Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding "the One"

All stories need to start somewhere, and ours starts with the completed rehabilitation of a 1-1/2 story bungalow. We lived there as we worked on the house, so flipping it required finding not only a new project, but a new place to live.  In our area, you can find great old houses at rock bottom prices, if you're willing to live a half an hour from your job and for us, a rock bottom price was a must.  We scoured the MLS listings for low priced houses with historic character.  We drove by houses, checked out neighborhoods and towns, and became well-acquainted with the communities in our area, but we didn't find "the one."  Until...we found a For Sale By Owner listing in the local newspaper.  The price was right.  The description was right.  The location was good.  We called.

The owners had sort of moved out already, but the door was left unlocked and we were told to go by there anytime.  We stopped by one day after work and, with the place to ourselves, were much freer to look around and say what we thought than we would have been had the owners been home.  Outside looked promising - a brick, American Four Square on Main Street in a small town, grassy yard, big shade tree, iron fence on the old concrete wall. 

We entered through the door from the back porch to an odd arrangement of two kitchens.  The path to the right took us to a room with 9 windows that smelled like dog and through to a room with two large windows and a door facing the front porch.  The door and one  window were at angles to the second window with leaded glass at top.  A door went back into the kitchen then out to the foyer with its big glass door and sidelights lighting the stairs.  The living room was on the other side of the foyer, a large arch extending the room to what was once part of the front porch.  A third front door was here.  We headed upstairs to find 3 bedrooms and a large master bath that had been added.  Downstairs again, we explored the remaining rooms, one of which featured a toilet in a very large room, all by itself.  The house also had a partial basement.

After exploring the house without saying much to each other, we came back to the foyer, looked at each other, and said "this is it!"  We saw the challenge of removing previous badly done renovations, the leaky new pipes in the basement, the 42 windows in need of restoration.  But we also saw the original hardwood floors, the original floor plan, the oak trim and 5-panel doors, and we decided to go for it.

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