Duds and Diamonds: Part 1

If you want to find a forever home, you have to look at some duds and diamonds.  The day after Tom and I decided to buy a house, our realtor lined us up with two houses to tour.

Tom and I prioritized the things that were important to us.  We want a house we can grow old in, so it needed a first floor master bedroom, bath, and laundry.  Tom wants at least an acre of land so he has plenty of room to putter.  We want to store the RV on the property.  And I want a place where I can walk every day without driving somewhere.  We don’t want to be too far from church or shopping.

We decided to limit our search to Delaware County, just north of Columbus.  This would keep us within 1/2 hour of John and Jackie and less than an hour to my parents’ house.  Franklin County also has restrictions on parking an RV on your property.  Many new developments in Delaware County also have these restrictions so we wanted to avoid those.

The first two properties met all of our criteria, so they were good places to start.  Would they be duds or diamonds?  Touring them also gave our realtor, Sherri Resnick, an opportunity to meet us and see how important each of our priorities was.

The first house we looked at was a 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch on two acres of land on Big Walnut Road.  The pictures of the house on Zillow make it look really good – updated, nice and open.  But it has been on the market for four months with the price being lowered every month.  In a hot market like Columbus, that tells you something.   The property was amazing and backed up to McNamara Park, which meant plenty of tinkering for Tom and walking for me.  But the house!

Definitely a dud.  Someone spent a ton of money to put in new floors and a beautiful new kitchen.  But, like lipstick on a pig, it was a waste of money.  The roof joists were rotting – you could tell by the way the roof sagged outside.  The sunroom and decks were falling down and the barn outbuilding was so rickety we didn’t dare walk in it.  There were two bathrooms and renovation had been started on both and not finished.

Tom and I agreed that the property was nice, but the house was not salvageable.  We both felt we would have to tear it down and start over.  Not something we want to tackle at this point in our lives.  Maybe, as the price continues to come down, someone will want to buy the property for a beautiful new home.

The second house was just down Tussic Road in Westerville.  A 4 bedroom, 2 bath ranch on an acre lot.  The house was very clean and updated but had a strange layout.  There was a living room with two bedrooms and a bath down a hall behind it.  Then there was a large eat-in kitchen with two bedrooms and a bath off of that.  It looked like those two bedrooms were an addition at some point.  Although the rooms were updated, the color choices were so strange that I felt like I would have to redo most of them to live in them.

The house had an acre of lawn around it, with a nice sized two car garage.  But the house and land were leftovers from the days the land was out in the country.  Next door was an even older farmhouse, but everything else in the vicinity was brand new developments.  In the open backyard, we could see into the yards of a half a dozen neighbors.

The house was downhill on a very busy street.  It felt noisy and crowded.  I could walk on the sidewalks and in the neighborhoods but it was definitely city living.  Another dud.

Although both of the houses were duds, Tom and I were not discouraged.  Sherri had plenty of houses for us to look at – lots of properties that met our requirements.  And now she had a better idea of what to show us.

There are always going to be duds and diamonds.  The trick is knowing what is right for you.  What can you live with?  What can you change?  Tomorrow I will write more about our search for the right house for us.