Well, I've gone and done it. After months of feeling increasingly anxious and frustrated with living my adult daughter and my grandson, I've entered into a contract to purchase a house for them in Melville. As I mentioned in my last post, D and her friend A visited a number of properties just over a week ago. D narrowed the list to two properties, and I added in a third that I liked based on the information on the realtor website.
I took a day of vacation on Thursday; D, Eli and I drove out to Melville to meet with the realtor to see the three properties. He surprised us with a list of four more houses to look at that were in our price range. It was a good thing he did so because the three we had on the short list were no goes. One because it was simply too small, the yard was a disaster and I'm pretty certain I could have pushed the garage down with one good shove. The second on D's list was a decent size, but in a not so desirable area and the basement was a disaster. There were cracks in the floor and walls, some as wide a ruler. Likely the only solution would be to lift the house and dig out and pour a new basement....well beyond my financial limits.
The third property was my favorite but D thought it was an old lady house. The main bedroom was painted lilac, there were lots of knickknacks and the decor was definitely had a "senior" air. But the house was a great size, it had two bedrooms on the main and one in the basement, there was a little sun porch off the front that would have made a great place to sit with coffee and a book, and the back yard had a lovely area for a garden. Thinking about it, it was definitely more of a house for me than D and Eli.
Three of the four properties Corey showed us weren't right either. One was too small, one needed far too much work, and the third I can't even recall. But the fourth, a property that we had seen on the realtor site but hadn't considered because the pictures were not encouraging was worth a second look after we'd been through the rest.
On our first visit I had mentally crossed it off the list because it only has a partial basement and getting to into it requires a climb down a set of steep stairs, plus there was the smell of damp. But I soon discovered that pretty much every basement we saw was built with these steep stairs, and since the house has three bedrooms, the basement didn't need to be finished.
On our second visit, the benefits and charm of the property became more apparent to me. Entering on the side entrance there is a small porch that leads into a large kitchen which includes the laundry. Just off the kitchen is a full bathroom, and there is another full bathroom upstairs. I know D will find having that second bathroom will be wonderful, especially when Eli starts potty training. The living room/dining room areas are not huge but sufficient for a play area (in what is currently the dining room), and a space for her couch, television and bookshelf or two.
The house comes with the five appliances, washer/dryer, fridge/stove and a small freezer. D will take her own apartment size freezer as well and plans to put it out in the front porch. While the porch is not heated it does have electricity. Upstairs are the three bedrooms, a master at the front of the house that will fit her queen bed and large dresser, with a small walk in closet. Eli's room is quite small but the larger third bedroom will provide another play space/den. Eventually she'll get a pull out couch or futon for that room for use by guests (like G'ma). D is planning to move Eli to a toddler bed so wants to ensure there aren't a lot of toys in his room.
Outside the house, the yard is large - on a 50' lot, with a side yard that will provide a great place for Eli to play and the back yard that has a single car garage, an existing fire pit, and a good space to put a garden. The spot beside the garage has been gravelled so she can pull the car up almost to the side entry making it easy to bring in groceries. Out front, as you can see is a small deck providing a spot to sit and enjoy the evening.
The property has been mostly well maintained, with a new roof recently and many (not all) new windows. It's located in a lovely neighbourhood, with a large park within two blocks that features a new spray-pad, lots of playground equipment, and a ball diamond. The property is also close to downtown and just a short drive to the grocery stores and the highway. When I was taking the photos, the next door neighbour came out of her house and I complimented her on her front yard. We had a brief chat and discovered she is responsible for the flower beds on the side and in the front of the house and is quite willing to keep these up...especially if D shares the bounty of her garden. K mentioned she has kept an eye on the house when the current owner is away. I told D later this is a relationship she needs to encourage.
It sounds perfect, though it is not flawless. There are things that need to be replaced or repaired. Although we haven't had the inspection completed yet, I'm certain flashing will need to be completed for the upper front windows as they protrude from the house and I suspect water will pool there. There are some downspouts that need to be extended; the current owner disclosed that there is seepage into the basement when there are heavy rains. The side windows in the front porch are broken, but it appears rather than replacing the window panes, it was simply boarded up - though the interior was not. Further, the furnace is older and will need to be replaced. I intend to do that next year after I've sold the house I'm in - again, my financial resources only extend so far. The counter tops in both bathrooms are chipped and the vanity in the upstairs bathroom is a bit rickety. But the latter items are functional and can wait.
Beyond that, D is talking about painting kitchen cabinet doors and replacing the hardware, as well as painting Eli's bedroom. She really wanted a dishwasher and her brother told her if the house didn't have one AND she moved out, he'd buy her one. (Yes, we both really miss the peace and quiet that used to be the norm). She's been talking about where she'll place the furniture and has even started packing. Of course, there is all the extra stuff leftover from the garage sale, and the used clothing she brought home from the consignment shop that need to be taken care of so she's getting a bit ahead of herself as the possession date isn't until October 5.
There are still a few hurdles to get over before the sale is finalized. The offer I made was a low-ball and the owner countered but he came down a lot more than I had to come up so I agreed to the price. The paperwork has been submitted to the mortgage broker and I expect I'll get a call early next week to arrange the financing. There are some mortgage companies that will not finance in a small town (seems a bit discriminatory to me), and few that will provide a mortgage less the $50,000. I was aware of the latter fact, so part of my calculations were to ensure this mortgage will a couple of thousand over that amount.
We still have to arrange for the inspections - I'll give the guy a call on Monday. We're going through the usual, furnace, gas line and house inspection but are also requesting a sewer line inspection. Both Corey and I think there is a good possibility it is the line that may not be able to withstand the heavy rains causing the seepage. (It's definitely not sewage). If there is a problem with the line and the costs are significant, we'll be going back to the current owner to ask for half the funds or a reduction in price.
So, it's almost a done deal. I've chosen the Thanksgiving weekend for possession date to ensure we have time to clean (and possibly paint) before she moves in. If I take an additional day of vacation, it will give us five days to accomplish what needs to be done. I won't stay for the entire time of unpacking - she can do that - but will make sure they have beds to sleep in, toilet paper and towels in the bathrooms, and get in some extra cuddles with Eli before I go back to the city. I know I'll see them as D will have doctors appointments and I'll make the drive every six weeks or so but I know I'll miss this silly face.
The little monkey discovered yesterday that he pushes one of the stools over to the couch that he can then climb onto it. Here he's just clambered up and the next photo is of him looking rather pleased with himself.
He has taken a tumble off the couch a time or two but hasn't learned his lesson yet. So far no serious injuries have occurred and my daughter's argument (with me) is that he needs to learn.
G'ma isn't quite as laissez-faire but I guess every kid has to have a few bumps and bruises along the way.
Time to head out and get the lawn mowed and the containers weeded. Have a great week everyone!