Thursday, September 24, 2009

In Which We Have A Dilemma

Boy howdy, am I tired.

I looked at houses for nearly five hours straight today. That's a lot of houses. And we think that maybe, just maybe we've found one that would work.

The house is in a very nice neighborhood extremely close to Connor's school. It's across the street from a wooded park. It's about 2200 square feet-- about 1000 square feet more space than we have right now, and it's on a respectable quarter-acre lot with established landscaping.

We'd have to do more than just put in a ramp on this house, though. The whole house is carpeted, and so we'd eventually want to replace the carpet with something more wheelchair friendly. We'd want to remodel a bathroom to have a roll-in shower (the master bath, which is already a decent size, backs up to a walk-in closet so we should be okay as far as renovations go) and the kitchen is outdated. It's also not that much less expensive than the first house we'd looked at-- their asking price is only about eight thousand dollars less than the other house. So basically this means that unless we can get them to come down a bit on the price we'd end up paying more for the house once we renovated than the house with the acre of land.

However, since the money for renovation would be coming out of Jeremy's traumatic injury insurance payment and not added onto a mortgage, the house might end up being cheaper in the long term since we wouldn't be paying interest on the extra cost of the renovations. It also means that we'd get the chance to make the decision about what goes into the house based on our needs and aesthetics. While the first house already had renovations, they were in a style that was very different from what we probably would have chosen (like those bright white tile floors, for example). We would probably do the renovations in stages-- the ramps first and the bathroom next, and then later either the kitchen followed by the floor or vice versa, depending on our needs. Once the ramp is put in the house would already be way, way more livable than the apartment we're in right now. I mean, I wouldn't have to sleep on the floor, for starters. And we wouldn't have half our worldly possessions in a storage unit so that Jer has room to maneuver-- right now he has full access only to our living room and bedroom, whereas the rooms in that house are big enough that he could get into all of them with no trouble, even with all of our furniture in them.

This house is overall more in tune with our style: huge exposed hardwood beams overhead, really open floor plan, oak door casings, tile roof, cathedral ceilings. . . it's a house that I can see us happily living in long-term. And heck, I can plant a dang cherry tree.

At this point I've seen pretty much every rambler in the Puyallup area within our price range, so we're really down to just two choices. Which one should we go for-- the slightly more expensive, already renovated house farther from town with acreage that's not quite our style, or the slightly cheaper, larger (by 500 square feet) house near Connor's school that's more in line with our style but will require renovation at added cost?

We'll see what we end up deciding to do.



Audrey said...

I am sure whatever you end up with you will be perfectly happy with. You seem to always make it! Good luck with your decision and best wishes to Jeremy and Conor

Greymare said...

My only advice is to do whatever renovations need done (or your first tier of them at least) BEFORE moving in. If possible. All of them will be more work/time/money than you expect at first.

And an FYI, our laminate floor we put in about a year ago we LOVE, easy to clean (I mop it with a swifer wetjet thingy), not cold like the tile, and only one scratch where I knocked the bottom of the table into a transition piece. Not sure how it compares cost wise to tile though.

Best of luck with your decision, I know it's stressful being in limbo!

Lora said...

This house sounds like it could be something really nice, after a lot of work though. May you find out soon whether you want it or not and feel comfortable with the decision that you do make.

Anonymous said...

You have worked hard for your options, but having a choice is a good thing. I'm sure you will choose well.

I still say some pneumatic tires on his wheelchair would make the carpets easier to live with.


wilson.feit said...

Ooooh -- just like an episode of "House Hunters"!

Sounds like a tough choice. I guess it's better than no choice, but I don't envy you the agonizing. I'm surprised people aren't willing to negotiate lower, given the poor housing market these days. Good luck!

Julia said...

Yeah, that last comment was from me (Julia). I've had some account issues with Google/Yahoo. Hopefully I've straightened that out now.

Niksmom said...

I'll offer some unsolicited "advice" (thoughts, really) based on personal experince. Consider the extent of the renovations you would need to make to the second house: cost, time, inconvenience, AND the unexpected. Then add 10% to the cost estimate.

We bought our townhouse "as is" several years ago b/c we knew we would be ok renovating it later. Circumstances changed and it hasn't happened. Now we're kind of stuck.

Also, consider the medical repercussions for Connor's respiratory health if you are renovating while living in the house. We forgot to plan for that with our own son. BIG OOPS!

Can you use part of Jeremy's insurance pmt for a downpayment on the more expensive one? Redecorating (changing a wall or tile here or there) is so much easier than complete renovations (modifying kitchen, bath, etc.).

Just some thoughts to consider. Wishing you the very best.

Anonymous said...

I can't resist offering advice, or at least points to ponder. Consider the access to emergency services, which might be important with some of Connor's health issues. Also the maintainence of an acre of land is something to keep in mind. I sure agree with renovations being done before move in! I'd go with the choice you feel you could live with the longest, a house that can change and adapt to your families changing needs.
Good luck on your decision!

Becca said...

I think Niksmom is on the money with what she's contributed, but don't underestimate how valuable it can be to be near to school. When he's bigger, Connor may want to walk/be walked to school rather than use the bus (if anybody round there walks!), he might find it easier to spend time with his buddies, go to sports events after school... being closer makes it easier to be part of the community.

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