Monday, April 30, 2007

Which house is the right house?

We really feel like we're in the midst of a quandry.

One house we love. The advantages include; It is 4 years new, it has nothing we have to do to fix it up, except perhaps paint the interior to our liking. I feel really good when I'm in this house...it's open, there is a lot of natural light, open windows, etc. It's new, it has hardwood floors, an open floor plan, a finished basement, the upstairs laundry I've wanted.... A nice storage area in the basement where we can put a freezer and have a whole lamb or side of beef in storage, frozen veggies for the winter, etc. A flat fenced back yard with a jungle jim for the kids. It's priced kinda high for us though and we'll feel pretty tight for the first 5 years or so probably in that high of a mortgage payment. My son can stay in the school he's in now, and can easily walk to school. There would be a lot of consistency for the kids in that regard. We can also walk to Krogers, the library, etc if we so choose. I could have a low-lying garden and do some landscaping, grow a couple of fruit tree or whatever. The houses around it are all selling in the 190/220,000K+ range, so we'd be walking into over 10% equity right away at the price we think they will take! It's in a newer area and it doesn't have that "Erlanger, beat-up-chewed-and-spit-out" loook. It's almost a sure thing that this house will appreciate nicely in a few years, most likely above the 3% for inflation.

The disadvantages are that the yard is small, and I'm sure the homeowner's association wouldn't let us grow a few rows of corn in the yard! I definitely couldn't hang out our laundry to dry on a clothesline. The yard is so small that I wouldn't feel comfortable getting a dog for the kids. A trampoline would fit but it would be tiiiiight. There's no privacy in the backyard; we can see the back yards (and they can see us) of over 8 neighbors! Yikes! They all just bump up next to one another. It's veeeeeery white bread though...not much diversity...everyone is upper middle class, they think that spraying the yards with chemicals is a good thing, and they protested and won against a big mosque being built in the neighborhood a few years ago. The ironic thing is that there are several well-to-do muslim doctors and their families in this neighborhood and community!

The other house we like is in an older Florence neighborhood. It has a wood burning fireplace (the more expensive home has a gas/ceramic one...how contrived!), and a finished lower level. The big allure here is really the yard. It's a full acre! There is also a deck in the back of the house whereas the other house has a cement patio but no deck . The kids would really have a ball running around . We could hang our laundry, garden to our hearts' content (corn!corn!corn!), and have a big dog (outside only) for the kids. It's in an acceptable school district, the Conner elementary of Florence, but not the one my son is currently in. I have a friend whose son is in this school, and I am trusting that her assessment of it is accurate when she says it's fine. Another big plus is that the mortgage is easier for us ($300/month less or so!). Oh and the house has a fenced back yard, and is the last house on the end of a cul-de-sac! It's about the same distance to the highway....and it's closer to Aldi, where I love to shop as much as I can, than we are now. I would definitely save more money on groceries because it would be easier for me to get there than I can now. There is a great Japanese restaurant nearby, a muslim grocery store, and an amazing German butcher (well we can't eat his meat but he has grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat fresh bread!).

But ...the neighborhood certainly has reached it's peak. I think we'd get the 3%/year but not much more. However, to it's detriment, the area along Dixie highway outside the neighborhood seems kinda down-market (the neighborhood is near the Florence nature park). It's definitely a lower socio-economic demographic in the schools....is that good or bad? I'm not sure! I want our kids to know different kinds of kids...not just from one class of society....I think.

This house may need a lot of repairs though because it's older. Immediately we'd have to put in new carpet everywhere except the kitchen and bathrooms, which have tile/laminate floors. The current owners have a big dog and we can't live on dog carpet. EWwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

This is a sump pump house. Since the basement is finished, this could be an issue. The house is at the bottom of a hill, and when it rains it could flood in the lower level if the pump stops working or malfunctions. We'd definitely need to buy a battery back up for it in case the electric goes out in a rain storm. It appears as though there's been some settling in the foundation as well. The house is 28 years old so that's to be expected...I'd want a thorough home inspection to rule out any of that settling being pathological. I saw some cracks in the floor on the lower level in the laundry room and that concerns me. I guess the inspector is the one who would tell us the skinny on that! These issues make me.......leary. It also has noooooo curb appeal. We can fix that, but it'll cost us some money. That and the hilly hudge yard make me worry about future resale possibilities. Would the big yard be a deterrent or an asset? I view it as an asset, but it seems like most things I like the rest of society hates!

Any thoughts or suggestions from you my dear readers are welcome!

4 comments:

JamilaLighthouse said...

ah it's tricky. I like the sound of the second one, I couldn't cope without being able to have an outside clothes line, vegie garden etc. but then in aus we are used to taking these things for granted. But then new houses are a pleasure to live in and then there's the investment side of things too. And then schools. I wonder about the same things. Sorry I'm not very helpful!

ThatDeborahGirl said...

My mother was about to by a house. She had been diagnosed with MS and she was trying to decide between a to story house and a split level.

I begged and pleaded with her not to buy either one but she wouldn't listen to me. She actually found a ranch she liked better than either of the other two and it was fortunate because her legs could not have taken the steps of the other two.

I write all this to say that although both houses have their good points, it sounds like neither one is really perfectly right for you.

Keep looking.

Darrell said...

I'm not big on homeowners associations, but you just have to pick the one you love the most. not the one that makes more sense. Why live there if the house (or neighborhood) doesn't make you happy.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

:) Thanks y'all!

We found another one...it's seemingly perrrrrfect for us. Looks like we will be first-time home owners...God-willing!

Whoo-hoo!