June 11, 2005

Much, much better…

Maniacal house buying trip, day 2. This has worked out much better. Our first day was not good: bad houses, bad mojo and seriously frayed nerves. This morning we started out in a nice area. We looked at a giant house that was 80 years old and contained design elements from each and every decade, including the hideous blue shag carpet in the master bedroom. We looked at a cute and quaint house that was the oldest house we’ve looked at: built in 1889. We finally settled on a nice Cape Cod that had some very lovely bits: hardwood floors, a gorgeous fully manicured backyard and the best spot in the neighborhood. It needed some serious work upstairs, as the 60’s had taken over: wood paneling and brown patterned carpet. We discussed knocking out a wall and pulling down paneling. This was going to be Our First House: A nice start but a definite fixer-upper.

We decided to make an offer. First though, we wanted to torture ourselves by heading out to where we really wanted to live. This particular Tacoma area is called Proctor. Every city of size in the US has one. In Seattle it’s called Capitol Hill. In San Diego it’s Hillcrest. This area is old but meticulously maintained, young, hip, maybe a bit gay and definitely a bit odd. We looked at a terrific house yesterday that listed at about 20K above our price range and ended up about 40k past. There was a small (tiny really, less than 900 square feet), but cute early-50’s rambler in our price range. We decided to hold off on the offer on the Cape Cod until we’d seen this house.

It was great. Yeah it was small, but with an effective layout that made it seem… well laid-out. Nothing can make a 900 square foot home seem big. Anyway, it had hardwood floors throughout, a lovely fireplace and a large and private backyard. It was at the top of our price range, but workable. The bad news? It had been on the market for only one day, there was an open house tomorrow and all the signs of a feeding frenzy. We hemmed and hawed but we decided to make an offer and gave ourselves some wiggle room at the top. Everyone except my wife was ready to head to my parent’s house and work on the offer. She however, wanted to look at one more house in Proctor. This was nearby, bigger and more expensive. We relented and took a look at this other house.

Oh My God. It was close to perfect. Newly painted inside –a striking steel grey- with a new kitchen, new fixtures throughout, and a corner lot on a lovely, tree-lined street. Now, notice I said “close to perfect”. It’s listed as two stories, but in reality it’s a story-and-a-half. The bottom floor has the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, master bed and a second bedroom or office. The upstairs has what is optimistically termed a bedroom and a closet/bonus room something or other. We loved this house, far more than we did the little house. But wait, it’s beyond our price range. Or is it? We figured out what we could spend and called my Dad’s mortgage guy. What’s better than having a parent that’s a realtor? Having a parent who is a realtor with a good friend who is a mortgage broker. Mortgage Guy, who was out shopping on a Saturday afternoon, went into the office and crunched the numbers for us.

Wait… what we thought was the top of our price range wasn’t? We had given MG a number on our monthly payments, a hard cap really. He called us a couple hours later and said: This house would cost just under said hard cap. With tax and insurance included. So, now we are putting down an offer tomorrow morning. Our dream house has been on the market for a couple weeks now. We’re offering slightly under the asking price, but we have the ability to counter up to the asking.

Wish us luck ya’ll.

Posted by Frinklin at June 11, 2005 09:14 PM

*fingers crossed for you* Best of luck!

Posted by: RP at June 13, 2005 07:39 AM
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