Saturday, July 21, 2012

789 Vernon Road

After looking, finding and then having to look again M and I agreed to terms on a new house in south Bexley. We looked at three homes last weekend (the 2nd showing for two homes) and decided that the one in south Bexley was the home for us. The negotiations were relatively easy (even though it took 4 contracts to finally agree) and assuming our inspection on Monday goes well then we close on August 17th. This has been a much longer and more difficult road than we imagined, but I really think that this is going to work out well for us. The home that we are purchasing has a lot of what we were looking for and should end up being a great next step in our lives.
789 Vernon Road

If I run that home through the criteria that I wanted in a home it actually checks out pretty well:
  • 4 bedrooms - There are only 3, but the basement could be used as a guest bedroom if we add a bathroom downstairs. That doesn't need to be an immediate fix since we already have two more bedrooms than what we will be using.
  • 2.5 bathrooms - There are only two bathrooms, but both are full and the 3rd one again can be added to the basement.
  • Finished basement - Check. This was rare to find in Bexley and something I had pretty much given up on. This was definitely a big difference maker for me.
  • Backyard - Decent size for Bexley. It certainly is big enough to have a cookout, BBQ or throw a football around.
  • Good school district - Check. Also, it is only 0.2 miles away from the lower school.
  • Character home (as opposed to a McMansion) - I love the 1950 Cape Cod home feel. It looks like a South Minneapolis home and is something that has great curb appeal. Also, even though it is a character home the home has had a lot of updates inside. One thing that I looked for when walking through homes was whether or not it was move-in ready. For this home I can move in and not have to change anything. 
  • Driveway for a basketball goal - This was part of the compromise. The home only has a 1 car garage in alley and doesn't seem to have a place for a basketball goal. The good news is that there is a gym that is only a 2 minute drive away and an outdoor basketball playground only a 5 minute walk away.
  • Family Room - The main floor has a living room/family room combo, which is fine with me especially considering there is the extra space in the basement. Also, for the family room we negotiated with the sellers to leave the tv and tv mount, so that there would be one less thing for us to work on when we moved in.
  • Good walk score - 78 - very walkable. We will only be a block and a half from Main Street, which was a huge bonus. It might not be quite as high as the 83 walk score at our old place, but it is much better than most of the homes (including the one we were under contract on) we looked at.
  • 15 year mortgage - This was another big bonus for us. From the start I loved the idea of having a 15 year mortgage and paying off a home early. Since we bought a home under budget then we will be able to do that and start paying off this debt quickly. I don't like debt and while that might be a simple way of viewing personal finance it is part of my philosophy.
Anyway, M and I are both ecstatic for this home. I'm looking forward to meeting the neighbors (I heard people in south Bexley are very close) and beginning to establish myself in Columbus.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New homes

For those of you that are tired of blog posts about the never-ending story (our home search) then feel free to skip this post. However, I know a few people are interested, so here is a quick update with pictures.

Since we became free agents (end of June) two of the three homes we liked are now under contract. We also ruled out the 3rd one out, so as of our San Francisco trip we were starting over again. The big change we decided to make was to consider 3 bedroom homes instead of the 4 bedrooms that we used to consider non-negotiable. We looked at a fresh batch of homes on Sunday (literally right after we were picked up from the airport). Out of that group yesterday and a few others we saw tonight there are two homes that we both are really considering. Both are 3 bedroom places and are reasonable prices. They also both felt right (for whatever that is worth).

Option 1: 789 Vernon Road, South Bexley

Pros - Move-in ready home. They recently redid the bathrooms and kitchen. Also, the basement is finished and provides a great multi-purpose room. I could see watching tv, hosting super bowl parities, and when need be use as a guest bedroom space. It would need a bathroom down there, but that is something we could hire someone to do later on. The home has a great walk-score (very close to Main Street) and looks to be in a really nice, friendly neighborhood. I think the home kind of has a South Minneapolis feel to it, and I love the curb appeal.

Cons - The main one is that there is only a 1 car garage. And also there is no place to put a basketball goal. Also, the master bedroom is on the 2nd level, while the other two bedrooms are on the 1st floor. This was a concern for two of our friends in Minnesota. Other than that the home is pretty much perfect for us.

Option 2: 245 N Cassingham, North Bexley

Pros - This home has a lot of charm and a lot of great functional space. The owners have lived there for 40 years and they look to have taken great care of their home. The first floor has a nice hardwood floors and the second floor has a recently updated carpet. The first floor has a nice living room, kitchen, porch, and dining room. The second floor has three bedrooms of decent (not great) size), but the key is that there are two bathrooms upstairs. Also, the master bedroom has great closet space. Finally, there is a two car garage (hurray) and a place to play basketball (another hurray). This home might not have a lot of the wow factor that other homes had, but it felt like such a great home for us.

Cons - The main bathroom needs to be remodeled. There is great space, but it just needs to be updated a little bit. Also, the walk score isn't the best since there isn't as much near North Bexley as there is in South or Central Bexley. The final con is that the home isn't actually on the market. These people are very close to purchasing another home and are looking at putting it on the market. However, looking isn't the same as actually being on the market, so it might not work out. And since it isn't on the market, I can't link to it. I did take some pictures below if you were interested:

Entering the front door into the living room. You can also see the porch through the windows in the top right.

It is kind of hard to see the home with the trees in the way. I could probably have taken a better picture.

I loved the way the home looks when you enter through the front door. The exposed wood on the ceiling is a nice touch.

Future basketball court?

Family room with built-ins


Dining room

Master bedroom

2nd bedroom

3rd bedroom

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

San Francisco (pictures)

There will be time later to go over my thoughts on San Francisco, but in the interest of time here are some *pictures from the trip:

*These are just from my cell phone and haven't been edited, so there should be better pictures later.

Breakfast at a place with a really long line (and really good food)

M and the Painted Ladies

The Giants celebrating a win


 Lombard Street

The Golden Gate bridge (if you didn't know)

Outside AT&T Park (I realized there were no pictures of me, so I thought I need to include this one at the end.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

San Francisco (Day 1)

Greetings from San Francisco. M and I arrived late on Friday night and have a full week to enjoy both SF and Napa. Yesterday we had a "local's day" with our friends Nancy and Nicholas. And apparently the first thing the locals do is walk to a hipster breakfast place and wait an hour in line to be seated. The good news is that the food at the place (Zazie) was excellent. I had an eggs benedict with crab and avocado that lived up to the $18 price tag. We then walked around Buena Vista Park and the Haight-Ashbury area. Both Nicholas and I picked up retro minor league t-shirts of the New Orleans Pelicans and the Rochester Red Wings and tried to avoid getting a contact high from the air in the area.

Later in the afternoon after watching all 8 Full House theme songs (with video) consecutively before going to visit the Painted Ladies (or also known as the Full House houses). Below is a picture Nancy took of Mary enjoying the view:

Last night we got Japanese food and I was overruled on going out, so instead we stayed in and watched a movie.

Today is a big day in that we have tickets to go see the Giants play the Reds in downtown San Francisco. Now I might get the Sunday NY Times and try my best to assimilate into the culture.