Friday, May 18, 2012

Our Home Buying Misadventures - Part One

As of this very moment, my family has looked at over 200 houses in the town that we currently live in.  This, thankfully, has been over the course of two years.  I know most of these houses so well that if I saw a picture of the house I could tell you what I liked or disliked about each it with a 90% accuracy rate. 

We have looked at newly constructed houses and ones that have been around for almost a hundred years.  Dream homes and reality homes (meaning those that we might actually be able to afford).  I won't bore you with a list of ALL of the houses we have seen, but we have come up with a "Top 10 List" to share with you. 


Top 10 Memorable Houses

10.  The two story house with converted garage.  This house had a lot of space.  The problem was they decided to convert part of their garage in to a laundry room.  Not a bad idea, but they ruined a two car garage.  They now have a huge laundry room and a garage that could fit a couple of motorcycles.

9.  The smoker house.  Smell is important to me.  There are just some smells that no amount of Killz paint or air freshener can cover up.  One day we found ourselves on a street that had four open houses.  We decided to just walk from one to the next and came across the smoker house.  A really beautiful home with a lot of space.  The problem...it SMELLED.  In fact, that was the first thing the realtor told us.  The owner, a smoker of 40+ years, was already selling the house thousands of dollars less than the other homes on the street and was willing to pay for new carpets.  Ummm, that's great, but as soon as you turn the air conditioner on, her nasty habit will come out of the vents and ruin your new carpets.  No thank you.

P.S. The faux brick is not cool.

8.  Owners with multiple dogs.  This really encompasses several houses that we have seen.  If you are trying to sell your house, please understand that seeing your home literally torn/chewed apart by your multiple dogs is NOT a selling point.

7.  House on 10 lots.  This house we had hoped would have a lot of potential.  It didn't look too bad from the front, had a lot of square footage, and was on a massive lot that actually encompassed 10 city lots.  Once you opened the door though, you were in for a treat.  The memorable features of this home included about seven types of flooring used throughout the house (laminate, wood, brick, tile, and multiple colors of carpeting), a random bedroom that was only accessible by going through the garage, and a pool that was filled with green slime.

Here you can see the stone floor with carpet inlaid (it is not a rug).

6.  The caterpillar house.  That pretty much explains it.  This house was COVERED with thousands of caterpillars.

5.  The 1960's retro house.  This house was stuck in the 1960's...literally...with acoustic tiles on the ceiling, a pull out divider that you would find in a church fellowship hall, colors on the wall that scream "outdated," and light fixtures that you never knew existed and you wonder how you would replace the light bulb when it goes out because they haven't been made since 1959.

Note the wood paneling...everywhere!  Acoustic tiles for the ceiling.


4.  The hoarder house.  We should have known ahead of time that this house was going to be a treat.  Our realtor at the time was very hesitant about showing us this house, but it had four bedrooms and was in a desirable location.  When we walked in to the house we were surrounded by clothes, toys, and trash that reached up to my waist (at least in most of the rooms).  We were barely able to see the path that was cleared for us.  After a very quick tour of the house we jetted out to our car to find probably a dozen cats creeping out of the woodwork.  We had several surrounding our car and it almost felt like the cats were a gang creeping up on us and ready to steal our wallets.

3.  The castle house with a turret.  This house we saw during the National Open Houses weekend last year.  There is no way that we would have driven past it and said, "yes, that is exactly what I want!"  This has a random turret that is only accessible by a small spiral staircase in the middle of the living room.


2.  Creepy doll house.  When you try to sell your house you want to declutter as much as possible and take away items that might be too personal to you.  For example, you want to take out the family photos and Star Wars collection...OR...you could just leave your wonderful collection of porcelain dolls out for all to see.  This house had, easily, over a hundred dolls scattered about.  Tiny dolls and dolls the size of small child.  The creepiest ones, however, were the ones sitting on the back of the toilet.  Now, I know the dolls don't come with the house, but just seeing it on the toilet knowing that it stares at the owner of the house every time they use the bathroom...that is just creepy!

There are at least five dolls hidden in this picture...can you find them all?


And now we come to the most memorable house...

1.  The serial killer house with a squatter.  We originally wanted to look at this home because of the size and price.  What we soon found out was it would make the perfect house for a serial killer.

The listing that I would create for this home, to appeal to the everyday serial killer...
"Need privacy?  This is the perfect place for you!  Miles outside of town, this home gives you the peace and quiet you have been looking for.  With over five acres of wooded land you have all the space you need.  Perfectly secluded with no neighbors to worry about.  The tile in the home makes clean up a breeze."

This house was rather creepy.  We tried to get in and out as quickly as possible.  What made this house even creepier though was the fact there was a squatter living in the house.  The realtor was told this house was completely empty and yet in the converted garage there was definitely someone living there.  Luckily they weren't there when we arrived, but I can only imagine what they were doing there.  I don't think there were any missing persons reports.


**Please note that I did not take any of these photos.  These were all taken from Zillow.com.

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