first time homebuyer
New Digs: Shereen and Robbie Renovate in East Passyunk
Getting a tour of Shereen and Robbie’s reconstructed rowhome in East Passyunk is like a life-size game of tetris. Moving through the large corner lot, you try to envision where walls were knocked down, how the staircase was moved, and where windows and whole rooms were added. After purchasing the home in April 2017, Shereen says they really wanted to turn the space- which was dark and has some layout problems- into something much more light and airy.
“I like designing. I watch HG-TV all the time now!” says Shereen.
From Renters to Homeowners
The couple purchased their home with the help of Solo agent Alex Franqui, who had originally worked with Shereen when she was looking for an apartment in Fitler Square.
“I had asked him for help with a rental at least a year before looking at this house. He was just so helpful. When I considered looking at a house, I said “You know what, I’m going to contact him” He was the nicest realtor that I had met. He wasn’t pushy.”
Alex helped Shereen and Robbie think through the process of moving from renting to buying, and recommended they start by talking to a mortgage broker. Initially, the couple put in an offer on a new build in a different neighborhood. When they realized how much additional renovation that would still be necessary, they began to consider taking on a vintage place with a plan to do major construction. Looking back, Shereen says, ““I’m really glad we didn’t get that, because we like this neighborhood so much better.”
Finding ‘The One’
After several months of looking, it was love at first sight for these two when they saw the large bay window on this unique rowhome on a quiet residential street. The neighborhood is now one of Robbie’s favorite things about the house.
“It’s a family-oriented neighborhood and everyone kind of looks out for you. I grew up in Ohio were everyone knows you, everyone says hi. So, being in the city and still having that type of environment, that’s the best thing about this neighborhood for me”
Still, as with any renovation project, the process hasn’t been without its challenges. The timeline for completion kept getting pushed back, says Shereen. “I sort of expected that things would come up, but after a year things still aren’t done, so that can be kind of frustrating.” There were many decisions that needed to be made along the way, but in the end these new homeowners have a beautiful place uniquely suited to their needs.
The Right Partnership
After years of paying rent, Shereen says they are happy to be building equity with their home. It was a decision that just felt right for them at this point in their lives. And having Alex along for the ride was just the kind of partnership Shereen and Robbie wanted.
“It felt more like you were going to look at homes with your friend. It felt more like he was guiding you rather than sell a home to you.” In fact, when Alex mentioned he liked the rooster wallpaper that came with the house, Shereen and Robbie made sure to cut out a square for him before they began construction.