finding our house

continuing on with our house search (see here for the beginning)

as we moved forward with our house search, we were mainly focused on one, high demand, area.  we also looked in a few other parts of columbus, but were getting discouraged with what we were finding.  houses that looked good online had weird floor plans with tiny rooms once we saw them in person.  or the "updated addition" was in need of major structural repair.  we continued to see houses that needed a lot of work, and were already at the very top of our price range.  for those familiar with columbus, here are the main areas that we focused on:

clintonville:  before moving, i was almost positive that clintonville would be where we ended up.  we looked at several houses in clintonville, and spent a lot of time driving around the area.  i think that the people in clintonville are probably "our people", but we were a little disappointed with the walkability of the neighborhoods, and we were having a difficult time finding a house that was the size and condition that we wanted, at a price that we felt comfortable with.  we were in an awkward "in between" range - we were ready to move past some of the great starter homes that the area offered, but couldn't really afford the few larger options.  it didn't help that there were really only 2 or 3 streets that we got excited about.  we also were concerned about the school district, and knew that we'd either have to move or pay for private school once wesley was out of elementary school - we weren't sure that this was something that we wanted to have to deal with.  this area stayed on our short list though.

german village / italian village / etc:  there are some great urban neighborhoods in columbus, with some really fantastic older homes.  but the houses can be extremely expensive, and aren't always in the best shape.  we actually looked at a few houses in german village, because i wanted the "character".  they had character, but we could only afford 2 bedroom homes with no yard, and realistically, that wasn't going to be a long term solution for our family.  plus, again, schools.

old worthington:  we loved the walkability of old worthington, and were excited about the restaurants, farmers market, and ice cream stores.  we had a difficult time coming to terms with what you got for your money (price per sq ft), and also found that the inventory for the historic houses was really low.  schools were not a concern, but we actually weren't even able to find a house to tour - the few that made our short list were in contract soon after listing.  it was also just a little bit too far north - we were really hoping to be closer to the city.

bexley:  bexley offered the character, good school distract, and walkability that we wanted.  mike was even able to tour several homes in this area.  we were a little concerned about the areas surrounding bexley (having come from a "pocket" situation in stl - a nice street surrounded by not-so-nice streets, we weren't sure we wanted to do that again).  and, our families live on the north side of columbus - we were worried that the distance between bexley and our babysitters might become an issue, especially since right now they watch wesley while we are at work.

grandview:  loved the location, good schools, nice character, expensive price per sq ft.  again, we had a difficult time even finding houses to look at because of the fast moving / low inventory.  also, some of the houses that we could afford were just too small.

upper arlington:  the house that got away was in upper arlington.  i honestly don't even know if i would have added this area to our search had it not been for that house.  mostly i think that i would have just assumed that we would not be able to afford anything in ua.  after touring the area, mike was convinced that ua should be the main focus of our house search.  specifically, he liked the south side of ua - which is more historic and closer to grandview.  there are some great mid-century homes on the northern side of ua, so i kept that in our search as well.  unfortunately many of the mid-century homes that we liked did not have basements, and we really wanted to have a basement.  as i mentioned in the last post, the area that we liked in ua had very low inventory and we knew that it would be a challenge to find something in our price range, even more so contingent on the sale of our stl house.

enter our realtor - mike's mom decided to take a more proactive approach in our house search, and instead of waiting for the houses to come onto the market, she decided to start seeking out the houses before they were listed.  targeting the small area that we were most interested in, she crafted a mailer that explained a little about us, our desire to live in the neighborhood, and some details on what we were hoping to find.  after these were distributed throughout the area, she had about a dozen calls from homeowners.  some i think were just trying to see how much they could get out of their house (way over our price range), some had more long term plans and didn't work in our time frame, and some just weren't a good fit.  but she found 2 that had potential, so we set up a time to visit:

house #1:  strangely, we ended up knowing the seller of house #1.  it was great to catch up with an old friend, but the house was giant.  really just too large for mike and i and our family.  the street was perfect, and the house had a great layout on the first floor, but it was a 3 story house with 5+ bedrooms.  it was also over our price range.  it needed work (long term), but was livable, and their time fame to sell matched well with our plan, so we keep it in consideration.  if nothing else, after talking to our old friend and hearing his enthusiasm for the neighborhood, we were both even more convinced that we wanted to try to live in the area.

house #2:  first impression - wow, this is a cute, but little house.  the house was a brick cape cod, so from the street it didn't look very big, but we found out it had an newer addition on the back.  it had nice curb appeal and a decent sized yard, and we loved the street.  we were hopeful, but we continued to be disappointed by our house search, so i don't think either one of us was that optimistic going in.  after we toured the house we were definitely interested - conflicted, but interested.  on paper the house met almost all of our "must haves", and most of our "nice to haves".  but there was something about it that held us both back at first.  after thinking about it, we went back and did a second tour - this time bringing all of our parents.  after our second tour, and a lengthy discussion, we decided to make an offer on the house.  we are currently in contract on the house, and will close next week.  we will not have possession until august 1.  it's been a long and complicated process, but i will try to do a quick summery, and include some details on the actual house in the next post.

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2 Responses to finding our house

Arlene Keller said...

Good luck on proceeding at this critical juncture, Katie! You're at that "make it or break it" stage of the buy, and you don't want to do anything to jeopardize it. Getting the parents to accompany you on the second visit must have helped, right? I hope you get to buy this house, so that you could put this taks to rest. It must have been nerve-wracking for you and your family. Good luck!

Arlene Keller @ ScottSauer.ca

Rachel Lambes said...

How exciting! My mom has been telling me all about your recent adventures. I can't wait to see your new home!

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