House Hunting Update

March 10, 2008 at 1:38 pm (Pre-Move Updates) (, , , )

It has been a long couple of days.  In total, we’ve looked at close to 50 homes, and I’ve taken notes on all of them so we could remember which ones we like, which ones we didn’t, and why.  We arrived with a list and on Thursday, Sandy and I started looking while Tom was in meetings.  Around noon we got a call from Tom – FHA had raised the loan amount to $365K, so suddenly we could throw our list out and look at homes that were a little higher than the $285 max we had.  So basically Thursday was a wash and Friday and Saturday were spent in a marathon session of house hunting.

On Friday we found this house on Akin Road.  It’s a beautiful house built in 2007 and never lived in.  Totally, totally high-end everything: carpet, cabinetry, appliances, furnace/ac, closets, etc.  I call it an “aspirational” house, one that you could spend an entire lifetime aspiring to.  It reminds me a lot of mom and dad’s house, something that it just really lovely.  The side of the house is next to a road, but it isn’t a really busy road, and the back looks over a natural growth protection area.  There are another 4 potential lots next door, but who knows when those might be built in this market.

akin-house.jpg

The bank owns this house right now and we went fishing for some information.  We learned that on the last deal, the bank countered an offer to $320, so we thought that if we offered that we stood a chance.  We made our offer and had to wait until Banking Hours to learn what the result was.  The bank came back only $2K less than the listing price of $339!  So we didn’t even bother countering again – we decided that they were too high for us, and in addition, we would be spending a lot of up-front costs on a sprinkler system, sod, fencing, deck, and curtains.  All very expensive items.  So we went to our second choice.

This house is in Rosemount, which is less than 7 miles from Thomson.  It’s in a subdivision and there is a road behind us, but the traffic on that road isn’t bad, we aren’t too close to our neighbors, and the property is 0.36 acres, not bad for a subdivision property.  It’s a 4-level home.  My favorite style homes out here are 2 story homes, followed by a Modified 2-level split, then the 4 level homes.  Almost always I disregared a Split-level home.  I hate the idea of having to carry my groceries up a flight of stairs.  And there are almost no ramblers because those are the most expensive to build and take the largest footprint.

blanca-house.jpg

Anyway….this house has a few things going for it…first it is $299K.  Also, it has a sprinkler system, new deck, and the backyard is entirely fenced with black cyclone fencing.  It also has a 10×12 shed.  It was built in 2003 and is very well kept.  The kitchen is very nice, and the only thing we would do to the entire house is replace the formica countertops.  You can’t tell, but the countertops are edged in a bright blue stripe which isn’t very attractive.  The lower level is nice and the basement is unfinished, which would give us an additional 700-800 square feet.  We like this house a lot….it meets all our needs, feels like us, is move-in ready (complete with some really nice window coverings saving some serious bucks!).  And we’ll have lots of leftover cash to spend.

So we made an offer.  Then we just found out (about 5 minutes ago) that another couple is making an offer.  We found out where the seller wants to be, so we are taking that as the “unofficial counter” and resubmitting our offer.  Hopefully the other dingbats won’t make a full price offer.  But why does God hate Tom so much???  How, in this market, when only a half-dozen comparable homes have sold in the last 8 months, do we pick a house with multiple offers on it??

We’ll have to see what happens tonight/tomorrow morning with this house.  We aren’t going to go any higher because honestly, there are just too many good houses out there, but we like this one and the re-adjustment on our offer makes our monthly payment $60 more.  That is what – 3 dinners out?  And considering there doesn’t seem to be a single Teriyaki place in all of Dakota or Scott county, well, guess we won’t be eating out much.

So I could give you the third and fourth choices, but at this point I’m not sure they are very firm and I don’t want to jinx anything.  Instead, I will give you some observations that I’ve made in the past few days.

  • We went to Walmart.  It was wonderful.  I didn’t see a single shopper who neglected to wear a bra, came in slippers and pj pants, or was missing teeth.  In fact, the shoppers looked like us – clean, dressed, and not under the influence of last night’s binge session.
  • Food, at least the food in restaurants, is cheaper.  Tom and I went for Mexican last night and it was under $20 which included a Pina Colada for Tom.  Granted, that Mexican wasn’t very good, but it’s not the first place we’ve eaten well at that has been so economical.  We can get quite a bit of food for the two of us at Boston Market.
  • It’s cold, really cold.  That one is pretty obvious.  But unlike Seattle, people stay indoors when the weather is this cold.  Sure, they could bundle up but they appear to be smarter than that.  Or they are all in a hut on a frozen lake ice fishing, which is still weird to me.  There also doesn’t seem to be many gyms – I’ve only seen one LA Fitness.  I might like these people – lots of good, cheap food and minimal exercise.
  • These people are real boozers.  Seriously.  In Seattle, if you pass a strip mall, you can almost be certain that there is a Nail Salon and a Teriyaki place in there.  Around here, every strip mall contains a liquor store.  I guess when it’s this cold there isn’t anything to do except stay indoors and drink yourself warm.
  • We have driven around most of Dakota county and it’s just truly amazing how much open space there is when you are less than an hour from Minneapolis.  Serious farmland and land that you only see 4+ hours from Seattle.  But, the odd part was that I’ve only seen one horse facility that would probably be comparable to what I’m used to.  I may have to look to Scott county, which is to the west, but there just doesn’t seem to be much equine activity.  What little farmland western Washington does have seems to be covered in horses.

That’s about all I know for now.  Take a look at the pictures and imagine what it will be like to visit us!  I’ll send/post news as soon as I have some.

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