Another night, another ten houses visited while Peter and Leo exhausted their Nana and Bampa. It's getting easier to say "this isn't going to work, let's get out of here." The first and last homes we saw tonight were considerably better than anything else we've seen. Both are three bedroom 50's ramblers with walk-out basements in my favorite of the three cities we're checking. Their neighborhoods were both great.
Pros of Rambler 1: Nice sized living room, dining area, and kitchen. Boys can run in circles around them. Basement is finished with a family room and office. The current owners have two small boys, so there aren't any kid-unfriendly things. We could really move into this house and not need to change anything. Race-track ceiling and hardwood floors add charm. The backyard is fenced.
Cons of Rambler 1: Small bedrooms (although our furniture would fit). Tuckunder one car garage means that there's less basement space. Will need a new roof soon. Siding probably should get replaced before too long. It has one bathroom (and a rough in downstairs) Although the area has a lot of green space, there aren't any businesses in walking distance. It's aways from any freeways. It's probably a ten minute drive to the church I want to attend (and possibly the school I'd send kids to) and maybe 25 minutes from Dan's school -- it's the farthest possible distance of the places we're looking. We'd fit really well into this house now and probably two more kids from now, but maybe not as easily as they grow and expansion is tougher.
Pros of Rambler 2: Good sized bedrooms. Pretty new appliances, brand new electrical, central air, and furnace. Two car garage. Bigger basement, with carpet and outer walls up, which would allow us to use it right away, but adjust the space as needed. Fabulous neighborhood in walking distance of a playground, lake, and the main street business district. Screen porch. Flatter backyard. Bright basement. Hardwood floors are almost certainly under carpet in the living room, dining room, and hall. Original bathroom tile. Real tile in the kitchen. Coved ceilings. It would be possible to have 3 bedrooms on the main floor and an office, family room, and bedroom in the basement down the road and maybe even replace the screen porch with more finished space. We could live here with 4 or 5 kids, including teenagers, without enormous renovation. It has two bathrooms. It's owned by a relocation company so we could make the August 23rd closing date actually happen. Maintenance free siding.
Cons of Rambler 2: Living room, dining room, and kitchen are just big enough and having good public space is one of my top priorities. There are updates we'd want to make this fall -- painting basement wood paneling, adding color to walls upstairs, and probably removing the carpet, at least from the dining room. The basement doesn't immediately have that cozy-I could spend long hours here in the winter-feeling, although it would help a lot once we put our stuff there. Roof will need to be replaced soon. Garage isn't attached. Has a boring rambler feel to it.
It's looking like we'll visit these two again on Wednesday after having 48 hours to mull things over. It's possible that something new will come on the market by then. Our realtor is also waiting to hear about a house I liked in the winter whose listing expired. If we could have the living, dining, and kitchen of rambler 1 in rambler 2, I think we would have made an offer on it tonight.
We're leaning towards rambler 2 (vs other currently available homes or waiting for more to come on the market) because it seems to have staying power. I'm overly concerned about the not-so-big living room, dining room, and kitchen because right now, that's where we spend all our time. But if our TV is in the basement, and a lot of toys, we'll use it. And because it's bright and carpeted and friendly, we'll want to be down there. Also, if the boys' bedroom is 15 feet from the living room, they might play there more often, or at least store toys there. We really can't beat the location of rambler 2.
My parents have given us the okay to stay with them on the order of days to weeks (which seemed more important early today before seeing these houses). Even if we closed on both houses the same day, we might put all our furniture in the new house then stay with Mom and Dad for a week while doing some work on it. When we bought our current house, we had to redo the floors before moving our stuff in because there wasn't anywhere to put it. We're essentially doubling our space, so now we could shove things out of the way fairly easily.
Both houses have been on the market at least six months, so we'd definitely make an offer under asking price.
M who moved at Christmas -- can you email me at email@example.com? I want to talk to you about renting vs. buying immediately. For everyone else who suggested renting -- we are looking into it. My mom found a bunch of places nearby that offer reasonably priced month to month leases, and it's reassuring to know it's an option (our realtor thought we'd have to pay a lot more, but I think she forgets I'm used to living in 900 sq ft). I didn't initially think my parents would want to house us for more than a week, but they seem willing to let us take over their basement for a month or so. There would be POD costs, two moves, and more chaos, but we could do it. If we'd only seen houses like yesterday's today, I would have been looking stuff up on Craigslist right now. As it is, I think we'll be able to make something work this week.