Derek and I found a house that we thought would suit our family. We met the agent, and walked through the house last week. The more we thought about it, the more we liked it, and the more I got worried that someone else would like it too. Which is a little paranoid, since it’s been on the market since May, and home sales go down drastically in the Fall.

We talked about the pros: it’s cute, the neighborhood is nice, the school is 3 blocks away, it’s 2 story, it has a basement that’s habitable, it’s not weird and gross on the inside, it’s not too expensive, it has a great yard with big trees, it has a porch, it has new windows and roof, it’s not too big.

And the cons: it’s made of asbestos, it needs to be painted every 5-7 years, it has a tiny kitchen, it has no counter in the main bathroom, and that’s all. But those are all things I can live with or change.

So Derek began applying for home loans on Tuesday. We thought it would take a while to get approved, and to choose which bank to use. I had told the home agent last week that we would call him at the beginning of this week, so by Tuesday night, I thought we should at least let him know we were interested in the house. I didn’t want him to forget about us. So Derek called him, and set up an appointment for Wednesday, to talk about options, to discuss the loan process, and to let him know that, even though we don’t have an agent, we’re not naive or stupid (which we actually are).

Derek made a whole bunch of phone calls to different lenders on Wednesday, and found one that would give us a lending plan that would work for our situation (i.e. no down payment, short employment history in Ohio, etc.) He then met up with the home agent, called me once during the discussion to ask what kind of washer and dryer I was hoping for. He came home an hour later, to announce that he had bought the house.

He did end up offering slightly more that the asking price, but that was so they would do a few more improvements, like banisters on the stairs (which is building code anyway, but not necessary if the buyer doesn’t want it), run a gas line to the range in the kitchen, put light fixtures in the bedrooms, remove the tree stump in the middle of the yard, and get some fancy-schmancy appliances, including a new gas range, energy-efficient washer and dryer, refrigerator, and possibly a treadmill. But it’s still a pretty good deal, I think. There’s nowhere else I could have a cute house AND a big-ish yard. It’s a little more than 1/4 acre, which is little, but not as little as most of the other yards in the neighborhood, with their 1/8 acre.

So I wasn’t expecting to own a house when I woke up yesterday morning, but I’m really excited that it’s the house I like. We have to close before October 19th. That’s like 3 weeks!

Last night, we took the whole fam to view a house. Up to this point, I have been doing the house-hunting solo, using various internet searches to plan my attack, browsing neighborhoods, dragging friends and cousins along, and hitting open-houses. We don’t nave a realtor yet, nor a loan, but I’ve taken the approach that, since it’s very much a buyer’s market, there’s no rush.

A few weeks ago, I passed a house that I thought was cute. I made a note about it on my increasingly chaotic notes page, and drove on. The next week, I drove by again, and noticed from my car that the house looks vacant. So I got out and poked around. It’s a 1920’s bungalow, not unlike the fabulous house I grew up in. It sits on a double lot, so it actually has a yard, and not a 4×4 foot patch of weedy lawn. There’s an ordinance that prohibits the owner from building on the side yard, so it’s the same yard it has had for almost 90 years.

There is a great big tree in the yard (among a bunch of other big trees) that appears to be a magnolia. I have a particular love for magnolia trees-they make me weep for the beauty of the spring blossoming. There’s a garage in the back that has the original barn-style doors. The yard is definitely big enough for a pick-up game of soccer, a vegetable and herb garden, a compost pile, and maybe couple of chickens. I’m so not kidding. One day, I will have chickens. If you don’t believe me, go read this and tell me what you think.

I took Sheila to the house when she was here, and we poked around again. The neighbor, Nick, came out to introduce himself, and ended up chatting away a good half hour. He told us about the neighborhood, and seems to actually know the neighbors. I think that’s a good sign.

We decided to call the agent and schedule a walk-through, since I had heretofore only peeked in the windows. He met us last night and showed us around. I had to keep biting my lip to keep from gushing about how great this house is. It’s got a few things that are not ideal, including very little counter space in the kitchen, on which to knead my bread, the cabinetry is new and cheap, though not unpleasing to the eye, the side door is on the yard side, not the driveway side, it’s not quite 1400 square feet, there’s a giant stump in the middle of the yard, it’s made of asbestos (solid, though, so no risk of airborne particles), and I haven’t quite figured out where I would put the piano.

As far as advantages: it’s cute. Big yard. Two car garage. Two story. Some hardwood floors that were refinished this summer. Antique fixtures that the previous owner had been collecting, including super-cute doorknobs and some fantastically beautiful light fixtures. Big porch. 3 blocks from elementary school. Nice neighbors. Finished basement. What else? Take a look and tell me your impressions.