Sorry to leave you in the lurch for so long but yes indeedy that very weekend of my last post we visited the future Kvetch estate. Here is the story:
The town we currently live in is very expensive although you wouldn't know it from driving around. The place looks like any suburban town you might have visited and there are loads of two family houses. Here they specialize in the one on top, one below type of two-family instead of the side by side townhouse type I see in other parts of the world.
Single family homes don't come cheap and interestingly enough, neither does a unit in the two family homes (sold like condos).
We didn't want to spend more than $400k. This is where, depending on where in the country/world you live you react very differently to this number. My friends in the Bay Area, where the average single family home is swiftly reaching towards a million dollars, will shake their heads and wish they could buy house for that cheap. My friends in lower cost of living areas might spit the coffee out of their mouths and think we are rich, rich, rich. (We are not)
My friends who live in this town will just shake their head and say, "Good luck!"
As it turns out, one cannot find a single family home for $400k in my town. There are some townhouses but even those are fixer uppers and didn't meet our simple requirements of "more than one bathroom and a backyard."
The one house that was on the market for $430k was so obviously filled with mold that we all felt ill just touring it. It sold in a week for more than asking (unsure how much more until the sale is complete).
So we branched out and decided to look the next town over which is a lot cheaper for reasons I still can't fathom. We saw some nice homes hovering a tiny bit above $400k and we saw some dogs. We did a private tour of one that had housed a chain smoking old lady with a dog. B could barely get through a few rooms before his allergies kicked in. Oh, and the 2nd bathroom? It was built into an unfinished basement and was a windowless unused pit with a shower stall, sink, and toilet. As B said, "This must be where she keeps her prisoners."
One of the downsides of this town that everyone brings up is that the schools aren't so good. I wanted to see how they compared to schools in my current town and insterestingly enough, I discovered neither town has a good reputation when it comes to school systems.
If we have to rip LM out of school to buy a house then we might as well broaden our search to towns that rank higher on the schools and there is one town, about 25 miles from where we live now, where there are some homes in our price range and it is listed in the top 50 public school districts in our state.
So let me tell you about our house. It is 2 floors with a full finished basement with two full rooms down there that the current owners use as a TV room and an office. "TV room" is a bit of a stretch though because, aside from the genuine awesomeness of the house, we noted they had a flat screen TV in every room of the house, including one of the bathrooms.
Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms and a bathroom, and the main floor has a newly refinished kitchen (with brand new half bath off the kitchen) and an open area living room/dining room. There is a door leading from the kitchen to a large fenced in backyard with a patio.
Honestly, the only downside of the house, which is likely what made it affordable, is that the house is right off a major highway exit ramp. The neighborhood is quiet but from our backyard you can hear highway noise, not enough to be intrusive, and it can't be heard in the house, but still, if you cross the street and look towards our house, in the way back you can see cars travelling.
During the house inspection we met our new across the street neighbors who said they consider it a benefit because they can see if the highway is backed up before they leave the house and then they can know whether to use back roads to get where they need to go or not.
Anyway, it is a seller's market here so we went to the open house on Sunday and we contacted our realtor later that day who discovered that the seller's realtor wanted all offers by Monday at 6pm. The asking price was $399k so we offered $395k. We got it!
Turns out we got lucky. The house had originally been on the market in June but the original sale fell through at the last minute because the buyers couldn't secure their financing. The sellers had already bought their much more expensive new home so now had 2 houses to pay for. Our offer that night had not been the highest one as it turns out someone offered $10k more than we did but they had a contingency that they had to sell their condo first and the sellers were all, "Eff that, go with these cheap ass month to month renters so we can sell this sucker." Hence, we won.
It has been rather fast and furious since then with all the paperwork and arrangements. The house inspection went well but determined that the only must have object was a new roof and within 24 hours the sellers agreed to get the roof done before closing if we agreed to an increase in price of $3500 (we did).
Since then it has been details, details, details. Our current landlord, who has always been so awesome, has practically done a jig that we are moving out because he can lock in a new renter paying $400-500 more a month than we do. How happy has he been? He is offering to pay us an additional month of what we paid him if we are out of the apartment by 10/1. He told us not to worry about cleaning (since he is having the place painted) so we don't even have to do anything to get our security deposit back as well.
Now schools, yes, that is a problem, at least for LM. We found a cool new preschool for A located a one minute drive from the new place. They had one spot left. But extended day at LM's new school is full and there is a wait list and there is no way I can get him into the new school until I know he is safe until 6pm so for potentially until Xmass break we will have to leave the house at 7:30am to drive half an hour to drop him off at his current school, then drive 30 minutes back to go to work. (New house is 10 minutes from where I work and about 25 from where B works).
But, in the end it will all work out because we are so excited to have our own house and to have space! I never realized how cramped we all were in this 1k square foot 3bed/1bath apartment compared to the new place. We can have people over! We can have parties!
Oh and to add an extra incentive, we no longer have to listen to our upstairs neighbors have screaming fights anymore (which have increased in frequency and pitch over the years).