Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our First Home, by Nora Szechy

After many years of apartment living and having scrimped and saved every penny, we now had the princely sum of $1,550, enough for a 10% down payment on a $15,500 home. We looked at every home for sale and even in 1965 realized that all we could buy would be an entry level fixer upper.

We were becoming quite discouraged until one day Frank came home very excited with the news that he had found us a home. He said the realtor was waiting at the property and I should come with him to sign the papers.

The house was a small frame house and didn’t look too bad from the outside. Frank brought me around the back to where the realtor was waiting. The realtor was seated at a picnic table with a sheaf of papers in front of him. Lo and behold on this sunny afternoon in the backyard was a beautiful sparkling swimming pool! He said we had to act quickly because a house like this for $15,500 wouldn’t last long. He gave me a quick tour of the house and in my excitement about the lovely backyard and pool, I barely looked at the house. This agent was very clever having us sign the papers by the inviting Pool. I didn’t realize then that we had paid $15,500 for a pool.

This house was butt ugly. Whoever designed it never went to architecture school or wasn’t even a decent handyman. The living room was more like a long narrow hallway made even longer and narrower by the dark paneling on the side walls. It was impossible to decorate. Should we try the couch in the middle of the room to try to break up the length? Who ever heard of a couch in the middle of a room? Whichever way we tried to place our furniture, it looked plain awkward.

My ever-resourceful husband Frank decided to remove the dark paneling and with the use of mirrors and white paint, the room took on a wider appearance. He built a bookcase on the long end which helped balance the length.

He tackled the pokey little old-fashioned kitchen next. He broke out the wall facing the pool and extended the kitchen several feet. He also added a master bedroom and bath.

We had four happy years in our first home and often entertained yard loads of friends for BBQ’s and swimming parties.

The best part was when the time came to sell, we doubled our investment!

Nora's website


  1. Nora, I understand the frustration of not seeing the faults of a house when it's your first home. When buying your very first home you are so excited to have your own home you don't think ahead or about the house's drawbacks you will be living with. I know because forty-six years later I still live in our first home with the drawbacks we didn't think about when we signed the dotted line. We've made changes like you did and had some great gatherings but oh how we wish some things were different just the same.

  2. I remember one of the first houses I owned when married. It was really tiny but had a 300 ft. lot, and that paid off in the end because a few years later we almost quadrupuled our investment because a business wanted it for a parking lot.

  3. Dear Nora, I enjoyed reading your story, with your vivid deiscriptions of the ups and downs trying to get a house to fit your needs. I still live in the first home that we ever bought and paid for. I don't understand how we managed to raise a family in our small house... Yet now that we are "emty nesters" it seems even smaller. That's Okay because home for me is anywhere Vic is.