Audrey and Adam’s House Hustle: Crisis Averted

published Apr 7, 2017

Name: Adam, Audrey, and Jules (age 2.5)
Location: Eagle Rock, Los Angeles
Size: 1,012 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 14 months

When Adam and Audrey were looking for a good starter home, they wanted a ready-to-go renovation with a few perks (AC and a yard) that their Los Feliz rental didn’t have. Even though they’d been priced out of their neighborhood and nearby Silver Lake, they still wanted an area that was cool, plus safe and family-friendly: Eagle Rock fit the bill. Fifteen minutes from Los Feliz, Audrey liked that it has a “charming small-town vibe” with “a lot of young families and like-minded creative types.”

But, they found L.A. house-hunting was not all sunshine.

In a crazy, competitive market where properties go for way over asking price (and often for all-cash) hunting for them gets overwhelming fast — and, as Adam and Audrey were about to find out, so can the homes. Enter Realtor® Heather D., a real estate agent and member of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Adam and Audrey found Heather through her website, The Good Life LA, and the trio clicked immediately. Heather is an expert at navigating the intimidating and sprawling L.A. real estate scene. Adam appreciated that Heather knew exactly what they wanted but never pushed them. Not only did she find these first-time buyers their dream home, but her expert negotiating skills saved them from stumbling into a costly and dangerous situation.

The couple was in escrow on a bright and sunny flip that looked brand new on the surface. Modern features, modern appliances. It looked great. But behind the walls, it was 1920. The house still had its original, definitely-not-up-to-code, how-hasn’t-this-place-burned-down cloth wiring. Heather assured Adam and Audrey they could still back out, but this was the house they were looking for in the neighborhood they knew would be their home.

With so much about the property feeling right, Heather assessed what could be done to address what was keeping the house from working. She negotiated with the sellers’ agent, ultimately convincing them to make all the necessary electrical updates to bring the house up to code.

Her work wasn’t done, though. When Heather went back with Adam to inspect the repairs, they discovered that the walls hadn’t been patched or painted — “Our brand new house now had holes in every wall,” Adam remembers. So yes, Heather went back again to the sellers to make sure they fixed the holes and finish the work so Adam and Audrey could move into the house they wanted…finally.

“In the end we got there, and everything worked out as we hoped,” says Adam. Thanks to Heather’s initiative, Adam and Audrey weren’t responsible for previous owners’ code violations. If they hadn’t had her in their corner, they might have ended up walking away from their dream home, or even eating the costs of fixing the undisclosed electrical problems themselves.

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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We tend to be attracted to all things mid-century modern, as well as to eclectic and antique pieces. In our minds, we’re minimalists but in reality it’s hard to be with a 2.5-year-old. We’re also big fans of local Southern Californian style and artisans. We’re lucky to have many creative friends who have supplied us with a lot of our decorative items.

Inspiration: We are very much influenced by our surroundings. Our home in Southern California feels completely different than our old apartment in New York City. It’s hard to live here and not be influenced by the aesthetic of Los Angeles. We also typically find inspiration in our friends’ homes, as it seems like everyone in L.A. has such great taste. And of course, Instagram is up there for inspiration.

Favorite Element: The sunroom off our bedroom is our son’s playroom. It has huge windows that look out into our yard. There’s an enormous 100-year-old avocado tree just outside, and tons of sunlight pouring in. We spend a lot of time in there, playing and hanging out.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge in setting up our home was in not overcrowding the small space. We have tons of records and books, which used to be out on display in our previous homes. We had to move all of them out to the garage. Having that storage is huge, because anytime something starts to feel like clutter, be it a piece of furniture or artwork or a toy, we can just move it to the garage.

What Friends Say: Our friends have commented on how our home is a good representation of us.

Biggest Indulgence: One that was immensely helpful was hiring an organizer after our move. We worked with Monica Leed, an organizing professional, and she helped us get settled and make the most of our new, smaller space. From helping us get rid of unnecessary belongings that we’d collected over the years, to setting up our son’s playroom, to sorting and organizing our garage, Monica helped us tackle very intimidating tasks. It was our first time working with an organizer, probably because it seemed like such an indulgence to us, but now we’ve seen the light and will call Monica whenever we need help making sense of our stuff.

Best Advice: Find a real estate agent that you trust. Someone who gets what you’re after and can guide you without being pushy. If you talk to a real estate agent and don’t feel completely comfortable, you should find someone new. It’s an important process that can be very stressful, so you want to walk through this with someone you actually like.

Thanks, Adam and Audrey!

Tour more houses and learn how their owners averted crises in buying them in the House Hustle.

(Image credit: National Association of Realtors)

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This post is sponsored by the National Association of REALTORS® and was created by Apartment Therapy’s Creative Studio. Realtors® are members of the National Association of REALTORS®.
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