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We Toured the House

Carey and I toured a house we found online earlier today. Yesterday, just kind of goofing around, we found the house online and called the agent right away - the house looked great online. Today, the real estate agent was 10 minutes late and couldn't bother to call - real nice first step.

The house - recently dropped $3k to $189,900 - has been on the market for six months or so. The old family is moving because their son is now in the military and they don't need all of the space. It was built in 1996 and has had one owner. The lot size is "only" 65 x 135, but we're not too concerned about that. It's in a nice area and only 1.9 miles, door-to-door, from Carey's school/job. Lots of young kids were outside playing.

More below…

The floor plan is pretty unique. The kitchen is huge, and the agent told us that they knocked out a wall to make it as big as it is, combining the dining room and the kitchen to make a big kitchen. The front living room was then converted to a dining room, but there's no reason it couldn't some day hold a pool table or something like that.

The total square footage is 2200. Three bedrooms, 2½ baths, one laundry room (could be a bedroom), a patio, a deck, and a two-car garage. An unfinished basement. Gas heat, no A/C. And lovely hardwood floors.

Floor Plan

But I suppose I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Here's how the house looks from the outside:

House From Outside

The kitchen, as I said, is huge:

Kitchen

The master bedroom is, by far, my favorite. It deserves three shots:

House Bedroom

The two closed doors you see are a pair of walk-in closets. The dormers would make nice reading areas (with a little chair), and the bedroom spans the front, back, and side, offering views of almost everything important (i.e. "who's in the driveway?" and "what's she doing out back?").

The master bathroom has a whirlpool bathtub and a double sink. The tile is nice. There's ample closet space in a linen closet (and in the laundry room), and the second bathroom isn't anything to sneeze at either - it's got even cooler tile and is comfortable and clean.

The second bedroom could use new carpeting - and probably in a color other than dark green - but that won't cost too much. It has two closets, which is nice. The third bedroom will make a really nice office. And the fourth bedroom - the laundry room - is a keeper: it'll be great to do laundry and not cart the clothes up and down stairs. My parents have their washer and dryer in the basement, and it's no fun trudging up and down two flights of stairs with loads of laundry.

We do have a few concerns. There are some rather tall - and dead - trees in the back that will likely need removed at some point. I'm not certain what the costs are, but "large tree removal" is probably something that runs up into the kinds of dollar figures that have commas. Also, the back patio (a big cement back patio) is tilted every so slightly towards the house, and water pools against the house. The basement has been coated, as has the outside of the house, but leakage might still be a concern.

Tomorrow, we're meeting up with someone the agent recommended about getting our pre-approval. If that goes well (and there's no guarantee: the house is within 3x our combined annual income, but I'm "self-employed" and have been for more than three years), we may be making an offer within a week. . I'll put the offer in through the folks who hold my current lease, as they let folks out of leases if they can act as the buyer's agent. The appliances are negotiable, so if they don't like the first offer, we'll bump it up a little bit but say "including the appliances."

Carey and I had planned to look for a house late this summer, but this one seems to have fallen into our laps, and we're going to investigate it for all its worth. It's too good an opportunity to pass up. The house seems to fit the things we like that are somewhat peculiar to us - a big kitchen, "only" two disproportionately sized bedrooms (which wouldn't be appropriate for folks with two kids: one of them would get shafted), and so on. Change a few little things around and the house could easily sell for $220k.

We shall see. I'm excited.

15 Responses to "We Toured the House"

  1. $189,900? Will they take a check? For that kind of money you could buy a bathroom out here. Maybe. That's about half the price of the least expensive house I've seen out here.

  2. And probably worth a half-million or more further up to the northeast (outside of Boston). People (even making a decent salary) in this area are getting priced out of the market with most decent 2-3 BR homes going for more than $300K.

  3. Yipes. That house would be somewhere in the neighboorhooe of $150k here. Cute house!

  4. Good luck. One note, be sure and get your own home inspector to look for any structural issues. You would be surprised at what can be found. If you like the home, don't let any found problems deter you. They can easily be turned into negotiation points. And for a couple hundred bucks it is a good investment if you are serious enough to put in an offer.

    The house looks to be very well kept.

    Again, good luck.

  5. Wow! That's a really nice house!

    Here in the UK, you'd be looking at somewhere in the region of £500k, depending on the area. The cheapest I've seen a house for of that size is around £350k, and that was in a bad area!

