Friday, August 07, 2009

Pick a house, any house

Here are three houses that captured my interest. House number one is in Dennis on Cape Cod. Possibly I could buy it for less than $200,000 as it is a short sale almost gone into foreclosure. Cute on the outside, it needs lots of work on the inside. It is in a neighborhood of similar houses. On a side road. Traffic noise in the background from Route 6. Three bedrooms and two baths. Also a den and master bedroom has attached bath. Has a fireplace but no basement. My friend M. lives in this same neighborhood. Will possibly need a new septic put in at $12,000 or so. Also has a worrysome water made sag in the ceiling and wall over the kitchen peepthrough to the livingroom. Moderate taxes as are all Cape Cod taxes compared to NH land/home taxes which are exhorbitant. 1272 square feet. 1/3 acre.

House number 2 is quite cute on the outside, typical three bed one bath ranch on the inside. The kitchen has just been completely redone due to a water pipe breakage in the winter. The owner left a year ago and the house hasnt sold. Very near busy four lane Route 28 which goes to one of the bridges so lots of traffic noise. Also house is on a busy street. Owner was a gardener so although the yard is small it has lovely plantings. House has another deck in the back. Has a fireplace and basement. The house is in Monument Beach on Cape Cod, the same town in which I lived for 28 years. The price is a little above $200,000 Clean and tidy. Little storage space. 1000 square feet 1/3 acre
Located about 5 miles from my Mom's New Hampshire home, house number 3 is fabulous. Three bedrooms, two baths, sun room, several little decks, fireplace and two woodstove hookups, master bedroom with walk in closet and attatched bath and sliders to a deck. Bookcases. Large spotlessly clean basement, 4 car garage and five acres. Spotless condition. Move in ready. Views of the Vermont Hills. Interesting neighbors. Price is the only negative although it is under 250,000. also it is up here in the cold North. 2121 square feet. very high taxes. 5 acres

Last night's dream. I go to the above home with my dad. we sit outside at a picnic table and Dad signs a check to buy me the house. Dad and I then go inside so I can show him around. When we look out the sunroom window at the view I notice two things I hadnt seen before. a large pond filled with koi and other fish. And a fence around part of the property.


Jude said...

2, then 1, then 3... don't need the hassle..of huge houses anymore. That's me anyway, I live outside most of the time so don't want all that space inside, too much cleaning and upkeep!

soulbrush said...

i didn't realise you wanted such a big house either. for me, it would be one large comfy room...i love the middle one. what to do? i still believe the right house with your name on it will come along, yes i do.

sukipoet said...

Jude, I imagine I could live in 800 square feet, but I'd have to ditch a lot of my possessions.

Soulbrush, not sure I want a big house exactly but the last house just turned otu to be big. I think that square footage might include the basement level. Not sure. But true that two bathrooms etc is more housework. I guess I thought I might rent out a room and bath(if I had 2 bathrooms) and earn some money that way.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I prefer cozy and quiet with a garden. Seems none of your choices fit exactly . . . hmmmmmm . . . such a decision . . . I shall simply pray and await your news. : D

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I like small homes at this stage in my life, not so much in cleaning and company but if you will be renting rooms...why not! It is what "fits" for you.

~Babs said...

Well, let's see, and this is only me, not you.
I wouldn't want to put that much money into #1 which needs additional money for repairs and septic, so it's out. Also too much land/yard to keep up.

#2 holds much appeal for me, new kitchen,small lovely yard,etc. I don't think the busy street would bother me, if the kitties are inside kitties.I would prefer busy to isolated, and/or vulnerable.The basement is a plus; storage there, and storm protection if that's an issue.
I would prefer 2 baths, for having company, but possibly one could be added.
#3 is of course wonderful, but would be too large for me alone.(too much upkeep and cleaning) The higher taxes and extreme weather would also be deal breakers. And the grounds would be way more than I'd want to have to keep up, or pay to have done.
(and I wouldn't want to rent out space unless it was a close personal friend.Sometimes even then it's not a good idea long term)
Just my opinions, and boy, I DO have them, huh?

m. heart said...

That dream is kind of amazing, with the fence and the koi fish pond.

House 1 sounds like it might need a new roof in addition to the septic! And with no basement I'd worry about the floors being frigidly cold or damp, or pipes bursting in places nobody can reach...seems like a lot of work.

House #2 is really cute and you know you like the area.

House #3. Well I can see why that's very tempting. It looks kind of amazing. But will you be lonely up there?

sukipoet said...

It is so fun to hear everyone's comments.

