House Hunting Update 2016-2017

We started looking at places to live as far back as October when we found out where we were living. We have looked at quite a few places since while living in a rental home downtown Centralia.

I feel at times we have taken our realtor on a wild adventures trying to narrow down just what we want and need. Looking for homes this time is different than it was in Wayland. We are at a different place in life and are looking at the place as a longer term location, where our children will possibly be living with us through elementary school. So we are asking questions about safety, clear play areas, school districts, and how close the home is to Luke’s work, the grocery store, as well as church and town activities.

We’ve learned we want a rural suburban home. I know it sounds strange. We like the idea of a quiet house with a few acres but that is within 20 minutes or so from the gym, church, school, work, restaurants etc.

Fortunately around here that is possible to find but it does take some compromises. Many places have a lot of property and a house that needs major work. Or a house that is great but a property that is not. Or both are great but the drive is longer than we want and could be difficult in the winter time. Luke and I are willing to get a place that needs work down the road, a  place we can update. What we cannot do right now is a major overhaul before baby comes, that’s too much stress and a huge time crunch.

One of the beautiful presents we received over the holidays was that our house in Wayland went under contract with a buyer! The day we left for my parent’s house we got news of an offer. Over the holidays we negotiated and finalized a decision. I was shocked, I never suspected our house to sell in the dead of one of the coldest winters and especially over the holidays.

Since then we have been signing paperwork and scanning in files to all the right parties. Several steps of the process have already been completed and we are hoping by the beginning of March we will have our house sold.

So we are really ready to find a place to live, and now we are starting to feel the time crunch of a May due date. We’d love to be at least semi-moved in by the time baby comes. Even if a nursery is not set up and painted we would like to bring our child from the hospital to the home they will be in for at least the first few years of their life. The baby will be in our room in the cradle at first anyways so that would give us time to get a Nursery set up if necessary.

So that is the house hunting and selling so far, more on this to come as we move forward.

 

House Hunting: The Grand Finale

For more on this topic see other posts entitled house hunting

I know I left you all wondering whether we had given up on this house-hunting thing after all considering our time crunch and frustrations. But as this post indicates the hunt is over!

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After our hiatus from looking two weeks ago we decided to give it one more try: fifth times the charm right? Luke ended up having this past Monday off from work so we once again looked up what was available online, created a list of 11 homes, and sent it to our realtor (who rightly was becoming a little impatient). He picked us up at 2pm and we took the now familiar drive up to the Dansville area.

Of the 11 homes we wanted to see at only 7 were still available; of course this disappointed us. We hit six not so great options through the Dansville/Wayland area with major issues such as low ceilings, horrible updates, uneven floors, half done updates, unfinished (no drywall) rooms, and bad locations.

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House number one:

Fortunately we had two great options. One of the realtors in the Dansville area decided to show us a house that had just come on the market:  four hours before we saw it. House number one is an old 1900’s victorian in downtown Wayland that had been totally updated. The owners had had a fire and used the insurance money to invest in some major changes to the home: brand new roof, updated master bedroom with skylights, upstairs laundry in the bathroom, etc.

With four bedrooms and two full baths the house is larger then we need.  The kitchen is open and although there is not a lot of cabinet/cupboard space there is plenty of room to put in more. The yard is well kept although only .22 of an acre and has a new fence around the property (which is not standard out here for you west coast people).

Our concerns were mainly about the location: because of all of the updates this is the nicest house on the block. Plus many homes in the area are currently for sale; there is no way to tell the location’s value over time -a bit of a gamble. The other issue is  the house next door is a rental with four tenants and they share the double-wide driveway with this home.

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House number two

House number two was the first house we saw. It is an older 1800’s home with a more simple victorian style right about 5 minutes from the freeway  and 10 minutes from downtown Wayland. The home has three bedrooms and two full baths on an acre of property half wooded.

The previous owners had invested time to update the roof, vinyl siding, restore the floors or put in pergo, paint and update the water heater etc.. The current owners have been using the property as a winter/holiday house and so are not living in it.  The floors and ceilings do buckle/tilt a little in certain places because of the age of the home but the house itself is stable. The kitchen is large and open with plenty of cabinet and counter space and although there is currently no garage there is room to build one.

Our concerns with the place were mainly seasonal; about .25 of a mile up to the house is dirt/gravel road. We were not sure if in the winter we would run into problems being able to get to the main road. But after talking to Luke’s co-workers who live on such roads we felt confident that with a few adjustments (snow tires etc.) we would function just fine.

So which one did we choose? After all of our searching and options what do you think?

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We went with house number 2. We decided although house number 1 was wonderfully updated we were unsure about the location and what we would do with that large of an old home. Whereas with number 2 although it has less fancy updates we knew we could make it our own besides the fact that is has a better  location and more land.

