Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Open House

We're pretty modest people, I think. Our last house was barely 1400 square feet, with three bedrooms and an open floorplan. We wanted just a little more space, so we were hoping to find a house with 2000ish square feet in a modest neighborhood. We're not fancy people. I'm a bargain hunter, we don't really have parties or entertain in our home, and we just wanted a comfy place to live. The new build was larger than what we thought we'd need, but the layout was just right. The neighorhood seemed to fit the bill...modest, average, affordable. Still, the new build was really a little more than we hoped to spend once the upgrades were added in.

Our selling agent recommended a buyer's agent, and she had sent me weekly emails with listings she thought we might be interested in. The homes were gorgeous, but most were well out of our budget. I'd browse through them for fun (or torture, I can't decide which. It's pretty sadistic to look at gorgeous homes while being cooped up in a tiny apartment with three feet of snow on the ground and six more months in the lease.) One of the homes on her list caught my eye. It was in a great school district and in an area known for being a bit on the expensive side. I had dismissed the house twice before because it had been out of our budget, but a recent price drop brought it right into our range. It was priced well under the base price of the new build, and admittedly my first thought was "What is wrong with this house?"
We drove by the house the day before the open house to scope out the neighborhood. Our first thought was "Oh my goodness, we do not belong here." The houses were gorgeous and huge. This was the kind of neighborhood we both lusted after but never imagined we'd ever be able to afford. Instantly, we were excited and a little awestruck.

The excitement we felt was squashed pretty quickly when we saw the lot the house was on. It was a corner lot, wider than it was deep. There was a new build going up behind the house that seemed to dwarf the backyard.  Still, it was an amazing neighborhood and the house was a bargain price. We decided to go back for the open house, but at that point we were really considering the new build we had looked at before.

Open house day. I should have been excited, but the size of the yard was a big bummer. "Let's see the house so we can decide that we hate it and move on," I said. "Then we'll know that the new build is right for us."

We walked inside and I was hit with a "wow" feeling. The first "wow" was "Wow. This is big!" It was big. The house was 2806 square feet. It had four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and white cabinetry in the kitchen. Swoon. The first floor featured a two story foyer with a formal living room to the left and a formal dining room to the right. Both rooms had transom windows, a tiny little detail I always loved seeing in other homes. A family room with wood burning fireplace and large eat in kitchen were just down the hall. Upstairs, there was a large master suite, three additional bedrooms, a laundry room, bathroom, and bonus room.

The second "wow" that hit me was "Wow, this house needs work." It was empty and had been rented out for a bit. The previous owners had relocated  8 months before. The house had good bones, but it needed love. It was really dirty and smelled a bit like cigarette smoke. The tiles in the foyer, powder room, and kitchen were cracked.
And some of the decor was a bit questionable...but changeable.

But the space was good. It had potential. 
 I could picture our Fiestaware in the kitchen. Still, I wasn't totally sold. I was still enamored with the new build, and while the school district was great, it wasn't the district we were currently in. It wasn't close to my husband's workplace, and it needed a lot of updating. There also was not a basement...a big drawback.

We mulled it over and decided to go back to the mode home to further discuss pricing out the new build. We wanted to go over every option and see exactly how much the new house would cost us.

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