Debbie thank you for your prayers. In some ways I think any house is okay and the problem is not the house itself but me.

Blue Sky, renting rooms was just a thought. As Babs says later, renting a room can also be sort of uncomfortable some times and I really dont want to do so but could do so if feeling strapped.

sukipoet said...

babs, i enjoy reading your opinions. I agree about number 1, it is pretty scary to think about all one might have to do. I am not good about repairs. However, the price might be very low and other houses in the area are selling for $75,000 to $100,000 more at the present moment. Even if I put $50,000 worth of repairs into it I might later be able to sell it for a good price and profit when the market rebounds if it does. However, I am not much of a fixer upper type. I just want to get in there (somewhere) and start writing and painting.

If I moved to #2 the cats would have to stay inside.

sukipoet said...

m.heart. I agree the dream was amazing and also I felt so good after dreaming it. As if my Dad was telling me to go ahead and buy something --whatever I wanted--in real life I can only buy a house due to an inheritance left me by mom and dad so he/they are paying for it.

I also agree that for #1 there are probably many "hidden" costs like a roof although a home inspector would tell me about that before I made the full commitment to buy.

A basement is very good I agree. On cape cod there are many homes built on slabs due to their being made as summer cottages. So a good full basement is great plus it could be redone into a room.

Would I be lonely in #3. Most likely. That is a big hesitation along with reminding myself about the hard winters and the extra cost of the place. Although next door to #3 lives a man (and maybe he's married I dont know) who teaches at a well known college in Boston so he might be a possible fun neighbor. Or not.

Teri C said...

I love house #3 and really the best buy for the price. So what if it is big. All the more to enjoy.

This is exciting!!

katie jane said...

Well Suki, I think you have your answer here. It sounds to me like #3 is the best buy, but you are the one to decide. Personally, I would love the openness and quiet and solitude of number three. I very much like all the available land for gardens and fish ponds and quiet walks. With today's market I would think you could talk them down a little on the price. Good luck deciding.

Lynn said...

I can't imagine what my preferences would mean for your decision making. So I won't make any. Just say I trust you to make the best decision for yourself when the house and price and time is right. Good luck.
PS Don't forget to have enough room for art making and art supplies. But of course you are thinking of that already!

Elizabeth said...

I haven't visited for a little while and to arrive to such complicated decision making.

I think #1 has quite a lot going for it in spite of the costs.

#2 has the noise and small size against it.
#5 is too big unless you plan on having A LOT of guests

is it possible to say
none of the above and keep looking.......

I hope you find somewhere very lovely.

sukipoet said...

Teri, house #3 is a house I could really feel proud to own. It is elegant and the owners customized it nicely. It even had a sturdy wooden posted clothes line. You are right that it is the best buy when compared to Cape cod quality and size for almost the same price. But that has to do with locale. Cape Cod is just more expensive and you get less for the same amount of money there than you do up here.

sukipoet said...

katie jane, just remember you have a husband to share your space with. I am going to be alone in my house. I have lived alone for many years so I am cool with that, but it makes a difference esp if one is out in the boonies. That said, I too love the nature, the idea of having 5 acres to wander in etc.

sukipoet said...

Lynn, house number one and 3 had the best spaces for art making. House #2 would be cramped for space even though it has 3 bedrooms they are very small.

sukipoet said...

Elizabeth theoretically of course I can say no to the above and also no to the many others I didnt post up there. However, looking is now complicated by the fact that my cat needs eye drops 4 times a day. I cant take off for the Cape to look unless I find a cat sitter who is willing to do the drops, a lot to ask. I can still look nearby where I live in NH/Vt. That would just be a few hours trip. also the very thought of looking some more makes me feel ill. I am not sure i have the stamina to continue on seeking that perfect place up in the sky.

I am thinking a "good enough" house might be best. I did see a couple on HGTV the house buying show who said they looked at 400 houses before choosing theirs. Now no way can I do that. good grief. but maybe after a rest some enthusiasm will return.

patti said...

Okay #1 I would stay away from because of the repairs.

#2 looks lovely and the garden sounds great, location good, but the road noise is a minus. It is important to have happy cats.

#3 looks like a great buy and your dream confirms how much you like it, but it is not in the location that you want. Only you know how important this is to you.

So like Elizabeth , I'd go looking for #4 :) It's out there!

