When you fall in love, it’s hard to think of anything else. So when Kelsey & James fell hard for the South Hyde Park neighborhood in Kansas City, they knew that no other place would quite do.
The problem? It was 2018 and few houses were for sale. “We lost out on five or six houses,” Kelsey says. “It was rough. But we finally found a little house in Hyde Park that got us into the area we wanted – even though we knew it wouldn’t be our forever home.”
While they continued their love affair with their new neighborhood, Kelsey and James stayed close with their real estate agent, Ashley Kendrick with Chartwell Realty, who knew what their dreams were and who was determined to help make them come true.
In mid 2020, the pandemic was raging and even fewer houses were for sale in Hyde Park (and everywhere else). But love is blind, as they say, and James and Kelsey decided to start completing a few projects around their existing home to get it ready to list. And if working from home, fostering dogs, combining their families, fixing up their house, and hunting for their dream home wasn’t enough, they were also planning their May wedding.
Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast.” Just as Kelsey and James had to postpone their wedding to November due to Covid, Ashley called with news. A house just three doors down from theirs was just purchased by a contractor who was going to flip it. Would they be interested in buying it before the flip and working with Ashley and her designer wife, Sarah, to restore it to its former 1898 glory?
“Honestly, we weren’t sure if this house and this project were within our scope,” Kelsey says. “But we jumped in with both feet and got the best of both worlds. We were able to keep the original charm and characteristics of this historic home while working with Sarah to pick everything from countertops and cabinets to paint and light fixtures. It was perfect.”
But James and Kelsey were fully prepared to have a less-than-perfect home loan experience for this project. “The last time we went through the mortgage process in 2018, we felt like the stress and burden of getting the loan done was all on us,” Kelsey says. “There were endless email threads months long with documents being attached, then lost, and repeat.”
But this time, Ashley introduced James and Kelsey to Katie Grimes and her team at Fountain Mortgage. “What really stood out for us was the online portal,” James says. “This time, documents were easily uploaded and tracked. Everything was so easy.”
Kelsey agrees, “We would call Katie and say, ‘Okay what else do you guys need? What should we be doing next?’ but they always said, ‘You’re good! We are on track and ahead of schedule,'” Kelsey says. “We owe everything to Katie. We had so much going on and taking all of the stress out of this process was a game changer.”
Just as they were finishing up their new home and getting ready for their rescheduled November wedding, Covid cases spiked again and their venue fell through.
But again, love always finds a way. Cue the dream house in the dream neighborhood and the dream team to pull off an at-home wedding in their newly-finished house. “Our contractor, Ashley, and Sarah scrambled for us and really pulled through to get everything ready and finished,” Kelsey says. “It’s so special now to spend our days in the living room where our closest friends and family joined us as we started our marriage. James’ boys have their own cool space on the third floor. We have a huge yard for our dogs and foster dogs. And we are expecting a baby girl in October. We brought this house back to life, and in return it gave us the home we’ve been dreaming of.”