September 21, 2010: House Hunting Round Two

Today we are back to house hunting again.  We looked at five houses on Sunday and we are going to look at five more today.

Work was pretty busy today.  This week is feeling pretty hectic.  This weekend we are traveling down to Houston as well.  Leaving Dallas on Friday night.  The Wests are moving down to Austin this weekend!  Very weird that they will be living in Texas now.  We have gotten used to them being very far away.  This will be the closest that Andy and I have lived to each other since Dominica and I moved to New Jersey in 2006.  Half the distance that we used to be from each other back in New York.

Nothing exciting to report during the day.  I left work early to pick up Dominica and Liesl at two thirty and from there we picked up our real estate agent and spent about two hours going around looking at houses.

Dominica had done some planning and the five houses that we were interested in were all pretty close to each other and she had mapped them all out so that we could hit them all very quickly one right after another.  It worked really well.

When we got to our real estate agent’s house and were waiting for her we noticed a house just one away from hers (one house in between – one of the two that we are considering from Sunday’s list, actually) had its for-sale sign go up in the yard while we were sitting there.  So we noted that that might be worth investigating as well although the house is a flip and we are very wary of flipped homes.

The list of houses for today was pretty weak.  The first house had a failed foundation and the house was literally falling apart.  We didn’t even look through the house.  Dominica was dizzy just stepping in the front door.  Absolutely not a house for us.

Pretty much each house that we saw had a show stopping issue.  Whether it was that it was falling down, that it required way too much updating or had way too many large, potentially dangerous dogs trying to get into its back yard – not an issue for us but with a little, blind, ten year old Boston Terrier who needs to have the freedom to go around the backyard in peace even loudly barking dogs right next door would be a significant issue.  He would never be able to relax and might wander within reach of them not knowing what he was doing even if they never did anything.

It was a good learning day, learning areas, neighbourhoods and what we would get for different price ranges.  We are getting more savvy even if we did not see anything today that sparked our interest.

When we got done, it was still pretty early.  So our agent called to see if we could get into to see the house up the street from her.  The flipper was just a few minutes away so he drove back to let us in himself and to show us around.  Of course, having the owner there is never good.  He directs you away from things that he doesn’t want you to see and focuses your attention on nice features that might not even matter to you.

The house was really nice.  Great 1960s build and look on the outside and completely modern and new on the inside.  Very nicely done.  It is really our style and plenty of space too.  It is a full three bedrooms, although only two baths, with a full office in addition and lots of open living space.

We definitely liked the house that we saw last the best of any houses that we have seen thus far.  Dominica really, really likes it.  I like it a lot but am concerned that it is above the price range that we had even wanted to consider.  Not by a lot, but a little.  But a little over the cap that we wanted to consider, but a little over what we wanted to spend.  We are trying to be very conservative with this house.  This is not our attempt to get the greatest house for us ever – it is an attempt to mitigate the financial loss of renting and the problems associated with being on the third floor and not having a yard.  We are attempting to be practical, not to get our ultimate house – which this is far from being anyway.

So we learned a great deal tonight and are hopeful that we will get to make a good decision soon.  At this point we don’t even know when our  current lease is up nor if we have any options for getting out of it.  We have not spoken to a bank yet either.  So there is a lot of unknown going on for us at the moment in addition to the house itself.

After we were done looking at houses I needed to get over to La Cima for the new members meet and greet cocktail hour that was going on there tonight.  I am not really a “new” member but this was really for members who have joined since the last one of these events which was something like April or so.  So this is the first one for me.  Funny to be welcomed to the club by people who, many of whom, have been members for years but have probably not used the club to the extent that I have already.

Brian ended up joining me this evening.  He has been a member for about a year but had met very few people at the party and just sort of crashed the party.  It was free drinks and food all evening too!

After La Cima I ran over to Jersey Mike’s and picked up dinner and brought it back home for Dominica and Liesl.

We talked a lot about the houses tonight.  We are very interested in the last house that we saw.  We think that it might work for us even being as expensive as it is.  We talked about the pros and cons and what price we might be able to get for it.  The lack of a third bathroom is big and there are a lot of little things around the house that we would need done like electrical that should have been done in the remodel rather than afterwards.  While we were talking we realized that we could not figure out, at all, where the window in the master was located.  We decided that it must not have one.  But it must, right?

We are planning on talking to the bank tomorrow and getting the full story on the house so that we know what our options are.

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