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Day 40: A fairytale kind of day

December 30, 2011

I turned into Ottawa Hills, a tiny Grand Rapids neighborhood bordering East Grand Rapids. My heartbeat sped up. Excitement pumped through my veins as I succumbed to the enchantment of the miniature castles surrounding me. I can’t believe this could be my neighborhood, I thought as a wide grin spread across my face.



I was finally on my way to check out the home of my uncle’s mother in-law. I knocked on the door and was coolly greeted by the home’s tenant. I scanned my surroundings. A spacious living room with a brick fireplace was connected to a four-season sunroom. Built-in cabinets connected the rooms. Daylight spilled into a beautiful beautiful dining room. It was love at first sight.

And that’s where my thrill ended.

Not by choice, but as a result of that annoying little man who answered the door.

He followed us through the home, quick to point out every flaw. The fireplace doesn’t work well. I hate the closets in this place. The kitchen needs work. The bathrooms are tiny. The windows are drafty. I rolled my eyes over and over. It was when he pointed out the leaks, mentioned the old roof, that I started appreciating the chatterbox a teensy bit.

The roof was older and, according to him, nearly due for replacement. It has three layers, too. That means come replacement time it’s going to be costly. Codes prohibit more than three layers of shingles so a complete tear off will be required. Something I’ve been adamant to avoid, as it will cost thousands of dollars.

The three-season porch had a leak, so did the garage and the canning room in the basement. Work. Money. Money. Work. I wished he would just put a cork in it.

The home isn’t perfect. It’s a corner lot. Not much of a yard. Despite it’s large exterior, it’s a bit smaller than I’d like. But it has an attached garage, which, I don’t think I’ve encountered in a single house in my search yet. (One of those initial requirements that quickly fell off the list.)

The biggest pro? She’s willing to sell it at a price I can afford. And in Ottawa Hills, that’s an investment. But for my budget, it’s the max I want to spend.

I’m torn.

So I called my mortgage guy. He quoted me some estimates for monthly payments, but the leaks lingered in my mind. I’d hate to spend another $350 in inspection fees only to realize the problems are more than I want to handle.

He suggested I bring a contractor in to take and look and estimate repair costs. Brilliant!!

And guess who I met an hour later? A contractor who lives a few streets over from Ottawa Hills. We exchanged numbers; my bout of anxiety subsided.

Now you’re probably wondering about the Negative Nancy I referenced earlier. I don’t know the whole story, but his plan was rent to own. Only it’s been five years and he still hasn’t bought the place. How bad can the problems really be if he’s willing to still live there?

For now, I’m refraining from getting too excited about a fairytale home come true.

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