New Mama Musings

Friday, December 22, 2006

And Now the Fun Really Begins

Looking for a house this time around has been a lot more difficult. This is partly because the area we're looking in is much smaller than the other places we've lived in, so there are fewer houses on the market. It's also a much more coveted area, so if something is desirable and priced well it moves fast.

Part of it, though, is that I'm being choosier, since I'm hoping our next home is our Forever House. Cheesy, I know, but I want Henry to have stability. Okay, fine, I want me to have stability. I also want to know that any improvements we do are for our enjoyment without having to worry about recouping the cost when we sell.

That being said, I was all over the place in my thought process. We can't afford the houses we really, really love in the part of town we hope to move to, so we discussed the idea of buying a very cheap, very simple (aka "crap box") house there to tide us over until we could afford our dream place. This idea doesn't appeal to me very much (see above paragraph), but I was just so anxious to start my new, fabulous life in a cooler part of town that sometimes I got to feeling a little desperate.

I walked through about twenty houses -- some of them more than once -- and looked at numerous others online. We put a bid in on two of them.

One, the very first house we looked at, we lost to an earlier bid. The second house was actually in the more coveted part of town but needed a lot of work and had very small bedrooms. We put in a lowball bid and the seller tried to pit us against another couple. We just didn't feel comfortable going any higher, so we let it go.

Some of the other houses were pretty close, but had goofy deal-breaking qualities: a staircase to the second floor leading directly into a bathroom; an upstairs with two oddly-shaped bedrooms at the top of the stairs and a looong hallway to the master bedroom; a too-close-for-comfort proximity to a block of apartment buildings; and a Cape Cod with the tiniest bathroom imaginable and a huge cold-air return grate in the middle of the hallway floor.

On one of our many Sunday drives through the area my husband and I saw a really boring-looking colonial that was for sale by owner. My husband said, "Yuck," but I pulled over and grabbed a flier from the box.

We close on it February 15th.

I should mention here that I grew up in a 1960's colonial -- red brick on the bottom, white siding with black shutters on the top -- and the place lacked character and charm and love. Hence my prejudice against this style of house, an aversion I apparently transferred to my husband.

This place, though, was built in the 1930's. And although it needs work it has good bones -- wood floors (under wall-to-wall carpeting), two fireplaces, corner built-ins in the dining rooom, an entryway with an open staircase, a living room and family room, three decent-sized bedrooms and a basement that could be finished off someday. It also has a newer two-and-a-half car garage with a nice flat driveway -- perfect for little tricycles and chalk drawings.

It's within easy walking distance of a park, Lake Michigan, a charming shopping district, the library, a CVS Pharmacy and Dairy Queen. And although I'm considering homeschooling (I still have much research and convincing of the husband to do on that front), it's very close to the grade school, middle school and high school.

My source in the area has already hooked me up via e-mail with two women who live on the block. They tell me there's at least one block party every summer, a book club for the women on the block and lots of kids ranging in age from two to sixteen.

The seller was asking way too much -- a typical case of a FSBO priced too high because the owner doesn't have anyone telling him his house isn't nearly as valuable as he thinks it is. But our realtor was able to show him, with recent comparable sale listings, that about twenty or thirty thousand less would be more reasonable.

Betting on the seller's lack of savvy, we threw everything into the deal that we wanted: a home sale contingency (so we'd have an out if our current house doesn't sell), a lower-than-normal amount of earnest money and a later-than-usual closing date. He countered our price a bit, but overall we got what we wanted.

Our current house has been on the market for a little over a week. We had an open house on Sunday, to which a couple who lives one street over came, looking for a bigger place. They seemed interested, but who knows. We're hoping after the holidays people start looking again and someone will bite.


  • Yay! Hoping your house sells soon :).

    By Anonymous gearhead mama, at 3:14 PM  

  • congratulations! hope your house sells soon. the dairy queen gets quite busy in the summer. :)

    By Blogger mamafitz, at 9:25 AM  

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