On a Saturday, my real estate agent and I booked SEVERAL viewings of many different houses, in different parts of town. We ended up with a few cancellations. I saw a few that I liked, but then we had a huge chunk of time that I sort of wanted to be Sushi time, in the middle of the day.
Knowing my preferences, my realtor insisted that I "Just take a quick look" at this house that I kept passing over. She would send me several listings, and there was one that was always in the listings. I wrote it off early, because I didn't want to live at a busy intersection, and on the busier of the two streets.
I argued... slightly, but she convinced me that it would just be fun, because the house was pretty neat; even if I didn't necessarily want to live there.
So, reluctantly, I agreed to look.
There were a few things that sort of piqued my interest in the beginning, before we even started looking at the inside of the place. The parking area was enormous. It was larger than the parking area we had at that point in time, and I thought we had ample parking. It also had a really large backyard. The house, not typical of Portland, really, sat on a quarter of an acre. It was also only six blocks from where I had lived previously, when I had my first kid. I thought to myself: "I could live here again. Sure." Also? Most Portland lots are either .09, or .11. No idea how this place existed, as I looked.
We walked in, and all I had to do was walk a few feet, before I decided I wanted the place. The dining room; blew, instead of knocked, my socks off. Seriously. Blew. My. Socks. Off. I could not believe something like that, was right here.
I told her: "OK, I want to make an offer, like right now. Can we do that?"
"Don't you want to see the rest of it?"
"Hm. Well, twist my arm..."
So, we looked at the rest, and it just kept getting better, and better. The closets were so big! This place was built in 1911, so really, HOW? Well? I have no idea, but whatever. Go with it.
I called Mr. Hed, panting: "You need to get your ass over here, right now. This place, AMAZING!"
"Do you have any others to look at today?"
"Just one, in Sellwood."
"Go look at that one. If you don't like it, I'll come see this house you've got such a lady boner, over."
So, we went and looked at the final house of the day. It was cute, but smaller than the house we were in at that time, so we rushed back over, and I made another call.
Within the hour, we had put in an offer. It took forever to be accepted, because it was a foreclosure, and the bank was being a complete asshole about it.
I will say: Foreclosures? You need to be prepared, if that is the route you take. I looked at a few other foreclosures before we found this one, and this one was, by far, in the best shape of all of the others. The things you will see, when you are looking at one of these properties, will boggle your mind. One of the houses we looked at, had holes in the walls and doors. It looked like someone had taken soda bottles, and just fizzed them all over the stairs. I thought it was because it had been sitting empty and teenagers had gotten ahold of it. No. It wasn't that. My realtor told me that this is the sort of thing people sometimes do when they lose their houses. It made my guts hurt a little. I felt slightly like a vulture... but not that much.
The other things that can be really weird and difficult with them, is zoning, and financing. We had this deal fall through once while in escrow. I thought we had lost it, for sure; which made me really sad. We also had tenants lined up, and they needed to have things in place, as well. This transaction was hard on everyone.
Because this house was zoned CN2, which is a commercial/residential hybrid of zoning, it meant a couple of things: 1. I could actually run my business from my house legally. 2. It would be a BITCH to finance. Why? Because in most cases of commercial zoning, if the structure burns to the ground, it needs to be rebuilt as a business. Banks don't love that.
So, we were dropped by our first lender, because they eventually sell their accounts to Wells-Fargo, and Well-Fargo will not work with Commercially Zoned houses.
My realtor is a genius though. She knew about the sale transaction of one of our comp houses, down the road. It was in the same zone, and she knew the broker who handled the transaction. So, she found us another lender. She also found the distinction between the zones, and the fact that in Portland, a CN2 house isn't treated the same as a CN1 house would be. CN2s, when burnt to the ground, can be rebuilt as residential structures. So really? She earned every last penny of her commission, and while it took longer than it had the last time, to close, she made the whole thing happen!
I will say though, that I laughed really hard when we received our first mortgage statement, because... guess who it was from? Wells-Fargo! HA!
Here are a few pix. Some are from before we moved in, and some from after we moved in.
|Front Porch, bare wood, before I painted it.|
|Ruby! And back stairs.|
|Back of house.|
|I love these beams.|
|Kitchen, before painting. Yes. It was baby pink.|
|Upstairs Hallway. I have a friend who actually told me: "There are three things in this world that I hate: Hitler, football, and your upstairs hallway." |
My sentiments, exactly. I want to paint this... kinda badly.
|This is what the upstairs bathroom looked like before we moved in. We did paint it, butter yellow, and gray. I like how it turned out, but I forgot to take pix of this, and now I'm tired... so, use your imagination. :)|
|Main stairwell. Now, when you have something that is THIS difficult to paint... why choose THIS green? Why?|
|Our living room had these awful old people drapes, and this weird fireplace screen that was the wrong size. Measure much, people?|
|This was a deep, ugly, purple. "Hi! Welcome to my... crypt." I painted this room, as soon as I could. I'm still not completely thrilled with the colour, but something won't let me let go of that bright red ceiling. I'm Dexter.|
|I actually kinda liked the colour of this room before I painted it white. It ended up being my photography studio.|
|Main floor bathroom. If you stand up, you will bump your head. It is really tiny. This place was built in 1911, but not plumbed until 1927.|
|Approach from front door.|
|Porch, after I painted it. I need to do it again this year. Planning that.|
|Foyer, after paint.|
|T's arm is photo bombing, but you get the idea. I fucking love this dining room!!!|
|What the living room looks like, now.|
|Kitchen, after paint.|
|I was looking up the stairs, and I just liked this eerie glow, so I'm including it.|
|My room has changed slightly. I have a new bed, and I got rid of that stupid shoe rack.|
|Alternate view of dining room.|
|Mr. Hed, taking credit for all of my hard work. I painted this porch, myself, dammit! LOL|