Hi all, we’re Nicole and Jared. The term “husband-wife duo!” is kind of silly, but I suppose it is at least accurate. We have been together for over a decade, meeting our junior year, 2007, at the University of Connecticut. Since then, we have supported each other through life’s inevitable ups and downs. There were tough times that made us inseparable, and awesome celebrations and achievements we got to share together. Perhaps more importantly, all of it got us where we are today.
About three years into our relationship, we were living in a tiny one bedroom apartment in Connecticut. We had graduated in 2009, and I was working my ass off to get into Physician Assistant school. Jared was starting out as a Financial Analyst. Over the next five years, we would take turns getting our respective degrees, ultimately jumping on the career band wagon. Mine in medicine. Jared’s in finance.
As most millennial stories go, higher education was not cheap. Mix that in with the aforementioned tough times going on in both our families, and the overwhelming expectation to get married, have kids, own a huge house, and work the next 40+ years until you retire, trying to pay down debt?
Marriage took a back seat. We already knew we were in it together for the long haul, rain or shine, sickness and health; you name it. We didn’t need a piece of paper to tell us that. At this point, student loans were also a reality. We wanted to travel and explore. We wanted life to be on our terms, and we certainly didn’t want to work for someone else for the foreseeable future.
I can’t remember exactly how it happened, or when, but we decided the only way to get where we wanted to go, was to eliminate our living expenses. So we did something everyone thought we would regret:
We bought a run-down two-family house.
Cue the gaping stares and awkward conversations. We had a combined ZERO experience in fixing up houses, knew nothing about being landlords, and nearly everyone regaled us with horror stories about rentals-gone-wrong. We nodded along, and made polite conversation about being careful. But deep down, we were excited! So excited.
In his off time, Jared was getting excel spreadsheets down to a science. With the click of a button he could run any residential multi-family scenario, and taught me all about ROI; stay tuned for that post! Meanwhile, I channeled a part of me I hadn’t really appreciated before. Growing up, my mom was an interior decorator (street cred: she designed Michael Bolton’s house, and got an autograph from him in the process.. she would have been a fan of his Lonely Island collaboration). During my second year of PA school, she passed away, and a small hole was left in that wake. When we started drawing up designs and planning layouts for the house, I felt connected to her again. I felt like I was doing something she would be a part of. So, listening to our gut, we bought the house with a first-time-home-buyer loan, and got to work.
And there she is! Originally built in 1880, your standard boxy New England colonial with a huge central *crumbling* fire place and old-school timber framing. Look at that cool yellow storm door and brass fixture! What wasn’t standard, was a back addition that had been added on at some point during its 130+ year history. We moved into the un-renovated front unit with our dog Jake (who you can see above, staring down a squirrel). We tolerated the weird carpet, lack of insulation, salmon pink walls, and creepy basement — while taking a hammer to the back unit. Within a few months, we had our first tenants, and never looked back.
So began our obsession with home renovation and restoration. I assure you, we are not a general contractor/interior decorator couple. We are just learning as we go, hoping we get it right, working together on all aspects of this little venture. Demolition, finance, decor – it’s all sweat equity.
We currently own 2 two-family homes; 4 units in total. We are in the process of renovating the 4th unit, having finished the other three in the last couple years. The next project is in our sights.
Our hope is that this website serves multiple purposes: a hub for our tenants, a showcase of the renovations we have done, and an informational source to help the average person succeed in the world of real estate. You don’t have to be a millionaire to make this work.. that’s just what they want you to think.
N & J