Monday, August 5, 2013

Adventures in House Hunting

Good evening, gentle readers.  As I type this, the sun is edging gently toward the western horizon and I am sipping a giant mango daiquiri.
Yes, gentle readers, it's been that kind of day.
For the last seven hours, I have been looking at houses.  Now, I've written about my house hunt before and bored everyone, but today is the first time I've devoted hours to actually physically looking at houses.
Ironically, the day started off in a not so great light. The house that I really wanted to look at got sold on Saturday night.  This is the second time this has happened to me with this house so, obviously, I am not meant to purchase this particular domicile.
Thank you, gods of real estate, I got the message. Strike one.
So, with that house out of the way, I decided to drive by and check out a couple of other homes.
The first was in a nice part of town, the house looked okay from the road, but the neighborhood didn't appeal to me.  There was too much traffic from a major highway and the condition of a lot of the yards was not the best.  Ironically, drive just up the street a block or two and the houses were spectacular.
So, strike two.
The second house I looked at was all the way on the other side of town.  Driving all the way out there was a trek. I felt, at times, like I should stop and pick up provisions for the trip.  Eventually, I made it to my destination.
Now, normally when I assess a house for the first time, the agent isn't with me and,to be honest, I'm more interested in the neighborhood.  This time, though, I parked my car, got out and explored the area surrounding the house itself.  The yard was nice, big, but not too big.  I squashed my face up against a back door and saw part of the kitchen and the front room.  They looked okay.  The HVAC looked newish and so did the roof. Could I have found my house? Was my quest at an end?
I summoned my realtor and we took a look inside.
Oy vey.
I quickly learned why they had a new roof. Every room in the place had water damage.  There were holes in the walls. The parts of the kitchen I could not see before were less than stellar. There was no stove, the refrigerator was a science experiment gone horribly wrong and I swear the dishwasher was trying to escape the house.
This house was a true disappointment. It was like going home with a pretty woman only to have her remove her makeup, revealing herself as a hideous gorgon.
So, strike two.
Dispirited by this point, I nevertheless agreed to my realtor's request that we look at another house. This house was one I had dismissed because it had an in-ground pool in the back yard.  I thought maintaining it would be a real pain in the butt so decided to pass without looking inside the house.
I wasn't expecting much when we got to the house.
Walking into the back yard, it was nice. Fenced. Not too much grass. And the pool looked smaller. I thought, Hmm. I wonder if I could get it capped?  My realtor suggested filling it in with dirt and planting grass.  It was something to consider.
We went into the house and, gentle readers, I was blown away.  The house measures about 1600 square feet, but it felt so much bigger.  The front of the house was one long room with a kitchen at one end and a fireplace/dining room/living room at the other.
The master bedroom on the rear of the house was gigantic and looked out over the back yard. It had a huge walk in closet.
The bathroom was a nice size and had a separate shower and tub.  There were two other bedrooms, each of modest size, with good sized closets.
There were, however, a couple of things that struck me.  Two of the electrical outlets looked damaged so I'm thinking the wiring might be going. Another thing was that the back room was curling slightly.  Also, the house has an older style heating system with a down draft vent in the hallway.  Not crazy about walking on that.
On the other hand, though, there were enormous rooms and hardwood floors throughout the place.
So, not a strike, but not a hit either. 
Let's call it a tip.
I'm thinking about making an offer on this house. My realtor is doing some research. We're going to get together later this week and discuss it.
Until then, I'm sitting here, wondering.  How much of a hassle would it be to have a house with a real, live working pool?

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