We went house hunting for the first time last Saturday. Actually, that's not accurate. We've been house hunting since we moved to this area in 2004. Steven spends at least half an hour every night scouring Realtor.com for the latest houses on the market.
Back in 2004, when we lived in Arlington, Virginia, we would look at the two-bedroom, one-bath tiny single family houses in our Clarendon neighborhood, and the price tags were seriously $999,999. One dollar short of one million dollars.
We looked at those houses and shook our heads. We're not necessarily poverty stricken, but even our two-income household wasn't about to swing a million dollar mortgage.
But now, four years later, things are very different in Northern Virginia. The bubble has burst, the market has dropped off, and while it seems like this might be a bad thing for lots of folks, for us it screams Carpe Houseum.
And thus we search. Like I said, we went out last Saturday and looked at three houses. We only liked one of them, and even that one badly needed an update to the kitchen.
We went again this morning to look at six different houses. This time, we saw two houses that we liked. One was owned by an older lady, and while her furniture and decor looked outdated, the guts of the house were great, and all it really needed was a good coat of paint, some new carpet and perhaps new appliances and hardwood floors down the road a bit.
The other house was a foreclosure. That sounds scary, I know. Words like "as is" and "with all faults" make me shudder. BUT! The main level of the house was stunningly beautiful. Brazilian cherry hardwoods, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, bay window... Gorgeous.
And then I looked out the window to the backyard and there's a pool out there. A swimming pool.
I can't decide if I'm excited or alarmed about that. A pool is a lot of work. And where would I put my tomato garden?
The basement level had a sink and a place for a fridge. The basement bathroom needed a fix-up - there was a big hole in the wall. And the upstairs of the house was not updated at all. Bathrooms were old and super ick. Oh, and in the ceiling of the kitchen, there was a plastic bag holding up part of the ceiling. It might have been molded under there. Not sure. (That's a whole OTHER problem.)
So, here's my question, faithful readers. Do I want the house with brazilian hardwoods and granite countertops and a pool, but old bathrooms and the potential for mold? Or do I want the older-looking house with the smaller kitchen, pergo floors, space for my tomato garden, but no pool?
This is like an episode of House Hunters, except without pictures and without Suzanne Whang.
(Maybe we'll just keep looking....)