our next house

we finally found a house that we were interested in, and after many lengthy discussions, we decided to submit an offer.  if you remember, the house was not yet listed for sale, so our process for purchasing the house was anything but normal.  the owners of the house were retiring and moving out of state.  prior to their move, one of them was having a major surgery that was going to require a substantial recovery period.  because of this, they were interested in finalizing the sale of the house long before they would actually be able to move.  we started talking to them at the beginning of april - making the entire process about 4 months until possession.

once we decided to move forward, mike and i prepared an offer (with the help of my realtor mother-in-law), and sat down with the owners to present our situation, and our number.  we explained how we could be a benefit for them because we had the flexibility to wait until august to move, and that even though our house in st louis was not yet in contract, we were confident that it would sell within their longer time frame.  they agreed with everything except for our price.  we went back and forth a few times until we agreed on a final number, and we were in contract.  we actually ended up signing the contract for the sale of our stl house the same day.

now would probably be a good time to explain a little more about the actual house. there are some of the things that we like, and the things that made us hesitate a little.  this will probably be a little long, so feel free to skip.  i mostly just wanted to get my initial thoughts down for future reference.  here's what we initially liked:

- it has 3 bedrooms upstairs, and 1 downstairs, although the one downstairs is really set up more like an office space.  this is exactly what we had hoped to find - at least 3 bedrooms, and the office on the first floor is a great bonus.  mike's new job allows him to work from home on occasion, so having a dedicated office space will be nice.

- it has 2.5 baths.  we really wanted to have a master bath, or the ability to add a master bath at some point, so this was a huge plus for us.  the master bath has kind of an odd layout and we will eventually want to update the finishes (this goes for all of the bathrooms), but for now we are happy to have the extra space and not have to deal with expense of trying to add a bathroom.

- it had a "renovated" kitchen - unlike our first house where the kitchen was unusable until we did some updates, this kitchen is ready to go.  it's also has upgraded appliances - gas cook top, double ovens, 42" fridge...  again, the finishes are not our taste, but certainly livable.

- it had a sun porch.  this was not something that we were necessarily looking for, but the little room off of the living room has great potential.  it even has heating and cooling, so with some new windows, we should be able to use it year round.

- closets!  our stl house had zero closets on the first floor.  this house has several on the first floor, a closet in each bedroom (2 in the master!), plus an extra closet in the upstairs hall.  and several built-ins!

- the yard is fully fenced except for the driveway, it has a nice patio area, and established landscaping.  although the actual grass portion of the backyard is smaller than what we had before, the overall lot is about what we had in stl, and i think it will be fine for our family.  it also has a nice 2 car garage.

- the house seems "solid".  the original house was built in 1947, and the addition was constructed in the early 2000s. everything is in good shape...

- everything is also upgraded/new.  the mechanical systems, while not all that new, were the top of the line when installed, and still are in good condition.  the house has a newer roof, all new windows (except for the sun porch), refinished hardwood floors, and a dry basement.  the appliances are all high end, and not that old.

- the location.  at the end of the day, i think that the location was the biggest selling point.  it's located in the more historic part of ua, and is walkable to both ua, and grandview.  we will also be near the elementary school and middle school that wesley will eventually attend, so he will be able to walk to school.  there is a nice library and a park just down the street.  we are really excited about the neighborhood and are anxious to start exploring!

and here's what had us hesitating at first:

- the finishes throughout.  while technically fairly new, the finishes just seem dated, and are not at all our style.  lots of fake "stone" tile, white corian counters with white distressed country style cabinets in the kitchen, gold/chrome two tone fixtures...  there is carpet in the master bedroom that is lavender, and the carpet in the family room is dark red.  i know that these can all be updated and replace (we certainly worked with much worse in our first house!), but we won't have a lot of extra money in our budget after our new house payment, and it also seems a shame to me to take out new finishes just because i don't like them.

- the layout - this was the biggest issues for me.  the original house was probably not very big - maybe 1200 sq ft total?  the current size is 2240 sq ft.  the house has a living room across the front, with a small dining room off to one side, and a sun porch on the other.  the stairs are in the middle of the house.  the kitchen is a galley style kitchen behind the dining room, and that connects the original part of the house to the addition.  this is also the main passageway to the back of the house and the family room, which seems a little odd to me.  you can also get to the family room through the office - i think that we will like having the office off of the family room, but i doubt guests will go through our office.  keep in mind that our stl house had basically 4 connected spaces on the first floor, so that probably makes the layout of the house seem even more disjointed to us.  upstairs, the layout seems to flow a little better, with the master bedroom at the back of the house as part of the addition, and the 2 other bedrooms at the front.

- it has 2 living spaces on the first floor.  i don't know that this is necessary a bad thing, especially now that we have a kid, and all of the toys that come with a kid.  but we are not "formal" living room people, so i hope that we figure out a way to actually use both spaces.

- the addition just has some odd things going on.  for example, they decided to make the family room one step down from the adjoining kitchen area, and the office.  there is an odd amount of extra space in the kitchen.  in the master bedroom, the windows and doors were placed in a way that makes the furniture arrangement very limited - in fact, i think our bed will end up covering portions of the windows.

- the dining room is very small.  so small, that i'm not even sure that our table will fit into the room.  this is the only eating space (with is good, i like only having one area for a table), and i was really hoping to be able to fit our table since we are also hoping to be able to easily entertain.

- the basement is on the smaller size and the ceilings aren't very tall.  there is only a basement under the original house - the addition is built over a crawl space.  mike really wanted to be able to finish an area of the basement, so that we could have a true family room (with tv, surround sound, toy storage).  i don't think we will need to the extra space, esp since we have both a living room and family room on the first floor.  the laundry is in the basement, so we might want to eventually do something to make that area a little more inviting, but we don't have any immediate plans to do work in the basement.

i think that overall the house has many of the items we had our on wish list, and i really think it will be a good fit for our family.  i think that the way we live in this house will be so different than how we lived in our stl house, because the houses are so very different.  i think that's probably the reason why we hesitated for so long (well, that and the price!)  i'm very interested to see what we think of the house after we've lived in it for a while.

since the previous owners are still living in the house for a few more weeks, i won't be sharing any photos of the interior until we have possession.  here's the front thought - it's a brick cape cod.  you can't see any of the addition, but it's in the back.  the sun porch is off to the side, and the driveway is on the other side of the sun porch.
i should also mention that we had our inspection and were told that our house was in fantastic shape.  besides some chimney repairs, they couldn't find anything wrong with the house.

so now you're all caught up.  we closed a week ago, and are now just patiently waiting for our move-in date.

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2 Responses to our next house

Su Jones said...

Good news re: the inspection! Very cute house. So, what are you going to call your blog now?

Su Jones said...

Just a thought...could you use the sunken family room as a dining room/sitting area and the dining for a play space? I don't remember where the dining area is.


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