could justify getting this house is if were a major steal…more than it already is.

Here is the reality

  • What you bid isn’t the actual price of the house.  You have to add a 10% commission fee to the auctioneer.  The final price of your house (your loan amount) would be your bid + 10% commission.  So if you win with a bid of $100,000 then the sale price of the house is actually $110,000

Lee came up with a bidding chart for me to use while bidding.  This is how I would know how much I was really spending when I placed a bid.  I am not sharing what I bid…or where we were comfortable…but this was my tool I had in hand.  If you do this, I suggest you have something like this with you.

Bid Sheet

Lee and I then determined what our last bid would be (based on how much we actually wanted to pay for the house).  We then called and got financial advice from a few people we trusted to make sure we were making a wise decision.  These type of people are important.  Everyone needs to have them.  They know us and what we financially can afford and we trust them. If they would have said “I wouldn’t do that” then we would have listened.  Its called good accountability and I am thankful we have people who care about us.  Financial stress overflows into a marriage and my marriage is more important than any house or thing I could ever own.


Here is the Living Room...IT had me at "Hello"

Here is the Living Room…IT had me at “Hello”

Auction day came and I got there early.  I signed up for my bid card and then looked around the house one more time.  I also was checking out my competition.  There were around 60 people there.  I was intimidated.  This is a lesson to never judge a book by its cover because I had pegged about 10 people I thought were real estate investors ready to gobble up this house over little ole me.  I am sure they thought I would never be a bidder.  I had skinny jeans, high tops, a long sleeve t-shirt and my hair partly braided.  I sat on the back porch on the left side and called Lee.  My first words were “we don’t have a shot.”


Source: Mcurdy Auctions Here is the porch where I called Lee.

Source: Mcurdy Auctions Here is the porch where I called Lee.

The auction began at the front of the house and the bidding started.  Lee had warned me the auctioneers would start high and then keep dropping until finally they allowed someone to make a bid.  Their job was to get the owner a good sale price.  Their job is to work the crowd looking for more bids.  Lee was on the phone ready to help me but he was on the road and couldn’t hear me well.


Here is the Kitchen. It was small but we were hoping we could open it up

Here is the Kitchen. It was small but we were hoping we could open it up

Finally, the first person made a bid.  The first bid made was exactly what I was hoping for. It was the area that I was comfortable to start bidding.  As per my husband’s instructions, I was to wait.  A bid price that low that is when people engage.  He wanted me to watch and see who engaged first.  If too many people engaged it was a clear sign that we would not be getting the house.  No one engaged….the auctioneer kept singing…I was whispering to Lee and then one other person engaged and bid $5,000 higher than the first bid.  I watched.  My heart was pounding.  When do I get in?  You couldn’t buy land in this neighborhood for this amount.  I was ready but my husband said “wait”.  No one engaged.  The auctioneer said “going once….” and I said to Lee quietly on the phone”…only two bidders have engaged…the one who started it and the one who made the next bid.  Its obvious the first bidder isn’t going for this house.”  Auctioneers draw out the “going once, going twice, sold” statements.  In between each one they plead with the crowd to get more bidders. I had enough time to talk to lee but not much.  Lee heard this and said “Bid”  Literally the auctioneer had said “going twice” and I spoke up and said my first bid.  I was now the high bidder and I was in the game.  A few people turned to look at me as if to say “the girl in skinny jeans is bidding?”  Where did she come from?  Needless to say my heart was pounding.


Built-Ins like this were all over the house.  Love em!

Built-Ins like this were all over the house. Love em!

