Today The Wife and I spent several hours house hunting. Along the way, we saw:
- A home to the far east of Knoxville (beyond the bad area of East Knox and starting to get into the Holston Hills area) with a “mother-in-law” apartment that I didn’t think I’d like but did. It also had a bizarre cellar, which looked left over from the days when the house was heated with a coal-burning furnace. I would enjoy a little furnace for the novelty, I just have no idea where to buy Goodman furnaces anymore. This home was a good example of why it is a good idea to keep your home in good taste and not overbuy stuff. There was just plain too much furniture for this house, and such furniture as was there, was simply too big for each room. The home had been expanded several times and each expansion was not well-thought-out and resulted in quite a bit of wasted space. The awkward placing of the washer in the kitchen and the dryer next to the stairs leading to the back yard did not help the overall presentation, either.
- A house near Island Home still under construction, which had a front door three feet off the ground because no porch had been built yet. Small but nice; however, the neighbors on either side had loud dogs. Our dogs like to bark at other dogs more than half a mile away; what will they do when they can see new doggie-friends and only have to jump over a three foot high chain link fence to go play with them? Still, a contender for sure.
- Another Island Home area house with a split-foyer design, no discernible living room or dining room, and whose only bathroom adjoined the kitchen (which had almost no counter space). Aside from these flaws, and the layout effectively preventing us from adding a second bathroom, the house was charming and appropriately-sized for our needs.
- A wonderfully remodeled house in Alcoa with new carpet and Pergo floors, as well as a very nicely-built deck. Only one bathroom, but it would be easier to add a second bathroom next to the master bedroom at the expense of a fraction of the laundry room. However, we saw a drug deal take place across the street while we were there. So it’s off the list completely.
- A foreclosure in Maryville. This house was much larger than any of the rest, and stank of pet urine. The carpet, vinyl floors, and some of the ceiling were damaged and all have to go. The stairs on the upstairs deck need replacement. Minor water damage and the back yard needs help — but it’s a big back yard that is already fenced in. There are some other cosmetic or semi-cosmetic fixes to make, and some construction to do to convert two small bedrooms into a master bedroom suite. Depending on the price the bank asks for the house, this may well be the front-runner since we have the time and hopefully the financial capability to get the house done the way we want it done and to get rid of the smelly carpet and replace the old cruddy appliances. The big disadvantage, though, would be a fairly long commute to work in downtown Knoxville — about as long as the commute we have now.
Maybe we haven’t found our future home yet, but two of the homes we looked at are promising. I’m kind of excited about the foreclosure, since it’s more house than we could afford on our own, and we can use our flexibility with closing and move-in dates to get the house in good shape before we take occupancy. A lot depends on when we get our pre-approval lined up, and on how much the bank wants for it, but our agent is also the listing agent and has told the seller to list it for a price that we can afford. I only plan on being in the house for two years or so, all other things being equal, but in that time we could get a huge return on our investment. So I’m kind of excited about that opportunity.