Monday, February 11, 2013

A Hunting We Will Go

So, I'm in the market for a house. This is quite possibly the scariest purchase I've ever made. I'm one of those people who hates buying a car, and although my most recent car was in the range of $30K, that's a far cry from $100K+ for a house.

To date, on this round, I have looked at the following:

The 1970s ranch with treacherous basement stairs, and, you guessed it, a BASEMENT LAUNDRY ROOM! The big killers on this house were the aforementioned basement stairs, the craptastic upstairs bathroom that will have to be completely gutted and redone (the basement shower, however, is all Italian tile, so go figure), and there is no space for a dinette, let alone the massive Century dining room suite I have that seats six with the two leaves out of it. It's semi-secluded and backs up onto a farm, which I love, but those basement stairs are a deal-breaker, along with the fact that the windows are bolted shut with about thirty screws each through the sashes, which I was told by the agent is a standard preventative measure in foreclosures. There's no way to "fix" it, despite what she says, and that means that I'd have to replace every window in the house right out of the gate. No thanks. PS, one can also achieve the same effect by drilling through the sash at an angle near the lock, and dropping a ten-penny nail into the hole. It was a standard safety measure in most of my exterior-entry apartments in Lexington.

Our second candidate: the 1998 patio home with no dining area whatsoever. It has a great fenced yard, but the neighbors have horses. The agent seemed mystified by this, until I said, "I can smell them. Horses smell different from cattle," not to mention that I'm violently allergic to horse dander, much to the disappointment of my godparents who'd sincerely hoped I would take over showing their Tennessee Walking Horses when they got too old to do it themselves. Other problems: the master shower is teeny-weeny, the siding is melted in two places on the back of the house (gas grill too close to the walls), there are two propane tanks propped up out back for the vent-free fireplace, the 'garden spa tub' has a serious leak, the cooktop is only two burners and in an island in the middle of the kitchen, and, well, folks, if you're selling a house and you've moved out, TAKE ALL OF YOUR STUFF. There were dishes in the dishwasher, picture books piled in the daughter's former bedroom, and a closet FULL of board games. I shudder to think what's in the storage garage out back.

House number 3: Dollhouse of Claustrophobia, with panoramic views of a brand new...CEMETERY...from the back porch. The hall was 3/4 width, and the doors were all 28" wide. I'm used to 36" doors, and doors that narrow are not going to work because I'm a large person (plus I truly am claustrophobic and this house triggered an attack). The house was in good shape overall, and I wish joy to whoever buys it. Just remember, that cemetery's not going anywhere, and good luck when you're ready to sell. I received a lecture from the agent on the fact that in my price point, I can either buy something like that "excellent property I showed you the other night" (the Seventies ranch) or I'm going to have to settle for an itsy-bitsy house like this one. I know that she's not really interested in me as a client because I'm a low-dollar sale prospect, but come on. She's selling houses in a depressed economy, and I am trying to buy one. Sure, it's not a kit mansion on a postage stamp that's going for high six figures, but my money is as green as the next guy's.

So I haven't seen anything that I love. I wish I had the money to buy whatever flies my kite, but that's not the case. Maybe I haven't been clear enough about what it is that I'm looking for, or maybe my ideal house is not on the market at the moment. It's been a negative enough experience that I'm really thinking about postponing looking again for a while. I'm not ready to sink my entire life into a house that I hate or in which I'm profoundly uncomfortable.

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