Sunday, July 27, 2014

House Hunting: Part II

My house-hunting adventure continued today with the first slew of showings with my new realtor. (New realtor = the one who actually called me back and whom has this whole fancy email thing figured out.)

House 1: This house is very near to the home we had lived in for the last 13 years and on a street that is a part of our regular evening walking route. It had a nice front porch, a quaint and easily maintainable backyard, and a friendly black kitty next door that I would be likely to catnap and call as my own (only until the neighbor woke up and realized it was missing, of course.) 

The inside of the house wasn't so much of a treat. Musty smelling, wallpaper in every bedroom (even in places where wallpaper doesn't belong. Hint: Wallpaper was designed for walls, yo) absolutely no appliances, makeshift closet rods made from leftover plumbing, and the piece de resistance... wood paneling in all of the common spaces. 

Now I realize that real wood paneling can be easily painted to look like beadboard or wainscoting. But, this home had this this flimsy thin faux wood walling that someone had, not so cleverly, cut out little hidden "doors" in. What? I know this makes no sense. But, imagine following along the wall to discover a piece of packaging tape, masking or duct tape (Believe me, the tape came in an abundance of variety.) You notice a rectangular cut-out along the wall and give the tape a tug. Like a little trap door, the thin paneling would give way to reveal either a surprise "Oh. A fuse box!" or the deception of one, "Oh, a bed of splinters!"

I think I jumped the gun, though, on the piece de resistance. This was actually the fact that we never did find the furnace. We found the water heater, the hookups for where a washer and dryer should be, the air conditioning unit outside, but never a furnace. My realtor was still looking for it along the home's perimeter when we tried to let him off the hook, "It's a 'no' to this property, so there's no need to find it." He couldn't give up the game though, "Okay. But, I still want to find it. It's got to be here somewhere!"

Condo 1: The only condo we toured today was located in a dream location. Right in the downtown area of my own hometown, but in a complex I'd hadn't considered due to its extremely cramped parking situation. 

There was a subletter who hadn't vacated the premises prior to our arrival, but who was kind enough to shirtlessly take to the bedroom to iron his laundry while we had a look around. (He wasn't so kind, however, as to turn off the internet porn he'd left up on the screen of his laptop on the dining room table. But, if you ask my mom, "I thought he was just studying to be a doctor." I'll let you folks decide for yourselves.)

It was a one bedroom unit (I had been looking for two) but the one room was ample enough in size and closet space to make up for it. The layout was well appointed and the picture window in the living room had a lovely view of the courtyard space below.

The downside? The parking, as mentioned before. At least one nosy elderly neighbor who was not at all shy about hanging out in the hallway and gawking at us a we toured the rest of the building. And, worst of all, horror upon horror, NO CATS ALLOWED! Come on, people! I'm turning 40. I'm unmarried. I've earned at least one cat in life!

It remains on the maybe list.

House 2: We actually started out this afternoon in the property that I'd referred to in my last post as the home in the meth-y neighborhood. But, for the purpose of good writing and suspense, I decided to save the "best" for last.

I'd recently re-nicknamed this one the "rapey woods" home because there's a wooded ravine behind the property. This intrigued me with the thought of wildlife but, instead, alarmed some in the family with its imminent threat of rapey danger. (Upon further research, I also learned that there is a registered sex offender living, ummmmmm, as the closest neighbor to the right!) But, it's newly renovated and miraculously in my price range. Let's take a look!

The yard was beautiful, fenced in, and the woods dropped off almost immediately into the Rouge River; giving any rapist worth his salt a great challenge to attack me from the property's rear. But, that's where the fun ended. 

Upon opening the front door we were immediately hit with the strong scent of mold. Then, when taking a first glance around, I realized that "newly renovated" was really the listing agent's code that they had newly acquired skills in the the art of Photoshop.

The gorgeous original hardwood floors pictured online, in reality, had the smoothness and consistency of a highway rumble strip. Their appearance, in person, gave the impression that a former owner at one time had strapped two pairs of ice skates on the family dog, let go, and said, "Let's just see what happens."

Now, I am not a flooring snob! I am fine with carpet. I am fine with tile. I am fine with laminate "hardwood". It's just that when sinking my savings into a home, it would simply be nice to walk across my own living room without the fear of splinters and sea-sickness.

I am also not an appliance snob. But, let's just say that the stainless steel refrigerator's freezer had a stain in it which could have possibly been left behind from a severed head. Moving out of the kitchen...

The bedrooms were okay, but with the really weird closets of a house built in the 1920's. (By the way, this house was built in the 1920's.)  The bathroom was standard. The smell of mold was STRONG throughout the entire upstairs and had already cemented a "no" vote in my mind. But, since we're here, why not check out the basement?  What harm could come from checking out the basement?

Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp... down the stairs we go. Looking up, yes, there is obvious water damage to this home. And, the copper plumbing did not have one inch that wasn't covered in rust.

It's still a "no" vote, but I possess a curious mind. Let's open the washer and dryer. Well, I think that severed head may have also taken a run through these.

Turn around. Ooh, a pet spider.

Turn around again. Ooh, a mysterious room that was probably used for storing beets and raw potatoes back in the day.

What's behind this door? 

The best I can describe what was behind this door is, if you've ever watched season one of Bate's Motel, it's the room where the kidnapped Asian sex slave was being held in Officer Shelby's basement. 

There could be no other explanation for this room other than to hold a kidnap victim hostage. 

Then when you walk into the room, there's another door that leads to another hostage room. The first room even had a wire for cable TV hanging down from the ceiling. Presumably, this was the "good hostage" room that you're allowed to watch TV in. When you're a "bad hostage" you get led through the labyrinth to the bad hostage room.

What house needs TWO hostage rooms in the basement?! (Maybe even three, if the room by the basement steps isn't really for storing beets!) These rooms also had excessive water damage to the point where the floor was coming apart. Presumably due to water torture or the rinsing of the severed head. 

I had squealed in horror when I opened the second hidden room's door. My realtor scurried over to ask me what I think. I said, "Well, if I ever decide to take up serial killing, I've found a place to stow the bodies." He laughed and actually agreed. Therefore, he is still my realtor.

There's a sex offender next door, two to three torture rooms in the basement and the likelihood that a severed head has frequented every appliance in the joint. This home is also not for me. NO LIST!

I realize that living by myself might eventually become lonely, but I'll take loneliness over being visited by the souls of those who passed here any day!

We're going back to the drawing board and praying for new listings this week. Home shopping on a tight budget may not be easy, but it is certainly entertaining!

Now if you'll excuse me, I had to go wash the mold spores out of my sinuses. They're giving me a headache.