Posts Tagged ‘real estate’

Believe it or not, this weekend marks one full year that we’ve been in our new house. I guess that after a year, you can’t really call a 52-year-old house new, but it still feels like yesterday since we had boxes piled high everywhere. We’ve been pretty busy this year, ripping things out, putting new things in, and making our own personal mark on our space. We’ve also accomplished a lot out of the house, from regional travel to making friends, from getting involved at church to traveling out of the country a few times. Let’s take a look back at what all our first year as homeowners in the DC area has brought us.
Home sweet home

Home sweet home


Not that Washington, DC is “Home” yet, but it’s our home for now. We’ve learned to appreciate the opportunities here in DC and how to deal with the crummy parts, like traffic and overcrowding. Being settled in our own house and finally having friends and being involved in a church has helped us reorient and figure out what our new chapter of life looks like. It’s ever changing still, but that keeps life interesting, right? It will be interesting to reflect on the coming year next October to see what year two in our house and year three of Washington, DC, look like.

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It’s official: we tied the knot with our house today, and we’re finally home owners again. The Taylors are off the market!


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At last…….my house has come along!

Yes, as of yesterday, Bart and I are officially under contract on a house. We actually had our offer accepted and were mostly official on Thursday, but there was one other piece of paperwork that needed to be signed, and that took the sellers over 48 hours to handle (not quite sure why it took so long, but whatever…at least it’s done now).

After months of blind dates, a few rejections, and wondering if we would ever find the one, we realized that The Right House was actually there all along. Meaning it was initially priced almost $100k over market value and not even on our radar. I actually remember when it first came on the market; it was in a neighborhood that we really liked, but we were focusing our search in a lower price range. I MLS-stalked it a little as it dropped in price once. Then, a few weeks ago, it had a second, very significant price drop, right into our target price range. We had actually scheduled a showing for two houses one evening, and when one of them was sold right out from under us, we decided to tack this one on as a replacement, just for kicks. But when we walked in, we knew there was something about it that really resonated with us.

Unfortunately, when we talked to our agent, he looked at comparable sales in the neighborhood and determined it was still overpriced. Since they had just done a massive price cut, we didn’t think the owners would be willing to entertain the price we felt like we’d have to ask for it. So we made a very tough decision and waited two full weeks to make a move. If it sold before that, then it wasn’t meant to be. If it didn’t sell, then we felt like we had more position to negotiate, since well-priced homes move quickly in this market.

When we decided on our firm, top-dollar price, it was still so far below the current asking price that I wasn’t all that hopeful for outright acceptance. But the owners had already moved out, and it had been on the market for nearly four months, so we thought they would be motivated to work with us a bit. I can’t tell you how shocked I was Thursday morning when our agent said that they had flat-out accepted our offer. I seriously was dumbfounded. But hey, we’ll take it.

I’m sure we’ll more formally introduce you to the house when we move, but here’s a general overview and some more interesting features. It’s a 1960’s ranch with a fully finished basement, 3 bed/2 bath upstairs, and a nice guest bed, bath, and kitchenette downstairs for when you come to visit. It has a two-car garage (routine and ho-hum where we’re from, but utterly luxurious here in DC). It’s on a wooded, half-acre lot on a dead-end street. It has both a huge deck out back and a unique screened-in porch off the kitchen in the front. It’s a relatively easy commute into DC (at least during the hours I work). It has a newer kitchen and baths. And, maybe most excitingly of all, it has a five-burner, gas Wolf cooktop with a down-draft vent system. Swoon.

While it has some wonderful qualities, Bart and I realize it’s probably not going to be our forever house, and one day we’ll need to move on from here. But we think it will suit our needs for a number of years down the road. And while we’re under contract, we still have a few hurdles to get past before it’s official, namely the inspection and appraisal. So it’s not in the bag just yet, but hopefully it’ll be an uneventful process into October when we close.

Now I’ve gotta start packing. Dang.

P.S. Thanks to MH for the inspiration for this post title. 😉

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Sometimes the house hunt gets frustrating and discouraging. In order to stay grounded and keep a positive perspective on life, it’s good to maintain a healthy sense of humor and not take real estate too seriously. Therefore, I’ve decided to share the best of real estate jargon and the real meaning behind the listings. If you are now or recently have been in the market, I’m sure you will relate.
  • Meticulously maintained: museum-like curation of original 1970’s or 80’s hardware, fixtures, and decor.
  • Gourmet kitchen: granite countertops on 40-year-old cabinets.
  • Country kitchen: your grandmother’s crochet potholders are still hanging by the stove.
  • Updated: original 1960’s appliances were replaced in 1991.
  • Transformed: bought two months ago and flipped with clearance items from Home Depot.
  • Cozy: small and cramped.
  • Charming: small and cramped and has crown moulding.
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting: possibly the original green shag. Even in the bathroom.
  • Must-see: We’ll host five open houses so you can’t possibly avoid stopping by.
  • Elegant: ornate, Louis Quatorze-inspired furnishings and paint colors make it hard for me to visualize my Ikea furniture in the space.
  • Move-in condition: everything looks like it is falling apart, but yes, you can technically inhabit the house because all the utilities and appliances work (for now).
  • With home warranty: we don’t expect those working appliances to continue to do so for very long.
  • Minutes to commuter routes: Takes ten minutes to get to the interstate before you can even start your commute.
  • Walk to shopping and restaurants: house is located on major four-lane highway.
  • Custom/unique: only one person on earth ever thought that was a good idea.
  • Giant price reduction: we overestimated the price by about 30%, and now we’ve realized the error of our ways…now it’s only 20% overpriced.
  • Motivated seller: we overestimated the price by about 30%, and now we’re desperate…now it’s only 20% overpriced.
  • And so much more: we already described every possible redeeming quality in the listing and there’s nothing else worth mentioning.

