Monday, August 23, 2010

Money Pit?

Remember this movie?  Love it, love it, love it. Unless I live it.  Chris and I looked at a house yesterday, which we love.  I saw an ad for it online on Friday, looked it up on the MLS, and we both really liked it.  Obviously we know that marketing can be creative, and the price is very low.  That piqued our interest even more.  There was an open house yesterday afternoon, but we drove by in the morning to see if it was even something we'd be interested in.  I totally expected the neighborhood to be ghetto, or the house to be a dump.  Neither were true.  We peeked in the windows too, and were still interested.

We brought the kids to my parents' house to swim in the afternoon and headed over.  And I mean headed, because it's about 35 minutes from our current house.  (Keep in mind, when we moved to the house we're in now, we moved from another house in the same subdivision.  Clearly we're fans of the area.)

Clearly it needs some work.  The house is 110 years old.  In a *city* that had, at last census count, 548 residents.  No, a zero isn't missing from the end of that number.  Five hundred forty-eight.  Total.  The motto of the place is "the town where time stands still."  I'm not sure how well I'd fit in there. . . 

The porch has been rebuilt, but obviously not repainted.  You're starting to see why the price is low.  The story we got from the realtor is that the current owner bought it as a foreclosure, started renovating, then got divorced.  Having some experience in the world of divorce, that equals to me that he ran out of money.  Hence, the half finished nature of some of the projects.  I love, love, love the walk though.  A little Roundup and that baby would be good as new.  

I hate the exterior color, and it needs to be repainted.  The realtor seemed to think there could be an allowance for that in the sale agreement.  (She kept discussing the price and saying "But there's definitely negotiation room.  There's lots of room for negotiating.)  I'm thinking yellow exterior with white trim and  red front doors.  Because there are two cute entrances.  

Are you kidding me with this kitchen?  Clearly a finished project, with the exception of a backsplash.  Great cabinets, a solid surface countertop, 5 burner gas stove, trivection gas oven, and tons of storage.

I heart this kitchen.  Big, pink, puffy hearts.  Plenty of room for an island too.  And nice, huge double windows over the sink, which overlook the backyard.

The big, flat, clean back yard.  A great space for the boys and the dogs.  A mark in the negative column?  We would have to fence it.  It's big, (about a half acre, right within "city limits".  Bigger than the yard we have now, which is a nice size.)  That would probably be at least $3,000 for just a basic privacy fence.

Off the kitchen is this breakfast area.  There's a back door in here too.  This would be a great eating/homework space for the kids, and good for a little mudroom storage area.

The other side of the kitchen has an enormous laundry/utility room.  This, I'm assuming, was a porch at one time.  The floor is a bit concerning to me, as we would have the washer and dryer, as well as our extra fridge and freezer in this space.  I would eventually want to add some cabinets and a utility sink I think.  It's really big.  That heater on the wall is the only heat for the space, and I see that as a hazard.  That would be changed at some point.   Also top on the list to change?

WTF is that?  A pump in the middle of the room.  The realtor said, "Isn't it charming?  I think it's a great conversation piece."  I don't think she was charmed when I told her I could tell a great story about cutting it out and capping it off.  Why the hell would you want that in the middle of the floor?  The house doesn't use well water - it's town sewer and water.  That puppy would be out, ASAP.

This would probably be our living room space.  Love the paneled molding, the windows, the trim detail, the door (exits to the porch).  And the FLOORS!  Original floors, newly refinished, all throughout the house.  The kitchen, laundry, and breakfast room are the only rooms with a different floor.  I would buy this house just for this room and the floors.  The whole house has been freshly painted inside with the same neutral color.  That would change in probably every room, but I'm glad it's newly painted and not some weird wallpaper or old lady colors.

Also on the quick to be removed list?  The few windows that have this stained glass stick on shit.  Like this one.  In the only bathroom in the house.  Oh yes, one bathroom.  For five people.

The entrance to what they're listing as the fourth bedroom, AKA the master.  Um, it's not a legal bedroom.

