Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Trying to Be Satisfied Where We Are

I've avoided saying anything on the blog until we had a better idea of where things were going, but the past couple weeks, Tom and I became fairly immersed in the world of house-hunting.  It all started when Tom found that great-looking little place online.  We kept thinking how ideal it might be for our family, and eventually figured it couldn't hurt to contact a realtor and get a look inside.  That place ended up not striking us the way we expected.  Actually, Tom was still pushing for it, but I just couldn't picture us living there.  It wasn't right.  Since we had the realtor out for the evening, we asked her to take us to a second nearby house we had noticed online - a gorgeous 113 year-old Victorian which we didn't honestly expect to be able to buy, but just wanted to peek inside. 
And oh man, did that place do us in.  We were completely in love.  It was in many ways, a dream house for us both.  We're both total suckers for old houses, and the more charming little features the better.  This place had it all: lots of stained glass, four (working!) fireplaces, moulding, carved banister, built-ins, French doors between all the rooms, a storage window seat under a big window, a flat bedrooms!  We could tell it needed some work (and some tearing out of ugly wallpaper), which didn't scare us, and it was being sold for significantly less than it's value. 
We were Mary from It's a Wonderful Life, head-over-heels for a big old house that was nothing but a money pit

We still didn't want to let ourselves hope it could ever be ours.  This is the sort of place we always fantasized that we could *maybe* end up in eventually...but never as a first home.  But we mentioned it to our parents, and I feel like things just took off from there.  Before we knew it, we had an offers of gifts/loans from the parents to help with the downpayment and a pre-approval for a mortgage from a bank (one which doesn't require the entire downpayment to come from the buyers themselves!).  For a moment there, it looked like we might actually possibly be able to own this amazing house. 

But then the realtor brought us through the house again, this time in the daylight when we could see the flaws more easily....and with a contractor.  Now, Tom and I are both willing to do a lot of fix-ups ourselves in a future home.  But there are only so many things we have the ability to do.  The contractor pointed out so many things that would need to be repaired - many of them as soon as possible - which we just aren't capable of doing ourselves (mold removal, re-bricking the chimney, etc.).  And he gave us estimates for each job, "You're looking at $15,000-$20,000 for this", "Probably $20,000 for that"...Oh my.  It's a shame.  I wonder who will buy that house.  It has the potential to be absolutely stunning, but it needs a lot of money to get there.
Yes, the rest of the house is in shambles, and you can't even get upstairs because the stairway fell down...but isn't this one corner so cozy and nice?

After that, though, it was easy to let go.  It reminds me of one of those shows on HGTV...I think it's Property Brothers?  The realtor always takes the couple to their absolute dream house first, and then when they see the price tag, it knocks them back to reality.  Then they can start looking at more realistic places.  I guess that's what we'll need to do as well.

Tom thinks we need to "cool it" for a while on the search for a house.  Reluctantly, I'll try to do that.  But I think my nesting instincts are making me long to be settled in a place of our own before the baby comes at the end of March.  Our current place works.  We have enough room.  Sigh. 

Mary Bailey fixing up the dream house
In the meanwhile, I want to try to focus on improving things that we can while we're renters - re-covering our filthy dining room chairs, for example, or fixing the terrible job I did painting the kitchen table.  That way, when we are ready to buy a place, we can put all our attention on improving the house rather than worrying about our furniture as well.


  1. One recommendation: consider buying *after* the new baby. There is no way we could have gotten better timing between leases and job start dates and such, but I am sitting here in a half-unpacked house, with little energy to get anything done, and I have done so little to prepare for the babies. It's really stressful!

    That being said, finding a house and the whole process once you find one you want to buy takes much longer than you think, so it may not be a bad idea to at least keep looking if you picture yourselves moving within a year or so.

    It will all work out one way or another eventually. *hugs*

  2. I get "house fever" like that too! When we were first looking at houses around here we found a old old house that we fell head-over-heels for, but it was in a very serious state of disrepair and the seller wouldn't budge on his price, which was very unreasonable considering the shape it was in. I'm kinda glad we passed on it now because I don't think we could have handled a project of those proportions. It's pretty difficult with our current house, and all of the problems are cosmetic! Anyway, sorry it didn't work out. I agree with Rosemary; there's nothing wrong with looking!