Since Sam has left, getting back that extra room and space in the house has really underscored the need for a bigger house. Having that extra room has really changed how our household runs, and we like it! So we have jumped back into the house hunting market. Last time we did this was before Jayme came into our lives, back when we lived in SE Portland… Seems like 3 lifetimes ago.
Our goal this time is a 3-4 bedroom house with a master bathroom with a tub and a nice big shower. We need a fenced backyard and a nice open family space inside. We need a bigger house for some elbow room. We also need to stay in Clackamas and more importantly inside Jayme’s school district. Once we find the perfect home, we do have some big plans for it. Jayme and Anthony want to plant a garden… There has been a lot of discussions about raspberry plants, loganberry bushes and a treehouse. They also wanted a swimming pool, but the Joshua has issued a big no on that idea.
We have been looking in Happy Valley (our preferred location), the unincorporated Clackamas area, Milwaukee and now Damascus. So far, we have put in offers on three homes and each time we have been kicked to the curb. But each time we have learned a bit more about what we are really looking for and what we would be willing to settle for, which only adds to our depression. It seems that home inventory is down 30% from this time last year and what is on the market seems to be priced pretty high. Or another way of looking at it is our taste preference is priced higher then our means. We are also a bit worried that even with most of the homes on the market being short sales and foreclosures this might prove to be a weird upside down sellers market. But we have not lost hope yet… Sort of.
The first house was great, located in Happy Valley, a short sale priced to move. Four bedroom home with a pretty nice hillside view. It had a great upstairs area, a kinda scary, but fixable deck and this amazing unfinished basement that had SO much potential. Visions of a huge family space and theater room and a 5th bedroom danced in our heads as we signed the offer. Knowing it was going to be popular we even offered more then asking and got rejected. This was kinda of a blow to us. We really felt we had it. It was then that this house hunting process started to feel a lot like the adoption process we had just gone through. The waiting, the rejection, the weird rules and forms.
The second home we found that we loved was a fixer upper. But one priced very very low for the area it was in. The prior owners had done some very interesting home improvements, which would be easy to remove, but there was also some water damage. Even that would have been pretty easy to fix. We got pretty excited about this house and even did a run to Home Depot to check out diferent flooring options and paint colors. Like the first house, we offered more then asking and just like the first house we were rejected. This time we didn’t feel as bad because there were 13 other offers on the table. But it was still a blow to us. Seems we are still a bit raw from the adoption roller coaster…
The next house was a great 3 bedroom house with a nice master and great backyard for Jayme. Only two problems, first they were asking WAY to much for it and second – it is in Damascus. Not that Damascus is a bad place, but its a long commute for 2 people who work in downtown Portland. (That and we will never get Scott S. to visit us out there) The house was a short sale that had been on the market for almost a year and it needed a little bit of work. Our wonderful agent did comps that showed that the house was $25k overpriced and even at that price we felt it was overpriced… mostly because of the very strange neighborhood. The house across the street just had sold for 50k less, but the house behind that sold for 50k more and they are all the same cookie cutter houses, nice cookie cutter homes, but what’s with the huge price differences? So we came in with a bid we felt was fair. More importantly one we felt comfortable with and could sleep through the night with. They came back with a counter offer of 40k more then we offered and the inglorious positon of backup offer if we wanted it. So we happily walked away from the deal.
Perhaps we should move to Disneyworld, prices down there are much better, but the commute to work each day to downtown Portland might prove to be a killer.