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How to AGE 20+ years in a few weeks – Part II

 

Real Estate

Yesterday I wrote about how we FINALLY received an offer on our condo (yeah!) and the hurdles we are dealing with as far as that is concerned (settling on less than we owe on our mortgage, the issue with the balcony…). You can read about it here – How to AGE 20+ years in a few weeks – Part I.

OK… so we have an offer on our condo and an accepted price. We just need to sign contracts. We also need to find a place to live. Renting is not an option. I don’t want to rent in one school district only to find out our kids will have to go to another one. We also have several pets which would make finding a rental property difficult. Renting is also more expensive around here compared to buying.

We checked out all the real estate sites to find houses we’d like to go see. We must have sent our other agents dozens of houses, only to come up with a list of seven that were still available. It seems like no sooner do houses come on the market they are snatched up. So you really have to move quickly. It also concerned us why the seven houses were going to see were still available.

Keep in mind we are not “handy” people and cannot do major repairs. Not only that we don’t have the $$$. We need something that is move in ready. We can deal with replacing (or removing) carpet and painting. But things like needing a new roof, major repairs and stuff like that are not possible for us.

House #1 – Old house, tiny, itty bitty rooms. No storage. There were holes cut out in the bottom of the wall in the dining room so you can see into the living room. That was weird. The house was also surrounded by massive trees (what if one of them fell in a storm?). The backyard was on a slope and would have not been very usable. The back patio was stone that was crumbling and the wood was all rotted. The only thing is had going for it was a lovely updated kitchen.

Notice the openings in the bottom of the wall to look down into the living room.

Notice the openings in the bottom of the wall to look down into the living room.

House #2 – I had high hopes for this one. It had the most beautiful kitchen. It’s an old house that had been updated a tiny bit (only the kitchen and a front porch added). It was sold this past February for $40,000 and now is on the market for $209,000. I guess they felt the updates warranted the price. It also sold in 2012 for $1,000! Needless to say that puts up a lot of “red flags” but we didn’t know about that stuff up front.

The house was built in 1800 (another place I found said 1743!). The basement was the original basement and it was nothing but crumbling rocks and dirt. You couldn’t even go down there it was THAT bad. The entrance to the basement was in the 1/2 bathroom downstairs. It was covered by a curtain, not a door. No way would I use that bathroom knowing that creepy things are just feet away!

Beautiful gourmet kitchen vs. the basement to hell. LOL!

Beautiful gourmet kitchen vs. the basement to hell. LOL!

To get to the 3rd bedroom you had to walk through the 2nd bedroom, which was odd.

This house made me dizzy! So dizzy that I couldn’t stay that long. I felt dizzy and sick to my stomach. I don’t know why. My son said he felt a bit dizzy too. I don’t know if it’s because the floors were uneven or what else it could be. I just had to leave!

House #3 – People – if you are going to put your place on the market PLEASE clean it! This house was dirty, gross and disgusting. Worse yet the owners were outside having a garage sale as we were inside looking at it. It was so gross that we couldn’t even fathom the idea of considering it. Even the layout was horrible. I know we need to focus on the “bones” of a house but this one was ubareable to be in. It’s sad too because on the outside it was beautiful.

 

Beautiful on the outside - horrible on the inside.

Beautiful on the outside – horrible on the inside.

 

House #4 – My husband saw potential in this one. I couldn’t look past the amount of work it needed. The house was literally being consumed by the bushes in the front yard!

The house was old, small rooms, creepy basement, needed a lot of updates but I suppose it was “doable”. My husband really liked it. Me and the kids – not so much.

This is not a weird angle - the bushes were literally swallowing the house!

This is not a weird angle – the bushes were literally swallowing the house!

House #5 – This was not a house, per say, but rather a townhouse. Unlike other townhomes this was only connected with another unit on one side, so it was more like a duplex. The neighbor on the other side was actually far away due to a bend in the road.

I didn’t want a town home. I wanted a freestanding home with neighbors a decent distance away. I was a bit put off looking at this place but I gave in to my hubby and agreed to see it (he wanted a town home).

