Finding the absolute perfect house to flip was a dream come true for us. We spent most of our nights sitting together searching every listing site from Craigslist, Zillow and TruIia. We looked at dozens of properties with our agent as well. I even think Hunter went to the local library and searched through old newspaper clippings on one of those scroll projectors like they do in the movies….O.K that last part may be exaggerated but all in all we found it online. From looking at the feature photo and the tiny thumbnails along the side we both knew it was perfect. It was old with tons of charm, a huge lot in a nice neighborhood and the majority of the work was cosmetic.
The house was built in 1946 and had only been lived in by one family, the same family that built it. It was right in our price range and we wanted it…bad. It had just been listed hours before we saw it and although we hadn’t seen it in person we had our realtor draw up the paper work first thing in the morning. We made an offer on the house after a quick walk through that morning and crossed our fingers. It turned out we weren’t the only ones, there were five other parties who also thought it was perfect. This was our second or third time putting an offer on a house, the others we lost in a bidding war. But this one was gold, we HAD to have it. I felt a connection to it, and had a really good feeling about it. When we found out that our offer was accepted we were thrilled. We were so excited to renovate an already amazing house and put our personal touch on it. Making the house ours was a long process and took much longer than we expected. We were a week away from closing when things started falling apart.
Hunter had been working as the Lodge Manager at a really cool mountain resort, and with his position – an on sight, little apartment was provided. We planned on staying there while we renovated our new house, then we would sell it all while living at the resort. Well, bad news happened like the plague. The resorts poor management from the previous years had left it in a deep RED hole. As Hunter moved up and was given more responsibilities and access, he knew that the lodge didn’t have many options…it was going to close and everyone was about to be laid off. Hunter told me he may be losing his job and that job was our main financial support. We knew there was limited time left in our little apartment we had fixed up, so we started packing and planning.
The same time that we found this out, something with the water line in our place was wrong and they had to kick us out early to fix it. With about a days notice, not only was there no water but all of the sudden we had an infestation. Carpenter ants filled our apartment and I was so disgusted and was going crazy. Now we were living right in the woods, in the mountains so it’s understandable where these ants were coming from. But they were everywhere. I mean, total infestation. I swear I have a curse with ants, they seem to always be a problem surrounding me. So we were very abruptly displaced from our little home. We were so fortunate that my parents had space and lived nearby so we could stay with them but it was a very temporary situation. We had an almost one year old, Hunter was losing his job and we were basically forced out of our home. We needed to get our stuff and get out. When we left, ants crawling everywhere and no water we only grabbed a small bag of necessities because we didn’t realize we wouldn’t be able to go back. When I went to try and help move us out, I broke into tears over what had become of our little home. There were ants everywhere all over our things. I couldn’t even put my baby down in her home to crawl around and play with her things, my little girl followed suit and cried too, we left. We said goodbye for good to let my husband deal with the mess because it was too emotionally hard for me.
We were staying with my parents when the day came to sign the closing papers on our house. Hunter lost his job officially the same week that we were taking on a mortgage, but we knew in our hearts we could somehow, some way make this work and that this house was meant to be ours. It was a scary time andwe had a lot to figure out. We kind of threw our hands up and said, hey, we have this house…its vacant, yes it’s a construction zone, but it is livable enough and it’s OURS; we should just move in. So we did just that, we moved into the house after finishing the floors, ceilings and redoing the electrical and all of the drywall. Anyone who has lived in a construction zone knows first hand how HARD it is. It really is so tough, and not only tough for adults but throw a baby in the mix and it is something I really can say I never want to do again. I know that moving in was one of the best decisions we could have made though. We knew that whatever happened with Hunter finding a job, and our financial situation, we knew if we could fix this little cottage house up that we were sitting on a gold mine. We knew this house was the best investment and financial choice we had made in our lives.
Hunter found some work pretty quickly filling in for different construction companies while searching for a better job. We thought he may have found one as he took a job as a Superintendent. Little did we know, the “big break” promising position would turn into an absolute disaster. The man he worked for was a complete con artist, he promised to pay and didn’t. He had Hunter work long hours to cover himself. It was horrible, here we were, at this point expecting our second child, trying to make ends meet on this house and we were completely screwed over by ahorrible person. We swore to each other after that, that we WOULD start our own business and we would treat our employees with respect. We never wanted to work for anyone again because unfortunately this was not the first time we had been led on by horrible employers. We learned a lot from that experience and once again we found ourselves with financial problems. But our mantra over the next couple of years would be, no matter how little we have, we have everything we need with our family and when the day comes that we can sell this house it will all be worth it. We always knew that to be true, through the hard times and a lot of tears. We worked our tails off, or I should say Hunter did to make our dream a reality. Hunter found another Superintendent role, this time in commercial construction shortly after, but it came to a head and we were ready to branch out on our own finally.
We took a huge leap of faith and started Arb Design and Construction LLC. Since the very day that Hunter left his last job and we committed to this business and dream of ours, we have been busy. Jobs poured in and we have hardly had time to come up for air. We finished our house a few months later, listed it and finally sold it. We did it. We accomplished what we set out to do. We had a long road ahead and a whole lot of work but all of that has led us to where we are now. Living this dream, full of hard work but work that we love to do and want to do. We have so many ideas and plans for the future. We have been through so much including emotional, physical and financial hardships. Yet here we are. Dreams do come true, in our case it has taken so much hard work, risk and major sacrifice but I wouldn’t change a single thing about what has led us here today. I’m not saying that we have accomplished everything, because that is in no way true. We are just getting started, but I am so thankful to my husband for being so talented and a hard worker. I am grateful for our family and friends who supported us so much through the whole process to get us to where we are. We are just starting this journey but I wouldn’t change a single thing, because being in the thick of it is right where I want to be, and savoring this process and enjoying the little things is exactly what I want to do. So that is the background on us and our business and why we are here, why we chose to be in this business, and a small glimpse of what it has taken for us to get here. We would love for you to join us on this journey through making houses into homes and creating and building not only homes but our future.