Sunday, December 11, 2016

Open Houses that Opened our Eyes

Before Stephen was born we toured a number of houses. I remember seeing one that we both really liked. They were closer to the beach which is typically known as the foggy part of the city (but it is sunny every time we end up there) and is much quieter than where we live now.

I have no photos to share or even many details to point out as it seems so long ago now, but what I do remember is that it had space for our family to grow, was cute/clean enough to move into, and felt comfortable to be in. It even had an in-law unit on the lower level next to the garage. This was really nice -- we could have people stay with us! Right?! Well, not quite. This is when we discovered that whatever home we wanted to put an offer in had to be completely vacant. (This is a requirement for the loan we were approved for, not for everyone.) This home had a renter in the in-law and would come with the purchase of the home. It sounds so strange, right. I purchase a house and it comes with someone living in it! And evicting him/her isn't a pleasant thing as there are many laws attached to doing such a thing. (I realize this is common for apartments but this was a house . . .  the in-law is operated under the same guidelines.)

I also remember that the price being a bit high for what we were hoping to pay. So, we decided to pass on putting an offer in and not hassle with the in-law issue. It was early in our search and thought we'd find something better. Now, looking back this house tends to be the one that we keep thinking of and wondering all the "if" questions. Would it have hurt to study up on all the tenant laws and put in an offer anyway? Find a work-around with our loan? Who knows!

A few weeks after seeing that house, we met our realtor to look at three other houses in a part of the city I had never really been in. The houses were priced lower than what we had seen before so we were hopeful that we might actually be able to be competitive when it came to putting in an offer.

I've forgotten the order in which we saw them but they were all interesting. One of the houses was huge, I believe they said it was four bedrooms. Walking through it was a bit of a maze. It seemed like every room led to another room and another and soon you forgot where you were. Each room had some sort of funky red carpet and clashing paint on the wall. There was an area that looked like it had been added on to at a later time which slanted severely downhill and had a bar area and sleazy chairs. I can't even describe how bizarre this place really was. Someone mentioned it looked like several families lived in this home together and tried to make separate spaces as much as possible. They may have been right!

Another home was a two bedroom with a huge basement. An elderly woman lived there and some of her things were still present (which we rarely see in all of these super-staged places) so this one stood out. The kitchen was nice and spacious (also rare) as was the bathroom. But the really interesting thing was the basement. There was a room in the back with at least a dozen sewing machines! And then another area full of sewing supplies. At first, I was like, "this is so cool! I'd have my own built in craft room!" But then I looked at Chris to get his reaction and he mouthed "sweat shop" and that was the end of that. And then on the way back to our cars we noticed all of the vulture like birds hovering over the trash in the street and realized upon further observations that this was "the projects." Let's move on!

And now I've written this much and cannot for the life of me remember that third house! Bummer. Well, you get the idea of the variety of things we've seen!

The other stipulation that we've discovered about the loan we want to get is that it cannot have any "Section 1" repairs required. This includes things like mold, dry rot, or anything "dangerous/safety concerns" There have been three homes we've wanted to put offers on but were not able to because of these types of things being reported at the inspection.

I often even wonder if there are any homes in this city that would qualify for this loan! It's hard to stay positive and hopeful when every home we see has "something" that stops us from pursing it. We have our list of things we want in our home and then we have a list of "no's" from our mortgage broker. The combination of the two leaves us waiting.

Our eyes have seen a lot in this search and have been opened wide to see all the tiny details that might be red flags, they've also opened wide in search and expectation for the one that will be our home. We continue to have faith that we will find it!

No comments: