House 2 – Still A Possible

Our third and final viewing of the weekend brought us to house 2. Going into the viewing, we were less excited about the exterior; the house is situated on a much smaller plot than the others and seemed pretty close to neighbors without the benefit of privacy fencing. But we had high hopes for the interior. The pictures showed more recent updates (particularly in the kitchen) and just felt more modern.

We saw pretty much exactly what we were expecting. The yard and landscaping has been well maintained and the large Crape Myrtle in the front yard provided enough privacy to feel like we could really enjoy the porch swing on the front porch. The back deck was pretty amazing. And there was a pretty decent yard. Some privacy was gained by the rows of trees between the back of the house and the house behind, but those aren’t evergreen trees and in a few months, there would be no illusion of privacy as we would be able to see directly into each other’s houses.

Inside immediately felt so much better than the other houses we had seen. It had a much more open and welcoming foyer situation. The flow was natural and didn’t feel awkward at all. The carpets were in good condition, and the hardwoods were nice and light which helped brighten the already well lit house. The kitchen did have several updates that were refreshing to Shelby. More counter top space that had recently been upgraded to granite. A gas stove and newish dishwasher. No fridge in this house, and the microwave was left, but was not an “over the range” microwave. The linoleum was in good condition but pretty ugly. But it had a pantry!

The kitchen bled into a breakfast nook which was fairly small, but we don’t have anything but plants to go there anyway so…The breakfast nook led into what we can only classify as the performance art space. This was one of the weirdest “what the heck are we supposed to do in here” rooms. It was a nice size, natural light from windows on both sides, carpeted. It had an enormous fireplace at the far end that Shelby HATED. I agreed that it was somewhat obtrusive, but the issues he had could be fixed with a little high temp paint and a crowbar (namely the brass plating on a nice black marble hearth with an unnecessarily gigantic mantle). But halfway through the room, the ceiling changed from your standard 8ft ish drop ceiling to a vaulted one. And they had track lighting mounted pointing directly at the fireplace. That, like, would not be able to light anymore of the room. Just the spotlights on the stage of a fireplace. I thought perhaps the carpet could be pulled up and make THAT the formal dining space (for our totally formal dining furniture *snort*)?

The upstairs was uh-maze-ing. The rooms were all generously sized and all had incredible closet space. With the exception of the master. The master had a decently sized walk-in closet, but it looked like they had done some DIY shelving/organization that made it feel a little more cluttered and closed than it needed to be. But the other rooms had good space. All had windows and were nicely lit. The bonus room (AKA 4th bedroom) was awesome. A perfect family room space for now and playroom for later.

Here’s where we get into some of the downsides. In my view, there was nothing about this house that was an automatic deal breaker. It delivered most of what we were expecting. But when we started to add up the things we would want to do to make it perfect, it just seemed like a lot, especially for a house at the top of our price point. And here they are in no particular order:

All of the fixtures are brass. It was explained that this is going to be pretty typical, but it was just disheartening since we finally got rid of all the brass in our current home. Doorknobs and light fixtures are not necessarily cheap and easy. Bummer.

I already mentioned the kitchen linoleum. That would have to change at some point. And we’d want to free up counter space by getting a microwave installed over the range. We’d need to buy a fridge. But love that pantry!

Shelby didn’t particularly like the master bathroom. The tub, admittedly, was kind of awkwardly situated and seemed to be kind of an afterthought. And it didn’t have jets. And a few of the tiles were cracked. But it was a nice deep tub, separate from the shower (like a proper grown-up’s house). The shower was spacious and there was a skylight (one of my favorite features in my current house), but that only highlighted the unfortunate paint color.

Speaking of bathrooms, this house while advertised as 4 bed 3 bath actually had 4 bed (if you count the bonus room over the garage) and 2.5 bath. The second bathroom upstairs was a full bath with the shower/tub combo situation. It was pretty small, but the real issue was the HORRENDOUS wallpaper. Blah. Which means the .5 bath is downstairs which is pretty normal. But also means that there is no hope of an awesome guest set-up downstairs.

The laundry “room” was upstairs, which I actually kind of preferred, since that is where all the clothes come off. It was literally a whole in the wall with accordion doors mid-hallway which was not ideal, but it did have plenty of room to where you didn’t feel like you had to stand in the hall. It had shelves and such, so you know, not a deal breaker, just not perfect.

Now. Let’s talk about the basement (yes this is the one with the finished walk-out basement). They had a dehumidifier running, but it was clear that it was no match for the damp. The realtor advised that we should probably consider a more industrial style with a hose that would deposit the water elsewhere so we didn’t have to constantly empty the tray. It smelled a bit, but the house was vacant and that could likely be addressed with a good ole fashioned airing out. There was a creepy closet space that was pretty sizeable. Our best guess was that it sat under the front porch. It reeked. I am not sure if something got caught, or if there was a more serious problem. But it would be a pretty useless space since anything we stored in there would be all funky smelling. Maybe planters? And the ceiling was metal, with rust. The disclosures indicated that there was not a water problem in the basement, but perhaps there had been one previously and the damage would continue to be evident as long as the state continues to be so wet? Also, the room was lit by fluorescents, which if you know my husband, is like the most vial thing on the planet. So we’d want to address that at some point.

It does have a door that leads underneath the back deck. But the deck remains, in our humble opinions, unfinished. While the deck itself is all fancy and nice, there is plenty of room underneath for more to be done. But the first thing that would need to be done is to waterproof the deck. The realtor told us it should be easy, but not necessarily cheap, to get the rainwater to collect just under the wood and be drawn away from the house so that the deck could also serve as a covered porch. The area is paved just outside the basement door, but the rest of the space is sand. Our ultimate goal would be to cement the rest of the area and then screen it all in so that we could put in a sandbox or something for the kid and have some chairs out there to enjoy the rain or shine in a mosquito free zone. And if we could get the basement into the game room we’d want it to be, that area would be perfect for poker breaks and breaths of fresh air mid Rock Band rock-out.

The driveway slopes toward the house. Which means the rainwater will also slope toward the house. Probably not a huge deal since it seems to break before it actually gets to the garage. And though it poured for three days before our viewings, I didn’t see any standing water anywhere. They built a little staircase in the garage (necessary to get into the house) which is perfectly situated to make parking somewhat sketchy on that side. Although the grease stains on the pavement seemed to show that it wasn’t an issue for the owners.

See? Nothing that would make you run for the hills (except maybe that rusty basement closet, but if there was something significant, it would be discovered at the inspection). Just not the love and absoluteness of this being our place. And the more we sit with it, the more we feel just that way. Yeah we could live there, but we don’t have to.

So it remains on our possible list. We’ll be sad for a minute if someone else buys it, but we won’t be heartbroken. We are going to see two more this weekend, and while we aren’t delusionally thinking we’ll find love at first sight, we are silently hopeful that we’ll have a better first date.


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