Wow. I didn’t really explain what went on between May 11 and May 15. So here’s the scoop:
On Saturday, 5/12, I was doing my usual thing, perusing real estate listings and checking in on properties that I thought were interesting. There are two in particular that we really liked, unfortunately they were out of our price range (I’ve been hoping the prices would drop, but won’t happen in this market or this time of year). One property that I’ve been keeping an eye on had a decrease in price from $185,000 to $179,000. I was immediately motivated and emailed our agent that we’d like to see it and could she call me.
To explain why, it goes like this… In our part of town, things go fast if they are priced right. The house in question is 2016 square feet, 5 bedroom/ 3 bath and fully remodeled inside. The listing agent, who is also the owner, actually did a really poor job listing the property and entered it as 4 bed/ 5 bath. The pictures he posted were limited and didn’t hit the high points either. It was just weird!
So our agent called me back and we set the appointment for Mother’s Day, noon. My mum ended up heading off with us to see it, which was lovely. We got to the property and whoa. NO curb appeal – yet another bonus for us in this market. Miserable lawn full of clover and weeds… volcanic rock in what should be planted beds. We peered through the fence into the back yard to find out that it was all gravel and weeds. But we weren’t ready to give up, so I peeked through the multi-paned window on the front door and ahhhh….. pretty dark wood flooring, new carpet, new paint…
Our agent showed up (and she is a sweetie) and we finally got inside. Wow. The listing agent/owner really blew it on the listing. If he had shown more of what was there, I have no doubt someone would have snapped it up before us! It’s a split-level and we headed up the stairs first, naturally. Granite tile counter tops in the kitchen, new cupboard fronts in an antique-y finish, brand new gas range, that dark flooring… but then I turned around and that’s when I saw the bay window in the living room. The main wall color is kind of a soft butterscotch/tan and the trim is all high gloss white. That bay window really popped and looked cheerful! I hadn’t even seen the rest of the house yet and I was already thrilled with what I was seeing.
The main bath just off the living room and kitchen has all new ceramic tile and a pedestal sink, as well as a good-sized tub. The master bedroom was a nice size and the master bath had new tile and shower – nothing spectacular, but all well done. Two more bedrooms were on the main level and the upstairs was totally sold for me. We hadn’t even gone to the lower level yet. From looking on the assessor’s page, I knew it was 1008 square feet up and 1008 square feet down. The first house my honey and I owned was 996 square feet. It was kind of hard to believe that we hadn’t even seen the whole house, yet we were already feeling that it was the right one for us.
The lower level had two largish bedrooms, a laundry room with tile floor, a mechanical room (large) with tile flooring, and another bath with shower. All the remodeling was consistent and we were still feeling sold.
Then we got to the family room. Brick fireplace surrounded by floor to ceiling built in book shelves with spot lights and I wanted to fall over. The family room is HUGE and cool, with three large windows looking out up into the yard. It was love – and not just for me. My honey and the kids were ecstatic.
Side note on the family room issue… I have always wanted to own a house with a basement level family room so when my boys are teenagers they can hang out with their friends down there. And I live in a place that has several weeks each year that are in the 90s or even 100s. I want to be able to escape the heat!
Further side note on a house with 5 bedrooms… It has always been a given for us that my honey would get an office space to house his computer gear and his electronic music gear. In our current living situation, he is in a open space in the middle of the house and it drives me nuts with all his cords and “stuff” everywhere. He is building his own web development business and working on his computer science degree, so he needs a quiet space in which to work. That’s great, but it always left me thinking that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to have my own “studio”. While I have been in graduate school, my sewing, jewelry making, and creative opportunities have been set aside. In addition, I manage the family’s finances and control the flow of paper that seems to accompany a child in school.
I really thought that we’d never find a place where I could have my own studio/office because 5 bedroom houses are rare and one in our price range almost unheard of unless it’s in a part of town that would mean a long commute.
So I had this little list in my head about things that I really, really wanted in a house where we would plant ourselves and stay for a long time:
- Basement with family room (and I always pictured it with built-ins)
- 5 bedrooms or 4 bedrooms and an office
- Big, fully fenced yard
- Big laundry room, with folding table and utility sink
Where did this house come up short (since no house is perfect)?
The laundry room is small and there is no utility sink. The yard is a devastated wreck filled with gravel and weeds. And the street adjacent to us is fairly busy, but not too bad.
We got the location we wanted – within biking distance of my work, on the bus route to my work, and a longish walk from the school where my oldest goes, but still just a very short drive. We got a great price, with no one bidding it up. We got space for everyone, with it working both now and in several years when the boys are older. We’ve even got space for family to come visit us and stay with us.
Maybe I’m risking being disappointed by being so excited about this house, but I can’t help it. For about $100 a month more than we are paying for our rental with the moldy windows (the new house has all new windows), we will increase our square footage by almost 600, have nice carpet that isn’t pulling up in gaping seams, and we’ll have the ability to make the yard into our own little oasis. All I’m asking is that the home inspection goes well, the financing comes together and our move is free from upset.
Send positive vibes our way because we may have found our home. 🙂