I learned a lot from Tom Hanks and Shelley Long
The weather, as of late, has really sucked the life out of the whole house selling/buying process. Seems nobody wants to bundle up to brave sub-zero temperatures and troop through several feet of snow to come check out our digs, and I don’t blame ‘em, seeing as I don’t want to reach out the front door and grab the mail let alone go look at houses.
But this weekend saw the temperature hovering around the -10 mark (as opposed to -25), so we jumped on the opportunity to have an open house. After we got home from swimming lessons yesterday morning we put Oliver to bed, set Julia up with a snack and a movie and got our cracker asses to work making the house look less like a barn and more like a desirable single-family dwelling.
We left armed with juice-filled sippy cups, various Ziploc baggies full of dry cereal, small change for coffee and a list of open houses that we wanted to hit ourselves.
The first house we wanted to see was a three-bedroom bungalow sitting on a ravine lot in the same town that Dave works in.
The listing caught our eye because it was a very reasonably priced house in an affluent area close to Dave’s work and when we saw it we immediately started crunching numbers, figuring out how much money we’d save in gas if we lived in the same town that Dave worked in, which to me meant how much more money I’d have for large double doubles and McChicken combos.
So off we went, the kids snacking away in the backseat and me spilling coffee all over myself in the front. When we pulled up to the house our eyes lit up: from the outside, it was beautiful. We got the kids out of the van, traipsed up the front walk and into the house.
We were immediately struck by the beautiful woodwork the house boasted and the tranquil view of the backyard and ravine through the large living room windows.
The house was full of absolutely orgasmic antiques and I had to stop myself from trying to shove the marble-topped Victorian vanity out the window of the front bedroom and into the van.
The upstairs bathroom was a tad small and needed a bit of updating and the story was the same in the kitchen, but the house had a lot of the features that we are looking for.
Yet as we made our way through the main floor I only counted two bedrooms, and I couldn’t help but notice that the hardwood floors, while beautiful, were awfully creaky and seemed rather uneven in many places.
We checked out the rest of the main floor and then made our way to the basement, where the creaky, uneven floors and low price tag suddenly made sense: the house needed serious foundation work.
The carpets in the basement had been ripped up to expose badly cracked cement floors. We headed back upstairs to ask the agent on duty a few questions about the foundation and the missing third bedroom.
The agent was well-aware of the foundation problems and told us that the repair work had been estimated at anywhere between $17,000 and $30,000. Add that on to the fencing that we’d have to put up in the backyard to prevent the kids (read: Oliver, a.k.a. Captain Daredevil) from falling down the ravine and breaking bones and/or necks and updates to the kitchen and the bathrooms and we were looking at a pretty pricey investment. And what about that third bedroom?
“Well, there’s the possibility of a third bedroom,” the agent said, pointing to a very small room in between the two hallways at the front of the house – a room right beside the front door that would have been a tight squeeze with a double bed and was missing both doors. In a house that’s caving in.
I’m sure there are people out there who would love to put the money into fixing that house up and if we had the means, we’d probably have considered it. But you know, if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, it’s a friggin’ duck.
Don’t try to pass off a two-bedroom house that not only needs serious updating but major foundation repair as a move-in ready three-bedroom family home. The Money Pit used to be one of my all-time favorite movies, lady. I know all about houses like this.