• Christina Rice

Raise Your Hand if You Want a Fixer-Upper!

Updated: Mar 10

Oh, if you could see me now with my hand raised high. Fixer-uppers are my weakness. Some people want to take in all the stray animals in the world, and while I am an animal lover, I want to rescue every dilapidated house still standing today. With all my heart, I do.

If you don't know my background, I started in real estate unknowingly, when I bought my first house at age 24. It had potential, but it was sold with cheap wall-to-wall carpet, sheet vinyl kitchen floors, and oh-so-basic fixtures. It was as dull as you could imagine. Over the next few years, I installed hardwood floors, changed every light and plumbing fixture, painted the rooms, added landscaping, brickwork, window treatments, and decorated every inch.

BEFORE: In 2011, this room begged to be defined. The vinyl floors and popcorn ceilings had to go!

AFTER: Smooth ceilings, new floors and a living area defined around the fireplace.

I was doing this for my enjoyment, but when I realized I could sell my home and turn a profit, my eyes widened. Renovating and decorating is my version of play, and getting paid to play, is living the dream! I bought another and another and another. That was when Lemonade Homes was born. I figured when the market gives you lemons, make lemonade by creating your dream home.

Fast forward to today, and I'm helping others create their dream homes. It's even more rewarding because, together, we're crafting a space that is 100% their own. Watching homeowners make all of their hopes and dreams come to life in their home is magical.

I believe everyone should have a home that's a reflection of who they are. A home that brings them joy, security, and confidence. To put it simply, I want you to have a home that gives back to you. What does that mean? A home that returns to you all the energy that you put into it. It's hard to describe. It's kind of a spiritual thing.

When I talk to people, so many want to remodel a home, but the fear of the unknown stops them. The task seems too daunting. They don't know where to start. They don't have contractors. They don't believe they have the money to do it.

I like to open up the possibility of a remodel when we're out looking at houses, especially when we aren't finding "the one." If my client is open to the idea, we drop the purchase price parameters a little, and we start up another conversation with the lender. There are ways to add construction costs to a particular loan, potentially put less down to keep cash for the remodel or even discuss a second loan to cash out. If the client has the money for a remodel, then that is a no-brainer.

This was me explaining to a client how this kitchen wall could come out to create a spacious kitchen that opens up to the living area of the home. I'm not sure about those sleeves. That wall ultimatley came out!

I start by doing the legwork because sometimes it's difficult for the client to imagine the changes. I'll go out and view the possibilities first before taking the client to see it in person. After walking through the changes a few times together, they start to see the options. I love watching them get it and get into it.

If we find a fixer, we certainly want to get a thorough inspection of the home. When remodeling, you need as much information on the home's condition as possible to minimize any surprises that will eat up the budget. There will always be surprises, though. I haven't ever remodeled a home where something unexpected didn't pop up. It's the nature of the beast. However, knowing this in advance with the ability to be flexible and creative helps keep your attitude positive.

If you decide to move forward on buying the fixer, there are different ways to get home. You're open to using any contractors you choose, or you can interview some that I have worked with in the past. You can choose to design on your own or choose to hire me to help you. Either way, I fully support you.

I've had two clients buy fixers this year. One knew what she wanted, so she didn't to hire me as a design consultant. She'd bounce some ideas off of me, and we had a blast discussing the possibilities. I love what she's created, and I am so excited that she's thriving in her home.

She's infusing her fun-loving, personality into this space. I can see her in this space, and I love that.

I've been involved in almost every decision with my other clients. They knew what style of home they wanted, but they weren't sure what materials, fixtures, colors, or textures it would take to get there. As we get farther along in the remodel, I can say they're learning to identify what they like and what works. It's such a fun and rewarding experience. I can't wait until they can move in and enjoy it.

My other clients want an open concept. We're so excited to see the walls come out soon as permits allow.

I can't tell you how meaningful this process is to me. I want you to have a home that's truly yours. I want it to be special. I want it to feel like your own. I know this is your home, but it's such a personal and special process that I'm grateful you've allowed me to be a part of this adventure.

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