Monday, December 31, 2007

A Sunday drive to see more listings

Our next adventure begins on a December Sunday afternoon. Sandy, our realtor, had recently given us some more listings to look over. We really like House #2 from our first day out, and the more we kept thinking about it, the more we wanted it. However, to be fair, we only saw three houses that day, and we really felt that it was in our best interest to at least do a drive-by of other houses on the market in Long View and select a few for potential viewing later with Sandy. We added them to a pile as we went, ranking them in comparison to the other houses we went by.

After meticulously planning out a route to avoid doubling back as much as possible, we set out, armed with 13 other listings, a map, some snacks and water, and ready to see what else was out there. We must have forgotten that we were driving in Hickory, where doubling back and turning around are not optional.

We aren’t going to bore you with each detail of each listing. Not all were bad. We saw a cute older, little bungalow, but it was not in the best of locations, and the listing said it had asbestos siding. Imagine the future conversation:

Us: Hello, HAZMAT? Yes, we want vinyl siding.
Despite this, we did keep that listing towards the top of the pile.
The Asbestos House

As we continue to drive, we delve into some of the not so good areas. Remember in an earlier post when we told you that Coach Elder’s wife, Cindy, told us that the closer to the train tracks, the more transient the population in this area was and we should probably avoid those areas? Well, we did not heed her advice. You see, she might have known more than we had expected when we decided to look around the area of the school she works at (near the tracks!).

Nancy was driving, and Jason was looking for the next place on the map. We had gotten turned around as a result of a one way street (what a surprise). It was becoming a bit more discouraging as listing after listing became more and more disappointing. Several blocks behind the school, as Jason is deep into the map, Nancy exclaims, “Oh!!!” as in shock and horror, not excitement and delight. To which, Nancy finishes off the statement by uttering the now famous words: “That kid has a gun.”

That’s right. A gun. And yes, some of the questions you are probably asking yourself are the same ones Jason asked. Was it a BB gun? Maybe it was a toy? Did he look like he was hunting? The answers were all, “No.” So much for a leisurely Sunday stroll. Needless to say, the house that we were looking for was eliminated for that, the gravel drive, and rusty beams in the front.

The Gun House
It got more bizarre. A house, which was listed as 2,096 square feet, had only 0.14 acres. The house size sounded impressive, but how do you get that much house on that little land? Jason will tell you he never saw the house or the land because he was flipping out. After turning down a very tiny, shared driveway with three other small, somewhat rickety looking houses, passing the chain-link fence with the Beware of Dog sign, then, one assumes, the same dog starting to bark, Jason was ready to put this at the bottom of the pile (even below the Gun House) and was frantically asking Nancy to turn around and leave.

"Beware of Dogs, Shared Drive, Never really saw it" House

We made our way to see the last two houses on the list just as night was falling. As we were looking for the last ones off of Highway 70, we noticed a cop car pull someone over. As we got lost looking for the last house several minutes later, we saw what appeared to have been a fender bender at a light, and this time, the Long View Fire Department had responded. And yes, by the time we saw the last house, it was completely dark and we got lost looking for it twice (again, so much for planning out a great route)!

So at the end of the drive, we reviewed the top 3 houses. Amazingly enough, the Asbestos House was still on top. It had good square footage but no stairs for the cats. It had inside renovations but the garage had no doors. It was more of a detached car port with three walls than it was a garage.

The next house on the pile seemed to have an interesting floor plan based on the outside and the description given on the paper in the information box out front. The drive was gravel and the glass doors you see below are the front door. The house to the left (not in the picture) looks like a tornado hit it.

The Interesting Floorplan House

The third house on the pile was probably the closest to ressembling House #2, with a few exceptions. They had similar square footage and multiple levels (meaning stairs). This one is on a corner lot across the street from Food Lion near the intersection of two fairly busy streets. The tight driveway is behind the house off of the main road (yes, one of the busy streets). It also didn't seem to have as many windows.

The Food Lion House

So after going through these listings we noticed one thing that they all had in common: they were farther north than House #2 therefore would not help Nancy's commute time as much. The more we talked, the more pros we came up with for House #2. Each time we mentioned the other houses the more cons we came up with for them.

Next time: We are so serious about House #2 that we get both sets of parents to check it out with us. Is this like bringing your date home to meet your parents….?

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