Aug 6, 2007

The Home Search Goes On

Even though I really liked the house I talked about last month, it needs a LOT of updating. Plus with the front entrance the way it is, I don’t think I can fit some of my larger pieces of furniture around the corners. The back entrances are an option, but the furniture would have to be trekked up a steep hill and steep steps. Once inside the house, there is again a good possibility that the furniture wouldn't be able to be moved around the corners and down the narrow hallway. Even with everything that needs updating, my realtor said she got the impression from the listing agent that the sellers wouldn’t go lower than the 80’s (thousand). IMO, that's pretty expensive for a house that needs a lot of updating. For now, I’ve put that one on the back burner.

I’ve looked at more houses since then. S has gone with me on many of them, giving his opinion and pointing out things that sometimes I overlook.

We looked at one on the advice of my realtor. It was too big for me to start with. The best part of the house was the huge fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases in the living room. The worst part? The upstairs bedroom smelled like cat pee! It was so bad that it made my stomach roll...

One house we looked at was OK, except that the garage was built on to the house at a different time than when the house was built. In doing this, there is a window in the kitchen that looks into the garage. The bathroom had bright turquoise ceramic tile. There was a toilet in the basement... right out in the open! Another downer: One stall garage.

Another house was cute... had a fireplace in the living room and a nice little yard, but I didn’t like the kitchen. The master bedroom was upstairs (narrow staircase) with large mirrored doors that led into attic space. It was hotter than blue blazes up there. I was pretty sure that my furniture would not fit up the narrow staircase. Again, only one stall garage.

My realtor suggested I look at one that already had an offer on it. The yard was very tiny, but fenced in. The house was HUGE! The best part was the kitchen, even though it was dated. I kept thinking: I don’t want to clean this house, or heat it. The neighborhood wasn’t the greatest either.

I looked at another house in my hometown. It would need a new roof in a couple years... a complete tear off was in order. The basement is yucky with a narrow staircase. There is a parlor off the dining room that was made into a bedroom. What used to be a closet was made into a ½ bathroom with a tiny little 10” sink. The main bathroom is upstairs and it seemed to me that it used to be a bedroom because it has a huge closet in it. The room itself is pretty big also. The carpeting throughout is clearly 70’s – in the harvest gold and olive green colors. 3 different colors of carpeting upstairs. Windows downstairs were replaced with 60” ones but two of them on the front of the house are the kind that couldn’t be opened. The garage is portrayed as 3 stall – Yes, 3 cars could fit. Yes, it looks nice when the garage doors are closed. What does it look like when you open them? Like the garage was a shed at one time! Part of the flooring is dirt, part has some sort of tiles on it, and part is gravel. In the middle of it is this little room with a window. What’s room? Heck if I know! There was no way to get into it. My realtor surmises that it was an outhouse at one time. Nice... (not). My Dad thinks it might have been a woodshed. It seemed like the size of an outhouse to me. There were just too many oddities for me. Next.

The best one I looked at already had two offers on it. The second offer was by my boss’s 20-something daughter and son-in-law. Turns out they’re going to get it because the other couple didn't sell their home and couldn't afford two mortgages. It was a gorgeous little home with a great deck in the backyard and nicely landscaped. The only downside was the garage was one stall and there was no central air. It seems to be a theme in homes that range in the 80’s (thousands) – no central air.

Over the weekend, S and I went to several open houses. One was very, very scary! Two elderly sisters had lived there. One had died a few years ago. The other died recently. The entire house needed to be gutted and redone. The second story hadn’t been used in probably over a decade. Paper and paint were peeling off the wall and it smelled moldy and musty. The basement leaked and was very moldy and musty. My lungs were reeling for at least 30 minutes after leaving there. Another one we drove right on by. It wasn’t in the best neighborhood anyway.

We went to one open house that has potential. Pic is clickable for a better look. It’s a 1261-sq ft light brick bungalow style house with a matching brick garage. The garage is two stall and extra deep with room for storage in the rafters. It also has a garage door opener. The side door on the garage needs to be replaced, though. The exterior of the house is pretty much maintenance-free. Brick and vinyl siding with aluminum soffet and facia. The gutters are aluminum and in pretty good condition. The front yard has a huge pine tree. Lots of bushes along the front and side of the house. It’s a got little backyard with a huge shade tree, which is really nice. The backyard butts right up to (and I mean RIGHT up against) a commercial building. A 9-10 ft fence can hide the building which is exactly what I would do if I lived there. The house has all newer windows and is filled with hardwood flooring except for a 12x12 section in the living room area. Off of the living room is a 4-season room with French doors. Windows cover all the walls and it over looks the backyard. Hence the reason for the fence! I can picture a nice fence covered in flowering vines of some sort. The living room and dining room is in an “L” shape with a wood fireplace where both meet. The fireplace is light brick with ceramic tile at the base and a mantle above with some built-ins. I think it would be good to put a light/ceiling fan in the living room area to circulate air if the fireplace is being used. Currently there is no overhead lighting in the LR. The dining room has three tall windows that are built outward along with the wall to make like a bow window. You can see it in the pic on the right side of the house. It has a nice light fixture with a dimmer switch. The bathroom is kinda small – Big enough for one person only. It has an interesting medicine cabinet/mirror above the sink. It’s like a gilded frame around the mirrored door to the cabinet. Attached to the frame on both sides are ornate light fixtures. The odd thing about the bathroom is ceramic tile on the walls AND the entire ceiling. Those would have to go! No light fixture on the ceiling, thus no exhaust fan. It’s got a huge full (unfinished) basement with a full bath. That bath needs some serious cleaning! The woman who currently owns the house never used it, thus never cleaned it. The laundry area is in the basement. The downside is the furnace and central air is REALLY old. It would need to be replaced eventually. There is a walk up (unfinished) attic that I envisioned as a craft room (YES!). It could be made into a bedroom also. S thinks adding a dormer would make it a nice living area. The kitchen is functional, but badly needs updating. Stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and garbage disposal goes with the kitchen. Both S and I like the thought of a dishwasher since neither of us like washing dishes! All the appliances except for the GD are dated, but functional. The cupboards and counter tops are dated. It has a stainless steel sink with only one bay. The kitchen is one room that I’d want to re-do. Even though the room is small, there’s one wall that’s wasted space. A set of 12-18” deep cupboards with a counter top would make it so much more functional. Overall, the entire house is "light and air-y" due to all the windows. I called my realtor today to set up a showing so I could have a second walk-thru.


Anonymous said...

Houses in the 80's!!!! Where do you live? We can't even get a so-so house out here for less than $180,000. And I am not exaggerating.

Sharon said...

That last house doesn't look too bad. You have definitely seen some duds. I'll keep my fingers crossed that this may be the one.

Marita said...

Crossing fingers that the second inspection goes well and this house is the one for you. It sounds lovely.

Kathryn said...

You are right to pass up houses that you feel uncomfortable in, but not ignore houses that could be very livable with just some updating. You do have a list with the things you absolutely MUST have, don't you? Personally I vote for a dishwasher without question. ;-)

We currently have houses that are way big, but I guess I am used to that. I'd have a hard time moving back to a small bathroom. Here's hoping you find the house that really makes you happy!

Terri said...

That little house is toooo cute! I love bungalow type houses and can picture myself living there. I'd love to see what it looks like on the inside.

stitcherw said...

The bungalow looks and sounds perfect. I'm reading your entries in reverse order and didn't realize you'd posted a picture when I wrote my note a minute ago on your other post. Sounds like it would be comfortable now and give you lots of possibilities going forward that you could do as it worked out. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.