Our new home?

Cheryl and I will be getting a tour of this house tomorrow afternoon. Not that we’re actually in the market for a house right now, but when one this nice is available through a program set up to help low-income families (like us 😆 ) become first-time homeowners, we thought it at least deserved consideration.

It’s a three-bedroom, 1,200 square foot colonial with all new everything. And I mean everything! The roof, hot water heater, furnace, windows, dry wall, electric, plumbing, carpeting, cabinets, etc., have all been replaced. It also has a large deck off the back with a good sized fenced in yard for the boys (still sounds weird) to play in.

The neighborhood is on par with most city neighborhoods. A little rough in some patches, but overall fairly decent. It’s definitely not in the heart of the ghetto, that’s for sure.

The odds of us getting into this house are probably fairly slim. On top of qualifying for a mortgage, we will also have to qualify for the program. But if we do there are tons of grants to help with down payments and closing costs that we’ll be able to take advantage of. And if we don’t end up in this house, another will come along just like it soon enough.

All the houses that are a part of this program are essentially the same, and have been completely gutted and renovated. It’s just a matter of finding the right one in the right neighborhood.

Either way, we’re actually seriously talking about trying to buy a house in the not-too-distant future and taking our first steps toward that goal. It’s definitely long overdue.

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20 thoughts on “Our new home?

  1. Looks like a nice house to me Shane. The thing to do is literally when not with the relator walk around that neighborhood and say hello to everyone you meet and get a feel for it. The one problem I have with my house was we were the first people to move into this area of town so we didnt get to choose the neighborhood at all. We got a few good ones and a few lazy bad ones. This seems to be a universal so if you really like the house and can stand the neighborhood I say go for it! Good luck sir I remmeber how much fun it was when I got my house. I also remember how freaking out of my mind scared I was when I signed a note for that much money.

  2. That’s the part I didn’t mention.

    I went by the house earlier today to get a look at the property, peek in the windows, etc.

    I ran into the guy who lives next door and he gave me the run down on the neighborhood. He said the neighborhood has come a long way in the past few years. Most of the adjacent houses have been bought and sold within the past few years to young families. Most are owner-occupied now and not rentals. He said that the biggest complaint most folks had – apart from the ones that come with city living in general – was that the neighborhood kids can be noisy when they play in the street.

    No real red flags, and he seemed like a nice enough guy (probably not the type I’d be best buds with, but nice enough).

  3. Nice looking house, bro! Personally, when I look at houses, I’m more concerned with what kind of neighborhood it is in as defined by zoning codes. Mixed-use zoning (and hopefully development) will probably matter more than almost any other single factor in the next decade when considering a home’s value (and its consequential market value). At least being in walking distance to large amounts of mixed-use development will be significantly better than not, most likely.

    Congratulations on the new approaching, home-owning season of life!

  4. I’m not totally sure what “mixed-use” zoning may mean, but my best guess is that it’s a mixture of residential, commercial, retail, etc. in a given neighborhood. If that’s the case, then it’s definitely in that type of community. However, we’re talking about a community that would need a major face lift before anyone would ever consider it “developing.”

  5. The house itself is zoned strictly residential (unlike our current house and all of our current neighborhood which is all mixed/multi use zoned). I don’t know how the rest of the neighborhood is zoned though.

  6. Mixed/multi use zoning and planned communities is the in thing in G-Ville. Of course that just means high-end housing that most people can’t afford. One of those developments that was touted as being the next best thing is now just sitting there with empty with construction walls up. All the buildings have been demolished but the developers are facing some form of legal issues. So, now we have this “wonderful” vacant block.

  7. best of luck to you brother. i honestly look at my pay, look at prices, and think “how in the world am i ever going to own a house?!?!” i suppose i could move back to the middle o’ maine and just do what my father did and build a log cabin in the middle of the woods 🙂

  8. now’s a great time to buy, i hope it works out for you guys. you should look into buying a place that needs work and get in on the program? my sister and brother in law did that kind of thing in philly. it worked out great for them.

  9. @Tim: Lots of houses available cheap here in the Roc budday. I mean seriously, I’m barely making anything and supporting the four of us – and we’re seriously considering buying one.

    @Jess: Why would I look into a place that needs work when all the work has already been done on this place (and all the others in the program) and it’s only $62K?

    I could not possibly do the work myself for less! 😉

    Just a little more info on the program …

    They acquire abandoned or foreclosed houses on the cheap and then use government subsidies to pay for the renovations. They completely gut and renovate the houses, giving them all new everything. The subsidies are what help them keep their overhead low enough that they can sell these (essentially brand new) houses at a cost low enough for lower income families to afford.

    It’s part of the city’s effort to turn around some of the neighborhoods and get more owner-occupants and less rentals in city neighborhoods.

  10. Wow. 62k, that’s awesome. Yeah, mixed-use is a mix of those type of things. The neighborhood next to mine was probably considered the worst neighborhood on this side of the state until this decade. It has come along way but it also has much more to go to be “developing.” The thing it has going for it, though, is that since nobody paid attention to it during the suburban era, it still has some great mixed-use built environment. All it needs is some good leaders to encourage a little social cohesion and that place will be a gem 10 years from now.

  11. There are a ton of things going on in this city that I am really proud to see happening. This program is one of them. Another is this building project (watch the video) in the neighborhood of the house we’re looking at.

    I will absolutely be working for Mayor Duffy’s campaign for re-election.

  12. Can we trade Hannhan for Duffy? A mayor that is actually trying to do something for the people of the city not just the elite and the trees is a nice concept.

  13. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish with it.

    We went to go see what this house specifically, and houses through this program in general, were like. But most importantly we were hoping the experience would be motivation for us to start the process of applying for the program, looking into the available grants, taking the first-time homeowner classes and talking to lenders. Which it certainly was.

    As far as this specific house, we’d probably still consider buying it, but we didn’t fall in love with it. While it was certainly in beautiful shape and it had many of the features (deck, decent yard, dry-ish basement, decent-ish neighborhood, etc.) that we’d look for in a house, we weren’t gah-gah over it either.

    Overall the house was severely lacking in closet space. There wasn’t even a coat closet by any of the entrances, and the master bedroom barely had a closet at all. The other two bedrooms were also pretty small. Fine for the boys now, but when the get a little older it likely would be an issue. I think we need at least 1,400 square feet (depending on how the house is laid out), so it was a bit too cozy for our needs.

    Even if we could pull the trigger tomorrow (which we can’t) this is likely not the house for us. But, like I said, it got the ball rolling. Now we’ll apply for the program, work our way through the process and keep looking at houses as they become available. We’re in no hurry at all, so we’re in a position where we can wait for the right one.

  14. Sounds like a very cool program. (Much better than tearing those houses down!) For that price, would the mortgage payment actually be cheaper than your rent?

  15. We’re not even close to figuring that out, but my inclination is yes. I was talking to a friend of mine who bought a similar house in the neighborhood and her mortgage is only $675 with taxes included. We’re paying $1,000 a month in rent right now, $700 when our roommate is around.

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