Sunday, April 3, 2011

House hunting 4/3/11

Today was our first day out looking at houses with our realtor. We've been going to open houses a little as they come up (like this one and this one), but actually making appointments to see our favorite houses was so much better!

We were able to see 5 of our favorite houses. They were all regular sales (as opposed to short sales). We had some additional faves that are short sales, but our realtor recommended against those because they take so long. If we don't find a regular sale that's a good fit we'll check them out, but this was a good start. Just these 5 in 1 day was exhausting anyway.

House 1
(3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms)

It's in a nice neighborhood with good schools. It has a nice backyard with a deck and good amount of grass. We liked the yard a lot. It has good curb appeal - looks cute from the front (Warning: It's very hard to think of better describing words than "nice" and "good." My apologies.)

Weird layout. We're pretty sure that they added on a new living/dining room and it didn't work so well.

It only has 1.5 bathrooms and we realized that we really need 2 full.

There is a lot of cosmetic work to be done and it's priced too high for what it is.

House 2
(3 bedrooms plus a bonus office, 2 bathrooms)

We loved the layout. The kitchen was huge and open to the living and dining areas.

The extra room (it would be considered a fourth bedroom, but it lacks a closet) is ideal for us to use as an office. The rooms all feel large because of the high ceilings and have lots of features we want like double sinks in the master bath, walk-in closet, etc.

It's pretty trashed. It's a foreclosure, and the walls are filthy and all the carpet would need to be replaced (and it's priced high for us). It's just icky. The house is also located on a busy street and it's super loud in the front yard from the traffic. The backyard is a downside too, as it's mostly paved over and it feels very harsh. We want grass!

House 3
(3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms)
I was so excited to see this house! Aside from being 2 stories (we prefer a 1-story ranch style), it was almost perfect. It was on the market forever and was out of our price range, but they recently dropped the price $30,000.

The carpet was in good shape. The yard was lush and private. It's a modern layout and would work great for us. I could totally see us living and raising a family here! Until...

I noticed a large amount of mold in one of the bedroom closets. Taking that into consideration, we remembered that the exterior of the house had a good deal of the siding replaced suspiciously - very obvious because it wasn't painted over. The bedroom is on the second floor while this work was on the first, so we are pretty certain that whole side of the house has some pretty serious water/mold damage. This explains why it's been for sale for months and months. Even if we wanted to deal with it, the type of loan we're getting won't even allow it until it's fixed (and it's a foreclosure so they won't fix it). It seems like a money pit.

Some other negatives that we were willing to live with: Linoleum in the kitchens and bathrooms, old lighting fixtures and beat up kitchen cabinets.

House 4
(3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms)

This is actually the same model as house 3, but reversed. So I loved the layout again (although James isn't as sold on 2 level houses). The yard is cute and the house overall is extremely clean.

Two words: Pink Carpet. Okay actually I have more words than that... almost all the flooring (a combination of pink carpet and linoleum) would be replaced, along with the kitchen counters and appliances. 
Another major downfall was that our master bedroom window faces the master bedroom window of the house behind us. We could totally open the windows and have a conversation (yelling... but still). Our windows also overlook each others' yards, and it's just creepy. You can see their window in the yellow room above.
This was my favorite house of the day though, still.

House 5
(3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms)

Great yard - actually it's ideal for us (it looks better in person than in this picture). The bedrooms are good sizes and there's a walk-in closet. Great price too.

The kitchen, dining room and living room are way too small. I wish they matched the other half of the house because then we'd love it! It's just not a workable space, unfortunately.

Although none of these houses turned out to be our home, today was a success in my mind. We were able to refine our wants and needs and learn more about what we can and can't live with (we can't live with 1.5 bathrooms, but we can live with old appliances and carpet (or replace them easily).


Rose said...

This is so exciting! I'm glad you guys can officially begin the house hunt!

Rebekah said...

This is awesome! At least you know more about what you want in a house! I'm with you, I prefer a single story, ranch style house! 2 story houses freak me out!

Laurie said...

So exciting! I can't wait to see what you guys end up going with.