Life’s List of Being a Grown-up: 1) Marriage – check 2) Homeowner – in progress 3) Get a puppy – soon, I hope so very soon…
Devoted followers, my apologies for the lack of blog posts in 2011, this year has been a little busy. Between lots of running around (literally), kitchen fires (seriously, but we’re okay), our pesky jobs (kidding), and the event of Olympic proportions, house-hunting, I’ve been preoccupied. Who decided that buying a house was the American Dream? I’m not living the dream, Uncle Sam, no sir.
I should probably suck up my pessimistic attitude and put a smile on my face because we’ve only just begun. I’ve seen 5 houses so far and no cigar. There are hundreds more out there. My parents were gracious enough to come with me one Sunday afternoon to visit three different Open Houses in Decatur, Toco Hills, and Brookhaven. Husband had to work, so the three of us grabbed some lunch and set out for a day of real estate jollity. I will say that while none of the houses were right for us, it was a good learning experience and quite entertaining. Dad’s sticker shock was hilarious when he saw the listing price on a 1950’s renovated ranch in North Decatur. He told me that “ten to twenty grand can sure buy a hell of a lot of gas out in the suburbs!” Yes, daddy, but it can’t buy us the happiness we would have with 15-20 minute commutes. Driving to Midtown from Roswell everyday is not fun. I’ve done it. I was teetering on the cliff of insanity by way of road rage mixed in with a little depression due to the fact that my life was slipping away during my commute. No drama here, folks. It’s true.
I don’t think that I am picky, but even if I was I have a right! Houses aren’t cheap. I would like to like where I’m living. The most frustrating thing about house hunting is that you will look at house after house that seem perfect until you get to this one part of the property that is a deal breaker. And there is nothing you could do to change it – ever. Yards cannot be made bigger; bathrooms on the fronts of houses cannot be made larger unless you want to sacrifice your curb appeal. Closets cannot magically expand when there is no room to do so. You can’t count on the next door neighbor to plant some grass so their yard isn’t a giant mud pit. You cannot add a garage when property lines are so close to the existing house that you can’t even drive a car behind it without trespassing. It’s really depressing. I’ll see beautiful kitchens, awesome basements, a pretty dining room, and then a 5×5 master bathroom. NEXT!
Luckily for us, we don’t have our minds set on a specific type of property. As long as it’s in our price range, we’re open to new construction, some moderate fixer-uppers, 1950’s ranches, bungalows, and foreclosures. Short sales scare us. You put in an offer, wait for a few months and pray the bank takes it. If they don’t, you’ve wasted two months waiting for something to come through, meanwhile foregoing other properties that you may have liked.
We have been watching more and more HGTV these days. There was a young couple on there a few weeks ago in North Carolina buying their first house. This girl had a laundry list a mile long with must-haves on a modest budget. Her demands were insane: 4-sides brick, two-story foyer, crown molding, large deck, hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, etc. I’d just be happy in a nice house that passes inspection. We’d like a two car garage, a decent kitchen with counter and cabinet space – or the potential for space. A nice master with a walk-in closet would be nice as well as a larger bathroom. I don’t care what the house is made out of. I don’t care what the counters look like, the cabinets, or the floor. If the price is right, we can make it the way we want. And let’s face it folks, it’s a FIRST house. It won’t be perfect. There does need to be a backyard so the puppy I’ve pined for can have a place to be happy and room to take care of business. Most of the stuff HGTV girl wanted was cosmetic. I can paint. We can hang crown molding (I hope); we can put in hardwood floors over time. Heck, we could make a renovation party out of it and invite all our friends over in exchange for pizza, beer, and the promise we’ll help them with their house. It would be fun! Beer and power tools!!! If we end up buying a fixer-upper, this blog may become a home renovation blog. Sorry. Speaking of home renovation blogs, I’ve found some really good ones lately. Check them out here: http://www.thekitchn.com/
We are meeting with a realtor this afternoon. I hope the process starts to get a little better now that we’ll have a professional working for us. I’ll keep you posted on any updates – good or bad. Until then, you can find me on Trulia, MLS, Zillow, HUD, various open houses in Atlanta, and on my home décor blogs.