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katehaney

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07:38 pm: Houses, the final (?) weekend, part I: Amherst
We saw three houses today.

The first had been our favorite after our last trip out here. It was the most expensive on our list, but seemed worth the extra money. It's big. The yard is beautiful. It seemed to be configured well for our needs.

On second look, it's dropped down the list. The configuration is actually a little odd. The bonus room, currently used as a master bedroom, is lovely, but too big to waste all the space on my home office. The gorgeous hardwood floor seems to be asking for trouble as a playroom. Transitioning from co-sleeping into sleeping in totally different, non-contiguous parts of the house would be tricky (the bonus room is completely separate from the rest of the second floor, with its own staircase), so it's not ideal as a master bedroom.

There are some other odd things. The kitchen is lovely, but the dining room is on the other side of the house (not a big walk or anything, just a little odd to not be next to the kitchen). There's a room next to the kitchen whose purpose is unclear. It has a fireplace, so it could be a family room. But it has a slate floor, which is pretty but not cozy. The door to the deck is off the room, so it could be a breakfast room, but it's kinda big to be a breakfast room.

I'm sure we'd figure out how to use the spaces appropriately, but it's a lot of house to feel ambivalent about.

It is sorta expensive (although the price has dropped $50K since it's been on the market, so the owners may not be interested in a low offer). But it's still on the list.

We'd only driven by the other two houses before, so we didn't know what to expect.

We scratched the second house off our list pretty much as soon as we stepped into it. It looked great online - 0.76 acres bordering conservation land, an in-law apartment with a separate entrance, good-sized rooms... But the owners have not been kind to the house. It's run down. It has one, big, gorgeous room that looks as if they built it or re-did it recently, but the rest of the house is just shoddy. The in-law apartment is in the basement. The windows, which do face the conservation land as described in the listing, are so foggy from condensation that you can't see in or out.

And it smelled funny.

Ugh.

House number three was a surprise. We'd loved the neighborhood when we drove by, and liked it even more at second look. The yard is big and flat, with tall trees around the perimeter. The house is a lot like our current house, but about 30% bigger (not including the finished basement, which is quite nice). It needs work: the floors need to be refinished, the kitchen and full bath are out-dated, and the flagstone walk is slick with moss.

But it has enormous potential. Peter and I quite like the kitchen that we designed for our current house. It makes the house feel like our own. We found ourselves happily thinking about doing the same in a new house.

Because it's cheaper than most of the houses on our list, we could afford to buy it as is, have the floors re-done before we move in, and start on the kitchen shortly thereafter. We'd probably wait to do the bathroom until later, because the other baths are half-baths.

It's not what we planned, but it's a perfectly agreeable back-up plan.

If we moved to Amherst (which we still like very much), this house is as close as we could get to Pelham. As the best in the state, Pelham's elementary school is very appealing. They have a lottery to fill the spaces that aren't filled by Pelham residents.

For the first time, we were in town while classes were in session. Students certainly affect traffic. But it's bearable. And the variety of interesting shops and restaurants is very appealing indeed. So were the number of voter registration drives (3) at the farmer's market. Go, responsible citizens, go!

The market that I loved so much last time turns out to be a fantastic farmers' market, but an insufficient regular market. Almost no canned goods. And I hate to admit how much I care, but almost no 2-liter bottles of soda. The produce is gorgeous, the deli is amazing, the salad bar is fab-o, but I needs me some seltzer.

Yes, and Fresca. And I ain't gonna start buying it by the can.

Seven houses in Longmeadow tomorrow. I hope we'll have a decision after that.

:gulp:

Current Location: West Springfield
Current Mood: excitedexcited
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