Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fell in love with a girl*

* "girl" is actually a house.

The monkeys and I toured a home yesterday. It's a large (Second Empire Style- I think?)103 year old house. It has amazing original features. I loved the leaded glass windows,original hardwood floors, transom windows, pocket doors (functional!), herringbone brick floors in the basement, and an amazing stairway to the attic.

The back yard had plenty of space for a garden and patio, it's on a corner lot, and close to downtown and the bike trail. It's also a lot of house for the price and about 1000 more square feet than the other home we're considering. The electric, furnace, water heater, and roof have all been upgraded recently.


Location is a bit of an issue. The one thing we can't change. The corner is adjacent to a very busy road. It's zoned for a less than stellar grade school (Caleb has one year left) and it doesn't feel as safe as the other area we're looking at.
It also needs a lot of work. The windows are original and the house would be very drafty in the winter. Both bathrooms are in need of renovations, the garage has lawn and not a driveway in front, and the kitchen needs to be renovated as well.

The good news is that we've found a Realtor we want to work with. We're going to do another walk-through of our top contender house this week with him, and we'll go from there. This feels like a roller coaster when you're slowing clicking up to the top before a drop, rush of wind, and adrenaline.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I almost bought a safety orange vest today.

For house hunting. Real Estate agents like to see you coming.

This has been a fascinating process. When it's all said and done I think I'll offer up my services as a consultant to each of the local real estate offices in the area.

We looked at two homes on Saturday and two more on Sunday. The first house on Saturday was just too new, and I had more interest in the agent than the house. She might just be our agent; it would be really nice to check that off my laundry list of house buying to-dos.
The second house was a flip. The agent told us this fact, enthusiastically. I don't know why. I think it's well known that a flip house is purchased cheap, usually without an inspection, dolled up, and sold for as much profit as possible. It has some "features" that would be good, if they had been properly executed. But, it was mostly a lipstick on a pig situation. We're looking mostly at older homes and one of my inquiries is always about plumbing/electrical updates. I asked the agent and instead of an "I don't know, let me find out and get back to you." I got an "You could get an inspection." Could I? Really? Given the un-sanded but painted trim, cheap carpet over (possibly damaged) hardwood, and potted plants used as "landscaping", I think I'll pass.
The first house on Sunday was amazing. It had a ton of character. A vestibule, built in bookshelves next to the fireplace, a cute little nook in the dining room, original hardware on the doors, and cute quirky closets. It also had a high price for the amount of work needed to make the (very spacious) basement functional. It's also between homes, and has a smaller lawn. It's a pity; I really like the neighborhood and the awesome remodeled kitchen.
The second house on Sunday was cute, and had wonderful light but, it felt like we would outgrow it very quickly and it also suffered from Crammed Between Neighbors syndrome. I'm liking corner lots more and more.
The good news is that we've narrowed down our search area and have really focused in on want vs. need and must haves. Tuesday I'm killing two birds with one stone by viewing a home on my list with an agent I want to interview. Right now, it's tied with another home we've seen. By Tuesday afternoon I'll know which agent I'm working with. And, unless the Tuesday house* blows my mind, I think I'll know which house I want. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

* I think (if I buy it) I'll name it Tuesday house. It's very Martha Stewart to name your house.

p.s. Why does everyone have boob lights** in their homes? I have yet to see a home without at least one.

** large dome, finial in the center. I have one in my flickr stream titled "Mother"