On Thursday afternoon we saw 3 more homes. Our agent is a rock star and is really trying to help us get into a place before the November 30th deadline comes up. He's all about getting us that tax credit!
He couldn't meet with us, so he gave us the addresses to the homes and then gave us the codes for the key-lock boxes out front so we could wander and see the houses. I felt a little weird about that, but I guess it's okay to do that....?
The first home--Long--is a bungalow. We both really liked that one. The attic is unfinished, but gimme some drywall and light fixtures and that's half the battle! In the meantime, it'd be storage. The kitchen was nice and big, and it has a dining room. It's a 2 bedroom, 1.1 bath house. It needs a bit of a spitshine, but nothing we're afraid of handling ourselves. The one negative is that in parts of the basement, Graham can't stand upright; he needs to stoop. He's totally not cool with that. It has 2 staircases down to the basement, and the first staircase, the "main" one, I suppose, is low. I even had to duck, and I'm nothing close to tall. So that's a drawback.
The second home was cute and a good "starter" home, but we felt it was priced too high for its size, and for that house you're paying more for location than for space. On the other hand, it did have a big ass windmill in the backyard. No, really. It looked a lot like this:
We've seen a lot of homes and we've seen some weird stuff, but that was just ridiculous.
Ultimately, we ruled out the second home, just because it's too high for the size of the home, and our agent wasn't expecting them to come down much on the price.
The third home we saw was right down the street. We'll call this one Natchez. It's a good house, and it's a Cape Cod. Nice neighborhood, lots of space, and sorta-finished basement. It has 4 bedrooms and they're all finished which is a definite plus. AND Graham can stand up in the basement, so he's pretty excited about that.
The one bad thing about that house--and it's purely from a home buyer's perspective--is that nothing has been removed from the house. All the furniture is still there, and the drawers are still filled with stuff. The closets still had clothes inside, and under the basement stairs there were still old pairs of shoes hanging out, waiting to be worn. It was creepy. If I had to guess, I'd say the house hasn't been on the market that long. It's definitely an estate sale, and from what I can tell the deceased home owner either has no family to remove his belongings, or they just didn't care. I honestly felt like I had broken into someone's home and they could be back any minute. I mean, the man's work nametag was still on the table by the door! Good ole Stan.
So, we like Long and Natchez. I prefer Long because it's a house we'll stay in for years (as is Natchez). It's got a pantry and a dining room. The garage needs a new roof, and Graham can't stand up in parts of the basement, so those are some negatives.
Of course, because I like Long, Graham prefers Natchez. There aren't any rooms to finish off like on Long, and he can stand in the basement without wondering about head clearance. It doesn't have a pantry or a dining room, and the kitchen is a touch smaller. Both homes have eat-in kitchens, so at least we have a place for a table and chairs.
I don't think we'd "save money" doing renovations for either home. Both have unfinished basements, and the Natchez kitchen is completely tiled--walls, floors, ceilings, everything. We'd do some work on both bathrooms, but ultimately I think we'd put in the same amount of money to fix up/make each house our own, so it's just a matter of what projects we'd like to tackle.
We're going out tomorrow to see each house with our agent and get a little more info on the furnaces and property taxes, and then we'll go from there. It's exciting and exhausting, but I'm glad we're looking for a home. We've been wanting a house for a long time and like I said with the first house: it sucks that it didn't work out, but the one thing we found was that we CAN afford a home and a mortgage, so it was a blessing even though the first house fell through.
I will say that as fun as house hunting as been, I'll be very glad to move into our house and STAY. I love our apartment, and I really love that we were able to move in and stay for nearly 2 years without having to pack up and remove stuff from the walls and fill in holes in the walls so our dorm parent doesn't get mad at us....all that moving back and forth during college and after college really tuckered me out. That being said, we always knew this would be temporary, so it'll be really fun to move and STAY PUT.
Stay tuned, I suppose...