|Before you buy a house, you should tour some houses. I did that.
||[Dec. 19th, 2009|11:56 pm]
Oh, my goodness.|
Okay, first off - there's a lot of houses out there.
Second off - there are a lot of *nice* houses out there.
Third - wow, home buying is complicated.
I ended up bumping up my maximum price - we can always offer my maximum, right? They can always say "no", right?
And we went touring today.
The rambler I was looking at...
...is a fixer-upper. But...
But the only thing demanding attention *now* is a roof and windows. Everything else is stuff that can be done a bit at a time. The shag carpet? It's awful, and dated. But it's covering hardwood floors. Pull up the carpet; refinish the floors. Even *I* can do that.
Some of the walls could use paint. Again, *I* can do that.
The exterior? It's ugly. But painting it would help a lot, and it's a single story, so I don't need more than a stepladder - so *I* an paint it.
The kitchen could be remodeled, and so could the bathroom.
And each of these things could add value to the home, much more than their cost.
If I wanted a slow introduction into home-refinishing, it's perfect. And it has a large living room and a fireplace.
I found a split level that I had to check out...
It was amazing. 4 beds, 1.75 baths, and, of course, steps :-).
A nice kitchen, a large living room, and a decent sized entertainment center.
An interesting supply of 220 volt outlets, which I understand might mean that the previous tenants might have been interested in indoor gardening. And I'm sure they grew some nice flowers or, uh, herbs.
If it was a choice between this and the rambler, it would be *tough*. But it's ahead on points, for having multiple levels.
I then started to think about some other things - walkability, and more importantly, jog-ability. The rambler is near some interesting drainage ditches; if I wanted to break my leg (or my neck, for that matter) I could just go jogging carelessly near those ditches. And there aren't any sidewalks - there's space on the side of the road, and it's not heavily traveled, but I might find myself hesitant to jog, especially at night. The split-level might be better, but it's all over hills, and hills do not make for happy joggers.
With that in mind, I checked out the NearlyPerfect Rambler.
It's smaller than the first, and only a single bathroom. But it has a *huge* yard, with a *heated*, *powered* - hold on to your hats for this, folks - *NETWORKED* - outbuilding.
The entire house is networked, and there's a network hookup to the outbuilding. The kitchen is small-ish, but open to the living room, which is sweet - chat with your guests, or watch TV, while making dinner.
So, why haven't I just made the offer on this house?
Because it's a cinderblock house on a slab foundation. My real estate agent explained what this means to me, and however oh-my-god-wonderful this house is, I think I'm going to take a pass on it. Combine the disadvantages of a slab foundation with a lack of sidewalks, and presence of hills in the neighborhood, I think I'll go with the other rambler, before I take this one.
There was another house, built on a lot without a yard, that I'd considered - and at this point, with three dandy prospects just waiting to be taken, I decided to skip this. It doesn't matter *how* good this other house is on the inside; there's no way it measures up.
So, then we went into downtown Renton. First house - it was lovely and livable, but we had better prospects for the price - and my agent mentioned he was glad I was finally ruling houses *out*. (I think he was justifiably nervous that I was starting to love too much about too many.)
The next house we checked out was cheap - and with good reason. Opening one closet, we saw mold covering the back. Walking through the house, well... my agent put it best. What's the value of the lot? You want to buy it for that, and hope as you start scraping out the moldy stuff and otherwise fixing it, that you get enough salvageable stuff to make a profit. Not what I'm looking for.
Checked out another, and it was sizable, and had a nice yard, and it definitely went into the list of prospects, but it was so expensive it didn't seem to have any advantage over the other houses we were looking at.
Checked out another, and it was much too expensive - no real advantage.
Checked out another - oh, my goodness. A huge kitchen, with a dining area. A huge living room. The bedrooms? Nothing to write home about, but serviceable. An unfinished, but clean, basement. It's on streets with sidewalks, and streetlamps - no problems jogging here!
In fact, there's exactly one problem with this house - while the electrical panel is good, most of the rooms are only 2-prong. The kitchen and bathroom are 3-prong, and the panel seems modern, and the crawlspace is really good. My agent thinks I could end up with all of the outlets I want for under a thousand dollars, most likely, under 2 almost certainly.
So, we put together offers for the split level and this last house (technology is an amazing thing!) and they'll be transmitted tomorrow. This means I have positions on four houses - but one is a likely no-go.
The first rambler - I like it, and the price is right, but I'm not sure about the location. If I can't step out the door and jog, I'm less likely to jog, and that's a bad scene. The split-level is wonderful (it needs some cleanup, but that's all it is, is cleanup), so it's a strong possibility, but it has the same kind of location problems.
The likely no-go is likely a no-go :-).
And the fourth is wonderful, right in the middle of downtown Renton.
And, we can still consider the NearlyPerfect Rambler if all of these fall through and nothing else opens up.