New Digs: Finally Falling for East Falls

Even though their first date was on the Schuylkill River Trail near East Falls, Kimberly Bonner and Latrice Springs initially looked in every neighborhood but East Falls for their new home. How did they finally fall for the neighborhood? It involved two years of house hunting, over 75 house showings, and an insane plan they called “the nuclear option.” Find out what led them to their home, and how Deborah Solo helped keep the “nuclear option” from imploding!

Beyond their first date, the Schulykill River Trail was one of the main reasons Latrice wanted to move back to Philly. “We’ve always been circling East Falls,” Latrice and Kimberly observed, but initial concerns about parking kept them away.

They knew they wanted to move out of their house in Point Breeze. They knew they wanted to “buy a quieter block.” They knew they wanted a family home, with a guest room and a yard, and room for their cats Oliver and Molly. That’s about all they knew.

 

Kimberly and Latrice with Oliver, one of their two cats, in their sunny new living room
Kimberly and Latrice with Oliver, one of their two cats, in their sunny new living room

 

Their lack of constraints led them all over Philadelphia, with Deborah Solo as their guide. “She is a trooper. We looked at so many houses both times I bought,” praised Latrice, who also hired Deborah when she bought their house in Point Breeze.

They began looking at properties while they finished renovations on their Point Breeze home. When the renovations were complete, they still didn’t have their sights set on a new home, and had been looking for over a year.

 

The living room in the house they ended up buying in East Falls, full of natural light and built-in shelving
The living room in the house they ended up buying in East Falls, full of natural light and built-in shelving

 

Kimberly and Latrice decided on a bold plan to push themselves to commit to a new home. They called this “the nuclear option”: they would put their Point Breeze house on the market without having another house to move to, in order to force themselves to make a home-buying decision.

The nuclear option ended up being more aggressive than they realized. Latrice and Kimberly hadn’t anticipated that their old house would go under agreement within 4 days of being on the market, with a 30-day closing date at that. “All of a sudden, we have to move!” they recalled.

 

The large dining room, complete with a table crafted by Latrice from a wood door and recently hung pendant lamps
The large dining room, complete with a table crafted by Latrice from a wood door and recently hung pendant lamps

 

That week, Kimberly and Latrice decided to finally look at some houses in East Falls. They looked at ten to twelve in all. As soon as they entered what is now their home, everyone liked it.

Yet the house still didn’t initially make the cut! With its oil heat and single bathroom, the couple didn’t immediately recognize it as home they had been looking for. Instead they were seduced by a property on a nearby block, but a seller’s disclosure from hell led them to take another look at this house and to put in an offer.

 

Although their new home only has one bathroom, it's a beautiful one! The couple has plans to change to sink and do a few other upgrades.
Although their new home only has one bathroom, it’s a beautiful one! The couple has plans to change the sink and do a few other upgrades.

 

Their offer was accepted right away. “The entire process to buy the house with Deborah took 2-3 weeks” Latrice and Kimberly commented.

During that process, Deborah pushed for things they didn’t think were a big deal at the time. For example, the house needed a new washer and dryer, which Latrice and Kimberly weren’t fazed by but Deborah insisted that the owner replace them. This ultimately spared the couple freezing trips to the laundromat in the middle of winter!

 

The dining room from a different perspective: plenty of shelving throughout the house to display Kimberly & Latrice's many books, ceramics, and other objet d'arte
The dining room from a different perspective: plenty of shelving throughout the house to display Kimberly & Latrice’s many books, ceramics, and other objet d’arte

 

Deborah also insisted that they get the heater checked out, and it turned out it needed $500 of work, which would have also been a huge inconvenience in November in Philly. “Because we moved in November, these two things that Deborah pushed for were crucial for our basic comfort,” Latrice observed.

With the help of Deborah, the nuclear option worked: Kimberly and Latrice closed on their old house and their new house on the same day, and Latrice and Kimberly truly found their family home on the quieter block they were looking for.

 

Latrice & Kimberly found the quieter block they were looking for, in the last neighborhood they looked in!

 

With beautiful hardwood floors, generous square footage, and four bedrooms, they have the coziness and roominess they were looking for. The backyard is unique in both how expansive it is, and its terraced terrain. Needless to say, the cats are thrilled with their new home!

Kimberly and Latrice have plans to build on their home’s beauty and function: a bedroom is partway through its transformation to walk-in closet, a clunky built-in closet was removed in the master bedroom to open up the space, and Latrice has made custom desks out of wood doors to fit perfectly into the house’s nooks.

 

backyard combined
Oliver the cat enjoys his new expansive and lush backyard while Latrice shows off their new patio

 

The couple believes working with Deborah was crucial to making their ambitious plan a success. “There will never be another realtor for me besides Deborah,” Latrice maintained. “Even the cats love her!” Kimberly added.

 

Oliver and ____ were big fans of Deborah Solo too!
Molly and Oliver were big fans of Deborah Solo too!