House Update: New Direction(s)

Well friends, it’s been a busy couple of weeks since I last checked in. Forgive me for the awful pun in the title, but I’ve finally run out of things to listen to while I cook dinner and “clean” the house, so I decided to start watching Glee (I know, I know, first HIMYM and now Glee, it’s like I’m still living in 2007 or something, right?!) and with Netflix’s genius/insidious instant play of successive episodes, I’m hooked and almost done with season 1.

In general news, my parents, 2 of my aunts, and my younger sister came to D.C. for 5 days, so there was a lot of walking, a lot of sight-seeing, and a ton of eating out. Abe was spoiled rotten and got lots of attention and he loved every minute of it. I got to do a few new things and it made me think I should do a D.C. travel-related post for you all. There’s so much to do here, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface over the last 4 years (although to be fair, it’s not like law school left me with oodles of time to explore…)

In house-related news, the negotiations on repairs of the 1st house fell through. Ultimately the sellers weren’t willing to make any repairs unless we raised the contract price by the amount the work would cost, which may have been OK, but the house appraised for our original contract price (the appraiser didn’t get our “hold it!” message in time, but we’re glad we saw the appraisal number, because it made our decision really easy). Lenders will pretty much never loan you more than the house appraises for, and we weren’t about to pay for the roof costs out-of-pocket (otherwise we wouldn’t have been negotiating about it!), so we used our home inspection contingency clause to back out of the contract.

Fortunately, we had an idea this was going to happen so we were still actively looking at other properties, and we immediately found another house that we liked. 1 day after backing out on the 1st house, we were officially under contract on a new property!


We made our offer on the new property on just the 2nd day the house had been on the market and although there was some other interest, the sellers accepted our offer right away. The house is a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath raised rambler with a walk-out basement, which is my favorite style (although I’m not crazy about the placement of the stairs down to the basement, which are right as you walk in the front door).

We had our home inspection a few days ago, and everything was pretty good in general. I’m already planning a kitchen and dining area renovation in my head because the layout just isn’t as functional or open as we would like, but all of the appliances are brand new and in good shape, as are the washer and dryer, hot water heater (which holds 66 gallons!) and electrical panel. The home already has hardwood or laminate flooring in the main living spaces and the basement bedrooms, which is great, and the rooms are all a good size with big closets. The yard is also already fenced with a well-built 6 ft. fence, so the Horrible Hound will be able to run around to his heart’s content. In fact, the yard is huge. There is a good-sized shed along the back fence line and the sellers have even made a built-in fire pit, which I’m sure we’ll enjoy as soon as we move in. Best of all, even though it’s not new, the roof is in good shape for the next 5-7 years, at least!

The HVAC system is old, but will be covered by our home warranty. There is a screened in deck off the kitchen and dining room that is in “interesting” shape, so we agreed that the deck could be listed as-is and not subject to the home inspection contingency. Ditto with some old solar heating panels on the roof. Based on some structural issues, the deck is OK, but is slowly starting to fall apart, and our home inspector recommended taking it out completely within the next year and just putting in a new deck, so that will be the first item on our large-renovations list.

There is a huge, gorgeous brick wood-burning fireplace in the basement that needs some work to get it in functioning condition- the current owners took out the damper and put in a piece of sheet metal to block the chimney, presumably because they never used the fireplace. There are also a few minor plumbing repairs to take care of and a piece of broken glass on the basement patio doors, but even with some minor repairs to look forward to, we’re ready to get our hands on this house! I’m planning to give everything a fresh coat of paint as soon as I can (the current owners have a penchant for chocolate brown, stripes, lime green, and Nascar… none of which are part of my aesthetic) but the house doesn’t need much work on the inside, which is really nice.

The exterior, on the other hand, definitely needs some TLC. There is a big patch of poison ivy in the front garden bed – I’ll be taking care of that one in gloves and long sleeves. I can’t pawn it off on the hubs because he’s crazy allergic and would probably end up in the ER. That’s the only really pressing issue, but there are a couple other upgrade type things that I’d like to take care of before the weather gets too chilly. There is a nice brick patio started at the basement patio door entrance, but it’s only about 2′ x 3′ and the surrounding area is just large stones and dirt, so I hope we can extend the bricks and get enough room for some lawn chairs and a grill. I want to be able to enjoy the outdoors a bit while we save up to tackle that deck! I’m also hoping to add some raised garden beds so I can be ready to start planting this spring. I love having a garden, so I’m super excited that this yard is large and sunny enough to make that happen.

The current owners have more furniture crammed into this house than I would have said was possible, so I don’t have any great “before” shots for you, but once the house is actually ours I’ll try to get some photos of it in it’s natural, empty state so you can see what we’re working with! In the meantime, you can see a lot of my ideas for the house being reflected on my Pinterest pages 🙂

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