Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Decisions...can you help me?

I've been casually looking at some houses over the last two months. I put an offer on a foreclosure but didn't get it and was about to put an offer on another house, but someone else beat me to it also. Now I have narrowed my search currently to two homes. I have a select number of neighborhoods that I am willing to move to in my city. It has to be relatively close to my mom, in the same county as I teach, and affordable. So these two homes are in my price range and in the right neighborhoods. Mom and I are going to see them for a final time on Wednesday night and hopefully I will make a decision. But I need your help so read on...

House #1

House #1 has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, it is one level with a two car garage. It has a small, leveled yard. The house is 1432 square feet. It was built in 2003 and has all the basics...no renovations or upgrades. It's lacking a bit in curb appeal and charm, but it's newer and has nice appliances which is something I wouldn't have to worry about. The community is a small, 140 homes total, community about 4 miles from my moms. It's a quiet area surrounded by a pond and walking trail. These are two of my big cons...(tell me if I'm exaggerating)...

1. When I went to see it today as we went outside on the deck the neighbors directly in the back of this home have 2 large-ish dogs that barked LOUDLY when they saw us outside. They (the neighbors) have a fenced yard, but the dogs jumped up and you could clearly see them. They were probably labs I'm guessing, maybe they aren't mean, but that seemed like it could be an issue. The owner promptly came out and made them stop barking when he saw us outside. I am not an animal person...don't stone me, people...I can only deal with children or dogs and I'm with children all day so that settles it. Also and most importantly, I'm highly allergic to dogs and cats. They had a "cage" in the yard, but if they are barkers I'm sure that could keep you up at night. Also with two dogs, they usually agg each other on and provoke more barking...at least that is my experience.

2. I know of a very strange family that lives in this neighborhood. The daughter has some mental and emotional issues (she's an adult and has bipolar, schizophrenia, and more issues), but if she found out I lived near her she could potentially be at my house all the time seeking attention. She is that pushy kind of person who does not get the message if you know what I mean.

House #2

(My true love...) not to jinx your decision or anything...

House number two is also a 3 bedroom and 2 bath home. It is on a small, leveled lot also. In my opinion this house has CURB APPEAL and great CHARACTER AND CHARM! This house is a foreclosure. It was built in 1988 so it's quite a bit older than the previous home. It has old appliances and no refrigerator. The central heat and air is original...that is 21 years old so it's going to need replaced asap. It also has the chimney covered with some tarps and we're not sure what that could involve as far as repairs. It is 1558 square feet. It's also about 4 miles from mom. (this is only a factor b/c when Molly finally gets here I'll be driving her to mom's daycare each day so I want my home to be convenient)
This photo is one of the charm factors...it has a little eat in nook area outside of the kitchen with window seating. How cute could this be?

I've envisioned it more like this once I get my hands on it:
Another great factor is the walk out patio with a pergola over it and a gas grill (without the tank!)
Other great things about this house are:
1. It's a corner lot
2. It's on a culdesac
3. It's an older and established neighborhood
4. I know the neighbors across the street from this house and they are so precious! I used to babysit for them...they've lived there for 18 years. They would be the best neighbors in the world!
5. They just repainted all of the ceilings, walls, and put in new carpet throughout. It's not the greatest job, but it is freshly done.

The cons are:
1. The age of the house...21 years old. I'm thinking maintenance, upgrades, how costly would it be?

So what opinions do any of you have? They are two great houses in their own rights, but what have you all learned as you have bought and sold houses? I don't have to buy either one, I'm in no rush really. I do want to buy a house by December b/c of the tax credit:) It would be NICE to buy before summer so I could have 10 weeks to put my magic touches on it. Each house is the lowest price in the respective neighborhoods...by $20-30,000 actually. They are small houses in big home communities.


caryn said...

They both look adorable but I think the cons you mentioned for #1 would be enough to make me go for #2. You can always upgrade slowly but you'll be stuck with the dogs and the strange family for good.

Jill said...

