Why You Should Buy a House with Kathy T., Even if You Don’t Need One

She has snacks!  She piles you and your loved ones in her car and gives you snacks!  America, if there’s anything more pleasant than driving around town, munching on snacks, and looking at houses, I can’t think of what it is.

And I can’t think of what it is because I’m a little fried after a day of driving around town, munching on snacks, and looking at houses.

We must have looked at nearly twenty houses and by the end, we were just aimlessly circling blocks because those blocks contained young, shirtless, sports-playing men playing sports without their shirts on.  We were having profound philosophical discussions about how, if you had to live in a neighborhood with a clear gang problem in a house right next door to an active crack house (I should point out that this is my typification of the neighborhood, not Kathy’s), would you want to live in the neighborhood with the glistening, muscular, shirtless young men playing basketball or the glistening, muscular, shirtless young men playing soccer?

I, myself, lean towards the soccer players, because they have such nice butts.  Still, to each their own.

The Butcher brought a camera to take pictures of the houses.  I now have a camera full of pictures of the Nashville skyline and snails.

Anyway, it was a good day, but it was kind of a bust.  We saw some houses that had been rehabbed, but had floors so soft and rolling I was a little afraid we might fall through from just the weight of the three of us.  We saw some homes in neighborhoods so sketchy I didn’t want to get out of the car.  We saw rehabbed homes that looked like they’d been rehabilitated by guys on acid, with cabinets that didn’t line up and counter tops that seemed to have come from other houses and ceilings in one room lower than ceilings in another.  And I can’t even begin to tell you how many “two bedroom” homes are counting on you not minding that one of the bedrooms has two doors because it’s basically also functioning as a hallway or how many “three bedroom” places are counting the room they’ve converted from the garage with a door to the outside as a bedroom.  Is there high demand for having a door to the outside in your bedroom?

And, oh, the tiny kitchens.  The teeny tiny kitchens, without dishwashers.  And the rooms added on by just enclosing porches or garages or whatever.

We saw a lot of houses that, if put in the hands of a good rehabber, could be amazing places to live, but, of course, we don’t have those skills or the money to pay someone else to do it.

I think we’re going to have to broaden our search.

8 thoughts on “Why You Should Buy a House with Kathy T., Even if You Don’t Need One

  1. Our experience was that we looked at a lot of craptastic houses with Quirk Factor 10 before we got into the area and the kind of houses we liked. You’re lucky you’ve got a realtor you like and trust — that’s worth a lot.

  2. cabinets that didn’t line up and counter tops that seemed to have come from other houses and ceilings in one room lower than ceilings in another

    what are you doing looking at my house? it’s not for sale! (nor even in your state.)

    seriously, that sort of nonsense usually arises in oldish houses that have seen additions, extensions, and changes over the years. the cabinets won’t line up because NOTHING lines up in them; they’ve settled too much for anything to be plumb or level, and no corners are right-angled anymore. ceilings are different heights because the rooms are of different vintage; parts of the house have been added on later, or converted from cold storage to living space, as you noted. (the attics may well prove labyrinthine messes of additions in such cases, too. mine is.) and the counter tops? likely DID come from other houses, as landlords played a game of home improvement hand-me-down. or owners recycled instead of bought new, either one.

    learn to deal with it, or focus only on new construction. think of it as “quaint” or “homey” if it helps. i sleep in one of the lowest-ceilinged rooms because it’s “snug” — or so i keep telling myself.

  3. I second the “glistening, muscular, shirtless young men playing soccer” over basketball, but, as you say, to each their own. One of the things I miss about college is looking out at “The Dell” (this big grassy area in the middle of most of the dorms and academic buildings) during spring when it would be loaded with shirtless guys playing mostly LaCrosse or Frisbee.

    Anyways, on to the house. Just keep looking. In the Boyfriend™ and I’s search for a home to rent while we build our one to own, we’ve looked at probably a good 50 and have found 2 that are what we deem to be acceptable. They are out there, you just have to sift through alot of bad ones before you find them.

  4. Yeah, what everyone says — keep looking. You aren’t in a rush; you don’t have to find your house this week. New things will come open, you’ll think of different neighborhoods to check out, and one day there your house will be.

  5. You have discovered the drawback to the older house. Think of it as ‘character’. Our neighborhood is fun because it was built around 4-5 floorplans. Eighty years later you can see just about every possible permutation of what to change on them. Ours is one of the few without an addition.

  6. It looks like the market hasn’t bottomed-out yet, so prices should get better (unless a very effective federal bailout turns things around (not holding breath)). So I second what nm said, “No rush.”

    How do the economics work out for some of the quirky (but not dangerous) houses? Will your mortgage be substantially cheaper than you current rent? Cabinets can be replaced (plumbing doors is harder). If you can save $200 per month with mortgage vs rent (including total cost: taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.) Then in a year or so, you will have socked-away enough of a savings to replace the cabinets and maybe tweak more of the kitchen.

    Buying used cars taught me a lot about managing my expectations. I’ve never bought a car, and said “Wow, fantastic.” But they all made economic sense, and that has been good enough.

  7. Snacks & househunting with KathyT sounds like a fine time to me!

    The house you’re SUPPOSED to have will turn up sometime, be patient. My mom waited a few years to find hers but there’s no house more perfect for her. Hopefully yours won’t take that long.

  8. I’ll take my Swiss Cake Roll over sweaty man any day. (Can you tell I’ve been married over 20 years?) (ha.)

    THE perfect house will come and you’ll know it almost the minute we walk in the door. Then the fun part starts – getting your price, home inspection, termite letter, appraisal, etc. It’s all good!

    Thanks for your kind words, B. Sorry to be late to the party, but still have no laptop. Suckage.

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