We placed our first bid on Tuesday afternoon did one counter offer and re-bid and by Wednesday we had an accepted bid! By Saturday we were back up at the house with the inspector who said the place was great and  he was jealous. The current owners have already moved everything out of the second floor so we are well on our way towards a closing date and more than a little relieved that we have a hopeful house and the hunt if over.

 

Adventures in House Hunting update

For more on this topic please see the past few week’s posts on: adventures in house hunting

So I know it has been awhile since I gave you an update. The past two weeks have been pretty crazy and overwhelming. Let me see if I can fill you in.

After my last post “the final trip” we took some time to think through our options and decided we were ready to make an offer on a house. We chose a home near the top of our price range up on a hill in South Dansville that has several acres. We had the paperwork taken care of and made an offer; they came back very quickly saying we were too low. We offered higher but our higher offer wasn’t anywhere close to what they wanted.

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We took some time to reconsider then decided to move on to another home: a nice farmhouse with an acre that needed an updated kitchen. We were all set to do the paperwork when our realtor got back to us and said the place was under contract. We were frustrated and disappointed.  So we went back to our first choice and raised our offer again to what we had been told they would accept; they didn’t respond.

So we felt stuck. We decided it was time to revisit our home list with a new angle: look at some homes with less bedrooms or bathrooms, try further distances to work etc. We set up with our realtor to do an unexpected round four of house-hunting this past Monday. On Sunday we drove up to the Dansville for an open house and did some looking around; we found one of the houses on our list was under contract already and the location of some of the others were not very good. We made a few adjustments after our Sunday drive and got ready for another round of house hunting the next day.

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This past Monday we got up there early but our first showing had not been scheduled by their realtor. So we had to move on to the next house. These options were no better then our round three if not worse; if they had land, there were issues with the house. If the house was in great condition property was on a main highway with possible flooding issues. If the layout of the house was good and the yard was nice the house reeked of cigarette smoke. None of our round four options stayed possibilities in our mind past the drive back home.

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We thought about reconsidering our first option again; raising our price one last time then yesterday we found out it had gone under contract.

So now we are taken a very short house-hunting hiatus; trying to decide what our next move is: round 5 of house hunting? wait it out for something new to be listed? Or are we done with the house-hunting process for awhile; should we rent an apartment and try again 6 month from now?

I will update you when we make our next move.

Adventures in House-Hunting round 2

For more on this transition see: relocation, and adventures in house-hunting round 1

So after our long and somewhat disappointing first day of house-hunting we came home and processed what went right and  wrong. We had two that we liked from our first day of looking: one in town and one 10 minutes outside of town but we were not settled on either one just yet. So started looking at homes in a different price bracket and got to work really analyzing not only the photos but also the information/descriptions provided by each realty page. Before long we had a whole new list set up of more than 10 new homes to look at.

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We were anxious to look at some other possibilities so Tuesday July 1rst we were once again headed up to Dansville to look at homes. Of the ten on our list some were no longer on the market. This is something that happened with our first list as well; when our realtor tried to set up an appointment he would discover that the house was under-contract or taken off the market total.  So Tuesday night we ended up seeing seven homes; five new ones, two re-visits, and one that got canceled because we were late into town due to a traffic problem.

Most of these homes had better layouts, less confusing bathrooms, and bedrooms of normal/average size. So we took it to the next level and looked over the disclosure information provided to us and asked more specific questions about the foundation, carpeting vs hardwood floors, insurance costs, the functionality of the fireplace, the heating system, the roof, the pipes etc.

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If the realtor didn’t know the information, we asked for it to be provided after we looked. Three homes of the five new ones were discounted pretty quickly based on similar issues to what we saw in our first round.  One of these homes was out of town and beautiful on paper: 6 acres, a brick and shingle exterior, and an open layout. But when we got there we discovered there was only one formal bedroom, the acreage was all down a very steep decline off the back porch (which was sinking) and heavily wooded. Another home was a split-level which reeked of cigarette smoke and had a kitchen that was condensed into such a small space I would get closer phobic working in it.

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That left two new ones to consider. One option was huge  it had a full vaulted attic with more storage space then we could consider what to do with, a formal living room, dining room, open updated floor plan for a kitchen, hardwood floors, and a study with fireplace. The house was built with a craftsman style and had beautiful interior woodwork. Still the backyard was a little small and narrow even though it was well maintained and gardened. The house had so much character but it was more space than we need which means it would cost more to heat then it’d be worth for us right now and the roof was old enough it would have to be redone while we lived there. In-spite of all this and other issues it is the most difficult home we’ve let go of so far.

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The other option had a beautiful large backyard with a natural border, new hardwood flooring in the whole house, and good sized bedrooms. But it was hard to overlook that the half bath was only a toilet in a broom closet off of the kitchen. It was the only bathroom downstairs so any guests would use that toilet then wash their hands in the kitchen sink? Um . . . .no. Plus the kitchen was a 70’s kitchen with a indoor grill and bright red-orange cabinets; talk about a need to re-do.