    I should just pack up and move to the US... seems like house prices are far more sensible over there!

  6. OK guys, you don't have to tell me how much a house like that would cost where you live. I used to live in southern Florida, remember? I know real estate can be pricy.

  7. Nice house. Buy it, pick it up, and transport it to Long Island.

    In Smithtown, NY that's a $700,000 house easy.

    Oh, and it would sell in 4 seconds.

  8. $190,000?! Why, when I used to live in Pittsburgh that kind of money would get you... Oh, wait. Right.

    Since leaving I've often wished I had a really good reason to move back. If all my friends up and moved to Pgh and my company opened an office there, well, my downpayment six months ago was larger than the cost of your house.

  9. Well... just a small suggestion about the trees... a co-worker of mine is getting married soon and they bought a house... that has a few large trees in back. She didn't want to pay for the removal so she called the electric company and told them she just moved in and her neigboors told her that when it gets windy out the trees sway and in the wind and rub against the power lines... they cut the trees down later that week, maybe your dead trees are near a few power lines.

  10. That's one very nice house. I like the kitchen. 🙂

  11. As an real estate agent, there a couple of things I felt compelled to point out:

    1. If the agent you're working with is the listing agent, that person represents the SELLER, not you! If you haven't already, find a buyer's agent to work with that will represent YOU in the transaction. Normally, all fees are paid by the seller - so your out of pocket expenses for the buyer's agent will be $0.

    2. Please consider deleting any references to your offer price. While most real estate agents in the industry don't have a clue regarding the internet, you've already stated that you'll go as high as $179k.

    "Carey and I may offer $175k, or maybe $179k."

    That seriously weakens your bargaining position, especially if you have concerns about the trees, which will likely cost around $2,000 to remove/clear.

    3. Most importantly, get a home inspection. Get a GOOD home inspection! If the inspector is not ASHI certified (ashi.org) don't use them.

    You also mention that the house has been on the market for 6 months. In most of the US, the real estate market is incredibly hot right now. Find out EXACTLY why it's taken so long to sell this house. Is the asking price too high? Are there defects? Etc... Most houses in Richmond, VA are selling in as little as 2 days (yes, 2). Do your homework.

    Good luck with the house. It looks wonderful.

  12. Tripp, I appreciate the concerns. My sister sold real estate for awhile, so I assure you I've done the appropriate homework. Thank you.

    We have a buyer's agent. The same person that handles my rent right now, since that'll even save me about $1800 (should I break my lease, they waive the penalties).

    I've made mentions of the price more obscure, though I'm 100% certain the agents know nothing of this site.

    The house has been on the market for awhile because the back yard needs a little work, because the downstairs only has three rooms, because the upstairs only has two kid's rooms and one is significantly smaller than the other, and so forth. Basically, all the things that fit Carey and I really well don't fit other people well at all. As I said, the only thing listed on the disclosure was the porch, and other houses in the area with this square footage sell for $10k more (or more).

  13. Hosing values form consumer reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/main/detailv4.jsp?WebLogicSession=Qlhbx2CtXXtj5VhSjXQ7N1ZKxF9Y4X72w1C0O3m98zpCPshgOZxC|-3321791880685662986/169937912/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005/-1|-7776057361256372755/169937910/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005/-1&CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=579825&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=162679&bmUID=1113086919548

    Also, on the subject of home inspectors... We had a ASHI certified home inspector inspect our house-to-be. There are some alarming things that they didn't catch:

    1. The moron that owned the house before us had installed (with an apparent lack of knowledge) extra lights in a pantry, and some other electrical wiring which was VERY dangerously done. hot wires not matching, etc. The home inspector should have caught this: the wiring was HANGING in the pantry.

    2. there were bats living in the attic. No kidding. the guy did go in the attic, but didn't notice the LOAD of bats there... nor the lods of toxic bat guano.

    3. He didn't even notice that the porch had sunk down about 2". It is VERY obvious (now that we've noticed), and he should have noticed this as well.

    By opinion is that the certification process is apparently VERY lax. I would suggest paying for TWO home inspectors from different companies, or finding some handy knowledgeable friends to do the inspection. My father pointed out all of the problems above, and I feel they should definitely have been brought up by the inspector.

  14. Eric, I'm pretty sure you can sue for something like that.

  15. So, someone made an offer on that house we were considering. I really like the house and want to put in an offer as well. Carey's still very much on the fence about it. Thing of it is: we have...


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