Monday, April 09, 2007

Acts of Contrition

Dear Bloggers,

It’s been almost a week since my last post and in that time, I have cleaned my house, played putt-putt with my son and rode go-karts, put a bid on a house and got refused, continued house hunting, went to a park, opened a bank account for my son, got my winter coat back out of the closet, drank lots of wine, cheated on my diet, did not attend mass on Easter Sunday, and didn’t read one blog...

To say I am suffering with penitence would not be an accurate statement. I feel a little bad for not blogging. Bad, like as if I’ve just lied to a nun. So will you ever forgive me?

Sometimes there are days when I just don’t have a thing to say. Some days I have so much to say I don’t know how to keep it concise. All I know is, all last week, there was too much to do in my “real” life that I could hardly find time to turn the computer on. It was more about actually spending time with my kids, rather than writing about them. Wow, what a concept.

Now it’s my turn to catch up with all of you. Of course, the blog world goes on without me. But before I took a hiatus, I had managed to nominate someone for a Perfect Post, as well as conduct an interview. Go check it out, because there’s some good posts. Heather's responses are great, and Christina's post is so neatly packed up into perfection, I thought it was the best she's ever wrote.

And there’s news to share on my house hunting saga. We put a bid in on the house that I blogged about and loved, but our counter offer was refused. We put a low-ball bid in because of the amount of work that needs to be done, then she countered back, then we countered, but then she refused. What kills me is that the difference between our counter offers was only $6,100.00. This house has been on the market for over 160 days. The owner’s realtor explained to us that it’s been hard for the seller to come to terms with the fact that she is going to lose money on the house, so she wants to hold out for a better offer. Pffft. Whatever. But you mark my words. That house will continue to sit on the market for many more weeks and probably end up selling for the exact price we just offered. I plan to keep my eye on it.

So, in the wake of that disappointment, we have decided to change our strategy a little, which, might turn out for the better. We’ve seen about 25 houses that are greater than 60 years old because I really love the charm of an old house. What I’ve come to recently realize, is that you get about 500 square feet less space for the same price in the these character homes than you do for a cookie cutter home. A few months ago I would sooner die than move into a subdivision, with its bland windows, vinyl siding, plastic shudders and plywood doors. But now, the fact that it’s just come to my attention that I can get a 4 bedroom house with 2 ½ baths with 1778 square foot of living space, as opposed to 3 bedrooms and 1 bath with 1,200 square feet that needs work, I’m starting to lower my standards for “charm”. Hence, we’ve been introduced to this house:

Don’t ask me why the owners chose to photograph their house with a used car lot in their driveway, but this house is double the living space we are in right now and in a great school district. So what’s the catch right? There’s always a catch with these homes. Every single home has had a major con. Mostly it’s the “Clampetts” next door, one time there was a right of way easement on a property, sometimes there’s water in the basement, a leak in the roof, a horrible animal stench, a 2nd rate school district, more rehab than we can handle…. Well you get the picture. We’re in a tough price range. So the catch with this one is…… there are train tracks about 100 feet away. But! Before you say, “resale nightmare”, hear me out. There’s a fancy shmancy neighborhood in the next town that just built $400,000 homes right next to the same train line. And people are buying them. So who’s to say some middle class chick like myself can’t be too good to buy a home near the tracks, too right? There are 2 lines that run through Columbus, and this one has about 4 trains a day. Of course, my son, CJ, who is obsessed with trains and wants to be a train engineer, has picked this house as his favorite. Of course, he won’t be needing to resell this house when he moves out and goes college.

So tonight we are seeing a couple more houses in the same neighborhood that are not on the tracks that are the same price. This is a very good school district and a nice neighborhood. And whether we buy the house on the tracks or not, we will be totally stretching our budget to get any one of these 25 houses we have been looking at. I’m a little stressed about the reality of sending a check off for almost double what I pay in rent right now. We can do it, but there will be no vacations, and no new clothes for a while, and not much of an entertainment budget, and certainly no dinners at restaurants. Is this too crazy? Problem is, I don’t see what my choices are to scale back to. Scaling back means settling on a neighborhood that I’m not familiar with or a less desirable school district, or a bigger condo. Tonight we’re going to see this house:

It’s on a cul-de-sac. A plus. I like the look of the house and pictures of the interior look good. But, after 25 houses, I’ve learned that pictures lie. They flat out lie. So we’ll see. Could this finally be the one? Wish me luck.


Blogger Kathy McC said...

Sorry the offer fell through. That happened to us on the first house we fell in love with, and we now realize it was a blessing in disguise. It just wasn't meant to be for us.

I hope you find the perfect house with normal neighbors, no leaks, and plenty of space really soon.

4:31 PM

Blogger gordon711 said...

Addressing your concern regarding blah windows , I'd like to share my research with you. There's hardly a window and patio door of the type that will in the not too distant future become the required standard.

Because we in this country are somewhat foolish squandering energy like it was cheap, and it is and was compared to what may lie ahead. Go to to learn more.

I'll also be making my research on how to get the Best Available Technology without a dime from your own pocket in the form of an E-book.

5:32 PM

Blogger Christina said...

I like old houses too, but we have a brand new one with twice as much room as anything we could afford that was more than 100 years old. 4 bedrooms and nearly 2000 sq. ft. of space changed my mind. :)

If you like Hilliard, I could tell you of a neighborhood I know that has really nice houses selling for cheap - it was a Dominion neighborhood with predatory lending practices, so many people got out quick when they realized they didn't read their contracts well enough. Some friends of ours lived in that neighborhood before they moved to Cincy. Lots of beautiful, large homes, great shopping nearby, and prices cheaper than when they were built.

I like the two you have here, too. Very nice looking houses, although I'd kind of miss not having the slightest porch on the second one.

Oh, and thanks for the Perfect Post award!! I'm honored!

5:52 PM

Blogger soccer mom in denial said...

Oh, I know this is about your househunting escapades (and what escapades they have been) but I can't stop giggling over the not attending Easter services and likening the blog world as nuns.

Welcome back. We'll take you in whenever you appear. Your kids are more important.

8:13 PM

Blogger Heather said...

I'm both envious and not for your house-hunting woes. I never "got" to go house-hunting. My hubby already had bought his parents' home before I met him. So I'm stuck with what came with the man. But I've changed it about as much as I can.

You'll find THE house, and after you're in it a few months you'll wonder what life was like before.

(Thanks for the linky, btw, and the great questions!)

12:00 AM

Blogger Mayberry said...

Here's hoping the picket fence is a good omen!

10:25 AM

Blogger Alex Elliot said...

Good luck! I have to say that when we bought our house I was totally against the cookie cutter houses. Now that I have kids, a home that constantly needs repairs, no space, no sidewalks and no kids in our so glad neighborhood, I wish I had thought differently back then.

2:00 PM

Blogger karla said...

That home has GREAT curb appeal. Around here, the train tracks aren't much of an issue. The homes we are looking at are near some and there are alot of upscale homes there. I think the double car garage, square footage and curb appeal are more important aspects of a real estate investment. Just my humble opinion.

7:30 AM


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