So E** Drive was out of the picture now, too. At least that decision was easily made.
At this point we had only been hunting for a few weeks, though it seemed much longer. We decided to calm down, back off and focus on Deanna’s swiftly approaching wedding and the baby’s impending arrival. But wedding plans went swimmingly, with very little stress, and the baby was still comfortably in the future. In our free moments, we both still peeked at listings, sent each other promising links and casually drove by the homes we had seen online. After a while, we had another good list of prospective homes and contacted our realtor to schedule a handful of showings.
We took several children with us to get additional opinions, since the last home on our list was a second showing for us. We had seen it a couple of weeks earlier and were undecided. It had some outstanding features, but some problems that gave us pause.
The first home on our list was just 6 miles from work and church, in a very nice neighborhood. Nobody’s jaw dropped when we walked in, but there were smiles all around. This was a nice home. It was not huge, but big enough. It seemed well maintained, though it had a few rough edges here and there. It had nearly all the features were looking for – plus a few we hadn’t thought of. The price seemed very good for the area, and while it didn’t have vaulted ceilings or a big feel to it, it seemed very sufficient for our needs and our hospitality goals. This one had scored very well on the spreadsheet, and didn’t disappoint in real life. It was a comfortable home, one that we could easily see as our family’s home. The yard was a little smaller than most we had looked at, but it was shady and flat, with a huge wooden playset that no seller in his right mind would move.
We weren’t exactly excited, but we felt it definitely had promise. It was the first house we both liked right away since we loved and lost the one on A. Lane. It was the first one we didn’t automatically mark off the list after seeing the inside.
The next home was gorgeous. It had cedar beams and slate tile everywhere. The kitchen with its almost-Tuscan flavor could have come straight from a magazine. The den was cozy and fashionably decorated in a rustic lodge style. The entire upstairs was one huge, open, airy room with an amazing bathroom off to the side. This house had taste and style. It also had a higher price tag than any we had looked at yet, and it didn’t have the square footage or multiple living areas that we were hoping to find. Reluctantly, we moved on.
We saw another home that was just too small, and then moved on to the second showing of the one on PG Street. The first time I saw this house, I was unsure about the neighborhood – it seemed safe enough, but not as solid and quiet as many we had looked at. The yard was small and cramped, almost entirely taken up with multiple layers of decks and patios. Good for entertaining, but not so good for children to run and play. The inside smelled funny because the house had stood empty for a long time, and it had more than its share of wood panelling, old linoleum, and a combination of worn beige and deep blue carpet.
But this time, I could see why Perry wanted to view the house once more. It was over 3,000 square feet, and it felt the way I expected a house that size to feel. Besides the formal dining room, living room, and sunken den, this house had a simply enormous additional room. It was huge, with a vaulted ceiling to make it feel even bigger. The floorplan was very open, allowing potential guests to move freely from one room to the next. Without the badly dated flooring, paneling and light fixtures, I could begin to see the potential here. It would take a lot of work to make it appealing, but this house could easily host a hundred guests. This house could host an indoor dance if we wanted. The more we thought about it the more we liked it, but it raised some big questions:
- Did we want a project of this magnitude?
- Were we truly comfortable with the neighborhood? Was “safe enough” really safe enough if we had better choices?
- Where would our guests park? It wasn’t really suitable for large scale hospitality if there was nowhere for guests to park.
- Were we in danger of buying the biggest/most expensive house in the neighborhood? (bad for resale!)
- Would a house with wide open space on the inside make up for a yard where the kids really couldn’t play outside?
The kids who were with us were very unsure about this house. They really liked the first one we had seen that day, and loved the look of the second though they realized it was too small. This one? They just weren’t feeling the love. I reminded them that I hadn’t liked it so much the first time and encouraged them to see beyond the carpet and the musty odor, but they were dubious. Perry and I thought both the first and last had a lot of promise, but in very different ways.
We were torn – and cautious about waiting too long to decide. Now we had a new sort of problem: choosing between two very different, very good options. I jokingly told him we should sleep on it, and see which one was under contract in the morning.
cont’d here: Househunting: we make a deal (part 5)