As someone who's lived in both houses and apartments, played in both grass and brick-strewn empty lots, I agree. But that doesn't mean I don't want one!
The house search took a big step forward yesterday as we went out for the first time since our mortgage was approved - my Army years finally paid off with a nice VA mortgage! - jittery with the knowledge that the game had officially begun, and saw a house that we liked. A lot, actually.
The two main drawbacks are that it only has one bathroom, and a small one at that, and a swimming pool. Pools are nice...in other people's backyards! The maintenance sucks and realistically, you can only use it 3-4 months/year in this area. The rest of the time, it's an eyesore. It's a big backyard, though, and the kids will love growing up with a pool, so it's the lesser of the two drawbacks. The bathroom, though, is a big deal. It's small, apartment small, and while there's the possibility of adding one in the partially finished basement, it's an extra expense that will be needed almost immediately.
The positives, though, are pretty strong. Great location, spacious lot, nice interior layout that's big enough to fit our needs (my sister will be moving in with us, trading room and board for after school/daycare pick up services), the aforementioned partially finished basement (for my growing comic collection that I'll no longer be able to afford once we buy a house!) and a half-finished attic. It also has the first master bedroom we've seen worthy of the descriptor, and a great kitchen with a breakfast bar.
Their asking price is at the top end of our limit, the very top, and it's been on the market for three weekends, a long time in Bloomfield where many houses are snatched up within 2-3 weeks, frequently with sale prices HIGHER than the original listing price! The owners are relocating after the school year ends and I did a search of home sales records and found they bought the house 18 months ago for almost $60k less than they're asking now, which I'm hoping means we can get them to drop $10-15k since we're already approved and ready to go and can accomodate their likely need for a delayed closing. That they've been difficult about showing the house works in our favor, too, I think.
The flip side is that it's only April and it's still early in the game. There's not a lot on the market right now and there's a chance we might see something we like better in the next couple of weeks. Of course, there's also the chance we won't and we'll end up with something less than we'd like, or need, and probably for more money!
What to do? What to do?