Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Have Found Me a Home

I bought a house.

The story of how and why I bought one is long and involved, and I'm so busy with homebuying details right now that I don't have the time to tell it properly. Here's a quick summary:

On May 12th, I found out that my apartment had been rented to someone else for the next year. I would be getting kicked out in two months.

On June 12th, I made an offer on a house.

By July 12th, I will be moved in.

The field was strong, the competition fierce. I looked at 50-60 online listings. I made a spreadsheet of the top 25, drove around to see them from the outside, then ranked the top 14 that I wanted to see in person. Of the 14 ranked candidates, three made the final cut.

After bringing my consultants to look at each of the finalists a second time, I was ready to make an offer on one of them, but I couldn't get the offer together before my trip to New York. When I came back, it was sold.

Back to the drawing board. Round two consisted of about 5-7 more houses. I quickly narrowed this field down to two: a small cheap bungalow that seemed a good fit for me, and a more expensive, but a better valued brick home that needed some minor work.

All four of my consultants agreed that the latter house was the better choice. So I chose it.

The Good
  • This is the largest 2 BR house I've ever seen: 1400 square feet.
  • Large-ish room off the living room could be nice office. (Can't be called a bedroom because there's no closet-- but there is a fake fireplace.)
  • There is new carpet in half the house. Love that new carpet smell. (When I come home to my apartment and see that one of the cats has barfed on the carpet, I tell them, "Get all of it out of your system now, kitties, because you WILL NOT be barfing on the new carpet in the new house.")
  • The living room is large and sunny. Has a gas fireplace.
  • The hall and bedrooms have hardwood floors.
  • There are two huge built-in closet/dressers in the hallway.
  • Lots of closet space.
  • Brand new furnace. Heating system is hot water, which is really efficient. House has central AC, which was not listed on the real estate info sheet. (Bonus!)
  • Brick exterior is more efficient, sturdy, and attractive.
  • One-car attached garage.
  • Large laundry/utility room with deep sink. Ideal place for cat bathroom (the room-- not the sink.)
  • Large kitchen with nice green walls.
  • Good neighborhood
  • Yard is just the right size: not too big, not too small.
  • Great value. It was an estate home, and sold for 7K less than what the home was assessed at for taxing purposes. This is rare, as the tax assessment is usually well below market value. When the time comes, it should be easy to resell.
  • It's vacant, so I can move in as soon as I get all the financing in order.
The Bad
  • No dishwasher, no disposal, and an old fridge with no icemaker. This will be a step back from where I'm living now. Oh, how I love my dishwasher!
  • The kitchen drawers and cabinets are metal, and the overhang on the range has those curvy sharp angles that makes it looks like a 1950's vision of the future, like a George Jetson house. Not a fan. I may have to redo it some day.
  • The lone bathroom is pretty ugly. Pink Bakelite(?) tiles on the wall. It will need some work.
  • The first thing to go will be the awning over the front steps. It keeps the natural sunlight out of the living room and makes the house look like a barber shop. Also going bye-bye is the thin brown carpet covering the concrete front steps. This is not a Putt-Putt.

  • The backyard has this weird rectangular indentation that no one can figure out. There are remnants of stone around the perimeter of it, so theories range from an old garage to outhouse to bomb shelter. Personally, I think it may be an old Indian burial ground or a portal to hell.

  • No basement (this is offset by the garage, the utility room, and lots of closet space.)
  • The roof may need to be replaced in the next few years.
  • It's more space than I need. I probably won't even use the second bedroom at first.
  • The windows are old and some of them don't open.
  • There are some maintenance issues that may turn out to be a real headache.
The Awesome
  • It will be mine.

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