It does have one of the three gas fireplaces in the house though, which could be charming.  It doesn't however, have a closet.  Not charming.  Or practical.

It does, though, have great windows and all original trim detail.  And passes through to what could be converted into a closet but would probably not be for a while.  The single bathroom is certainly limiting, but not a deal breaker for us.

I really love the staircase.  Which was exceptionally sturdy, as was the handrail.  Which would need to be stripped and refinished.

 There's a great little nook at the top of the stairs.  I picture this to be either a sitting area or a desk space for the computers and homework.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms.  Sort of.  You have to walk through one to get to another.  They. are. enormous.  We're talking probably 18x18 for each of the three.

There are big window seats in two of them.  I picture all three boys in one room (the one you get to by walking through another) and using the walk through room as their playroom/tv room.  They would essentially have a suite.  They could be split eventually if they wanted to, but there would be plenty of room for all three in one room.

Nearly all of the rooms have transoms like this over the doors.  You can still see the tape on this one from the trim being painted.

One clear check in the negative column?  There are three closets in the whole house.  Three.  And not walk-in closets either.  TINY closets, about the size of a coat closet.  Or smaller.  I would be able to work with this, but it would be a challenge.
This is the largest closet in the house.  And I'm not kidding.

This would probably be our room.  You know, because it has the master closet.  

Things I love?  The floors, the architecture, THE PRICE, that it's walking distance to the center of the town where they have a cute ice cream place and a Saturday farmer's market, the neighborhood is cute, the yard is great, the porch could be fabulous.  I grew up in an old house, and this house makes me feel at home.  It's in a tiny town where my children would be safe and could have a very peaceful life.  It's close to a fabulous private school that is not out of the realm of possibility for us.  It's about 25 minutes from work, which is not bad at all.

The things I don't love?  That it's 110 years old and will always have something that needs to be done.  Always.  I'm nervous for what a home inspection could reveal, but obviously want to see what a home inspection could reveal.  The town is tiny.  I've worked by whole life to get away from a tiny town, and now I'm considering heading back to one.  And by tiny I mean the closest grocery store is 25 minutes away.  There are certainly advantages to being able to run over to Target in a five minute drive.  Not an option at this place.  It will  be about an hour from Nashville.  If/when I start law school (hopefully in the fall), that is an hour drive, three times a week, getting out of school at 10:00 and then having to drive home.  For four years.  But, again, it's only for four years.  For the right house at the right price, I am willing to do that.  We would have one bathroom.  One.  For five people.  The plans are drawn for the addition of a second full bath and a half bath, and there's even a toilet, sink, and mirror in the storage building.  However, that's a very disruptive renovation.  There's no garage.  There's this:

Yikes.  We don't park in our garage now, but we do use it for storage, bikes, Christmas decorations, and Chris' tools.  Again, plans for a garage but not any garage now.  My biggest concern?  The boys would have to change schools.  We love our school.  Love it.  If we seriously are going to consider this house, changing schools is a big issue for me.  Who knows if it will work out, or if we'll even want it to after I get some answers to questions I've emailed the realtor.  It was fun to go look though!


Nicole said...

Kim it looks beautiful. I love the floors and the fireplace.
Keep us updated.


Can you request an inspection or do you have to make an offer first? If you can make an offer, I would make a crazy low one and just see? Also, you could take out about 30,000 more on your loan and just have everything you want redone. Someone could easily build you closets and I would add a master bath (one bathroom sucks lol.)
But it is wayyy cute! And 30 isn't that much further. Are you gonna check out schools today? You should definitely look into it! Xo KJ

Melanie said...

Good luck to you and Chris with your decision...I know how hard it can be to move into something that you "question," but ultimately I had to do what was right for my family and not made my heart do cartwheels! That sucks but it's what we mommies & daddies do when we have children...ha, ha!

Danielle Bennett said...

Kim...I love this house! Looking at your pics made my heart smile! I hope you get it...

Candice said...

It's beautiful! I didn't know you were going to law school. Wow! Good for you! Good luck with everything!