Yesterday, I began house-hunting in earnest. While I really adore my landlords, I figured out recently that I'm paying nearly $1300/month for rent and utilities. For that kind of money, I could own a house (albeit smaller than the rental, but still)...
We viewed the first house last night. It's an older ranch in an established neighborhood. The pictures were awesome. When we arrived, though, the first thing I noticed was the crappy paint job on the front door- shortly followed by the abysmal mudding and paint job, same color red as the door, in the kitchen. Used refrigerator, cheap counters, bad sink fixtures; and then, we started down the hall to the bedrooms. Cheap bathroom fixtures, a 6"x6" tile cracked in half exactly in the middle of the hallway, $3 WalMart miniblinds, badly painted hollowcore track doors on tiny closets, and the absolute piece de resistance: ceiling heat. Halfway down the basement stairs, the strong smell of mildew hit me, and the fact that they're running a high-capacity dehumidifier in a newly-remodeled basement was a big 'no'. Flooding had warped the wall just above a baseboard heater, which reinforced the idea that I would probably die in a house fire in this place. The basement half-bath? Straight out of "Psycho". Double hollow-core doors completed the laundry/unfinished area of the basement.
Here's the clincher, though: we started out into the back yard, the fence for which needs to be replaced, and I noticed before I stepped down that the back doorstep was a white marble Victorian-era tombstone. My mother is a genealogist, so I've prowled through my fair share of old cemeteries. I know approximately how old it was (mid-to-late Nineteenth Century)...and the realtor's attempt to play it off went wide of the mark. Someone raided a cemetery to turn a grave marker into a patio step, and that infuriated me. There's a family cemetery in my mother's hometown in which a single marker remains, only because it's columnar; all of the flat stones were stolen years ago to serve as flagstones, steps, or foundations. To me, it's the worst kind of insult to the deceased, and no, telling me that 'surely the previous owner wouldn't have done such a thing, because he was a doctor and had plenty of money' does NOT wash with me. There is a tombstone on the patio and someone needs to return it to where it belongs. Period.
Let's just say that this annihilated my interest in that house altogether.
I have another appointment today with a different realtor to see a house that's listed for $6K less than the one from yesterday. It's a promising little number roughly the age of the tombstone I found last night- built in 1898, it was refurbished by a friend of a friend, which I didn't know until I talked to the realtor this morning. I hope this goes better than the previous viewing...and that nobody's decided to do any wanton grave desecration to prevent buying a $20 concrete step.