April 8, 2014Doot Doot Doot……BREAKING NEWS…….Doot Doot Doot……BREAKING NEWS on Sara In AZ’s Epic House Search……Doot Doot Doot……
By Sara In AZ
You know how people always say to ‘singles’ out there looking for love, “Just stop looking so hard and your true love will come along soon.” Maybe it’s the same way with houses???
Mike and I have been looking for a retro house for a LONG time y’all…..seriously it’s been close to 5 years. And if you have been keeping up with my posts for all of this time you know that there have been a lot of houses we’ve seen, that for various reasons, were not quite the right ones…..maybe the price was wrong, the location could have been off, we were also out maneuvered by the flipper/investor ‘all cash’ buyers many times. Whatever the case, nothing really seemed like quite the right fit.
I guess I always knew that looking for a time capsule 50s/60s house here in the Phoenix area would be a hard road to go down. I am not quite sure why, but maybe people here tend to be more transient thus the homes get renovated at a quicker pace. It is super rare to find one owner homes around these parts!
So, not only are we looking for a time capsule…..we are also confining our search to only certain local areas as Mike does not want to drive a zillion miles back and forth to work and we also wanted some type of brick ranch with a layout that could really work for us. There were also various other search parameters we had that were important to us and all of that was adding up to one big ZERO in terms of homes that we were really interested in buying. Literally there might only be a handful of homes a year that would really work for us, and it seemed like they were usually outside of our budget or the ‘all cash’ buyers got the jump on us.
Not that I ever expected perfection, I knew once we eventually found a place there would probably be concessions like ‘I’ll take the cool built-ins and give up the dream of having a pink bathroom’ or whatever the case may be. It was just that we were looking and searching and hunting for a special and unique house….one that ‘wowed’ us with unique details that aren’t found in modern homes.
Nothing was really jiving, we were mostly viewing later 60s and 70s houses that had pretty much all been remodeled. We started thinking that if we found a place that might work (layout wise) we could just tear out all the new stuff and put all the retro back in. But I had it in my heart that I wanted to preserve a house…..to save something from all the gutters out there.
The search went on…..and on…..and on……………..
Sometime this past February a house went up in one of our target neighborhood areas. It was a 60s ranch house, but when I scanned the pictures it appeared everything in the house had been updated as usual. I showed the listing to Mike and he was pretty ‘ho-hum’ about it, so I just let it go. A few weeks after I saw that listing come up we happened to be in that area so we drove by the house just for kicks…..just wanting to see if it struck us any differently in person. Nope, we still didn’t like it.
Mike decided to drive around the neighborhood to check it out, we just wanted to see what the neighborhood looked like in general.
As we were rounding the last corner to drive out of the neighborhood I noticed this really cool detail on the fascia boards along the roof of a home we were passing……as I was looking up at the roof, Mike was looking down and saw this………
Yes, an empty real estate sign pole. We were both dumbfounded and circled back as fast as we could. We didn’t know if the house had just sold and we missed it or if it was just about to go on the market.
We kept on driving by the house day after day to see if there was a sign up, but there never was. It was always just the pole. We could also tell that *some* renovation was going on as there were grout bags and floor tiles and paint lying around the driveway…..but there never was anyone around to ask what was going on.
I was kind of panicking – what if we had found THE house only to have it gutted before our very eyes? ugghhhh. Yes, that would probably be my luck.
FINALLY on the fifth night there was a “For Sale’ sign up! Whooooo-Hoooooooo!!!! We took down all of the information and had our agent call pronto!
Our real estate agent was able to finagle us into the house before it actually hit the market….the very next day after we saw the sign. She said the listing agent told her that some renovations had already taken place and other renovations were forth coming. Our agent said they had better halt ALL renovations until we saw the home, as we wanted a home in as original condition as possible.
Honestly, I went into this not expecting very much….we’ve been disappointed more times than I care to remember……so I really wasn’t expecting to like the house very much at all – esp. since some of it had already been renovated.
