Adventures in House Hunting: The Search Begins

I thought about calling Sandra Rinomato to help me find a house, but I didn’t want millions of HGTV viewers to realize how broke I am when I revealed my measly budget. So, instead, I went with a woman my mortgage guy referred. We’ll call her Sandra to protect her identity.

I sent Sandra a few houses I’d looked at on Realtor.com, to give her an idea of what I liked about certain ones and which ones I didn’t. She sent me back a couple more listings and then we agreed to meet last Friday afternoon to take a look at the houses in East Hartford, Manchester, and Windsor. I brought Nana and my Aunt Holly along for a second opinion. We started at a HUD-owned house I’d found on the internet. It was one of those places that had been very artfully, and selectively photographed. The new-ish kitchen was shown, as was the big deck and backyard but not the gross carpet, falling apart baseboard heat, creepy, damp basement, or weird finished attic that claimed to be a bedroom. Frankly, it still wasn’t awful but there was only sub-floor under the gross carpet and so I couldn’t just pull up the carpet and live with the beat-up wood floors. It had also been winterized and so it was 10 degrees colder inside than it was outside and I couldn’t wait to leave.

Next we headed over to a short sale house. For some reason, the family that lived there thought pink tile was an appropriate flooring choice for the living room, but I could deal with that. What I didn’t want to deal with was the oil tank, pool, and hot tub. This is not The Jersey Shore. I don’t spend any appreciable amount of time in a hot tub; I certainly don’t want to pay for one.

We moved on to my favorite house of the day. A charming 1935 cottage in a nice, but busy area absolutely stole my heart. It had a few oddities, but they were livable and I saw lots of potential. It was well outside my price comfort zone, though, and would require some heavy-duty negotiating.

We moved on to Manchester where I was horrified by how people live. In the backyard, there was a ton of crap, a pile of cans under an old pool deck, and a general mess.Not to mention another oil tank. We headed back to East Hartford where we saw a very nicely redone house in a not-great neighborhood. I would have been fine living there, but selling the house may have been a problem. But I’d also like to take a moment to discuss the stairs. The tread on the stairs stuck out way farther than they should have so that when you stepped up, your toes slid all the way under the next stair. Nana had to walk up sideways. It was very strange and marginally dangerous.

Finally we moved on to Windsor where we went to a disaster of a house that had some sort of manger-like shed outside, as well as some power lines. The house, though, was super-cheap and next door to a cul-de-sac with some rather expensive houses going up. I saw dollar signs and brain tumors in my future. I couldn’t decide which one mattered more.

On Sunday, I went out with my mom and Nana to take a look at my adorable little cottage again. It had a stream out back and my mom said there was a flood warning. We figured that if that stream was ever going to pose a problem, it would be now. But it seemed just fine to me.

Still, I’m not ready to commit. Poor Sandra will likely have to take a few more jaunts with me before I know what the heck is really going on in my head.

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