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Friday, July 10, 2009

Housing News.

Today we put an offer in on a house. The house is priced at 49K and we put the offer in at 36K. I don't know if we'll get it, but I feel strangely peaceful about it. The last few days I've been practically lathering with worry, because the person who's helping with the financial end of the process was seriously dragging his feet. I felt like if we didn't get an offer on this place like, yesterday, we weren't going to get it. Turns out I worried for nothing - we are the only ones with an offer on it.

Here are some details about this house. Firstly and most importantly, I've been there numerous times and there is nothing negative there. It feels serene and peaceful and wonderful, despite being in terrible disrepair. In fact, it's in such disrepair that it's literally impossible to get a mortgage for it. The banks have deemed it uninhabitable, so in order to buy this particular house, one would need cash. Luckily, the way this is going to work is, a relative is going to buy us the house with cash, and we are purchasing it from him on Land Contract, with no money down and no balloon, but we will need to obtain a mortgage in three years. That should be do-able, since we are 40 credit score points away from getting a mortgage right now. Three years should be long enough to build better credit, and I'm also thinking the mortgage industry might be better then too.

Anyway. More about this house. It's a bi-level mid-century ranch on 10.89 acres. It's out in the country, but sits just off a main road and is only about 15 miles from everything. It has 2710 square feet, 4 bedrooms, and 2 full baths. It has main floor laundry which is seriously the greatest thing I can think of.

The house is kind of "U" shaped. The kitchen, dining room, one bathroom, and the living room are on one end of the "U." On the short part of the "U" is a big great room with sliders to a deck. I would use this space as a breakfast area/common area for the kids to do art projects and stuff. Then the other long end of the "U" has the bedrooms, a bathroom, and a family room with loft. To get to that section of the house, from the great room, you have to go up four steps. Hence, the bi-level status.

The house has closets and storage everywhere. Every inch of space is put to good use. It has tons of cool mid-century touches, which many people might find outdated but I find totally awesome, being a vintage lover. All the cabinetry has knobs and pulls that are straight out of the early sixties, and there's an ancient intercom system throughout the house that still works. The railing around the loft is the shape and style of wrought iron, except it's white. There is a built in bookshelf in the great room with funky sliding glass doors - actually, I think it's mean to be a low china cabinet. It's the size and shape of a sideboard but with shelves and glass doors. There are built in cabinets and drawers everywhere - in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. The laundry room is off the kitchen and it's humongous - room for the washer and dryer plus plenty of extra space for a table. There are cabinets above the washer/dryer area, and a big built in pantry on the opposite wall. And, it has a pencil sharpener on the wall, just like in my Grandma's laundry room. I like that. Oh, and the dining room has a big bay window. There is nothing cooler than a bay window (except main floor laundry, of course.)

In the upper bathroom are some really cool features. There's all the built in shelves and cupboards, but there is also this awesome fan. It looks like the type of fan that you would find in any bathroom, except its dome shaped, and get this: It has a heater in it! It's on the ceiling just outside the shower so you can step out and turn it on and not be freezing.

Another thing I love is that all the stuff in each bathroom is original, but it's in such good shape that it doesn't feel dated at all. The lower bathroom is all pale green - not yucky avocado green but a soothing minty green. The countertop is white but it looks like it has tiny ribbons of gold, just like my Grandma's. The upper bathroom is pink - yes pink - but again, not yucky pink but a gentle, friendly pink, if that makes sense. It has a white countertop with veins of gold too.

The bathrooms might be beautiful but the rest of the house, sadly, is not. The kitchen has only subfloor and needs some type of floor covering. The subfloor has had water damage so needs to be replaced. The dining room has original hardwood floors in good shape other than being in serious need of a polish. But the living room. Oh my god, the living room.

The living room appears to have housed wolverines. I am not kidding. The smell of piss is so overwhelming that you can't be in there for more than five seconds, and that is not an exaggeration. The walls are all ripped up, by something with large claws, and there is no ceiling. You look up and it's just rafters. And the smell. I'm willing to bet that you would get a serious respiratory ailment if you spent any time in there. We'll need to pull that carpet up and seriously scrub (or even replace) the subfloor, to get that horrid stench out. The clawed up walls should be patchable, and the ceiling just needs drywall (or a drop ceiling, if I can afford it) and some insulation blown in. I think I'll put Pergo floors down in the living room, if finances allow.

The great room has more claw marks, and also it would appear that something with large teeth had parts of the walls for dinner. I might need to replace some large sheets of drywall in that room. It has nice laminate flooring that just needs a good scrub.

The bedrooms are okay. They definitely need new carpet, because the people who lived there before had, apparently, some issues with animals. They also need some patches on the walls and some paint, and a really good scrub.

The family room needs new carpet. It doesn't smell but it's stained and I don't doubt for a second that the leopards or whatever those people owned have left their mark. The loft has no carpet, just subfloor. Also there's some really hideous wallpaper on one wall, but that can be scrubbed and left as is, if needed.

Even though the house needs elbow grease (and, in EJ's words, "about forty bottles of febreeze,") it shouldn't be ridiculously expensive. It has a new furnace, a new water heater, a new roof, and a newer well and septic. It is structurally very sound and built in such a way as to be incredibly energy efficient. We called the propane company, and they said that the previous records indicate one fill a year. We have just under 1000 square feet in our current home, which was built in 1995, and we fill three times a year. That's really something, one fill a year for a house nearly three times the size of what I'm used to. Electric bills run about $150 a month there, which is just about what I pay here.

I really feel good about this house. I feel like I might be off the roller coaster of househunting (there are serious financial issues to deal with that make it even harder...ugh) and I'm totally at peace about the whole thing. At this point it's completely out of my hands, and I like it that way. It's up to the bank now... let's hope they accept the offer so we can get moved before the school year starts.


Stuff On My Blog said...

LOL wolverines.. leopards! oh my! The house sounds like it has a ton of potential, and with all the damage/smell issues you'll have to combat, i think 36k is a very fair offer! (as well as the only one they're likely to get anytime soon) Good luck!

Momma Bear said...


Jenni said...

sounds great, and aside from the flooring/ceiling issues most of the work seems to be cosmetic. i hope you get it. keep us updated!

Masasa said...

That's awesome that you found a house you feel really good about! I am so happy for you. I do hope you are still going to have a professional inspector come in and do a full inspection ASAP, if nothing else to help prioritize projects. Also, often there are things not immediately apparent, like needing to add a vapor barrier under the house or stuff like that. Still, if you have the elbow grease, sounds like a great house with a lot of SPACE. Good luck with your offer!

P.S. Here is what I wrote on my blog a while back about home inspections, and also a book recommendation: