Saturday, December 16, 2006

One Stood Above The Rest

Chester and I just got back from our first excursion into the house-buying experience. Dennis, our realtor, is a real go-getter. Hugely successful, he owns a dozen properties in the area that he rents. He's also a "flipper."

He's nice though. He knows our budget, and that we're just looking for a modest house. He reassures us that we'll find the right house in our price range.

So we saw four houses today. Well, actually five, but the fifth was out of our price range. Back Yard house ended up sucking really hard. To be livable and up to code, it would have to be gutted. It's big, but it would take about 50K to make it work. I was sad, but I kind of expected it.

I know I was really excited about it yesterday, but last night and during my nap this morning, I kept having nightmares about it. Kind of like God was gently telling me that it wasn't the one. Even if the yard is amazing.

The Awesome Garage house had some foundation problems, and the left side of the house leaned too much. So that's a no. With our FHA loan, the house needs to pass inspection with only minor problems.

Ugly Blue house was adorable inside. Like a little cottage.. But it was made for people around the five foot range, and we're a few inches too tall. We had to duck to get up the stairs. Chester hit his head, and now he's very resentful of the property.

Climbing Tree house is the winner of the day. Ironically, it's the first house we were really interested in to begin with. There's actually three bedrooms, not two. The third upstairs bedroom is "nursery" sized, but that's just fine. It's the extra room that I wanted.

The kitchen is pretty big, and the front windows on the house are beautiful with multi-panes. The basement is nicely clean and dry. Plenty of room for Chester's project areas. And the kicker? There's a toilet tucked into the corner, just like my mom said we should have.

"Cheryl, you need to have a second toilet, even if it's just in the middle of the basement floor. Believe me. You'll need it."

Chester said he'll want to actually finish it off a bit and add a sink and maybe some walls, and make it a powder room.

The backyard is nice. Very big. Gorgeous climbing tree, though we'll have to fence off the yard next summer. There's even a clothes line in the back.

Dennis, the realtor guy, doesn't think the FHA inspector will find much wrong with the house. The only things he could see was that they'd have to install a railing going up to the upstairs and down to the basement. And the window sills in the garage, as well has the bottom half of the garage itself, would have to be scraped of the peeling paint and we'd have to repaint it in the spring.

We have some time before our pre-approval for the mortgage is done. And Dennis is going to put together another list of houses for us to see after Christmas. So far, Climbing Tree is the winner. It's near the top of our price range, but it's definitely worth every penny. Come on, people, hardwood floors throughout the first floor. It's made for Cheryl!

There aren't a whole lot of nice houses in our price range. Most of them look like bank foreclosures that need a lot of love. We're fine with putting in some work to the house, but it needs to be livable right away, and any money we'd have to put into it would still have to stay within our overall budget and included in the mortgage.