For a long time, a far distance kept Charlie and I living 70 miles away. Kept separate originally by job availability, then income restrictions, and then school priorities, we are finally in a place where we can make a move to live under the same roof. We originally thought a rental would be the best place for us, but the combination of square feet for the money and interest rates being low, we decided that buying was the better option.
We settled on Medina, which is the midway point, and through the last couple of trips down there to house hunt, both Charlie and I have fallen in love, both from the charming, old timey public square to the “main drag” with four different grocery stores, hojillion restaurants, and variety of big box stores. We’re smitten: but that could just be with each other, who knows?
We first started looking two weeks ago, at a house that Charlie found that was a foreclosure. Built in 1890, it had 1600 square feet, was on one of the last brick roads in town, was minutes from the town square, and had loads of charm.
We could tell from our first trip, before we could get in, that it was going to need some work: rebuild the porch, fix the eaves, work on the roof, and replace the windows. But, at the price being offered, we felt confident that we could low-ball, take the rest of the money, add some more to a renovation loan, and be in pretty good shape. We just couldn’t wait to get inside.
We were practically climbing over the realtor to get in the house.
So let’s list all of the things that we encountered once we got inside:
- kitchen, though new, was tiny,
- dining room and parlor were awesome,
- fireplace needed updating,
- windows needed updating,
- stairs/banister were wonderful,
- lots of bedrooms and cool wall sconces,
- tiny closets,
- ice dam/water damage: roof repairs needed,
- toilet on pedestal in the bathroom (what sins was it hiding?),
- fire damage evident from the attic (omg, omg, omg!!)
- crumbling fireplace
- knob and tube wiring,
- you could see daylight through the foundation,
- asbestos remediation.
Wise people warned me at the beginning of looking at this house not to fall in love. Like I said, when Charlie and I first saw it, we got excited just thinking about all of the decorating and lifestyle possibilities it held. Said wise people had a lot of concern about my being crushed by the letdown, which has happened to me with other things before.
Charlie and I went through the house with a fine tooth comb and flashlight, noting up items that needed work. I started tallying up the accounting costs of getting things fixed and it became less about having projects and more about making the house livable. By the time we got to “asbestos remediation,” Charlie and I were dunzo, and not the least bit heartbroken about it. We got in the car, closed the door, away from the realtor, looked at each other and said, “Hell no.”
There’s part of me that wants to feel bummed out that this house was just too much, but I’m just not. I was texting Lara about it through the day, and when I told her about the asbestos problem, she texted back, “Good lord! Tear that money pit down!” The only sad feeling I have is that yes, with three offers on that house that fell apart upon inspection, I think that’s the only thing that can be done with that house. It’s a shame.
If we had This Old House money (because you know those homeowners are loaded), Charlie and I would have snatched that shit up in a heartbeat. But we don’t so we can’t.
We’re still thinking about writing Tommy Silva a thank you note for all of the information we absorbed from the show on warning signs, though.