Monday, February 14, 2011

The House Hunt Continues

Since we went to look at 8 condos and houses yesterday, I'll give you a quick summary first.
Condo #1: Immediate no, because of the price. It's almost double what the other condos in the same building cost and it doesn't even have a balcony or anything else that would make it stand out.
Condo #2: On the top floor. View of the parking lot instead of the green space behind the building, but otherwise nice looking. Updated kitchen.
House #1: Middle of three rowhouses, foreclosure, fixer upper, potential mold/roof leakage problem. Finished basement.
House #2: Couldn't get inside because the key was missing.
House #3: Immediate no. Floors uneven, layout haphazard at best. Most of the appliances missing.
House #4: Quiet area, park across the street, couldn't see all of the rooms.
House #5: Duplex, fenced backyard, foreclosure, fixer upper, new appliances, potentially dangerous walk from the Metro.
House #6: Immediate no, major structural/foundation problems (huge cracks in almost every wall), too big for the two of us.

Condo #2

Condo #1 was such an immediate no, that I didn't even bother to take any pictures. Although the kitchen had a nice big window, it lacked the storage space I had come to expect from looking at the first condo in the building. It also had no balcony, which I felt was a major crime. Plus the price was almost double what any of the other condos were going for.

Condo #2 was on the top floor of the building. It looks like it has brand new laminate wood floors (looks like hardwood but isn't), the kitchen and bathroom are nice, the furnace room doesn't look atrocious. There are a few potential issues, like cracks along one of the ceilings, broken doors, and haphazard molding, but all in all nothing a few extra bucks and some elbow grease couldn't fix. And the price is good. The appliances in the kitchen also look to be new and I love the tile work in the kitchen and the bathroom.

House #1

House #1 is a bank owned fixer upper with some black mold and potential roof leakage issues. It would definitely need an investment of ready cash, a brand new kitchen with all new appliances, a new washer/dryer, and various cosmetic touches to make it livable. The price leaves us some wiggle room to do that, however. It's in a quite neighborhood, about halfway in between the two Metro stops we're looking around. One of the bedrooms upstairs has part of the ceiling pulled out and the insulation laying on the floor is covered in black mold. I'm not sure if it's a bathroom pipe leakage problem, which should be fixable, or a roof leakage problem which could easily put us over budget very quickly.

I see a lot of potential there, but also a lot of work and money invested. It also doesn't have a driveway which worries me a bit. One plus side is that there were at least three nice cars standing on the street in front of the house, so maybe parking in the street isn't as much of a problem as I think it is. It had a nice fenced yard too, long and narrow, but perfect for a dog. The basement is finished too and has a small bathroom with a shower. We could potentially rent it out as a basement apartment (it has a stove) or just put guests down there when they come to visit.

House #3
 House #2 we couldn't even get into, since the lockbox key was missing. The yard looked nice though and it had a dog run in the back.

House #3 was a definite no. It looked promising from the front and even at first glance from the side entrance. However, most of the appliances were missing, the beautiful hardwood floors in the living or dining room looked more like a rollercoaster ride than a floor, the floor in the one bedroom bounced when you stepped on it, and the layout of the place was attrocious. Upon a further look, we saw holes in the foundations and the glass door in the back was smashed on one side.

House #4
 Before we could go look at House #4, my sister texted me to say that she was at the metro stop. We went to go get her, but she'd already walked to our apartment. So we met up with her there, dropped off her luggage and then took her with to look at the remaining houses. The house was on a dead end, across from a park, so the location was nice. Unfortunately, both neighbors had clutter in their yard, like they had so much stuff inside that they were spilling out onto the lawn. That was a bit off-putting. The house itself had no basement, but it did have a yard and a driveway. No dishwasher though and we couldn't look at all of the rooms because they were locked. There were also people at home, which always puts me on edge. The price does give us some wiggle room to make changes, but I'm not sure there aren't surprises hidden in the rooms we didn't get to see.

House #5
House #5 was by far my favorite. My sister liked it too and so did DH (I think, he's not very vocal about that kind of thing, but he seemed to like the yard and stuff). It's a foreclosure and definitely a fixer upper. But the price gives up a lot of room to play. It has new windows and new appliances in the kitchen (they haven't even been hooked up). It needs a major kitchen overhaul and the upstairs bathrooms has some mold issues (but they appear to be minor). It does have to be completely redone though (the bath that is). The three bedrooms upstairs need some major cosmetic overhauls, but that's most sweat equity not actual contract work. I see a ton of potential there.

The one big downside is the location. Although the neighborhood seems quite and there are some nicer homes in the vicinity, it's the walk from the Metro that's a bit off-putting. You have to walk along a river and through the woods behind the Metro stop, which sounds and is quite nice during the day, but becomes a lot more sketchy at night. And since it's dark by the time I get home in the winter and it's dark by the time DH gets home every day, that's a problem. But I'm already mentally redoing and decorating the place in my head.

House #6
House #6 looked really cute from the front. No driveway, but there was space in the front yard for one. But then you get closer and start to look. There were huge cracks in almost every wall, around every window and door. There was a very creepy looking crawl space in the basement and the kitchen needed to be completely redone. No dishwasher either. The backyard had a nice screened in porch, but that needed work too. And then there was the fact that the place had 5 large bedrooms. There are two of us, we plan on having two kids someday, but even then, we wouldn't need 5 bedrooms. Not to mention that we'd have to heat and cool those 5 bedrooms whether or not we actually used them, etc. The price also wasn't right in terms of the amount of work it would have needed and it was the house farthest from a Metro stop. So it's out.

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