It’s been quiet on the blog for several months now. Life got very busy, and craft and decor projects halted as we started what turned out to be a very emotional six-month search for a new house. We’re scheduled to close in less than three weeks, so it’s time to spill the beans and start sharing my ideas for making this house our home!
Why in the world did it take six months to find a house?
- We are picky. This will be our forever home and it had to meet a long list of criteria.
- We want a prime location. Our target town is highly desirable for its excellent school system, reasonable tax rate (relative to nearby towns), proximity to Boston, and numerous train stops for commuters. This means that prices are incredibly high and loads of people want to live there.
- There’s lack of inventory and steep competition. Even at the height of the spring real estate market there were very few homes listed for less than $1M. Yes, that’s right. Finding a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house with a two-car garage and air conditioning for less than $1,000,000 was ridiculously hard.
- We had six offers declined. Even the house we ultimately got! Some of our offers were tens of thousands of dollars over asking and we didn’t even come close to winning. One house we looked at, but decided not to make an offer on, sold for $200,000 over asking. Insane.
So this is our new, very humble abode. It could easily be an episode of “Property Brothers”. I can see the preview now…
Young family searching for their forever home can’t afford their dream house in their ideal neighborhood. After many months of searching and six failed offers, the family settles for a fixer-upper in a fantastic location. With champagne taste and a beer budget, can they complete their renovations on time without breaking the bank?
Where, oh where, are Drew and Jonathan Scott when I need them?
When I first saw the listing, I immediately thought “This is the house!” based on the one lonely available picture. After all, it’s a little over 2,000 square feet, has 4 bedrooms all on the second floor, 2.5 bathrooms, a two-car garage, central air conditioning, a partially finished basement and even a screened-in porch. More importantly, it’s in a nice residential neighborhood in our target town, and walking distance to the train to Boston (very important for my husband’s commute), the elementary school, a nice playground, a dry cleaner and Dunkin’ Donuts. All of the essentials.
Yet when we went to the open house, we were incredibly unimpressed. The house was built in the mid 1960’s and the same family has owned it for the past 40 years. While they’ve maintained it quite well, nothing has been updated since an addition was put on in the mid 1990’s. As we walked around the small rooms with their low ceilings and lack of lighting, the choppy layout, and sloping backyard we could not imagine our little family living there. Coming from a home built in 2004 with huge windows, high ceilings, and a granite-filled kitchen, we felt like this little colonial was not a good fit.
Throughout the following week the house kept popping into my mind. There had to be a way to work for us. It was perfect on paper, but how could we make it perfect for us? I talked my husband into dragging the kids to another open house. We brought an architect with us, and the next day he and our agent went back with a builder. We made a low-ball offer and ended up in a bidding war with another couple. We lost.
I was devastated. Mentally decorating and getting attached to six houses, only to lose out in bidding war after bidding war, took a huge toll on me. It was all I could do to keep from losing it in front of the kids when I got the call that our offer hadn’t won.
Then a few days later, our agent called with interesting news: the other party had backed out, and if we wanted the house we could have it! So we jumped on it, and now we find ourselves leaving city life in Boston for a much quieter, family-friendly suburb and a house that needs work in every single room.
I hope you’ll join me as I chronicle our renovation and share my design ideas and projects along the way!