The other bidder was on my left side.  I had to be quiet in my conversations with Lee so they wouldn’t hear what I was saying.  The entire crowd turned toward us, as if to say…this is where the action is going to happen today.  We were both on stage and I was keeping my cool on the outside and about to throw up on the inside.  To spare you all the little details I will tell you I was one of only two bidders.  On three different occasions I was the highest bid and the auctioneer said “Going twice….” and then the other people bid. All of those were at prices that were absolute steals.  Like, record breaking house price.   The other bidders were contemplating it just as much as I was after each bids.  The bids were not fast and furious.  They were very reflective and calculated.  I tell you that because it meant that with every bid you didn’t know if they were going to bid again.  A fast bidder reflects an “I can outbid you all day” attitude.  I felt the entire time I could maybe just get this thing.


Check Out This Closet...We would have removed these to make a large walk In Closet.

Check Out This Closet…We would have removed these to make a large walk In Closet.

My husbands good friend showed up with his family half way through.  I was the highest bidder and he jumped in to help me.  Really, just give me moral support and strategy.  I was thankful he was there because he was like a good coach.  When I was reaching my highest bid, the point where lee and I had said “no more” my coach told me to keep my phone to my ear.  To make it look like I was getting another bid ready.  Thanks coach.

I placed my final bid.  The highest bid that lee and I said we would go, and keeping my ear to the phone waited and hoped.  It took 5-6 minutes of the auctioneers singing for my competition to deliberate.  It was probably their last bid too.  The house was about to sell to me and they bid $500 higher than my bid.  I shook my head at the auctioneer to tell him I was out and he quickly said “Sold” to the other bidder.  He knew that if I was out it was over.  That $500 haunted me for about ten minutes.  I look back and if they only were bidding $500 more dollars than my highest bid then they were just inching over me to get it.  I think I could have won if I would have bid $500 over them, which would have been $1000 more than we wanted to pay.   $1000 more on a home loan is nothing but I wanted to honor my husband.  He came home and told me he would have upped the bid $500 more just to see if they were really out.  He then said, you did the right thing.

My husband is a closer and a good reader of people.  I think we would have won the house if he was there.  The reality is, that he was not and it was important for him to be where he was.  It was all part of God’s plan and guess what….It wasn’t meant to be.  I walked away with a smile on my face.  I said a prayer for the family who bought it to have wonderful memories there and went with my “coach”, his wife (who is a close friend of mine), and their kids to get a burger.  I came home, took a nap and was thankful to have a roof over my head.

There is my story of the house that got away.  Maybe I should call it the house that wasn’t meant to be.  That feels much better.

Thanks for reading,




The One that Got Away

Jennifer —  October 28, 2013 — 1 Comment

So last week I was busy writing.  That is my job, by the way.  I write kid and youth bible study curriculem for my old job.  I love it and it allows me to stay home but last week was a writing week because I had a manuscript due.  I have to be honest, it was also busy praying, thinking and deciding on a big purchase.  A new house.  Hold your horses, read the title, we don’t have a new house but I thought I would share the story.  We ALMOST bought a house at a real estate auction.  We didn’t but it was in my grasp.  Here is the house…

The One that Got Away

Source: McCurdy Auctions

….and here is the story.  My husband and I were driving around in the area that we would one day like to purchase a home.  We were not looking to buy yet, but we were driving up one of the streets that has the most wonderful old homes.  You know the kind of streets they show in movies.  It has character, trees, people walking their dogs.  I have been told this street is the street to come down if you want to see Halloween or Christmas decorations  We drove up the street with the intention of thinking….someday but probably never.  We couldn’t afford one of these houses right now.  Then we saw the sign.  The picture doesn’t show it but there was a sign in the yard for a real-estate auction.  We looked it up on my phone…thank you smart phone…. and there it was, going up for auction with no reserve.

