Archive | April, 2011

The First House Project

26 Apr

I thought it was about time for another blog post.

Unfortunately, I drank a can of Mountain Dew on Easter Sunday which subsequently kept me up all night.  So I’ve been tired the past two days.

What that has to do with blogging is this:  I have very little mental power to be witty and wonderful right now, so this post will be short on words.

I thought I’d share a floor plan of Boy Blue with you.  I used a website called floorplanner.com to create this image.  It’s neat but kind of finicky and can be frustrating to use.  Case in point, it took me over an hour to create this floor plan for you all to see.  But on with it, Amanda, show us the image already.

I sure hope it’s not too small.  I was having trouble exporting the image and ended up just taking a screen shot of it so it is not as sizable as I’d like it to be. And, as you can see, it’s only the first floor because, frankly, I can’t spend any more time working on this project right now.  And, it gives me another post to write in the near future.

Anyway, as you can see the back of the house is pretty open.  There is a large doorway between the kitchen and the family room.  We really like that feature since those are the two places in which we will spend most of our time…and not even because the heaters on the rest of that floor don’t work. 🙂  Another thing I really enjoy is that you can see out the sliding doors to the backyard when you walk in the front door.  That isn’t a feature I even knew I wanted in a house until Steve and I rented “Away We Go” a few years ago and that was a feature in the house the lead characters eventually chose to live in.  My other favorite thing is the front porch, which is something I had at the top of my list of wants in a house.

Stevie Wonder’s favorite thing is the window surrounded dine in area, closely followed by all the wallpaper we have in the house (pictures to come soonish!).

And Reggie’s favorite part is, of course, the turkey on the counter.

Oh, and yes, that is a wet bar there in the middle.  Not something Mr. Wonder and I will use that often considering we can’t finish a 12 pack of beer before it goes bad.  But it’s there and, apparently, a selling point for some.  Who knew?

Go team!

Amanda

I Housed Her

17 Apr

Anyone who knows the title reference WITHOUT googling it will get treated to an ice cream cone the next time I see you.

And now for the real news: Steve and I bought a house!  Yay!  Inspection is complete, the loan process is well underway, and Steve and I are on a no-spending spree for the next month while we accumulate the last of our funds needed for closing.

But I’m sure you guys probably want the juicer gossip such as details on the house.  We’ll get there but right now I don’t have good pictures to show you.  Therefore, this post is going to instead be about the house hunting process.  Allow me to begin at the beginning.

Steve and I met with four Realtors before we chose the person we worked with.  The first was, frankly, not our style.  The second was a little too intense for me.  The third I really liked because a) he had a bald head, b) he wore sunglasses on a cloudy day during almost our entire interaction with him, and c) I kinda felt like he didn’t really give a damn.  I know that makes him sound like kind of a jerk but what it really felt like was someone with whom I didn’t feel pressured to buy, or even like, a house.  We’ll call him Red.  The final Realtor we met with was John, who was a friend of Steve’s uncle James.  We liked him from the beginning and, much like Red, we didn’t feel pressured with him.  He also talked a lot, which I think is why we picked him since neither Steve nor I is much for making small talk.

The first house we fell in love with was one I affectionately refer to as Boy Blue.  Here he is:

Red showed us this house on our trial run tour with him.  What we liked was that it was a house we could stay in for a LONG time since there is room to grow; it was on a biggish lot that could support a vegetable garden, a dog, and some flowers, and the layout provided a lot of light and great flow between the rooms.  What we didn’t like was the price tag.  At $60,000 over what we originally capped our budget at, and at $30,000 over what we could comfortably afford, this house was way too expensive.

Nonetheless, we were so enamored that we had John take a tour of it as well.  He was just as enthusiastic about the house as we were and so, after much debate and discussion of mortgage payments and taxes and IRAs and the like, we decided to put in an offer.  We offered $25,000 less than what they were asking and after a few days, we got a counter offer back.  We raised our offer and told the seller it was our final one and…he countered.  He only countered back $4,000 more than what we had offered the last time but something felt wrong about the house.  We had said that if our offer wasn’t accepted, we would walk and after much consideration, we did just that.  It was sad to do because we both really liked Boy Blue but in the end, we both felt we were making the right decision.

After we recovered from the loss of Boy Blue, we both found another house that we liked.  Steve liked this short sale which we called Great Oden’s Raven:

It was at a great price and in a good location and had almost everything we were looking for.  However, something about the house felt wrong to me.  I couldn’t put my finger on it but I just didn’t feel good about the house.  I liked the layout, the yard could be dealt with and the house was a great deal, especially for a starter home.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to agree to putting an offer in on it.  We kept an eye on the house, but kept searching.

The house I next fell in love with is one we referred to as “the little house on the prairie”.

We called it this because it was a small house (about 900 square feet) but it sat on a large acre lot in the middle of a somewhat prestigious neighborhood.  I had grand dreams about custom building a house on that lot while living in the little house on the prairie (and simultaneously caring for and reaping the abundance of a large vegetable garden).  However, when we saw the house in person, Steve was less enamored.  Additionally, the seller’s weren’t very motivated to sell and were asking far too much for what they were trying to sell as only land.  I still see that house in my dreams but it wasn’t an appropriate choice for us at this time and so, we kept searching.

Finally, we found another house that we both loved: Plymouth Rock.

While this wasn’t a place we could stay forever, it is a place we could stay through the next 7-10 years and where we could save up money to buy a “forever” home.  The house was in an area that we hadn’t originally been looking in but had a great school district, a large yard, and enough bedrooms.  The only problems were the bathrooms but at the price we could get it, we could afford to renovate the bathrooms sooner rather than later and the fact that the house was on a busier street.  Still, Steve and I were ready to put in an offer.

But, lo and behold, while we contemplated an offer on the Plymouth house, our original love, Boy Blue, was not selling.  We’d been keeping an eye on it and for one month, Boy Blue didn’t sell.  Finally, April 1 came and as we prepared for our meeting the NEXT DAY to put an offer in on the Plymouth house, Boy Blue’s price dropped $30,000!  I only noticed because good old Red sent me an FYI e-mail.  I immediately called Steve to see what he wanted to do and we agreed that, since this asking price was less than our original offer, we should put another offer in.  We waited on Plymouth Rock and decided to try again for Boy Blue.

We put in an offer on Friday and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Then, on Tuesday we got the news: Boy Blue had multiple offers put in on it that weekend.  Since we had offered before, the seller was kind enough to offer us one final “take it or leave it” chance at Boy Blue.  I quickly called Steve to confirm but it didn’t take long for us to conclude that it was a great house at a great price.  And we accepted.  So, introducing once again, as our official new home, the handsome Boy Blue:

We’re both so excited to close and move in a few weeks and overjoyed to be finished with our house hunting process.  We have a list a mile long of projects to do (including removing about a mile of wall paper) so look forward to those posts in the future.  We will hopefully close May 20th and then you will get more than a glimpse of Boy Blue.

Here’s his measurements:

36-24-36 (wink, wink)

But really:

4 bedrooms
3 ½ baths
2800 square feet
2 car garage
½ acre lot
1 basketball hoop

And, just to give you an idea of how much we looked, we saw:

24 houses over about 45 days

But in the end, we only made two offers on one house.

Boy Blue.  Love it.

Amanda

Photoshop: Best Purchase Ever

2 Apr
James and Gma B4

Before

James and Gma After

After

Reggie Puppy B4

Before

Reggie Puppy After

After

DC Kiss B4

Before

DC Kiss After

After