Our “wish list” was 3 bedrooms and ideally 1.5 bathrooms. That’s it. Anything else was a bonus as far as we were concerned. We just need three bedrooms so we can have some space and privacy.

Beautiful kitchen (more on the other side!), Dining room looking out to the 3 Season Room, Looking down the stairs from the top floor and the massive walk in closet.

Beautiful kitchen (more on the other side!), Dining room looking out to the 3 Season Room, Looking down the stairs from the top floor and the massive walk in closet.

The town home has the following;

  • Three HUGE bedrooms – two with walk in closets (the master walk in closet is massive!)
  • One full bathroom upstairs and a half bath downstairs
  • Laundry room
  • One car garage
  • Eat in kitchen
  • Stainless steel appliances and marble looking counter tops (not real but look awesome) and new cabinets
  • Formal dining room
  • Living room
  • 3 Season Room (with a ceiling fan)
  • Patio
  • Beautiful landscaping
  • Decent size yard – both front and back
  • A LOT of storage
  • Finished basement (aka “man cave”)
  • Quite neighborhood
  • NO HOA (home owners association) fees and you can do whatever you want to your yard/home (no rules!).

The entire place has been updated over the past 3 years. Even the paint color on the walls and flooring was perfect. It was also clean and 100% move in ready. Perfect in every way! Except it was a town home, which we didn’t really want. After being in a condo all these years we wanted to get away from that.

On to another place…

House #6 – This was another townhome. It was being rented out month to month and you could tell the renters didn’t care about the place. The whole neighborhood looked sloppy. The repairs and updates it needed were $$$. There were holes every where, stains and they even cut a hole under the stairs for storage – just cut a random hole. It looked like a giant rat ate through it.

Dirty & gross fridge, washer & dryer in the kitchen. Blah!

Dirty & gross fridge, washer & dryer in the kitchen. Blah!

House #7 – This was a huge house with a beautiful layout, spacious rooms, loved the kitchen, dining room and finished basement. It even had one full bath and one half bath. So far, so good…except… there were HUGE cracks in the ceiling and running down the wall in the living room AND directly underneath that area in the finished basement were similar cracks.

RED FLAG! That can’t be good! Little cracks are one thing – these were HUGE cracks – as if the house was going to slip in half.

Crack along the ceiling and down the wall - exactly the same on the floor below.

Crack along the ceiling and down the wall – exactly the same on the floor below.

The house was also on the edge of a lake filled with lilly pads and stagnant water. There were a lot of mosquitoes around (and you know they can carry diseases). The driveway was also very steep and that could be an issue in the winter (you can’t park on the road). As beautiful as the house was the cracks were a grave concern. That and the mosquitoes. There was also only one access to the patio out back which meant having to walk around the house with food if you wanted to barbecue.

The whole trip was a bust. The only thing that stood out was that beautiful town house. The town house was also one of the most expensive places we’ve seen that day. Still… we couldn’t get that gem out of our minds.

Will we find the house of our dreams? Or will we find nothing but haunted houses and places that need to be condemned. To find out tune into Part III of How to age 20+ years in a few weeks.

keys

Kimberly

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.

Comments

  1. Okay the suspense is killing me I want to read the rest of the story now LOL. We had to look at 40 houses before finding the one we wanted to buy.

  2. Oh no a part 3! Cracks are a way of life here in earthquake country in L.A.. Townhouses aren’t that bad. We had older folds as neighbors, so it was not bad at all.

  3. My gosh, what an experience.

  4. Olivia Rubin says:

    Just getting to this post. I love the way it’s written up like House Hunters..,my go to show to,watch when nothing else is on be issue its always on. Interesting that realtor didnt advise homeowner to cut away bush so you could find the house.
    Can’t wait to see more pics of your home

  5. I’m finally catching up with the Further Adventures of The She-Scribes Gang. And what an adventure it is! I fervently hope that it all ends up happily. Best of luck to you…