The House With Character

Heidi and I are in the market for a house. Living in an apartment is a no-win situation financially speaking, so we have been looking for a small home to buy in the greater, greater Dallas/Ft. Worth area. That means far enough away from DFW that we can actually find something we can afford.

Quite honestly, the housing market is completely out of control. One home we looked at in Ennis, TX, was nothing more than a spruced up shotgun shack with less square footage than a SMART car, and the people were asking $90,000 for the place. I was… livid. That particular house, was worth no more than $30,000.

So far, we have made one bid on a house, had that bid accepted after we played the counter-offer dance, and then rejected because someone else bid higher. Our realtor quickly told us, “you are not happy enough with the house as it is, to get into a bidding war.” Plus, we don’t have the capital for a bidding war.

We did find two houses in Italy, TX, which is close to Hillsboro, TX on I-35, that the Adams’ Family, from the old television show, were previously living. The houses were absolutely creepy and in one of them, we really could not discern where the bedrooms were. The bathroom, which was in the entry way, was obvious. But not the bedrooms.

On Friday, we had two properties we decided to go see with our realtor. One was in Terrell, TX, and the other in Kaufman County, TX. I was really excited about the one in Terrell. Judging from the pictures (see below), it looked like it had a lot of character and I like a bit of character in a house. That is why I took my camera. I wanted to share the character with my wonderful readers. I thought we would end up buying this home, and my hopes were so unrealistically, stratospherically high.

But… there was the problem of the foundation. Just walking through the house, we could feel the rise and fall of the floor. For those who don’t know, you want your roller coasters to rise and fall, not your floors. There clearly needed to be some work done. But… there was the problem of the ceiling. It too seemed to rise and fall in places that it should not. This too, could be repaired. But… there was the problem of the carpet. Completely worthless. OK, buy it with a carpet allowance. But… there was no central heat or air. If we put in central heat and air, almost a fourth of the cost of the house itself, we would never have recovered it if we sold the place. But… there were the neighbors.

Next door, a junk yard. The owner conveniently put a sign up saying, and I’m not making this up, “Museum and Antiques.” As if somehow, that lessened the reality that it was a junk yard. You can’t fix that.

On the other side, the neighbors there were in competition with the first neighbor to see how junkie he could make his yard. He was clearly losing the battle, but giving it the old college try.

Then… there was the traffic noise. The house set just next to a railroad track, next to US 80. Peaceful.

Finally, there were both restrooms. Both needed to be redone.

Our realtor finally said, “You can buy it, but I’m going to make you find another realtor to do so because in two years, you are going to hate whoever helped you buy this house.” He is very wise.

So, we’re kind of still looking. We did check out the manufactured home (think mobile) that was out in Kaufman County. It was very clean, simple, treeless, shrubless… grassless… in fact, it looked like someone plopped a mobile home down in the middle of a cow pasture and called it “good.” We tried to convince ourselves that it was the home for us, but couldn’t.

Here are four of the photos I took, the first of which, shows the simplicity of the home.

House 001

We liked the front porch and I could imagine spending some time sitting there, reading a book, smoking a cigar, watching my neighbors sell odd things from his odd junkyard.

House 002

House 003

This shed in the backyard really got my attention. I loved the shed. Yes, it was full of junk, but I thought it had wonderful character and I really wanted to turn into a shop and play room for the boys. It was big enough.

House 004

I think the shed was what made it appealing to me. I felt like it had so much potential. The house? Not so much. But the work shed? Tons! Maybe my priorities were not quite in the right place.