house-hunting adventures

house-hunting adventures

Recently, Paul and I have been looking into housing options, to have more room for our growing family. We have so many possibilities: rent a house, rent an apartment, stay where we are, buy a house, etc. With the market the way it is, we have been excited to find some houses for sale well within our budget, making it a more attractive option than renting.

We contacted a real estate agent and have been working with him. By the way, I *highly* recommend him if you’re in the Atlanta area and need an agent! He’s great – respects our budget, doesn’t push us, and has always been open to our thoughts and opinions. I would happily recommend him. :-)

We found a house about a month ago that we liked; a foreclosure that needed a lot of cosmetic work (about $7,000, the biggest expenses being that it needed all 3 kitchen appliances and a new air conditioner). We put in an offer, but the bank who owned the house was being picky and the house fell through. (You’d think they’d want to get rid of the house!)

We adjusted our search to another area of town and have found several properties there. We saw one on Monday that we instantly liked. It’s not perfect, of course, but definitely a contender. And it’s move-in ready! We wouldn’t have to do *anything*. Then today we looked at three more houses that were in the same general neighborhood. I have to tell you about them.

First, we saw a split-level. It was the only house we’ve seen that still has the owners living inside, which was an interesting experience. Let me tell you, for being a competitive market they certainly weren’t interested in selling their house! All my hours watching HGTV have taught me everything I need to know about getting a house ready for sale, and these people broke all the rules! :-)

They were home when we got there, and their 7 or 8 year old son followed us the entire time, offering his comments (like “this sofa becomes a bed!”). The house was dirty – messy, stuff everywhere, hadn’t had a thorough cleaning, smelled of curry, more furniture than the rooms could hold. Someone was taking a nap in one of the bedrooms and though she woke up and stared at us, she didn’t seem interested in getting up, so we didn’t get to see that bedroom at all. It was hard for me to look beyond the mess. Paul liked the house a lot, so it’s on our short list.

The other two houses did NOT make that list. :-) Oh my! The first one was priced $20k above all the others. First, the brick on the side of the house was painted a deep plum color, which was a little weird. The house had a lot of potential, but was in really bad shape. The kitchen walls were all pine paneling, with cabinets of the same color. It had a built-in double oven that was probably original to the house (built in the 60s)! Obviously, they didn’t use it so they cut a chunk out of the counter and cabinets to make room for a stove/oven. There was a full bathroom off the hallway, and then three bedrooms – the smallest bedroom had a half bath. (We couldn’t figure out which was the master.) There was a living room/den that they cut in half, and turned one part into an unknown room with linoleum floor. I wasn’t sure what that was used for. Then, on the side of the house, they added an in-law suite. It had kitchen cabinets and a kitchen sink, a half-bath, a living area, and two decent bedrooms. Not a bad suite, if you didn’t mind sharing the shower in the other part of the house. The house had a lot of potential, but it was WAY overpriced. It was originally listed $50k above the price it was now – and it needs all new appliances, a new roof, and some cosmetic work with paint and buffing the floors and such. As the listing said, it had a bad case of the 60s.

The next house was worse. It didn’t have a lock-box (it also was empty), so we explored around it. We walked around the back. Immediately behind the house was a drop off and the yard extended beyond that. No stairs or anything would assist someone in getting down or up. There was poison oak all over the backyard. It looked like they had built on an addition to the back of the house, too. We noticed washer/dryer hookups. A bunch of stuff in an outdoor closet. The door was open down there so we went in. A little apartment – a few rooms, a bathroom, and a full kitchen – with a stove that was old and absolutely filthy. The whole apartment was trashed – no furniture, just trash.

We walked back to the front and tried the side door that was next to the garage. It opened, and we wandered in. As we had suspected, the garage had also been converted to an apartment. There was trash and stuff all over. The sliding glass door that went from the garage to the main house was open so we peeked inside and saw a mattress. It was pretty obvious that someone was living there. At that point I got kinda creeped out, half expecting a bum to jump out at me waving a whiskey bottle. We walked back to the driveway, and our realtor asked me if that kind of property appealed to me. “Noooo!” I told him. The whole house felt chopped up – it would be wasted space for us, since we had no use for an apartment separate from the house. We’d prefer parking our car in the garage over extra living space. And it’s always a bad sign when you’re too creeped out to even walk through the house during daylight hours with two men with you. :-)

So we have two options now, which we either need to decide between or neither. We’ll keep our eyes open though and see if anything else comes along. Or maybe we’ll end up renting for now. Who knows. I’m just hoping for a bit more space than we have now!!

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