So the quest for a home to buy has started. The original plan was to buy land and build, but circumstances require that I have something to live in faster than that. Two cuties spotted over the Internet. I'm an old hand at this though so I know how much photo's lie. Every house looks amaaazing over the net. When you stand in front of it though.....
#1 Country town - pop 500, bluestone cottage 100yrs old in original but well kept condition. 30mins to major rural centre, 45mins to city and 2.5hrs from major city. Location is great, lots of green rolling hills, quiet area, picturesque town with heritage homes. The cottage is pretty too. But the employment catchment of this location is very attractive. I would have lots of options.
Evils revealed by Google Maps - the house is situated backwards on the block, no street appeal and no chance to change it. It has a vacant lot next door which is clearly about to become a building site. The internal layout is functional but old fashioned and as the walls are masonry it will cost a bomb to knock any of them down or widen a door.
Pluses revealed by Google Maps - it is situated down a laneway so otherwise will be very quiet and secluded location. It has one of my favourite tree's on the lot which is probably already 100yrs old. It's a stone cottage and by the looks of it the roof is reasonably new and has a nice fancy solar water heater. It's a heritage home of the variety most people sell a kidney to acquire. But it's also south facing (southern hemisphere) which will make it like an ice cave in winter.
#2 Country town pop 400, weatherboard cottage, 100yrs old in recently reno'd condition and done up in chic country style. 30mins to major rural town. 1.5hrs to city & major city. Neighbours both sides so no building lots. Bags of street appeal but smaller lot. These cottages have zero insulation. Not a problem when they're in the subtropics but this one is in one of the colder temperate zones with sharp winters. The mployment catchment however isn't very good because it would be a 90min commute in any direction unless I wanted to work a casual job at 10hrs a week locally. This house is north facing, so better orientation than the other one.
Evils revealed by Google Maps - none really other than the town looks a bit rundown and not as nice as the other one. Asking about $30k more than it's worth though. House next door on larger lot, same number of bedrooms and comparable appearance sold for 30k less just 2 months ago.
Pluses revealed by Google Maps - the last time a photo of this house was taken it looked ready to fall down. Which explains why the present owners purchased it for half its current asking price. I can pretty much say everything in this house is new and internal walls have been knocked out to make it flow better. Nothing more to do basically except garden.
Why is it that when you just want to buy a reasonable house for a reasonable price you are only presented with oddball options, that make you stop and think the whole process is a waste of time? I'm going to see both of them tomorrow, 2hrs of flying and about 5hrs of driving involved. So expensive, I really hope I don't come back thinking it was a giant waste of money.