This house hunting is getting depressing. I keep falling in love, and Dave keeps saying no. We are sixty days from being homeless.
Today we looked at an old Colonial built in the early 1900”s. Once we got past the emerald green carpet that covered the entire house, it started to grow on me. The entry and stairs were gracious, and the rooms were large and filled with light. Overgrown yews hid a beautiful sun room off the over sized living room and there was a small study off the kitchen paneled with knotty pine that brought me straight back to my grandfather’s old house. There was a charming rear staircase, a sleeping porch off one of the bedrooms and nooks and crannies sprinkled throughout this expansive house. It needed work, but We were encouraged.
This was a tough one. While I could easily see entertaining in the gracious living room that opened into the sun room (essentially using that space as a great room), it sat at the opposite end of the house as the kitchen, and , typical for a center entry Colonial, the grand staircase separated the two.
Perfect for formal entertaining, but the way people live now, that half of the house would collect dust.
The sleeping porch stole my heart, but it was attached to a bedroom that was too small to be converted to the master, so again, who would actually use it? But still, the house was charming, and it reminded me of my grandfather’s house.
In any house renovation, We expect to gut the kitchen and baths, upgrade electrical, and possibly add a family room and master suite, but if the existing floor plan doesn’t lend itself to a good traffic pattern when we are all done, we will be stuck with rooms that are neglected and the project will not be a success.
After days of drawing on cocktail napkins, we concluded that there was no way to join our future family room/ sunroom combo with the kitchen. It would have to remain a remote formal area and we would have to settle for remodeling the tiny den into a family room or adding a new family room off the kitchen which would add unneeded square footage and cost to the project.
It’s perfect location, ample square footage and oversized lot already put it in an upper price bracket for the neighborhood. But still, after investing weeks and bottles of wine into cocktail napkin drawings, we were emotionally attached. Besides, we were running out of time and nothing else on the market met our criteria.
This was still a good solid house with a lot of potential. The question was, do we want to live in a house where the best rooms are on the opposite side of the house as the kitchen? How much money did we want to put into it? How much money could we put into it before the price was too expensive for the neighborhood? How much do we have in our budget?
After running the numbers, as much as we loved the house, it was clear to us that it was way over priced. It’s owners were either unaware of the amount of money it would take to bring this house back to it’s former glory, or they were emotionally attached and couldn’t see the layout issues which is common with these grand historic homes. We made them an offer reflecting the reality of what it would cost to renovate and redesign the floor plan. It was much lower than they had listed, and they turned us down. This is another place where Dave’s experience is crucial. Contain your emotions. Unless you are independently wealthy, if the numbers don’t work, walk away.