Saturday, April 19, 2008

House Hunting This Weekend!

I am getting anxious about buying a house.

My agent says that buyers are coming back to the market in droves at the moment (after I asked her because it seemed like every house we liked got an offer before we could get in to see it).

I don't want to have sold at the absolute bottom of the market only to have to buy when the market is in full upswing.

I'm irritated.

So I asked our agent to show us a handful of houses on Sunday. I picked them out. Let me show you the one I like the best right at the moment:

Why do I like it so much?

+a front porch *and* a back deck!!

To see the full listing, go to, scroll down to where it asks for the MLS number, and plug in the following (but take out all the spaces):

70 744 9 18
(note: at some point I will take this down)

This house just might have the potential to make the house-hunting process joyful again. When I think about it, I get butterflies in my stomach.

BUT, it is not perfect. Here is the ol' pros and cons list:


  • It is within our price range in a location I ADORE! I like the location because it is in an area of the city considered broadly to be desireable (good in terms of an investment), but it is in a more economically mixed portion of that area (good in terms of our souls). There are trees and sidewalks in the neighborhood (you'd be surprised by how little of that there is out here), and there appear to be families with children around. It is walking distance to a lot (at least in comparison to everything we've found in this city so far). I haven't even seen it all yet. A new vegetarian restaurant (seriously unheard of out here) just opened up a few blocks away (I swear we could single-handedly keep it open)!! From what I could tell, we could walk to at least a couple different restaurants (granted one is a faster-food type chain), to at least one if not two pharmacies, to a youth center with a basketball court and a very tiny park (see below under cons for some issues), to a "corner store," and MORE! You just don't get that kind of thing in most areas of this strip mall city. It is on a side of town that really appeals to me, despite being very congested through the route to my work...however, it is in the perfect spot because there is a short-cut I can take. It should be a ten minute drive to work, I think. The location makes me want to put an offer on it site unseen, for crying out loud! I swoon.
  • As I said, it has a really cute porch! PLUS a nice looking, big deck!
  • The backyard is perfectly level, very well-maintained and seemingly low maintance, and seems to be of decent size. It appears to be fenced, though the back portion of the fence would need to be replaced with something more dog-proof.
  • It has a newer boiler, newer water tank, replacement windows, and vinyl siding.
  • Supposedly the kitchen and bathroom have been updated.
  • All appliances are included.
  • Heating is by gas (much cheaper than oil), and the water heater also works by gas. Given the smaller size of the house, heating should be affordable.
  • The house is pretty darn cute. Even cuter in person than in the photo.


  • While I love the location, there are some issues with the location. On the next street over, there is a medium-size liqour store. Across from that there is a trashed out, ill-maintained Rite Aid (pharmacy). Though the house is less than a half mile from a park, it hardly deserves the title. The park is right on a majorly busy street. There is graffiti all over the park, and all it consists of a lonely slide and a few swings and *a lot* of litter. Though it is next to the youth center, it feels very sketchy, especially as night begins to fall. Also, across the street from the park is a commercially owned (though small) stadium. On one hand, I want to get involved in cleaning up and adding to that playground, but part of me thinks it's hopeless.
  • This is another house with potential size issues. Again it is one the same size as our old house that we felt we had outgrown. I do feel that having porch and deck space increases the size of a home on some level, but we are a growing family.
  • Also, a big red flag here is that the listed square footage differs greatly from public record (it is listed with a few hundred more square feet).
  • The room sizes are not listed, and the rooms look small...especially that rinky, dinky supposedly updated kitchen. If any of the bedrooms is smaller than 10x10, we can't buy this house due to foster licensing.
  • The bedrooms are divided between two floors. Ack! I don't know if I can handle that.
  • Right now there are carpets everywhere. It says there are hardwoods under all carpets, but there is no way to know what condition they are in or even if this is true.
  • There is only one bathroom, there is no fireplace (Waaaaaaaahhhhh...I really, really, really want a house with a fireplace damnit! A lot! How much does it take to add one?), and though there are four off-street parking spaces, there is no garage.
  • There is likely lead, which means for foster licensing we'll be sinking a bunch of money into the house right away to de-lead. On the other hand, this is an issue with most of the houses out here.
  • There is only one heating zone (more expensive, less efficient, and less environmentally friendly), and the heat is also by steam which is a potential issue with M's asthma.
  • I am not a fan of wallpaper personally, and it has wallpaper in every room.

So what does it mean when you love the location in so many ways, but there are also other glaring location concerns?

And they say to always buy for location, but when does location trump other downsides?

I know, I know. I haven't seen it inside yet, and I could end up hating it. Plus, for all I know they'll already have accepted another offer by Sunday. And knowing my luck, this won't work out. But for now I can't stop thinking about it.

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