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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

House Hunting

The past couple of months, I have been spending at least one day of the week with our realtor looking at houses, without much luck. Believe me, there are plenty of beautiful homes on the market in our price range, the problem comes down to finding a house suited for us. We need a house that is wheelchair accessible (or can be easily modified for wheelchair accessibility) and that means room for ramps and also an accessible bathroom--something we do not have right now.  Plus I don't want to leave the city, where we are close to Bob's doctors and hospitals.

Also being in Florida, where we are surrounded by water, we need a home that is NOT in a flood zone or an evacuation zone.  I mean, I can't imagine having to evacuate Bob in his wheelchair, along with a large dog and two cats. (And don't even mention "Special Needs Shelters" as I checked in on that option and turns out, because of his g-tube equipment, they will not accept him.) So I need something "high and dry" as the realtors say, and when looking in these areas, pickings grow slim.

Throughout this time, my heart keeps going back to one of the first houses I looked at, a 1929 Colonial Revival house.

I like this house because it, with over 2000 square feet, it has a great open floor plan for a wheelchair, hardwood floors and high ceilings, and I absolutely love the location on one of the most prestigious blocks in a well maintained, old historic neighborhood!
Brick Streets, Old Oaks

Neighbors house on the same block

More neighbors on the same block

Another neighbor, lush tropical landscape

Next door neighbor

I didn't like the house, at first, because of the rather creepy vinyl substitute siding, fake vinyl shutters and "modern" porch windows which really obscure the home's historic architecture and the fact that it doesn't have fireplace. Also it needs some routine maintenance, such as fencing that needs replacing and a deck with rotted floorboards, painting, window repair, etc.

But like I said, my heart keeps going back to it, as it seems something that we can work with. It has two bathrooms, one easily remodeled, and three bedrooms and is twice the size of our bungalow. And, an extra-added bonus is a small "in-law" apartment in back, which I'm thinking for Chris! With high ceilings and hardwood floors, arched doorways, it has, as the contractor said, "good bones". I looked at the house twice with the realtor, a third time with a contractor, and finally, I took Bob, because I hate to make such a big decision without his input. And it took four people to haul him up the front steps backwards into the house, but we managed! And, do you know, he could get through the whole house with his wheelchair, into every room except the bathroom, which would have to be remodeled. He could zip down the hallway and actually TURN AROUND in the hallway! He remarked the house was "Nice!"

Bob at the house, did I mention the cool built-in bookcases!
The house is a foreclosure and the bank who owns it had it way over-priced, and three weeks ago we put a "low ball" offer on it which was declined.

And I went back to hunting for a different house.

And I saw lots of interesting homes that didn't work for one reason or another... I mean, beautiful houses in iffy "transitional" neighborhoods, sort of like our current neighborhood. And beautiful houses, in great neighborhoods, that in no-way could be made wheelchair accessible. And rundown, ugly houses in great neighborhoods.... And prices too high and houses too small, or yards too small for ramps or lifts, in flood zones, evac zones, or you name it.... I even looked at one gorgeous and notoriously "haunted" house and that, alas, was not wheelchair accessible either...

And I kept thinking about this 1929 Colonial Revival with the great accessible floor plan and the great neighborhood... It would be a lot of work, taking off the siding, restoring it, but it could be worth it....

So when the bank dropped the price on Friday ($75,000 less than the original list price), I asked Bob what he thought we should do. He said, "Get it!" So, we put a new offer in on it yesterday.

Wish us luck!


Sally said...

Keeping fingers crossed for you!

Anonymous said...

Love Bob expression!
I pray you can get the house, you are so nice thinking about Chris as well.
Keep us update.

Jenn said...

Looks absolutely wonderful <3 Can a wheelchair ramp be easily added to the back entry? Cool having an "in-law" house out back, too :)

Diane said...

Yes, plenty of room for a back ramp! Contractor showed me how we could cut the back "modern" deck ( it has issues) down, use that support structure and build a small (more historically correct) porch and a wooden ramp to garage and back gate

Anonymous said...

I hope you get it. Sounds like a great home for you and Bob.


Rebecca Dutton said...

Don't think creepy vinyl siding - think maintenance free siding. Packing up to go to a friend's house when a hurricane comes does me in so high ground is a God sent. Bob would be bummed out by trying to maneuver his wheelchair on carpeting. I saying a prayer that you get the house.

Barb Polan said...

I hope you get it. Sounds like it called out Bob's name when he visited. Sure sign. Our three houses have all spoken to Tom the first time he stepped in. "This feels like home," he always said.

Theresa Loder said...

Looks like a great home Diane.. I am sure you have questioned about the electrical wiring , plumbing, and roof , those things are so important .. At you having an inspection for those things and a termite inspection?
Love the wood floors and the sidewalks and neighborhood..
It looks like it's on City water and sewer. .. Any big trees that would be growing roots near the water lines?
So excited for you and Bob.. Sounds like you have done a great deal of looking..

How about the A/C unit? Has that been replaced recently? Or would it need to be replaced..
And heating as well?

Does it have an attic crawl space that can be checked out by an inspector?

That's all I can think of at the moment ..

Very important to have all wiring and light switches and plugs checked .. As well as lighting fixtures..

Were you able to check it out with the water and electric on?

Sending hugs and prayers to you and Bob

Good luck with your offer

Take care

Don Wood said...

hope all goes well. Don

Joyce said...

Beautiful floors and much more user friendly for wheelchairs than carpet. The openness of it would really appeal to me. I wish you luck!l

Anonymous said...

Just like a person; it's now so much the looks on the outside as it is the heart on the inside. Looks to me like the house has a great heart.
Hugs & prayers, Dan