Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Better Day

Today went better than yesterday, although, from a house hunting perspective, worse would hardly have been possible. We started the morning thinking that we would spend another day looking around the Statesville area, but then Ed talked to a realtor, who told him that there wasn’t much in the area in our price range, so we decided to move on (much to T.’s sorrow). We drove through Taylorsville, which was cute but we couldn’t find any realtors (in Florida you can’t turn around without bumping into at least one realtor, so the relative scarcity up here is a surprise). Next we tried Wilkesboro, stopping across the street from a Tyson chicken processing plant at what we thought was a realtor’s office but turned out to be an insurance agent’s office. The stench from the plant was revolting, but the insurance guy put us in touch with a really nice realtor. We met with her after lunch, and she checked her computer for houses that met our criteria in our price range in the county. Once she eliminated the mobile homes, we had a choice of two houses, and one was in a notably bad neighborhood, so we really had one. That one happened to be the second on my “list,” which I’ve been admiring on the internet since February. It was in a nearby town, and, happy coincidence, the price had been lowered yesterday by $10,000, thus putting it nicely in our range. The realtor checked a couple things, and then we all drove out to see the house in her fancy SUV.
The house itself is really neat. Built in the 1920’s, with restored floors, updated kitchen, and some really beautiful mountain views. The doors, trim, high ceilings, etc., are just what I’ve been craving. Aside from the relatively modern kitchen and bathrooms, it is still really a 1920’s house. Unfortunately, the location is not so great. The lot is about half an acre, and it is fenced, but it is located on the corner of a busy street, with lots of truck traffic, and a truly amazing number of power lines.

We told the realtor that we would consider the house, since we really did like it and there are not as many choices as we were hoping for. It was still early, so we decided to keep looking for a while.

The next house on the list was supposed to be in a town called, charmingly, State Road. Our map doesn’t show enough detail to find the street, but I thought maybe the town would be so small that we would sort of bump into it. We didn’t. After driving in circles through some truly lovely countryside, we asked for directions and followed them into the next town, down some more roads, and actually found the street we were looking for. Next we found a house that was identical to the house on our print out, but the house number wasn’t right. The house we found was for sale, however, and we pulled into the firestation just kitty-corner to ask the gentlemen outside about it. The men were very friendly, and introduced themselves as the fire chief, who lived next door to the house in question in a lovely Victorian, and a paramedic in training. They told us all about the house, the area, and so on. We asked if they thought it would be okay if we poked around and had a look at the house, and they said it would be fine (the house is vacant). After a very lengthy chat, we went back to look around. Ed checked the side door and decided that they had surely meant that we were welcome to look around the interior of the house as well, so we looked.
It is a very reasonable possibility, if the owners are willing to come down a bit. The location, on a street with more traffic than I’d like and in a town too small to have a stoplight or gas station is not ideal. The house is nice and big, though, with a basement and wood floors, and it appears to be in good condition. The roof is new, and there is an acre of land. The house was built in 1950, but the d├ęcor is pure 1970’s. The wood paneling makes the rooms dark, the kitchen is big but gruesome, and the big enclosed porch that runs along the back takes Ed straight back to his youth. More significantly, the master bedroom is on the second floor, the third bedroom is on the first floor, and the second floor bathroom, located in the smaller second floor bedroom, is beyond tiny (and we are used to a small bathroom) and has the smallest plastic shower I’ve ever seen, painted on the inside in navy blue. Also, all the closets are tiny little slanted niches. Ed says we could put in a new bathroom, using the same plumbing pipes, in the room at the top of the stairs which is really too small for a bedroom and which has a sink, but the closets would be a bit of an issue. We are going to look around a bit more tomorrow, maybe check in Virginia a little, and possibly call the realtor on that second house. Did I mention that as we were driving away I caught a tick crawling up my pants? Yuck!!! I probably picked him up when I wandered into the field behind the house, but Yuck!

*The white house is the 1920 house. I have pictures of the 1950 house, which is brick, but Blogger is not cooperating.

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