The One that Got Away

Source: McCurdy Auctions

What is no reserve?  That means the house does not have a certain price it has at least get to in bidding.  It means that the house could go for $1 or $1 million..wherever the auction takes the house price.  We called immediately to go see the house.  A week later, we were in the house.  REHABTASTIC!  Awesome.  It did has some negatives but location was the key and if we got it at the right price we could right some of those wrongs.  Let me show you first rehab that would have been done.  The Carpet:

The good news was there was hard wood floors underneath.

source:  McCurdy Auctions

source: McCurdy Auctions

Here were the Pros of the House:

  • Big but not huge.  The picture looks really stately but its an old house so it really wasn’t that big.  Very manageable and one that we could grow into
  • Location, Location.  People give their right arm to get into this neighborhood.
  • This house needed lots of work so we knew it would not be valued the same as the other houses.  The houses around it were selling for much much higher than what we thought it would go for.  This had the potential (at the right price) to be a great investment.
  • I could make it my own.  Many of the houses in this neighborhood have been renovated.
  • It had built-ins and tons more built-ins.  Awesome
  • Character
  • Hardwood floors….everywhere.  They just needed to be refinished after we pulled up the carpet.
  • Large Rooms
  • It had Central Heat and Air.  Most of these old houses have radiant heat.  That was a huge cost we didn’t have to put into the house
  • It had a new roof.


  • The kitchn was a small galley kitchen.  These are expected in these homes.  People didn’t want big kitchens in the 1920s.  We were thinking of opening up the wall between the dining room and kitchen to make the kitchen feel more open.
  • One bathroom upstairs….no master bathroom.  There WAS room to put a master bathroom so we were thinking that would have to happen.
  • Three bedrooms.  I would like 4 to have room to grow with guests.  There was a study on the main floor that could have had a sleeper sofa for our guests.  There was also a bathroom off the study if we ever wanted to close make it a fourth bedroom.
  • House had the most awful textured plaster.  I don’t mind plaster but the texture was bad.  It is also extremely expensive and time-consuming to change to drywall.  This was almost the deal breaker but we thought we could change it over time and I had other ideas to camouflage it.
  • The house had old wiring.  We would have to fix this.  It would be a huge cost.

If the price was right the Pros far outweighed the Cons. IF THE PRICE WAS RIGHT being the key phrase.  We decided we were going to try for it.  We looked online to get the auction details and saw that my husband was going to be out of town that weekend….and he could not change it.  He looked at me and here was our convo:

Lee: “You can go and bid.”  

Me:  “WHAT!  I don’t know what I am doing.”

Lee:  “You can do it, I will help you.”

Me:   “I don’t think I can. What if I don’t understand them and put in a wrong bid.”

Lee:  “Just pay attention and ask the auctioneers what the bid is before you bid.  Come On, it’ll be good for you.”

Me:  “Okay, I will do it.”

So stay tuned until tomorrow.  I am going to tell you how little ole me almost bought this house.

Thanks for reading,





A Cable Free Family

Jennifer —  March 16, 2012 — 1 Comment

A few weeks ago I posted how I hid the cable cords to my television.  I decided that I should tell you about a “life rehab” the hubs and I did almost two years ago.  We got rid of cable t.v.  What?  How do you survive?  How do you know what is going on?  What do you do with your time?  Why do you have a t.v.?  What about Sooner Football?  Yes, those are all things that people have asked me.

Why we did it:

1.) We realized that t.v. is not that important to us.   Don”t get me wrong…I like t.v.   I was really sad at first because I wouldn”t be able to turn on HGTV on and have it on all day while I did stuff around the house.  The hubs (and I) would do the same with college football on a Saturday.  Other than that, we did not have show that we just had to see every week.  I will say that there have been a few time periods of shows we enjoyed such as Design Star or American Idol, but honestly they were not a “can”t miss” to us.  Honestly, I don”t remember alot of cable television growing up.  My mom and dad limited my television as a kid.  I probably was mad at the time but I am thankful for it now.  Both my parents were educators and they always wanted me using my time creatively or being physically active outside.  I got to watch t.v, but the amount of time watching was limited.  It really taught me not to rely on it for entertainment.  Thanks mom and dad!