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In a surprising show of reason, the DoD decided this week to cut our furlough days from 11 to 6. That means next week will be my last Furlough Friday! I have a special day tentatively planned which I look forward to sharing with you.

Today’s FF was all about Jennifer on the rebound. I spent some time scoping out some other houses online, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about the one that got away. So I did what any girl with a broken heart does–I went shopping. Nothing super exciting, though; I just got groceries and picked up toothbrushes at Target. Winning. I also cuddled with Murphy on the couch and played some Candy Crush.

I was finally feeling better by the time Bart got off work. To celebrate moving on with the house hunt, we decided to have dinner at Cheesecake Factory. Nothing drowns your sorrows or celebrates moving on like Oreo cheesecake.

And nothing says “I don’t need you anymore” like scheduling showings of two more houses this weekend. That’s right–look out DC housing market; the Taylors are back in the game.

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We’ve been dating houses for a while now. We’ve done some speed dating at open houses on Sundays, but all the hot ones get picked up before we can give them our number. We’ve had a few blind dates with real estate agents as chaperones; most of them are nice enough, but there isn’t any chemistry. Some of them are exciting and fun to be with, but aren’t really practical to settle down with in the long term. Some of them are high maintenance. Some are totally out of our league. We’ve found a couple that we’ve flirted with now and then, but we’re either afraid of commitment or someone else sweeps them off their feet before we can ask for their hand in mortgage.

However, this week we found a house we fell for and knew we’d be happy to settle down with. I’d had been scoping out its online profile for a while, and it hadn’t sold due to being a bit overpriced. Bart and I decided to go look at it, thinking we might rush in and make an offer that they couldn’t refuse. But they dropped the price right as we planned to finally tour it, and that garnered other suitors as well. Even with another person competing for it’s affection, we felt we’d go ahead and make our best offer and see if our wit, charm, and down payment would woo them our way.

Sadly, we faced the despair of being rejected for another.

Fine. I didn’t even like that house, anyway.

As the song goes, breaking up is hard to do, and it took me about a day to get over it (at least mostly). They say you never forget your first love.

Yesterday, Bart encouraged us to move on, find somebody new, and pick some houses to go see this weekend, but it was just too soon. All I could think of was the one that got away. However, today I’m ready to go play the field again, though they say you shouldn’t make important emotional decisions when you’re on the rebound. After renting for the better part of a year, I’m so ready to settle down again in my own home, but I’d rather wait for The One to come along than to settle for something I won’t live happily ever after with.


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Today marks eight months since our move to DC. Two thirds of a year now–as usual, I am incredulous at how fast time goes. I feel sort of in the groove here, but other than my job I feel like I haven’t really started making a life here yet. We’re sort of just waiting for…something, I guess. Buying a house and really settling down? Life is good, lest you fret that it’s otherwise. My spirit is just getting antsy.

In two thirds of a year, I/we have:

  • Made a driving tour of New England.
  • Returned a visit to everyone who’s stayed with us at Hotel Taylor.
  • Complained about the humidity.
  • Gone to the batting cages.
  • Been stalked by a real estate agent we ran into at two different open houses.
  • Taken a furlough day.
  • Experienced an hour-long power outage at work.
  • Experienced a three-hour long power outage at home.
  • Harvested lettuce and Swiss chard from my little pots on the back porch.
  • Taken the dog to a new vet.
  • Exterminate the bugs in our kitchen. Take that, vermin.
  • Visited a beach during the summer time.
  • Finally visited a lighthouse.
  • Updated our 101-in-1001 list to reflect our new situation.

I/we have yet to:

  • Buy a house.
  • Feel totally settled.
  • Finish crocheting the border of my mitered square blanket.
  • Go to Gettysburg.
  • Plant more lettuce for a second crop.
  • Swim at a beach we’ve visited.
  • Buy any local Maryland produce (we have from places we’ve visited but not here).
  • Make rubbings of some names from the Vietnam Memorial, as requested by a family member.
  • Visited Mount Vernon.
South Portland Lighthouse, Maine

South Portland Lighthouse, Maine

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