First of all, a huge thank you for all of the kind comments, facebook posts, and more. We are so grateful for any tips and tricks you care to share, and can use all the well wishes we can get!
To give a quick re-cap, here’s how our past week has taken shape:
Thursday: met with Nick, our realtor, to get the whole process started
Friday lunch hour: met with a lender for pre-approval
Weekend: drove around a bit on our own and made a list of properties
Monday night: five hours of touring mostly new construction
Tuesday night: five hours of touring occupied/existing homes
In short, I feel like I’ve had a full-blown intensive immersion session in house buying. I can’t believe how much information we’ve taken in…and how much we’ve seen.
I am blown away by how MUCH is for sale – there are certainly lots of options. There are sellers (and builders) out there who came to play ball and the homes are immaculately clean, beautifully staged, and priced to sell. We have seen some awesome floor plans, friendly neighborhoods, and some extra perks along the way – a “hidden” fifth bedroom, a garage large enough to fit cars and not have to turn sideways to walk between them (I know, right?!), a cedar-lined spare closet, and some wide open kitchens with (gasp!) MORE than five cupboards. I’d forgotten that such a possibility exists…
In addition to the many homes we toured, we requested a crash course in building options and will meet with a builder next week to tour this house and get a bit more in-depth info. At this point, we literally like EVERYTHING from the century-old homes to the brand new (and everything in between) so we aren’t swinging in any one direction yet. But, we’d like to have as much info about every option as is possible.
It’s not to say we haven’t seen some “bad” stuff too…I wish there was a way to do a post with photos of some of the downright ridiculous things we’ve seen in the occupied homes we’ve been to. Allow me to at least try and paint you a picture…
In one, there was a carousel-themed bathroom (not a kid’s bathroom, this was the main downstairs bath)..complete with merry-go-round border paper, antique horses hanging from the ceiling…and a unicycling clown holding the toilet paper roll in place. I kid you not, people. I’ve also seen a house that I’m pretty sure is where wood paneling went to die. I’m all for projects, but this stuff was floor to ceiling in just about every room on the first floor. Yowza. And finally, let’s not forget the larger-than-life size poster of a woman, in only her bra, in what was hanging in what was clearly a child’s bathroom (there were toys in the tub and kid towels on hooks nearby). Is that even appropriate? I’m thinking no.
Tales of this initial home searching would not be complete without a rundown of my first adventure in foreclosures.
The first night out, we had requested that we see some new construction homes, to give us some context before we looked at homes built in various decades. Almost everything we’ve looked at has been a property we’ve found and requested to see. So after asking to look at brand new beautiful homes the first night, I think Nick was surprised when we asked to see, and then got excited about, a foreclosure home that, to put it nicely, is in pretty bad shape.
The home last sold for nearly 100k more than what it is listed at currently by the bank. Even at the drastically reduced price, it is still at the top of our comfort zone – in short, it’s a LOT of house, (way more than we could ever buy in any other case) in a gorgeous neighborhood of beautifully maintained homes. You can almost feel the neighbors watching you pull up to the house, thinking a combination of thoughts…”Please buy that eyesore and take care of it…seriously, you guys are brave to look – good luck!”
While the bank has come in and put down some new carpet and re-tiled the master bath, those renovations are just the tip of what needs to be done in this home. To give you an idea, the water hasn’t been on since October, and there are cobwebs EVERYWHERE. Bugs…dust…and standing water in the basement, which, unchecked, has brought on a mildew smell. All three of us were literally rubbing down our arms and legs because we kept getting webs stuck to us. Are you getting the picture?
Now, in spite of all that, (and I realize, this sounds crazy), the house was pretty amazing. The floor plan was huge and open, the master bedroom had three (three!) closets, and there was more kitchen storage than I ever dared to hope for. Add in a primo location and I was starring this one on my list. I think Page was a little less enthused (this would be a whole new level of DIY), and Nick was definitely trying to advise us to keep looking for now ha. The truth is, we couldn’t afford this house and the additional estimated 30k it would take to get it liveable/safe…but you never know. As a foreclosure, the price is re-evaluated every 30 days. It may not budge, it may drop ten grand each time. Let’s just say if we’re still looking in a few months and it’s come way down, I would be pushing for this one, in all its disgusting mess. 🙂
I think I’ve dragged on long enough about the house hunt…but I’ll be back with updates as they happen!