2.)  We were paying for 200 channels but really only watching 5. – I wish cable/satellite companies would let you pick and choose your channels and your bill was based on your #of channels you chose.  We were paying $100 bucks a month for cable and internet.  It didn”t start at the price, but you know those satellite companies keep raising the price on you every 6 months to a year and we just got sick of it.  We used the internet, but we weren”t getting our money”s worth on the satellite/cable t.v., and to be quite honest, we didn”t want to.

So, we bit the bullet and dropped the  satellite part of our cable bill.  I thought it was going to be hard but we have not missed a beat.  Here is what we did instead:

  • We upped our internet service.  We were only paying $30.00 for 3MB internet.  Initially we were going to drop our service completely and go with another internet service.  Our current service sweetened the deal to stay with them by upping our internet to the 12MB for a lower price…$20.  That was an immediate yes.  Since then they have upped everyone”s so that the lowest you can get is 8MG.  It brought us up to $16MB for $29.  We really enjoy using the fast internet and it helps us in the other things we purchased.
  • Dvd Player:  We borrow movies, and watch the ones we have.  Our DVD player was a hand me down so it”s not fancy.  Usually, if we watch movies we rent them digitally
  • We bought a t.v. adapter for our iPad - If we purchase or rent a movie on iTunes we plug it in and watch it on our t.v.   We have an apple desktop but if we had a laptop we could do the same, and even watch recent t.v. shows that are online.
  • We purchased a Roku Device for $80.- We already had a $7.99 Netflix account so we just kept that.  With the Roku you can watch these things:

Click on Pic for descriptions

  1. – Which has full seasons of a lot of the popular shows, but it might not be the current season.  It also has tons of movies
  2. Amazon – we have an Amazon Prime account (which pays for itself in like 3 purchases not to mention the gas you save not going to a store)  Because of this,we have even more movies and t.v. shows for free at the click of a finger tip.  They add more every month so its like buying new DVDs except you don”t know which ones until you look.
  3. Amazon Rentals – We rent our movies thru here as well.  You can rent all the new movies right from your t.v. No, it”s not as cheap as Redbox, but I am horrible at returning Redbox on time so for me, it is as cheap as Redbox.  Honestly we do this about once a month so it”s not that big of a cost.
  4. Pandora:  We listen to all our music through our t.v.  When we want to listen to Christmas music during our Christmas Party we have a christmas music station on Pandora.
  5. Crackle – These are more free movies that are streamed through the internet.  Most of them are not my cup of tea  but there have been a few they put on there that I liked.
Note:  Apple T.V., some blue ray players, the Wii, and the Xbox all do the same thing.  We chose the roku because it was the cheapest of all three at the time.  We also don”t have a ton of dvds due to itunes so it was pointless to purchase a blue ray player.  If we could do it all over again, we would have picked the Xbox 360.  We don”t really play video games so that is not why, although I love the Kinect games)  The Xbox 360 does all the above AND streams ESPN 3.  This is huge because we could watch any college football game that is broadcasted on ABC and ESPN. You don”t get amazon on the XBox 360.

What about my love for HGTV and college Football? – Its even better because I can pick and choose what I want.  I don”t have to watch 10 episodes of house hunters to see one episode of Dear Genevieve  or Emily Henderson”s show.  (my favorites)

  • HGTV online has full episodes of all their popular shows.  I pull it up on my computer and watch my favorites while I am working on a project or doing laundry
  • The Voice – My new favorite Reality Show.  We watch it every week on our computer.  Our computer is the size of a small t.v. so we will pull up a chair and watch it a day later…without commercials!
  • College Football – I have been lucky that my Sooners have graced the top ten for most of the season the past two years.  The Hubs” cowboys have done this too.  Because of this our teams are on ABC and Espn alot.  We pull up ESPN 3 and watch them on our computer.  Most of the games we just have running while we work around the house on a Saturday.  If it is a game that we are excited to sit down and watch we might even pull in two comfy chairs for the 3-4 hour broadcast.   There are some games that are not broadcasted on ABC so if the game is a big one, I ask a friend to come over.  I have a few sooner fans in the Ozarks that I know will have the game on.  Literally, this might be one game a season.

