Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Horrors of House Hunting


So, if my days aren't spent chasing, feeding, playing with and putting to sleep a little baby, it's spent cleaning and stressing over house hunting. Saturdays are full days of house inspections. You are filled with anticipation before every inspection only to be disappointed, sometimes horrified. Here's a rundown of the houses we've viewed so far (hopefully there will be no more by the end of the week!)

House 1
Northern Suburbs. Nice suburb. Nice house with lovely features, hubby doesn't like it though. Massive leafy backyard but mostly unusable jungle. Too far. Owners want too much for it.

House 2
Inner West. High Federation. Big house. Big block. I love period homes but there was something about this one that didn't feel right from the first time I looked at it on the domain website. However, I kept an open mind. It was in need of a facelift and had the oddest floor plan. Four self contained living spaces. By that I mean four bed/living room with bath and kitchen. It seemed there was a kitchen in every corner and, well, there was. It was being used as a guest house. Nevertheless, it was close to my work, close to a school we might send Bubby to, walking distance to a train station and it's an easy distance to the city. I did wonder if it was under a flight path. That question was answered as soon as we arrived. Once inside, I felt like the walls were closing in on me. The facelift I thought it needed quickly changed to knocking down walls and a redesign of the space. It wasn't going to be a simple renovation. There are 4 kitchens to rip out including the main kitchen which was very old and tucked away at the very back of the house like a cell. My favourite feature is actually the four bathrooms. Pity they will have to be ripped out. One bathroom was in the corner of what was originally the living room but was divided into a bedroom and a tiny living room with a plasterboard wall. This bathroom was Elevated. The whole layout was very much 'WTF?'. There was a real estate disclaimer stating that the bathrooms were not approved by the council. Which makes me think that it was an illegal guest house. There was a lot of interest in this house though. There must have been 60 people there that day. It will be interesting how much it sells for.

House 3
Northern Suburbs. Quiet street. It's a lovely, quaint little house. A bit on the small side and the kitchen needs to be renovated, no biggie. The backyard is big and beautiful. Lovely big old trees, very leafy and green. A bit of a drive to work and the city but could be manageable if we left early enough to avoid peak hour traffic. I used to leave the house before 7 AM anyway so I'm no stranger to early starts. Still, not sold on this one. Oh, but it is a beautiful backyard. Father in law points out that we won't be living in the backyard. True.

House 4
Inner West but a bit further out than House 2. Victorian. Gorgeous house. Beautiful house. I love this house. Five double bedrooms. Very inviting. Lovely extension. Amazing pool. Neighbourhood is a bit ghetto. There are three very dodgy looking block of flats surround the house, across the road, the side and back. The 'garage' is really just a storage space. We might be able to get the car in it but we won't be able to open the doors. There is a view of the garage on google maps streetview taken before the house was put on the market and the garage door had graffiti on it and there were abandoned mattresses against the wall. Such a beautiful house, such a pity.

House 5
South West but really just on the wrong side of a river to be considered Inner West. Federation with an extension. Lovely neighbourhood, close to river parklands. Big house with some minor work needed. Has a pool we don't like. There are lots of room. There 5 bedrooms plus study, 4 living spaces. Original period features were maintained and continued through to the extension of the house. We're not in love with it but it could work.

House 6
Lower North Shore. Jacaranda tree lined street. Lovely Californian bungalow but small (3 bedrooms plus study) however nicely renovated. Big Block of land. Beautiful garden and Big backyard. Our ideal suburb. It's about 15 minutes from the city CBD and it's not a bad drive to work for me either. It needs new shower screens but that's about it. Our view is to knock it down and build our dream home although I would prefer to extend and maintain the period features or in 5-6 years buy further down the road should we find ourselves with an extra $3M-$4M. Ha ha! BUT it's a bit close to a main road. If only it wasn't so close to the main road but then if it wasn't it would be about $1M out of our budget just like the houses further down the road. It's kind of like how the Speedy is an entry level LV, this is an entry level house to a sought after suburb. I am really hoping that this is the last house we've inspected. Hopefully, we'll know by the end of the week.

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