So many houses!
Another day of house touring with our amazing agent, Jeanice Townsend. Seven houses on the list. The first we looked at was a charming cottage built in 1920. Three bedrooms, one bath, one car detached garage. We had such high hopes for this one, even though we weren’t too sure about the size of some of the rooms. We walked in, and the place looked amazing! Wee, yes. No dining room to speak of, just space for a table for two a bit in front of the kitchen island, but the kitchen was completely new. I could still smell the new on the cupboards. Granite counter tops, new stainless steel appliances, new ceramic tile in the kitchen and entry area. New flooring in the living room, as well. New carpet in all the bedrooms. New ceramic tile floor in the bathroom, new tile from the tub to the ceiling in the tub/shower. The tub itself was so new, it still had the care instructions stuck on the side. We were absolutely amazed, and really quite charmed, even if the layout was not particularly efficient… even though the floors had quite a bit of slope and roll going on… even though there was no way we could host a family dinner. And then, the Reverend went into the cellar.
Oh, dear readers, the cellar. A wee unfinished / unfinishable basement. With cracks in the walls. With moisture causing the walls to shed the plaster, concrete, whatever that got put over the cinder blocks. So, the owner put more plaster or whatever on the walls, stuck a dehumidifier in a corner, and left it thus. The Reverend spotted quite a bit of damage, and settling, and structural issues, and as we went back through the house, peering at the walls and ceilings, we started to see all the cracks… we noticed the spot in the ceiling where something in the attic was applying pressure to the wallboard, so hard it was tearing and flexing. Which told us that one of two things was going on here: either the owner doesn’t realise that there is a structural issue, despite all the renovation they’ve done, or b) the structural work the house will need is more expensive than gutting almost the entire house and re-doing every room and floor. A damn shame, that. We clucked and tutted, and off we went.
Next up was a 4 bedroom, one and a half bath two-story brick house built in 1977, with a daylight basement on not quite a third of an acre. We spent quite a bit of time walking through the place, room by room, looking for the feel of the place, looking for any problems we would need to fix. This one has plenty of room, coming in at just over 1500 sq ft. Examining the place, the Reverend noticed that the entire house was wired for ethernet, which is something you don’t see every day. We were intrigued. There are some minor things that would need fixing… the hardwood floor in the kitchen could stand to be refinished, the treads on the stair to the second floor should probably be replaced, and the place could use a couple of coats of paint more interesting than “eggshell”, but it was nice enough. A little more than we wanted to spend for a house that didn’t completely knock our socks off, but it would do. Chalking it up as a definite maybe, off we went to look at a series of houses in developments south of the city.
First on our list was the first house-in-a-development on the list. That one was getting a lot of interest, and the agent was already expecting an offer or two. Tired of that game, we decided to give it a miss.
Next was the nicest of all the devo houses we had picked out to look at. Well within our price range, this one was a three bedroom, two and a half bath “bi-level”, which seems to be kind of like a two story, only you walk in halfway between the floors. Well, about a third of the way, anyway. Upstairs, a nice kitchen, decent living room / dining room combination, with one long side of the living room not being a wall but a railing looking over the entryway. Skylight in the kitchen, one over the living room, and one in the en suite master bath, too. No signs of water damage from them leaking, so that was good. The master bedroom was a good size, as was one of the other bedrooms – definitely large enough for an office for two – the third was a bit small, but could be a perfectly serviceable guest room. The full bath was pretty decently sized, the master is what I’m used to seeing called a three-quarter – that is, toilet, sink, and shower stall. Downstairs, the laundry room, half bath, and a decently sized family room, with a sliding door out to the deck. We walked around the place, noticing pretty much exactly the things we were expecting to see in a mid-90s devo house. The next house on the list was literally the exact same floor plan, but this one had better finishes – nicer appliances, better formica on the counters, skylights, a nicer deck. There was a lot to like in this place. But Jeanice sat down with us and asked us, pretty point blank, “does it feel like home?” We looked at each other, sighed, and shook our heads. “No, it doesn’t. It feels like a hotel.” “A nice hotel,” the Reverend added. But no, this was not us.
So, we scratched all the rest of the
boxes houses made of ticky tacky that all look just the same off our list, and off we went, back into town to look at a house that the Reverend had found online which looked super, super cute, but kind of small. We weren’t so sure about it, but resolved to look at it anyway, because it just looked positively adorable. Two bedroom, one bath, built in 1950 out of stone and wood, less than a thousand square feet, but it had a finished basement that looked promising, lovely garden area, two detached garages, and a three-season porch that looked just impossibly charming.
Oh my goodness gracious me. The Reverend is quite fond of woodpeckers, and as we got out of the car and walked up to the house, one started rat-a-tat-tatting at the top of the maple tree by the front door. I think we might well have been won over the minute we walked onto the property! The owner had baked cookies – peanut butter chocolate chip – and left them in a basket on the kitchen counter with a note to please help ourselves. Yes, the place is a bit small, but the ceilings are high, and there is not one square inch of wasted space in the house. The living / dining room combination is plenty large enough for entertaining – be it game night, movie night, or a family dinner. The kitchen. Oh, my stars and garters, the kitchen! Not huge, but so very cleverly laid out! All through the house, the wood trim is stained and sealed, rather than painted (that is such a pet peeve!). There are cupboards, and built-ins, and storage chest window seats, and holy cats, it is so clever, and cosy, and lovely. I marveled at the fact that there was literally nothing that I was wanting to change about it. I’ve been getting a bit dispirited, as the last entry here shows, but this house, I think it’s The One! Jeanice the Super Agent contacted the seller’s agent to ask about if there were other offers on the house already, or if they were expecting one soon. This place is quite well within our budget, and if necessary, we could bid rather a bit above the list price, if that was what it would take. But no, they haven’t gotten any offers yet, and aren’t expecting any. Well, they’re getting our offer tonight, and the way things have been going, I expect we’ll hear back Friday or Saturday.