Wednesday, April 22, 2009

House Hunt, Part 2

We were on our way back toward Naperville on our first day of house hunting, with a few stops in southern Warrenville. This was the first stop:

I had high hopes for this house. The listing online made it sound pretty good, and the price was definitely good. And look how cute it is on the outside! However, it was also listed as a short sale, which is the first sign of trouble. We walked directly into a dining room and tried to see past clutter and bad design.

The living room seemed to be an addition. The room was long and narrow, but the fireplace was nice. I noticed that the paneling wasn't painted very well. I heard Joanne making noises about the kitchen so I went in there next.

And this is what I saw:

Oh. NO. Even if it wouldn't be that hard to fix this mess, it was too hard to see what it was supposed to be. And we don't want to HAVE to do this kind of work just to live in it. Joanne declared that she had seen enough and would wait by the door. Erich and I walked by the bedrooms and gradually came to the realization that nothing about this house could be good enough to make us want to live there.

Our last stop in Warrenville was this place, another one we had high hopes for because the price was so good:

And it actually doesn't look that bad in this picture. But there were many problems. 1. The back of the house is extremely close to the side of the house behind it. 2. Check out how huge the actual step into the house is. Plus, there used to be two railings there, but one of them rusted away. 3. It smelled like smoke. There's a deal breaker right away. 4. Bathrooms were scary. 5. The kitchen and living rooms actually had too much space in the wrong dimensions. It was hard to envision how to use them. 6. The only plus was that it had a basement--but that basement had the wasted space issues of the upstairs and probably flooded due to the outdoor direct access to the basement (i.e. concrete steps with one tiny drain for rainwater).

It was beyond time to move on. Joanne had found a townhouse in Naperville that looked pretty good, so we went there next.

Now THIS is more like it! It's an end unit, one-car garage but double-wide driveway. Lovely neighborhood with lots of trees. And frankly, it looks pretty similar to the duplex we're in now and like.

Check it out! A small room in the front that is absolutely ideal for piano lessons! I immediately set to work on trying to love the rest of the property, because this room is key.

Unfortunately, the kitchen wasn't quite up to snuff. Also in the front, it's closed off from the rest of the house. The counters vaguely resemble granite but are actually cheap Formica. The cabinets masquerade as high end with new nickel hardware, but they're actually cheap, small, and old. Lastly, there are fatal flaws in the layout which minimize space effectiveness. Still, we want to love this house, so we keep looking.

The living room in the back of the house is nice. I was able to see past the fact that it was over-stuffed with furniture that was too large for the space. We headed upstairs to see the bedrooms. One was closed because there were animals in there, but the one next to it was the same dimensions. Small, but pleasant.

The hall bath was also small with ugly tile, but I was glad it exists. Then we went to the master bedroom.

And yes, those are french doors opening to a balcony! It's a small balcony and not super-useful, but I thought it was a nice selling feature. The master bedroom also had a huge walk-in closet and a somewhat cramped bathroom.

A trip to the backyard reveals more awesomeness. Sure, we're really close to the neighbors, but at least we'd have the sideyard and it backs up to that wooded area. And that freshly-power washed patio is in really good shape! At long last, this is the "one to beat."

We liked this one so much, it fairly well overshadowed the last place we saw, a single family home in Naperville (surprising that it was anywhere near our price range!).

No basement. Only one living room area. Beautifully updated kitchen that was not eat-in. So-so neighborhood. I kind of liked it, but it just wasn't right for us.

That concludes our first day out house-hunting. We toured a total of seven homes in about three hours and were given a lot to think about.

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