Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Close but no dice

We signed the enormous stack of papers for our new house yesterday. So while we recover from hand cramps and wait for the sale to record so we can have keys I thought I'd do a little snapshot of a few of the houses we considered buying. Our house hunt was pretty narrow because we really wanted a mid-century so we only looked at houses built between 1950-1970 in the 6 neighborhoods we really liked. And as much as I'd love to share pictures of the houses I don't think it's appropriate to put a picture of someone else house up and then critique it without their permission.

1. The Gingerbread house: This 1954 house was so cool on the inside. It had two walls of floor to ceiling windows and great old wallpaper that was still in perfect condition. There was lots of built ins throughout. The kitchen was big and open with tons of light and there was a den/family room with gorgeous wood paneling and built ins. This house was also on a HUGE lot, over half and acre and the lot was flat with great sun. One could have not only a garden but an urban farm. It was also really close to Chris' office and my parent's houses. But the outside of the house looked like a gingerbread house. It was pale yellow with shaker siding and white scalloped trip and a white picket fence. It just wasn't architecturally what we wanted which is not an easy fix.

2. The mid-century modern dream: I LOVED this house. It was built in 1955 and designed by a prominent local architect at the time. It was an iconic mid century modern split level, slanted roof lines, an atrium and it was completely original. It was also surrounded by an urban forest and with windows everywhere it felt like you were in a tree house. Unfortunately it was also decaying badly. There was mold, water damage, roof leakage, wood rot and so on. It would have cost $50,000 worth of renovations just to make the house inhabitable and we just didn't have that kind of savings. It was also on the small side at only 1700 square feet with no garage and tiny bedrooms with tiny closets. So despite this being by far the cheapest house we looked at it just wasn't practical. And Chris vetoed it almost the second we got inside. Interestingly the house ended up pending just 3 days after it came on the market. I'd love to see what the new buyer does with it because it is an awesome house.

3. Our dream neighborhood: This is actually one of my book club friends house. I have always loved this house and it's in our dream neighborhood (the same neighborhood our new house is in). It was built in 1953 and has a whole brick wall fireplace in the living room that has been painted light blue surrounded by to walls of floor to ceiling windows. Unfortunately this house was just too expensive for us and would have been too much of a financial stretch. But we will be forever grateful to it because it was how we found our new house which is just down the street.

4. The practical house: I always think of this house as the practical house because when we were house hunting this one stood out as the safe/practical solution. Compared to the house we bought it was cheaper and didn't come with a buried oil tank, oil furnace, leaking roof or original appliances. And it is a nice house. Build in 1956 it's a charming brick house, a little traditional but with some great modern features. Gorgeous wall of windows in front, nice big open bright kitchen with tons of storage and a lovely den with beautiful original wood paneling. This house also had a great backyard for kids to play, was next door to a park, in a cul-de-sac and in walking distance to lots of shops and grocery stores. But in the end this house never made my heart go pitter patter and next to the house we did buy it just felt like settling.

When we were looking at these other houses our house was still listed pretty high and we knew about the roof, oil tank, oil furnace and all the work it would come with. But I kept praying that the sellers would lower the price enough for it to be a good financial decision. And sure enough the sellers dropped the price an additional $50,000 so we made an offer. We were able to negotiate the removal of the oil tank, a new 95% efficient gas furnace, a new roof, and some needed electrical as part of the sale. So in the end it was just meant to be!

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