With an official date and time scheduled for the closing on our land, Will and I still keep our fingers crossed, but we're cautiously optimistic. We're at least a step further towards selling it than we were last time. It also allows us to make a more desirable offer on a house, as we are now "contingent on closing" vs. "contingent on sale". Come September 15th, with any luck it'll all be taken care of!
We originally thought after closing we'd run straight to Linton and get started designing and building our new house, but it's become a more difficult decision than we had anticipated (doesn't it always). We've been working with our buyer's agent, and while we wait for closing we've been checking out other houses in the area. For the most part, the other neighborhoods were built in the early 90's, and many of the houses show it! I walked into a surprising number of houses that had grey, mauve and aqua brushstroke wallpaper, white tile everywhere, pink countertops, and pickled-looking maple cabinets. Blech. The 90's were not a good decade in terms of home decor. No wonder it's the decade that gave birth to the grunge era...the teenagers were sick of living in their parents stark white and tacky houses.
But I digress. Many of the houses were nice, but we would've had to've gotten different flooring, countertops, cabinets, paint etc. before I could've stood living there.
Then we happened upon THE HOUSE. The one that gave me THE FEELING. You know, the one where you utter a wide-eyed "Wow" and start to feel giddy? It was built in '93, but the owners have updated the countertops, appliances, light fixtures, paint colors, pretty much everything so that it feels very contemporary. It has a very nice backyard surrounded by leyland cypress so it feels very private. It is on a corner, so it has a larger than usual side yard, and no neighbors looking in your window on one side. There's a huge beautiful screened-in porch off the breakfast area, a fully finished basement, a really nice master bathroom, a traditional floorplan with enough interesting angles to modernize it a bit, the people even had an upstairs rubber ducky bathroom so I wouldn't have to paint to use all of my rubber ducky themed bathroom items :-)
It has its problems too, of course. No exit from the basement whatsoever, so the super-convenient dog containment system we enjoy now (i.e. putting them in the basement with a doggie door to the outside) is not an option. There's not much storage space to speak of since the basement is finished, but the closets and such are bigger so that may not end up being a problem. The laundry room/mudroom is tiny, although we can probably do a stackable washer and dryer to make that a little better. And it's certainly not as glitzy as a brand new home in a brand new community, but it's also not as expensive.
So now we're in the extremely difficult phase of deciding what will bother us and what won't. If we build at Linton, will it really bother me in the future to have 1/10 acre vs. the 1/4 acre we'd get with the other house? What about the construction noise for the next 5 years as they finish building the community? Will they actually end up building the community pool before my kids are too old to enjoy it? If we buy the other house, will it be a huge pain in the butt to handle the dogs without a basement exit, or will we end up figuring out something that works just as well? Will I drive by Linton and sigh, regretting the fact that we didn't opt for the bigger, newer, fancier house?
There are pluses and minuses to both. Both are perfectly acceptable options. What it really comes down to is this: is the extra glitz worth the extra cost? My gut says no.
So we'll probably end up putting in an offer on THE HOUSE. Their real estate agent is a blabbermouth, and has basically told us they're desperate to sell, since they have already closed on their new house and will shortly be paying 2 mortgages. He also told us the previous contract (which fell through because the buyers couldn't sell their house) was for $20,000 less than asking price, so I think we could get a great deal on THE HOUSE.
This means we could be putting in an offer quite soon, and closing on a house by mid-September! I'm still in shock over that, since I've always thought we'd build so I'd have 6 months or so to prepare. The prospect of being finished in a month with all this real estate mess is compelling though, because it really does take over your life.
It's definitely time. We've been married 5 years, we have a family now, I want to own my own house and be in the place we plan to raise our kids. THE HOUSE seems as close to perfect as we're going to find, and although it has surprised me how difficult the decision has been (you always seem to prefer what you've seen most recently), I think it's the right one for us. Besides, if we decide we made a huge mistake, property values will most likely go up in the next couple of years and we could always sell and build a house in Linton then.
So here we go! On to the next great adventure of home ownership.