House hunt catch up

When last I left you we had just looked at individual house #22. We’ve gone back to a few, either for a second look, or because I looked the first time and took Bob back to see a house too. We agree on what we are looking for, but he has the more normal viewpoint, and is more grounded in reality as opposed to possibility. In other words whilst I can dream of improvements, he’s the one that puts the reality back into mix.

The barn house calls to me, but the reality is we would have to do significant alterations to the floor plan and add more living space which would be entirely possible given the unused part of the barn. But the current living space is less than 900 square feet, and frankly we’re big people, our relatives are big people–that’s my tall son-in-law standing with me in the kitchen. We’d also have to add a stairway to the lower level, and probably another bathroom too. It’s a great space and I could see growing old there, but Bob doesn’t. He had taken the house off the possibility list days before I came to terms with the reality. Still, I’m comparing what we look at to that house…

Schedules didn’t work out to go looking again after our last big day until the following Friday. But I couldn’t rest and decided to go preview a list of houses and their neighborhoods. Off I went with a map and spent an entire day driving. The goal was to drive by potential houses, make sure the picture matched the house, and that the neighborhoods were okay and had some level of convenience, and of course paved streets. I was able to cross a couple houses off our list based on that alone. Two houses were empty so I pulled in and sat in my car for a bit and watched street traffic and the world go by, and prayed. It was a great day. We are moving to a pretty area and people seem very nice. The more I am out there, the more I like it. My fears are falling away.

The housing market has picked up it seems. People are buying because of interest rates and because of the approaching tax credit deadline. So a vital part of looking at houses is your realtor checking with the listing agent to be sure they are available, and sometimes that can be while driving to the house to confirm the appointment!

#23 Front Royal Pike House

 This house called to my husband. I do like this view of the side entrance porch. It’s on a busy highway though, 55 is the speed limit in front of the house  which sits fairly close to the road. It also needs a lot of what they call TLC, lots of cleaning and paint, lots of fixing. The basement was a mess. However it did have a new, more than double car garage with a finished room and bathroom upstairs! That would be swell. Maybe.

These photos were taken by my daughter. They were visiting from UK and we hauled them with us on a preview before the day we got to see inside with our realtor. We like this house okay.

Status: Maybe

#24 Double Church Road
I so would like to live on Double Church Road! There are many more than two churches on this road too. This house is a typical red brick rambler out in a small housing area outside Stephens City, VA which makes the commute for my husband very attractive. The house was well cared for and the basement totally finished. No garage though but plenty of lot to build. Landscaping was minimal which is fine for me, and the view across the road to the farm pond with llamas and sheep was sweet. The house is a short sale though, with complications. The guy living there is a cancer survivor and frankly, my sympathies are to let the guy live there. Our first thought anyway, was the house wasn’t big enough, too much building needed to be done, for the price being asked. Then there was the thought the bank could come back and demand more money for the property, over the asking price. Oy.

Status: Mostly Nope

#25 Yellow house at the base of Apple Mountain

This was an example of a well updated house. The craftsmenship inside was excellent and the floor plan was great. The problem was the obvious history of water, possibly even flooding inside the house. I’ve had this house on my list for several months and have watched the price shift up and down. The latest was up, because they paved the driveway, but then tore it apart to fix a drainage issue. Then there was the mold remediation documentation. The back yard was down a steep hill which was soft with moisture. Top that off with the lack of paved roads to the house, and we scratched this one off the list.

Status: Nope

#26 Front Royal Cluttered House
OY. I like looking at empty houses better. This house was added to our list when another was taken off, and it’s in the price range of the barn house. I thought it would be a good comparison. I had not driven by this house earlier in the week so probably could have eliminated simply from the street view. This small 3 bedroom house was the home of a collector and crammed full of stuff. I think because getting up to the house was a chore, so getting thing out of the house is also work. The house is set into the side of a pretty steep hill. Great view. Convenient neighborhood. I tried to see the floor plan for what it was but it’s very small, too small.

Status: Nope

#27 Stonewall Jackson House
Secretly, I had fallen in love with this house. In my preview road trip, this was one I sat and prayed at, walked the yard, daydreamed living there. It’s a brick rambler with character. Someone loved gardening that lived there. I also think they had good ideas when it came to customizing their basic rambler. Check out the first three pictures in this photo album on my Facebook. I was positive this was going to be THE house. I was wrong. The inside was like stepping back to 1952 when the house was built. It had never had a fresh coat of paint. The kitchen seemed an afterthought and I suppose it was designed by someone who ate out a lot. The house had overall and obviously been poorly maintained so the mechanicals were in sad shape. The foundation was caving in in the basement and there was evidence of water. Outside, cracks in the brick, that I didn’t see on my first visit, indicated serious issues. The topper was, it had a cistern for water supply. No fresh running water. A well would have to be dug. We calculated that the house would take at least $75,000-$100,000 to fix. I was so sad. Bob was even sad.

Status: Nope

We left for home, pretty discouraged. I had such high hopes that this was the day we would finally find a house. The good news was our kids were returning from their week at work. We picked Kate up from the train that evening, and planned our Saturday list of chores around what they needed to get done before their flight back to UK, Saturday night. In the morning, our son-in-law texted his progress on his early morning flight. He even texted he’d be willing to look at houses! He so rocks! I sat and reviewed my online lists of houses, updating and removing the houses we checked off the list.

I took another look at the house on Double Church Road. Something about it made me think it might work, especially since the location made it such a good commute for Bob. I thought maybe I had written it off too soon. It occured to me to check to see if anything else in the area was for sale.

#28 Swell house off Double Church Rd.
I spotted this house down the street.

Click here for the Virtual Tour of the house.

I showed the pictures of the house to Bob and Kate, and read them the details. It seemed perfect. I e-mailed our realtor who answered within 30 minutes. She could meet us at the house at Noon! We threw on some clothes, and headed to the airport to pick up John, then we headed out to the house. Remember we live 2 hours away from where we will probably be living. We found our realtor waiting in the driveway. She had a smile on her face. The minute we stepped in, it was wonderful. Each room was better than the next. The basement is a finished family room and guest room, and has a bathroom, and at which point grateful tears came to my eyes. There is a full garage, plus, what was a home recording studio so it is soundproofed…will become the workshop. There is even a playhouse for kid friends, or grandchildren, should there be any. Bob looked at me, I looked at Bob, and he looked at our realtor and said, “We need to make an offer on this house!”

Status: Offer tendered, in negotiations

That is all for this post. I’ll be updating our process in another post. Prayers are appreciated!



About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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One Response to House hunt catch up

  1. you are doing such a fine find something that is good for both of you. that is a wonderful yet demanding task.

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