When I walked in and saw terrazzo flooring in the entry I was a goner. Then I saw the built-ins and the fabulous stone fireplace and the great layout and I was even further over the moon….but it wasn’t until I sprinted down the hallway into the master bath and saw the sweet little aqua blue corner tub that I knew I totally HAD to have this house! You see, I had been secretly telling myself through all of this house searching that if I ever found a house with a corner tub then my search would be over!
Mike and I went home that night and talked it over, the price was a bit higher that we really wanted to spend…….but we made the decision to go for it and put an offer in that night. We haggled with the sellers over the asking price a bit and then all the contracts were signed. Then the appraisal came in under the agreed on price and we were back to square one as the sellers seemed not to want to budge from that agreed on price and we could not afford to pay WAY over what the house was worth. I won’t lie, it was VERY touch and go there for a while and it could have gone either way.
In the end – this is what went down…………………..
Yes, your ARE seeing that right…..that ‘Sale Pending’ went “Sold” just over a week ago……Mike and I have finally managed to get our hands on a time capsule after all of this time! We are only the second owners of a retro ranch built in 1966…..ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe how we feel!
As for the renovations that had already been started on the house…..apparently they thought that renovating the kitchen and installing some new large size ceramic tile flooring would be a great idea for resale! So, by the time we saw the house all of the original kitchen countertops, most of the original appliances and the original sink (which sounded pretty cool) were already long gone. In it’s place, the bane of all vintage lovers, granite! eeps! The original wood kitchen cupboards are pretty much still intact, though they removed the lazy susan when they installed the granite. The kitchen cabinets are in pretty bad shape though….WAY, WAY worse than Mom’s kitchen cabinets over at her condo – just ‘Feed and Wax’ is not going to save these. I am NOT exaggerating when I say the finish on the base cabinets is truly in horrible condition. I am going to try to restore the finish and if I can we will keep the kitchen as it is, but if we cannot it will be ‘in with the pink and blue metal cabinets’!
I won’t lie, we are terrified out of our minds just thinking about ALL of the projects that will need to be done…..all the time it will take….all the money. I guess everyone buying an old house expects that to be the case though don’t they?
I wish I could tell you all that I will have a series of upcoming posts, all neat and tidy and in order, just like I did for Mom’s time capsule condo renovations, but I think it’s going to be pretty hit and miss for a while. Maybe I will be able to post something on the house one week and then nothing for a few more weeks….we’ll just have to see how it goes. In any event if you don’t see me around the blog as much (commenting or whatever) just know that I am not intentionally ignoring anyone – it’s probably just that I will be covered in paint and wallpaper for a good long while….or trying to recover my back from moving all of those metal cabinets around! ha!
I will still keep up with my posting duties unless something REALLY crazy happens, but I will personally have to back off of the “Kool Kitsch’” posts for a while – I just don’t have the time to search eBay right now! Sorry! BUT, in other breaking news, Ruth has almost completed a new format to show off cool finds and stuff for sale all of the NPR gals find from around the web – so stay tuned for that….. you definitely do not want to miss out!
March Madness…..yes, I have to say that this has been a March full of madness for Mike and I! Being terrified and excited all at the same time is such a weird feeling to have. Both Mike and I are crazy-nuts elated to have found such an amazing house!!! While our quest for a time capsule is now over, the journey has just begun……I hope you all will stick around to see how this journey unfolds!
In closing I wanted to say “Thanks” for the lovely and encouraging comments regarding our house search from all the fabulous No Pattern Required readers along the way….it helped me to keep my spirits up knowing there were people rooting for us to find our dream house. We really were at our wits end….we were ready to give up and just buy anything……..we thought there were no retro time capsule houses left in the entire city that could work for us…..and then out of thin air this home just materialized! So yeah, all of you singles out there looking for love – never give up hope as you never know what’s around that next corner……it could be the love of your life……or that dream house!!!
Real Estate Sign Post Picture From Signazon.