Ignoring the Issues: The Second House We Looked At

by Kevin on October 4, 2008

This week I am writing about the process of us buying our first home. We bought our home one year ago in September of 2007. Yesterday I told you about the first house we fell in love with. Today, I’ll tell you about the second home we took a serious look at.

After the disappointment of not being able to even take a tour of the first house we really liked, we had to move on. We kept our eyes glued to real estate search sites, checking photos and locations of potential homes. You would be surprised how many horribly ugly homes were out on the market. The outsides weren’t landscaped, the paint was ugly, or you could see serious issues. The insides are the real winners. I can’t count home many rainbow colored interiors we saw. One room dark purple, the next room bright red. The type of paint jobs that make you just want to ask the owners, “Seriously, what were you thinking?”

The Neighborhood We Wanted

We found a house for sale in an area of town we were looking at seriously. It was an older set of neighborhoods that was kind of known for being the place for young couples to buy their first homes. Traffic was somewhat bad (from what we could tell) just getting out of the neighborhoods and onto the highways, but they were more centrally located than other areas.

We found a house that we felt was drastically overpriced. I think it was listed at $219,000. I wouldn’t even consider looking at it unless they would take a 10% cut on price at a minimum. Nonetheless we asked our realtor to line up a time for us to take a walk through of the house.

It was listed as a 4 bedroom, 3 bath all brick home. Much more than we needed as it was just the two of us. Yet we felt if the size was right then it would be the type of home we could live in for a long, long time. A home to grow a family in.

Steep incline

The first thing we noticed as we pulled up was the incredibly steep incline the home was located on. It was built on the side of a hill. Mowing the yard would be an interesting feat, as would getting in and out of the driveway without scraping your car on the pavement. Other than that the outside of the front of the home was just fine — decently landscaped, nothing that really jumped out at you as being a problem. There were steps up to the front door with a little stoop that looked nice. The front door was a really nice wood door with glass at the top. That doesn’t do it justice, but I liked it.

Tiny hallway, kitchen problems

The inside had its ups and downs. There was a sitting room with a piano in it to the right of the entry way with a big, big window looking down the front yard to the street. It was bright reddish/pink wallpaper that hadn’t looked so bright in the photos. The way the light came into the room really lit it up. There was a small formal dining room that had nothing that really stood out to us.

Then there was the kitchen. The cabinets were old… ancient, and painted dark green. They were usable, but we definitely were not fans. The appliances were old. The biggest problem was it looked like a breakfast nook had been added on to the house after it was finished. The nook went toward the back of the house, and there was a visible crease between the kitchen and the nook. Not a good sign.

There was also a living room that looked a bit cramped with all of the stuff the owners had in it. The backdoor to the patio was connected here. The backyard wasn’t really a yard. Since the house was in the side of a hill, you had maybe 10 feet of space from the back of the house to the hill. It was full of white stone gravel, with little landscaping. There was very little room to do much of anything in the backyard. Then again, there was little maintenance as well.

Another concern we had was the tree line above the house. What would happen during a bad storm? Would those trees come tumbling down on the house?

Three of the bedrooms were on the main level and the hallway wasn’t very wide that led to them. The kicker was the bathrooms — straight from the 1970s. Would need some work.

We went downstairs to the “finished basement”. Ths is where the 4th bedroom and 3rd bathroom were supposed to be. The only thing was the basement was finished like a req room. It was being used as a req room with a ping pong table in it. There was no bed, nothing to make it look like a bedroom. There was a bathroom downstairs, but it too was not impressive. The ceiling was made up of the tiles you see in schools and office buildings.

We also looked at the plumbing in the garage, and noticed something that concerned us. Around the connections in the pipes, there was brown… stuff. Brown stuff kind of all over the pipes. We had our camera with us and took photos of the entire house, including the plumbing, and went home.

Emotions trump reason

This house is the perfect example of emotions taking control of potential home buyers in a search. Look at all the things I listed that were concerning to us. Regardless of these, we still liked the home. We looked at the issues and thought “Hey, we’ll be able to fix those things eventually.” The small yard was a perk — less work to do. We tried to rationalize everything that was wrong with the house.

A strong support team

I mentioned we had brough a camera with us. We did this with every home we looked at. When we got home we would upload the photos and see if we noticed anything different. We also would e-mail the photos to our parents and tell them what we saw.

It was this strong support from our parents (including my wife’s father who used to work in construction) that helped us avoid this house. Several strongly worded statements against buying the house helped us avoid the purchase.

We had to keep looking. Frustration continued to mount. We seemed to be rushing instead of being patient. We hadn’t kept our emotions in check.

We’ll continue this series next week. Will we ever find a home?

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Our Fourpence Worth
October 6, 2008 at 8:01 am

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VStar October 24, 2008 at 8:09 am

I really like the way you narrated your house-buying expedition. It’s very descriptive, and informative… I think it’s also very helpful as it provides new perspectives with regards to how to go about buying property.

Great post. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

Good luck on your house-hunting search. Wishing you all the best of luck to finding that perfect deal and nesting haven. ^^

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