Big ChangeAs planned, the house emptied out of kids at the end of August, and we have been reevaluating things. One thing we've wanted to do is downsize our mortgage...and in my case I'd like to get out completely from under it if we could. Well, turns out The Wife, who earlier was not ready to move, is now sufficiently recovered from our last move 5 years ago to do one more.
When I was looking through the local listings, I noticed two that seemed way too good to be true, at least on paper. I thought about them for a few days, reviewing the listings several times a day and forming my mind's-eye picture of them. I finally broke down and showed them to The Wife, asking her if she would go and see them with me. She's done this dance with me before, and she knows that if I can just get out and see them, she will be able to argue me out of wanting to move again. She agreed to go see them, and we had a showing of each of the two houses on Friday.
The first one turned out to be mostly a dog. One of the "2 bathrooms" was a toilet, sink, and shower in the corner of a basement that even I would have a tough time spending a lot of time in. The Wife probably couldn't even live in the house just knowing that that basement was under her. Sigh. I knew that at the asking price, it was just too good to be what I hoped it would be. On to the next house, which was only slightly more expensive with a smaller yard and very close to the center of our little town.
But a funny thing happened at that showing.
The worst impression I had of the place was the first instant I saw it. I suspect the same was true of The Wife. The more we looked at it, the more we liked it. Huge kitchen, HUGE basement that is unfinished but not at all musty or otherwise distasteful. HUGE 2.5 car garage. HUGE master bedroom, bigger even than the one we have now. Nice room for Panda. As an older (1913, I think) house, it had all kinds of nooks and crannies. Incredible number of windows to let in all sorts of light, just like The Wife likes. Roomy kitchen and dining room, and a living room that might be even a bit bigger than our current one, with an alcove on one wall surrounded by windows. Unkempt but very nice perennial flower beds. Officially 3 bedrooms, but we could pretty easily call it 5. Part of its life was spent as a top/bottom duplex, so there is a kitchenette upstairs complete with cupboards and so on.
It's right across the street from church, across the street from tanning & beauty salon, 2-3 blocks from the video store, Pizza Ranch, Subway and the grocery store. Walking distance from pretty much everything. Corner lot, and couples with small children for neighbors. A small yard, which may make it less ideal for the dogs, but mowing and snow removal will be much easier and there IS room for a run for the dogs as well as a place to set up a play set for Panda.
The price? Slightly less than what our equity would allow us to walk away with after selling our house, paying the realtor and closing costs, and so on.
By the end of the first showing, we were in love. Turned out Mom & Dad were paying us a surprise visit Friday night, so we called and had another showing with them. We fell more in love, and the folks liked it too. We stewed until this morning.
We found a way to get the cash fronted to us until our house sells, and at 11:30 this morning we put in an offer. There is already another offer on the place, and the bigwigs at the local bank (who owns the property) will be considering both offers tomorrow. The other one is contingent on financing and we're offering very close to the asking price (which is a little over 2/3 the assessed value of the property according to county records) so we're feeling pretty good about our chances. We should hear tomorrow afternoon what's going to happen.
We still plan to foster, but it may take a month or two to get the new place into shape for it, get inspections done, etc. It'll be nice that we'll be on city water and not have to worry any more about doing well tests, and it'll be nice for the kids to be living in town where they'll be closer to their friends. Of course, that also makes it easier for teens to sneak out and get into trouble with their friends at night. But all in all, I'm REALLY hoping this goes through. I've been dreaming for many years of living in a house without a mortgage. Looks like this just might be my shot at it.