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Interesting houses.
#1 forget .. Its a royal pain to remodel. You have to find reputable people to do the work.
#2 Is cute. Is there no garage?
what would the resale be on it. If he cant sell it would you? Or would you want to? Thats the purpose of buying for you. One bath. only you will be living there. Noise can be camouflaged. Are the windows new double pained? Cats can live nicely inside. Ours do and always have. Better to feed the birds outside.
#3 concerns me in the acres. WHO is going to mow it? keep it up? It takes lots of work to maintain a large property. We know.
We love it here but were arent so isolated as you are out there, but do you love it there enough to be stuck there?
Those are things to think about.
Interesting choices.
Our house is 1700 sq feet but that takes in the sunroom... but we do have a very large garage. You could put a shed outside for storage.
Oh and do we REALLY NEED all the things we collect? :))

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Oh and I forgot the fireplace.
wood cost a lot to buy. So think about that in the cost of maintaining a home. Smaller house less cost of heating. Smaller property less cost of watering.

Mary said...

which one feels like 'home'to you?

we looked at a lot of houses before buying the one we've been in for 25 years....lots of people wouldn't have bought our house but we knew it was home the minute we saw it and when we went inside it just felt like home to us.....and we still love our house despite years of work, being close to the airport, etc.

sukipoet said...

Patti, these three are a narrowing down of around 30 or more viewings. Not sure I have it in me to keep looking for much longer. It is true that the dream home is very isolated. Even though the bro lives nearby he is not very friendly, and right now he is away a lot anyway.

cris, you are probably right about the resale on #2. The house has been on the market for over a year and I assume hasnt sold due to the highway noise. The current owner is the only owner of this house so it doesnt have a history of sales/resales behind it. Still, when the market is less glutted with homes for sale, this home might sell better. Or not. Who knows or can really predict. I do know that the median price for a Cape Cod home is around 300,000. Way aabove the national average.

No garage on either #1 or2.

1700 square feet seems quite a nice size.

Re: #3 Wood up here is plentiful for heating fuel and with five acres I'd have my own wood supply. Much of the land is woods. A local farmer keeps the meadow in shape. But there is a bit of lawn to mow.

sukipoet said...

Mary, it is almost impossible to answer that question. The really run down place needing lots of work (#1) was very artsy and quirky and felt comfortable. #2 by the highway did not feel "homey" but I guess I'd make it so. IT was in move in condition. #3 felt very homey and grand but I would be afraid of the lonely winter and also heating the big space.

Cestandrea said...

Hi Suki, wow, I like all three:) The last one looks so big...when I see this I think we are all so crammed together here in Paris...
I like your dream, it's colorful and calm.
Thanks so much Suki for your words on my blog, which are so wise and true. Have a great weekend

Annie said...

I vote for #3, and your dream confirms this. It maybe a bit more money, but you won't have to do repairs and put up with all the traffic noise. This house in Taos would be almost double the price. Plus it is in Cape Cod. What is not to love?

Annie said...

Suki, I was wrong, I thought # 3 was at the Cape, oh well, still it is the best buy, but # 2 is cute too.

Mary said...

suki--i don't mean which house feels homey--but do any just feel like home to you? we can probably make any place feel homey but sometimes a house may just feel like home without anything in it at all. i knew when i walked into the house i am in now that it was my home and my husband did, too. it just felt absolutely perfect (and it had big holes in the walls, needed a new roof and a new kitchen floor so it wasn't about the condition!--just the feeling!) we have never regretted it which is a good thing because it has demanded a lot of time and money over the years. it has also given us a wonderful place to live and we adore our neighbors and neighborhood too....for me picking where i would live had to feel right more than anything else ;-)

you'll know ;-)

Anonymous said...

I don't think I can be of any help here, except to say that I agree with the majority. I'd stay away from #1. You had a good dream about #3, and it also seems to be the best value for the money. I, like many of your readers, can't imagine wanting that much space. But that's just because I am in a material purge phase and yearn for small, simple and Zen right now. No clutter, no baggage! If you have lovely antiques needing a good home, then there you go! I vote for #3.

sukipoet said...

andrea, thanks for stopping by. Yes #3 is really more for a younger person or a couple with sons or something who can help take care of the grass cutting and snow plowing etc.

Annie, if #3 were on Cape cod it would cost at least twice as much and if it had 5 acres on Cape Cod it would be over half a million at least.

Mary thanks for the distinction re: home and homey. I guess it is hard for me to say: this is home about any house. Too many factors enter my head. I can say #2 feels the least like home though I dont know why. #3 felt very home however the taxes, cost and upkeep all come into play along with my age to make that seem not a wise choice. #1 felt comfortable, that's the best I can say. But the many tasks awaiting me there feel overwhelming. I would be spending maybe two years getting the place into some semblance of order.