That night we went to applebees and had a very late dinner. We talked about the homes we had seen and especially about the ones we revisited; what new issues or positive attributes we saw during our second round with a more critical eye. After which we decided we were still pretty confident in two options we had kept from our day of house-hunting; which I promise I will talk about next.

 

Adventures in House Hunting

As I mentioned a few weeks ago (see post named :Relocation) I got a new job in Rochester.  I am excited, and a little anxious, to get back into teaching in the ESL world. But accepting this position means big transitions this summer.

If you follow my blog then you know that we have been living in Corning NY and as much as we enjoy this town of glass it’s a  long commute to Rochester (about and hour and half without weather issues). So we are moving North to Dansville; about 45 minutes north of Corning and 45 minutes south of Rochester. Dansville is a great mid-way place between Luke’s work in Bath (a half hour south) and Rochester.

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At the beginning of June we contacted local banks to talk pre-approval for mortgages and their loan rates; after that round of meetings we were prepared with the financial information to start looking at homes.

We met with the relator who helped us find the rental we have lived in since moving to New York and shared with him our thoughts, preferences, and budget. After this we created a list of homes in the Dansville area we were interested in and set up to do our first day of house-hunting Sunday June 29th. It was a long humid day of going from house to house and although we had 10 on our list (which we thought was ambitious) we ended up looking at 14! 14 homes in one day!

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As overwhelming as that may sound you have to remember we are on a specific timeline, hoping to be in a new home before I start teaching  in September. Plus some homes we went through pretty quickly or didn’t go in at all. As much as photos on realty sites can be helpful they can also be deceiving. The owners or whomever takes the photos is obviously wanting to make the best impression of their home as possible. So when you arrive and find the neighborhood is not up-kept well, the roof is falling apart, or the neighbor’s homes are inches from the one your are considering; its easy to move on.

Also  home owners will not take pictures of the worst qualities of the place and some will try to get away with sneaky habits. For example, we visited several homes where they listed 3 bedrooms but one of the bedrooms was in the basement and had no closet or windows.  Another place we looked at had a full bathroom upstairs but the layout was impossible for any average sized adult to maneuver.

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Other than this we found many places were the “bedrooms” were little more than puzzle pieces of an attic space with a slanted roof coming down past midway on one wall leaving only enough space for a small bed and a dresser on the other wall. Now I grew up in a small house and I currently live in a small place so to say that these rooms were small; you know I am not exaggerating

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Of course we also ran into: odd colored/old carpeting, ancient peeling wallpaper, startling wall color combinations, outdated  kitchens, odd themed homes/figurines (aka: country-cute, bunnies (yes bunnies), hunting/camo, roosters etc.), and cats many homes with multiple cats and unclean litter boxes.

I say most of this for humor sake. Still after that Sunday we left a little disappointed, there were several places we were excited and anxious to explore. Most of those homes we felt confident going in and frustrated leaving. We did leave with three possibilities in mind and only two that really stuck after our day-long search; but more on that to come.

Relocation

So you may have noticed I hinted at some big transition changes coming up in reviewing our touring time with my grandparents this month (for more on this see my posts: playing tourist with the grandparents). Well here are am to explain : we are relocating!

As some of you may know since moving to upstate New York I have struggled to find teaching positions in my field. (see my posts: a teacher without a classroom) But at the beginning of this month I interviewed for an ESL teaching position at a Community College in a suburb of Rochester. I was offered the job the same day!  The next two days Luke and I had to deliberate over whether to accept the position because it would require moving and hour North before September. After much consideration and prayer I took the job and will start teaching after Labor Day.

I am very excited to be headed back in the ESL field and to work with a population I care so much about. Plus I am looking forward to working and networking with other teachers who feel the same way. I am ready to being back to working in a larger city with more diversity and opportunities. I have already had a collaborative meeting  teachers of the  course I will instructing  in the fall and have a orientation meeting at the end of August.

But between then and now there is so much to do ! We have already met with a relator and banks to discuss buying a house somewhere in Dansville; a town about 45 minutes South from Rochester and 30 minutes North of Bath where Luke works.

This is a huge overwhelming step for me. There are few places to rent in Dansville and the housing market here is affordable.  We are hoping that living in a quiet town where we can go to local small-town events will be good for us. But we are excited to hopefully have that lifestyle balanced by being closer to the big-city shopping, events, and restaurants.

We had our first house-hunting adventure yesterday (more of an update I’m sure on that to come). Once we choose a place and get the ball rolling on that we’ll have to start looking into cars because we are still sharing one. For more on this see my post: living with one care: the tire story revisited.

On top of all of this we are trying to find time to enjoy summer festivals and activities. I am doing everything I  need to to prepare for the intensive night writing class I am teaching next month in addition to prep for the semester long ESL class I will start this next fall.

So as you can see we are in the middle of a very busy and exciting summer of transitions.

How has you summer been going?