With the Hunter house finished and a little breathing room back in our bank account, it’s finally time to find ourselves a place of our own! You may recall my little tour of our apartment… it was a little tour, for a very little apartment.
While it’s in an amazing location, the lack of space in our unit, and having to share the backyard now that the building is filling up, is starting to wear on us. The pups are starting to show signs of being a little too close to each other all of the time too, so it’s definitely time for us to move on and find ourselves a little more room to spread out!
One of the interesting things we’ve noticed about ourselves now that we’re in the house-renovating business is that we’re a lot less picky. Pretty much every house we walked into we found ourselves saying “yeah, we can make this place work!”. So, we started to prioritize those things that you can’t really add… like room for both of our cars (and possibly a trailer one day), a backyard for puppy-dogs, and reasonable flood insurance (we are in New Orleans, after all). Bonus points for a garage or storage shed, since we’re currently paying for a storage unit to keep all of our tools and staging stuff in. It would be nice to eliminate that expense, and just have things on hand when we need them.
We also initially wanted to find a duplex/multi-family property (see a great article about “house-hacking” here). While New Orleans is home to many multi-family homes, we were having trouble finding any in our price-range and areas of interest. We looked at a couple, but they were either missing some of the important features we wanted, or were scooped up within hours (one was already gone when we called after 2 hours! 2 hours!!!) of being on the market. Apparently, we are not the only ones with this idea! So, we started looking more at single family homes that had some extra space that could be flexible for guest quarters, and there were a few more options.
We fell in love with one that was, admittedly, a little over budget, but definitely do-able (and we wouldn’t have had to change a thing- something different for us!). It was a raised basement style, with a wet bar/kitchenette, bathroom and living area on the lower level, and lots of charm on the upper/ main living level. We ended up being a little too late on that one too, and they had already received multiple offers- resulting in a bidding war… which is something we really didn’t want to get ourselves into on a house that was already over budget. Oh well.
We kept looking, and found another cute house with some really charming features. It’s a common style in the area, and just oozes that cottage charm. It was in a less desirable flood zone than some others, though, so we weren’t sure if the flood insurance would be a deal breaker. We made an offer anyway, and were set to start evaluating the insurance costs and all of that fun stuff, when the seller decided to refuse to move out until 2 months after the contract close date! Um, what!?
So, back to hunting we went, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that first house with the bidding war. Another property that had been on and off the market for awhile, just across the main road from the area we’d been focusing our search, came back on the market again at a lower price. It was the same raised-basement style that we loved in the over-priced-bidding-war house, but it was outdated and had a strange layout. Also, by crossing the street, we were in an area that wasn’t quite as “hot”, but had the same neighborhood feel. So, the same afternoon that our realtor sent us the listing, Mike and I went to check it out. It had some of the same charming features upstairs as the first house we loved (and I prefer the blue color scheme in this house’s original bath over the yellow in the other place), but there were some weird/outdated things going on as well. The kitchen had been moved from the main living level down into the basement entertainment area, and the previous main level kitchen was converted into a GIANT master bath (like, the same size as the bedroom, giant). So we would probably want to move the kitchen back upstairs somewhere, update the bathrooms (both up and downstairs need refreshing), and pull up some carpets (while crossing our fingers and toes that the hardwoods underneath are in good shape!). The property also has a big garage which is a huge plus, and 2 gated driveways… all on some decently high ground (no flood insurance requirement? Yes, please!). It will take a little work to bring it up to the vision, but it definitely has some great potential!
So, with this third property things finally came together, and with some negotiating after some things popped up on inspection I think we got a good deal on it, too. We’re so excited to have our own home again, and have lots of great ideas to spruce it up and make it our own. We’ll be getting to work on it right away, so stay tuned for lots of updates on our newest home sweet home!