Amy, I'm so excited for you and about this decision. As I was reading this post, I just wanted to pick up the phone and call you.

When I started reading about house #1 with newer appliances, I was thinking "Good choice." When I read the cons I thought, "No way." I'm with you on the dog thing... NO TIME TO DEAL. I had neighbors in my old apt and their dogs (big ones) barked all day. It was horrible. Also, you don't need to deal with the crazy girl down the street, especially when Molly is (finally) home.

House #2 is CUTE. I love it!!! I know what you mean about the older appliances and worrying about the cost of repairs. What does home owners insurance cover? I wonder if it covers the AC? I just called my BFF in Dallas that is a realtor to ask her but she didn't answer.

Honestly, I tend to like the homes built later than some of the newer homes. I think they used to build homes better than they do now. Appliances... I completely understand. Maybe you could look on Craig's List for some newer and gently used appliances. Also, you could ask around at church. My parents bought a new sofa a few years ago and put the word out at church if someone needed a gently used sofa they could have it (it was really cute). Within days, someone came by and picked up their free sofa.

I know it's a hard decision and seems overwhelming for us single girls. We want and desire nice things too and it's definitely harder with one income. I'm 34 years old and I have 3 matching dinner forks... :( I'd love a nice set of flatware like everyone else.

Good luck! I can't wait to see what happens. I also know if you don't get one of these homes, God has another home for you. God also knows the tax credit expires in December and He will help you with this decision.

The Daily Bee said...

I've never purchased a house, but I too would pick #2. Yes, it doesn't have the cosmetic things that you would like, but those things can be changed and fixed over time and the things that need changing now (heater and chimney) could be the priority.

The cons you mentioned for #1 would sway me toward #2...Having a little girl in the home would give me cause for concern of neighbor dogs with a low fence and a neighbor you're unsure about. Just a thought (a long one).

Angie said...

Amy - I came across you on Kelley's Korner, and saw that you are from TN. I live in middle TN and I am adopting a little girl from China. I have a 4/17/07 log in date, and I matched off of the WC list. I am actually in the process of getting my teaching degree - what a small world!! I have met a group of single Moms with daughter from China, and we have dinner every so often - there are a great bunch of ladies! I am including my blog address - I would love to share my journey to to daughter!! I hope to be traveling in June or July.



Angie said...

Amy - I am also a single mom from TN who is adopting from China. I was matched from the WC list with an amazing 4 year old that I hope to be bringing home this summer. I am including my blog address for you to visit. I have met a group of single Moms who live here in TN and have adopted from China - they are the greatest, and they have all helped me so much!! Please email me sometime!


Angie in TN

Nancy Hamilton said...

Just by reading your heart thru your info on the houses, GO WITH #2!! The dog issue alone could get out of hand. And, knowing there could be potential for repairs, that could happen on any home. I know for all 3 homes I've owned, several major things wer covered under my homeowners.

Above all else, I can so see you and your little Molly in House #2!

Praying for you as you make this leap of faith!

Tricia Thompson said...


Sounds like you have received some good advice! I second the motion for the 2nd house. One thing I would do, however, is try to drive around the subdivision during different parts of the day with your windows down. They way you can see what is REALLY going on in the neighborhood. I used to have a neighbor that smoked pot and played their drums at night. Thankfully they moved out quickly - too many complaints from all my neighbors.

Make sure you have a good place to put up a swing or something like that for Molly. Or are their parks near by? To me a house with character is way better than a cookie cutter home.

I have a cookie cutter home that I built in 2000. I am very lucky to be on a cul-de-sac (no traffic at all) and good neighbors. I have a great fenced in back yard - do have a puppy (Bichon 11 lbs).

I'm so excited for you! Good luck and keep us updated on how to pray for you.
Tricia Thompson
LID 7-22-06
Journey to Maggie

The Chateau of Remnants said...

I would go for #2!! Upgrades can always come slowly but, surley! Anything is possible with time!
But we can't change the Neighborhood, street traffic, pets or people!

Just my thoughts and will pray for you too about this!


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