What we don”t have great access to – NFL and NBA.  This might be deal breaker for some people who are passionate NBA and NFL fans.  I grew up in Oklahoma and only until recently is there a professional team (which I do cheer for now).  The hubs is a Chief”s fan so he pulls it up on the radio.  We always watch the super bowl at someone”s house and this year we watched a few of the playoff games with friends.

What about news? – To be honest, the news wears me out.  I am a facts girl.  I don”t need to hear it analyzed, just tell me what I need to know and I am good to go.  The internet allows me to filter.  I check my favorite local and national news stations website every morning and every evening to be caught up.  This way, I can just get the facts and check the weather.  In times of crisis where we have no power, the hubs and I have a battery operated radio.

What are the savings?

  • After a few years of automatic price upping by the satellite company we were paying about $100 a month on cable and internet.  That is $1200 dollars a year!  We looked into actual cable but it would have been close to the same and their basic package didn”t include some of the 5 channels we watch.
  • Now we pay $360 a year for internet.  That is $840 savings!  We already had Netflix so we didn”t add that cost and the Roku was a one time cost of $80.
  • The iPad was a gift that we were not expecting but it has added to our entertainment abilities but we could still do lots without it and weren”t planning on it being apart of it.

Here are the savings time and lifewise:

  • It makes you really filter what you want to watch and what you don”t.  (we also have filters on Netflix so we are not always seeing junk when we open it up.  If you want to know how to do that email me and I will help you.)  If its really that important, and we don”t have away to watch it other than on cable television.  We will make the time to go watch it with friends.
  • It guards you from television that you don”t want to watch.  Everyone has differenct convictions about this, but I think its safe to say that no matter what you believe there are things on t.v that you don”t want to see or you don”t want your children to easily see.
  • It helps with channel surfing.  Maybe you don”t like channel surfing because of the reason above.  Maybe you just don”t like it because its causes friction between your marriage of who has control.  We have to decide what to watch and look for it. So, no remote control fights in our house.
  • It keeps you from mindless t.v. watching.
  • We are able to spend the time on hobbies that we love.  I started a blog and the Hubs completed a half iro man triathlon this year.

Please understand that I am not against cable television.   I might go back to it someday, especially if I am a stay at home mom.  My best friends all have it.  You can”t always have everything in life so sometimes you have to figure out what you really want and make the necessary sacrifices.  We love to travel and our savings last year  bought our tickets to San Francisco and Savannah Georgia for vacation.  Having money for travel is more important to our family so we decided the area we would cut back was cable t.v.  Is anyone else out there cable free?  How do you do it?  For those who have cable, have you figured an affordable alternative to doing it?  Do you think I am crazy?  Please, do tell.

Thanks for reading,


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Hide Exposed TV Cords

Guest Bedroom Art

Cheap Printable Art

If you have read the post on Asa's Room you saw that our budget was $100.00  This is really tough to do if you can't re-use what you have.  Here is how I did it:

  • Moved the dresser all the way to the wall and took out the rocking chair into the new babies room $0.00
  • Painted one wall with chalkboard paint. The great this is they had a full can because they painted a door in their kitchen with it.  I did not want to  spend $12.00 on more paint so I was scraping the can.  I did it!  Asa's parents also had paint supplies.  $0.00.


  • Art Wall.  I explained how I did here.  Since I had the trim it cost $2.18 total
  • Record covers and sheet music:  We had all of this.  This family is musical $0.00
  • Lamp on dresser:  0$  We had this Ikea lamp.
  • Other decor:  The piggy bank, sketch of Asa, race car, baskets was all in Asa's room to begin with.  $0.00
  • Stainless Steel Spray Paint:  $7.00  (Used for rug, clips, and some frames)
  • White Spray Paint $7.00  (Used for rug, trim, hamper)
  • Children's Book Wall:  I explained how I did it here.  $15.00
  • White paint for book wall: I had it in my paint shed.  $0.00
  • Crates: They were in their garage.  Here is how I covered them. Score!  $0.00


  • Fabric for crates:  I had this in my fabric stash $0.00
  • Wood for crate ottoman:  This is from my wood pile.  Here is how I did it.
  • Foam for crate ottoman:  I didn't like the cushion to the original chair I slipcovered.  It was way too big.  So I cut some foam off of it and re-used it here.  $0.00
  • White Side Table:  Lowes, clearance outdoor furniture $8.00
  • Chair:  Church Army Thrift Store, $10.00cialis online

ge-1242″ title=”Slip Covered Chair” src=”” alt=”” width=”500″ height=”669″ />

  • Fabric for chair:  XL twin sheet set on clearance at Target, $13.00  ( I used everything…sheet, fitted sheet, and pillow case)
  • Bed:  Hand me down from Asa's parents relatives.  The crib will now be used by Avery.  She is coming soon!
  • Entryway wall:  I had these Ikea shelves when we first moved in our house.  I have never been able to find a great place for them.  Now I have $0.00
  • Decor for entry wall:  $0.  I scoured her house for frames, cards and pictures.  I
  • Record Decor:  Asa's dad is quite the musician.  When they moved into their house the previous owner left $100s of records.  None of which are the taste of Asa's parents.  So I just stenciled Asa's name on three and attached them with double sided sticky tape.  I used the white paint I had and cut some stencils on my Cricut.  I paid $1.17 for the tape.
  • Curtains:  These are bed sheets.  I found the gray plaid set at Wal-Mart on clearance for $15.00.  It was a queen sized sheet set.  I used the fitted sheet for the closet.  (You take out the elastic, rip the corner seams out and you have a ton of flat fabric to use)  I cut the queen sheet into 4ths for the two windows.  Each panel was a little narrow so I sew them onto some black fabric.  The black fabric is also two twin sheets cut in half.  The twin sheets were from Wal-mart for $5.00 a pop.  Total for the curtains:  $25.00
  • aaa

    • Curtain Rods:  2 Cafe Rods from Lowes for $3.97 a pop.  Total:  $7.94
    • Curtain Clips:  I had some leftover from my master bedroom curtains.  I bought one more pack $2.94 ( I sewed tabs on the back of the closet curtains, using fabric from one of the pillow cases.  I did not need clips for those)
    • Closet Curtain Rod:  Shower Curtain Rod I found in their garage ) $0
    • Bedding Pillows:  made from my stash of fabric.  I also used the other gray plaid pillow case from the sheet set. $0.00
    • Stuffing for the Pillows:  cut up two old bed pillows I found in their storage. $0.00
    • Toy Storage:  Wicker Hamper I had and painted it white with extra Spray Paint. $0
    • Blue Blanket:  On of my 10,000 blankets I have around the house. $0.00
    • Gray Blanket:  Found it in Asa's parents hall closet.  $0.00
    • Lamp:  I made a swap with Asa's mom.  She and I both bought this lamp at a hotel sale.  I always wished I had bought two for my living room console table.  My wish came true. I put this lamp I had in my house (that I also got at a thrift store) in Asa's room and she gave me the matching lamp!  YES!!!!  $0.00
    • Rug:  Because I had made this rug in my laundry room and had to cut it down, I used the left-over for Asa's room.  I listed the cost of the paint above $0.00

    Grand total for Asa's room:  $99.17

    Here is my tip for the day….”YOU CAN DO IT!  Look around your house.  What do you have?  Make swaps with friends.  Buy a can of spray paint!  If you have something you want to repurpose but you don't have any ideas…send me a picture and give me the room you want it to go in and I will give you my best try.

    Happy Weekend!


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