Even when I lived at 217 County Road for 20 years I was never able to say, yes, this is home. This must be a flaw inside me. I kept wanting to leave and be somewhere else but i stayed as the rent was so low. NOW I look back with great longing and see that it was home and a home I wish I were still in although I'd prefer it with some updates.

sukipoet said...

Kelly thanks for your insights. One minute I feel like I want to be zen and downsize even more than i have been doing for the last 5 years. At the same time, yes I could take some of Mom's antiques which of course I love and would need more space. I think I dont know who I am anymore or what I want. I can be so fluid and want and be whatever arises for me to a certain extent. Yet i do want a home base from which to move in and out of the world from.

San said...

Suki, I lean to the second house. I love the idea of a brand new kitchen, and yes, it's an adorable place. Noise would bother me probably, but that's because I've gotten used to living in a very quiet place.

The first house is very sweet too, but that ceiling problem is intimidating.

When I first saw the third house, I thought 'so much yard to mow!, so much house to keep up!' Your dream, however, is intriguing. I believe you need to reflect on the dream and why you dreamed about house #3. Why does that house feel connected with your father--is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is a koi pond something you wish for? And, what does the fence represent? Which boundary? I'm not demanding answers here. I just believe if it were my dream, I would reflect on such questions. Also, if you woke up from that dream feeling good, relaxed, hopeful, etc.--well, maybe that means you need to consider house #3 quite seriously.

sukipoet said...

San thanks for your reflections. You are one of the few who mentioned the dream as you would, being a great dreamer and writer about dreams yourself.

I have thought about the dream and feel it is about my dad giving me "permission" to buy a house with no guilt attatched. He wants me to have one. I dont necessarily think it meant to buy that house, although my dad loved interesting houses and large spaces. It would be a house of which he approved. The fence, esp as it was an ugly wire fence like people put up to keep in dogs, seems to say to me I might be "fenced" in at that place as it is above my comfort price range and might require lots of work re: mowing and cleaning etc. The koi pond I am not sure about. I dont necessarily long for a koi pond. Though I do like a pond.

Thanks for your thoughful questions.

Kim said...

Hi Suki,

What lovely choices you have. I tend to be a person who has had a lot of homes to fix up, so the idea of doing a lot of that does not appeal to me personally. The first house sounds like there are several structual issues to contend with there.

The second little house seems as thought it would be a nice one. I have gotten used to having several bathrooms, but if I were alone, I am not sure if it would bother me to not have but one.

The third house sounds fantastic and the dream is kind of intriguing. I wonder if your father was just saying he wants you to be happy and when you saw the pond you knew that would be something you would like to consider. Clearly, a koi pond could be put into place in any of these locations. You do have a great relationship with the water, so that might be interesting for you.

I keep thinking how important the Cape has been for you and how maybe a little house there is what you might find appealing. Of course, only you know the real answer to that thought. I know you must feel eager to make a decision so you can get yourself in place this autumn.

I will be eager to hear what you choose.

sukipoet said...

Kim, thanks for your thoughts. As I only previously owned a house for a few years and as I had a hard time getting some of the repairs needed done, even hiring them out, I am hesitant to embark on a home that obviously needs repairs. On the other hand, those houses tend to be cheaper.

You are right about the fact that I am anxious to make a choice and get into the place by fall. I have hired a woman who is a life coach to help as a catalyst since I seem not to have a strong inner catalyst. Also to hold my hand as I proceed. Hopefully this will work.

I like the up country too, but then I remember the winter and my enthusiasm declines.

kj said...

suki, the thing about # 3 that seems not so hospitable is its location. it keeps you abit isolated, close to the issues with your brother, not to mention the winter harshness.

i like # 2. it seems sweet and cozy and the price is right. the location may not be ideal but it seems manageable, and once you are in the market, it will only appreciate to the point if you ever want to move elsewhere, you will have some equity $ to upgrade.

of course like everyone else i don't know what's best for you but it seems to me you love the cape, you have friends there, the yard is sweet, the price is right, the kitchen is new....



Annie said...

I wish I could make a recommendation but I don't dare. I never pick the final house when I'm watching House Hunters on HGTV. Happy hunting to you.

sukipoet said...

kj you give good and sensible advice. Actually I called the realtor y'day to find out if this house (#2) is still on the market but she hasnt gotten back to me yet.

Annie, I rarely guess the choices on HGTV homebuyers show either.