Adventures in House Hunting, Part 2

Last Friday and Saturday, I embarked on yet another weekend of house hunting, this time going solo because Andrew was on call and I wanted to see a few houses that weren’t available to be seen on weekends (how realtors/property managers can refuse to be open on the weekends astounds me—do that many people take off to see houses??). I was scheduled to see eight houses: 3 on Friday and 5 on Saturday.

On Friday morning, I left the house at 8am (ugh! But I guess I have to get used to getting up early again) and drove up to Fayetteville, planning to pick up keys to two houses from two different realtors before heading to my only true “showing” at noon. I picked up the first key and gave the second realtor a call before heading over to make sure the other key would be available. To my surprise, they said that instead of a key, it was a lockbox, and the lady gave me the code over the phone. Now that it was only 10:40 and I didn’t have an appointment until noon, I decided to head to the house with the lockbox because it was closer.

Unbeknownst to me, however, this lockbox house was located in a gated neighborhood. When I pulled up to the gate, the guard told me that I had to have a realtor with me in order to be allowed into the neighborhood. Greeeat.

As I sat in the turnaround for the losers who aren’t allowed through the gates, I called the realtor and told her that I couldn’t get in without someone from the office escorting me. She told me that the property manager would call me back sometime in the afternoon.

Since it was now only about 11:00, I still had time to go see the other house, so I went ahead drove over. It wasn’t anything special, and my impression of it was definitely negatively affected by the fact that every single ceiling fan in the house was on full blast—and the heat was not. It was only in the low 50s outside, so I was freezing the whole time I toured the house. And a bunch of the ceiling fans were disturbingly wobbly. So that was a no pretty much off the bat.

By the time I was done being scared by the ceiling fans in the first house, it was almost noon and time for my one actual appointment of the day. And, as it turned out…this house was also in that same gated community from which I was denied earlier. Luckily, I knew the owner had called down to the guard booth to put my name on a list to be allowed in, so this time I entered successfully—despite the guard recognizing me and seeming a little suspicious.

My noon appointment went well and I liked the house, but it seemed a little bit big for us. It was also going to be a pretty long commute, especially because the community only had one entrance and exit. Despite this, I still went to the other house with the lockbox and looked around…and unfortunately, I loved it. It was beautiful, with a two-story great room and a gorgeous kitchen. The bonus room even had a wet bar. Seriously. It was amazing. But Google Maps said it was an hour-plus commute to Raleigh, so that was a serious strike against it.

While I was at my noon appointment, I had received a voicemail from the office that represented the first house I looked at with the wobbly ceiling fans. They said they had a similar listing that had a lockbox and I was welcome to go look around. Since I was already ahead of schedule, I figured I might as well. It was a nice enough house, but the master bedroom faced the front yard and, naturally, there was a streetlight right in the front yard. Almost every apartment or house we’ve ever lived in has had FAR too much light streaming into the master bedroom, so one of the things on my house-hunting list was to make sure there were no streetlights near the windows.

I ended Friday a little bummed, and worried that Saturday would hold similar duds. But I tried to remain optimistic. Saturday began with picking up yet another key before heading to a 10:00 appointment. The appointment was kind of weird—the property manager didn’t seem to have any interest at all in showing me the house. She volunteered no information whatsoever, and followed me silently from room to room as I walked around and took pictures. There was also a ridiculous “not an unreasonable amount of holes in the wall” policy, which would have been fine except that apparently more than two pictures per wall is unreasonable. Sorry guys…I like to hang stuff on my walls.

So, that first one was definitely a dud, despite its GORGEOUS wraparound porch (sigh!). Since the property manager pretty much rushed me out in less than 20 minutes, I had time to go see the house I had signed out the key for earlier. This one was really pretty, with a great kitchen (huge fridge!) and an amazing bonus room with a separate half-staircase leading to it. It had pretty much everything we wanted, and I left feeling quite a bit more optimistic.

My 11:00 appointment was with a realtor, but the house wasn’t quite empty yet­—the family was actually moving out that day, so things were a bit hectic. It was a great house, though, with a downstairs office space with French doors that the family had used as their library (swoon!). There was also a great gazebo in the back yard, and a bonus room with (yes, you guessed it) a wet bar. The family that was moving out had also finished the attic storage spaces, adding some nice shelves to one and making the other one into an adorable little playroom. It almost made me wish I had kids so they could use it. (Yeah…right.)

I only had half an hour there because my 12:00 appointment was half an hour away. The neighborhood was much more grown up than any of the others I’d seen, and the houses were a lot less cookie-cutter. The owner met me a few minutes after 12, and we toured the house together. It was a great house, but again a little big for us, and we also would have had to buy a refrigerator, which…no thanks. But there were some great built-in shelves, both in the living areas and the closets—none of that flimsy wire shelving crap.

My fifth and last visit was at 1:00pm, and it took me half an hour to drive back (because of course, my last visit was in the same area as all the others). As I pulled up to the house, the sun came out for the first time all day, and it finally warmed up outside. This seemed to be a good sign.

The realtor was really nice, and very enthusiastic about showing the house—a welcome change from my first visit that morning. And the house was beautiful! And spotless, which is more than I could say for a lot of the other houses I had seen. (One of the first houses I saw on Friday had had a ton of scuffs on the walls of the staircase, and when I asked if it would be cleaned or repainted, the realtor told me that it wouldn’t because it was considered “normal wear and tear.” Ummm…k.) The kitchen was gorgeous with the most adorable, teeny little ceiling fan you’ve ever seen. The formal dining room was painted a gorgeous deep green color, and all the bedrooms were a good size with walk-in closets. There was a recently re-stained split-level deck, a fire pit, and a play set in the fenced back yard. It checked pretty much all of our boxes, which was super exciting. I knew right away that I wanted to apply for it, but still had to drive three hours home to show Andrew the pictures.

Long story short, though (hah, yeah, short…right), I got home, showed Andrew the pictures, and he loved them too, so we applied that night. And on Monday, I got confirmation that we were approved, and our lease will begin May 1!! I feel like another weight has been lifted off my shoulders: first, I got the job in Raleigh, and now we have a house. I can finally focus on other things again! Whew.

Also, here are some pictures of the house!! Enjoy!!

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2 thoughts on “Adventures in House Hunting, Part 2

  1. Woohoo! Congrats!

    House hunting can really be the worst experience ever. Any time we had to do it I was completely amazed at how awful so many of them were. The renting was a bit easier than the buying, at least those were fairly clean – ugh, some of the houses for sale were just plain gross!

    • Thanks! Yeah, I don’t know how people can expect to sell some of the houses that we’ve seen, it’s crazy! If I was trying to sell a house I’d do my best to make it look at least presentable…luckily, we don’t plan on buying a house for a while since we’ll be moving around so much. I think we’d only buy as a very last resort.

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