Read on for the full story . . .
The first house was a lovely Victorian vernacular farmhouse style with a cute porch on the front, a tin roof, and a huge backyard on a double lot. It was on a nice street and within walking distance of downtown in my chosen city of Sanford, which is not just quaint but an actually viable, working downtown with shops, restaurants, and a very good independent bookstore.
Unfortunately, the owners didn't really want to sell it, which is a bit of a puzzlement. (Read the first few posts tagged "House" for more about that.) They never even responded to my offer.
I looked at some others which were not tempting. Then I fell in with a Craftsman style -- nice porch, beautiful interior woodwork a la Frank Lloyd Wright, partially restored. The yard was a lot smaller, but it was large enough. This time, I offered the listing price but again, no response to my offer.
(This is not the actual house, but it's a great example of a Craftsman bungalow; photo from here.)
Apparently there are investors back in the market, which is wise: these are nice houses in the $50,000 to $70,000 range, probably undervalued right now, and sure to appreciate. Meanwhile you can pay a $500 mortgage and rent them out for $800 to $1000 a month . . . which is a great deal if you can get it. The investors are buying with cash, which makes my conventional financing look pretty unattractive in comparison.
Enter the third house I was serious about: Colonial style one-story, nicely remodeled, good location, but with quite a small yard and a vacant lot next door. Much would depend on whether the vacant lot could be purchased and added to the property . . . but I made an offer anyway, again for list price. Still, no response. The sellers went with another offer -- which I now know has been withdrawn. I bet the house failed inspection. It was built in 1930, after all.
Enter the current candidate. Oh, goodness, I love this one! It makes me want to just wave good-bye to the other three! It's very different, though: mid-Century ranch style, concrete block with plaster walls inside, terrazzo floors, carport, definitely a fixer-upper, but it is on three lots in a really lovely neighborhood of large homes and large lots. And across the street is a low area that will probably never be developed, so it's a natural dream. (There might even be a spring down there -- what fun it would be to check that out!) Oh, the garden I could have in such a space!
I am already dreaming of replacing the sliding glass doors with French doors and having a vegetable garden and installing a pond and . . . You get the idea. It could be a dream come true and a wonderful multi-year project to create something really special there. (And if all that happens, the Before, During and After photos will show up here, for sure!)
Making an offer tomorrow on that one. Please, please cross your fingers for me. I am seriously in love this time.