Anyway, so Cyndi took me to see 5 and a half houses (the half is a for-sale-by-owner that is, in her words, "a doll house," but that we couldn't get inside of, so we only saw the outside of it - not the house for me, I don't think, but darling and, indeed, very doll-house-like). But so. I'd thought I'd known what houses would really interest me before I went, but wow, I was so wrong! House #1 turned out to feel very... cramped and problematic. Great neighborhood, maybe a great house for somebody, but not my house. House #2 turned out to be gorgeous and fantastic - even moreso than I'd dreamed it could be - but with it's high ceilings and likely lead painted closets, as well as what I imagine is a lack of decent insulation, too many rooms, and its need of fresh paint on the exterior... Um.... Well, look. I could be Miss Havisham in that house and creepily hang out in a wedding dress, or I could be Miss Hannigan and have a number of little girls live in it with me while I was drunk and abusive, but if it were the actual me and the kitties? Yeah, way too much house for me. But the pocket doors! The stained glass! The original woodwork and floors! The historic designation of the house! And yet, not my house.
So the ones I thought were my houses? Not so much. The others on the agenda for seeing I hadn't really imagined I'd be into, and for the most part I wasn't, but I was all about seeing what there was to see, if only to give Cyndi an idea of what I'd like. And then we get to the last house on the list.
Now, this house seemed to be totally out of the running from the listing alone. It had only 2 bedrooms (I'd wanted 3 so there'd be a dedicated guest room as well as an office), only one bath, and what seemed from the pictures to be a ginormous yard. Also, I'd really thought I wanted to buy a house in area B, and I was only looking in area F (where this house is located) just to get a sense of what I could buy in my price range. Area F tends to have a lot of wooded spots, and tends not to be terribly walkable in a lot of places, and tends to be very family oriented, which, there's nothing wrong with that, but I'm not a family. I'm a lady with two life-partners who are felines. (And yes, I just called the Man-Kitty and Mr. Stripey my Life Partners. Because here's the thing: they're not children, and yet I have committed to them for life. They manage bathing and potty-going on their own, as well as most of their other needs, and they also are available for consultations about big decisions - though often the only response is an irritated meow or a look of disdain. Life Partner seems like a much more apt title for them than "furry children" or "furry babies," though it is true that they both do have fur.)
But so anyway. The Last House.
- Well, it's true that it only has 2 bedrooms. But what wasn't clear from the listing is that it also has a nook off of one of the bedrooms that is totally big enough for a desk and some major bookshelves and to store my files. And that nook would make it possible to hide my work detritus while at the same time to have a cozy dedicated space in which I could actually do some work. I may not be in love with the house as a whole, but I am in love with that nook.
- The yard is not as ginormous as it looked like it was in the pictures. It is bigger than I imagine myself needing or using, but it's totally and completely flat. Which is a big deal given the rolling hills of my location. Yes, it's more yard than I'd choose, but it's not an undoably large yard, and I can imagine mowing it every two weeks and not wanting to kill myself. And there's space in the back that would be a perfect garden! A vegetable and herb garden! And fenced off to keep the deer at bay! (The deer are a big enough issue in this SUBURB that it's actually legal to hunt them on private land, land that is no more than 10 minutes from a recognizable city in America. In fact, this is the big dividing line between people who run for office in this town - whether it should be ok to hunt in a motherfucking suburb. I wish I were kidding.)
- There is only one bathroom, but it's a very nice bathroom. And if I ever wanted to do a half-bath downstairs, there is a space where that would be easily doable, and it wouldn't be a space that was off of the kitchen or the dining room, which, let's face it, is not appetizing.
- Did I mention that both bedrooms have walk-in closets? And that there's good storage downstairs, too?
- Both the furnace and the hot water heater are new-ish, and the entire house has new vinyl windows. And the basement is freshly painted and looking fabulous, and has a walk-out onto the backyard. (I still need the intel on the age of the roof.)
- The house has both a FABULOUS front porch (from which one could hang pots of flowers! And have a table and chairs! And maybe a glider! And gaze superciliously upon the neighbors!) as well as a FABULOUS deck in back (that you access from the kitchen! Dinners alfresco!)
- It has an open(ish) floorplan, but there is enough division between the rooms for it to feel cozy! Cozy!
- There is a lovely window seat in the dining room on which the kittens could nap in sunshine!
- The dining room is so huge that I can have A.'s boyfriend Matt build shelves that would be window-height for books, which would also serve as additional seating! For parties!
- Amazing windows! All over! Bright natural light!
- In the best school district in the general area, and located smack dab in between (and within walking distance of each) the post office/town square area and the bar/restaurant area where my vet also is (not that I'd be walking to the vet with the kittehs, but just they'd have a very short car ride, which would be better for their nerves).
- There is no dishwasher. I cannot live without a dishwasher. I would have to do some work in the kitchen to make a dishwasher happen, which would involve shifting the sink to the right, installing the dishwasher, and shifting the stove over about 6 inches. All of which would likely mean needing some new cabinets. This is not a huge project, but it is a project, and one that would need to be done nearly immediately, for I can pretend that I would wash dishes by hand, but the reality is that if I did pretend that, I would live in filth a lot of the time. A dishwasher is a total necessity for me.
- The woodwork in the downstairs is dark, while the hardwood floors are light. Ew.
- The yard really is more yard than I'd wanted. It could require me to hire lawn boys. Then, of course, I'd have lawn boys, though, and that could be a positive as well as a negative.
- No garage. Though in my region, no garage is so not a deal-breaker, as typically we don't get much snow.
- The house is next to a bank. Only two windows in the whole house (from the kitchen and from the nook) look onto it and its parking lot, and even that is mediated by shrubbery and space, and even in winter it's not a total eyesore. Now, let's just note, this is so not a problem for me. And it's a bank: it's not like it's a Taco Bell or something. But apparently this has turned off other house-hunters who've viewed this property. My thought is that what this means is that I have no neighborhood noise on that side of the house after 5 pm, that on the weekends I've got a whole lot of easy parking if I were to decide to have a bash, and that, seriously? Who cares. Now, I suspect that people who would be negative would be all, "but what if the bank closes and a taco bell opens? It is commercially zoned land!" But I feel like it's not a big deal. I could be stupid about that.
- The house is a short-sale. This will potentially drag out the process, and it will potentially mean that I have some trouble with negotiating. Let's note: the house is listed at a very good reduced price. But it's my first house. I want to try to negotiate. I don't believe in not negotiating. But I also don't believe in waiting for a month to hear about a house only to find I'm rejected and then to have to spend all of April doing this, too, and still potentially miss out on the first-time homebuyer tax credit.