I wish I was writing this laying in bed at 9:30 after a nice relaxing Friday evening of drinks with friends and ready to go to bed excited and well rested for the weekend. However, that’s never been the case when it comes to buying a home. Let me backtrack to where we started…
Our lease is up May 4th and so both Scotty and I wanted to get a head start on looking at homes in Denver in January. We didn’t quite know what neighborhood but we know we wanted somewhere close to the city so that he’s close to work – and well, I’m close to play! We first started in the Highlands, a neighborhood that Scotty and I both loved and have lived in several houses in that area. The problem was demand. The neighborhood is THE hotspot of Denver now, which is the reason why we ROCKED IT when we sold the house there. It’s walking distance to restaurants and has the quaint houses that we are looking for. We just aren’t ready for suburbia. While it’s appealing with the big houses, lawns and nice schools. Let’s be honest, neither of us want to clean a 2,500 sq. ft. house and we certainly don’t have the need to fill a house that big at the moment.
So, we started looking. Houses would pop up and we would literally have to look that day if we wanted any chance to purchase in the highlands. Not to mention, we had no leverage for negotiating because there would always be a backup cash offer. It was a tedious process. We would find iffy houses and want to think on it, but wouldn’t have the chance too, they would be gone in a millisecond.
Defeated, we started looking at other neighborhoods. We had seen quite a few flips popping up in City Park North. Neither of us knew the neighborhood well and our Realtor (a Wash Park advocate) nicely suggested that we choose another neighborhood. But something kept us to migrating to MLS listings there. The homes, all built in the early 1900’s have the character and charm that I’m looking for, but have been updated and modern interiors, just what Scotty is looking for. We didn’t know anything about the area so Scotty and I took a drive around one day. One thing is for sure, the neighborhood is a food desert. There is nothing for blocks. However, it’s 1/2 mile from 17th which is a food mecca for some of Denver’s most popular restaurants. The neighborhood is also transitioning. That means it’s hit or miss. There are blocks where houses are in need of serious repair and houses who have been flipped and have young families in them. The schools are part of DPS so it’s open enrollment meaning if/when we decide on a family we’ll have options. Transportation is always key for us since we love to spend a few nights a month going downtown for some drinks on the town. The positive? There’s a lightrail station being built not too far from the neighborhood. Lastly, it was close to Scotty’s work and very close to the I70 where I can jump on the freeway to get to work. It really has everything that we will want (will is the operative word) because it’s not all there yet. We’ll have to be patient, but also see great returns on our investment.
So, we chose to focus on City Park North, specifically the Whittier Neighborhood. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver. It first caught our eyes when we went to grab a bite to eat while searching homes and came across the Whittier Pub, a pup friendly, neighborly pub that we knew would be our watering hole. It felt like home when were there. Odd that we based some of our decisions of home ownership off of a local bar, but it really made a difference that our neighbors and local businesses would be friendly and welcoming.
We (ok maybe I) quickly fell in love with a house. I wanted it – bad. But I was hesitant. Could I handle the small kitchen? Could I handle the bathroom not having a window? These minor details kept me hesitant and we didn’t act. The same thing happened to Scotty and we both lost the homes that we wanted. We quickly realized how important it was for us to stay focused but also make a quick decision – together.
We found 3112 York on the MLS on Monday and just had to see it. The Calypso Orange colored brick bungalow sat a flight of stairs above York street and was in between 30th and 31st. I wasn’t sure about the outdoor color, I think I made the color up, but it had a Bahama type feel to it – what the heck were the homeowners thinking? It deterred me a bit, but it was the large living room, updated kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 car garage (yes, that’s right- we’re ballers) and basement that really got us going. We visited that home several times throughout the week and every night I would go home and research ideas on Pinterest on what we could do with the small bathroom, wavy tile, etc. better. I knew I was hooked. HOOKED! But there were odd things about it. It was a flip and the flipper had zero attention to detail. Our Realtor would joke with me saying, “you do realizing you want to now flip a flip, right?” As I mentioned, the tile was wavy. The dishwasher didn’t have a drain…so it essentially drained to the floor. Faucets were flipped hot/cold, or the faucets weren’t even there. We knew that because of the state of the flip we had some negotiating power because there was certainly work to be done.
So, that Sunday night we put in an offer below the asking price…and then the waiting began. Waiting, waiting, waiting..ACCEPTED! We were thrilled but knew we weren’t out of the hot seat. The house still had to pass inspection and all those odds and ends of home buying.
We put in an offer in February (early February) and today, March 28th we finally closed on the house, that’s how tedious and nerve wracking the process was. The current owner was evasive, he wouldn’t fix anything or sign anything until the 11th hour. It was misery. The only thing that kept us sane was knowing that after the house closing we would never have to see him again. We also have a great Realtor who was on top of everything.
So, there is a happy ending. The highs and lows of 2014 have certainly brought us pain. Lots of pain. But this house has brought a silver lining – Renewal. Scotty and I are both really excited to continue our lives together in this home and hopefully (someday Mom – not now) start a family and be able to experience the neighborhood for it’s perks and charm. We’ve already met our neighbors…awesome ladies that without a doubt will look over our home when we aren’t there. Can you ask for anything any better?
Now the decorating begins. Let me just say that it isn’t the easiest part. Scotty and I are both VERY stubborn and like to get our way. We’ll see how my charm works on him but I have a feeling we’ll be getting a deck afterall.
Did I mention it’s 5 blocks north of a golf course? I’m in serious trouble. I’ll never see my husband on the weekends.
Cheers to the future. We can’t wait to invite you to 3112 York!
P.S: Thought I would leave you with a few gems that I came across during our home buying search. I didn’t take a picture of a few things which I’m bummed about (saw a toilet as a planter – so bummed I didn’t capture that one!)