Monday, March 25, 2013

Houses we've seen

At this point we've seen five houses and met our real estate agent, Joy Amann, for the first time.  On Thursday after work, we started with two houses in Fort Thomas that Greg has affectionately named It's a Small World and the Matterhorn (we clearly just returned from Disney).   

It's a Small World: This house has been on the market for a couple months and we drive by it daily so even though I was pretty sure it was too small from the outside he really wanted to see it more out of curiosity.   It was reasonably updated but just not for us.  The stairs were pretty steep and if Greg stood up in the master bedroom the ceiling fan would have likely given him a hair cut.  Also, the backyard was not easy to access for letting the dog out.  So, all around not a good fit.

The Matterhorn:  This house looked great in the listing and was somehow at the low end of our price range.  We were pretty excited when we saw it come up on the portal.  Greg e-mailed Joy and asked how could this house be in Ft. Thomas, as updated as it was AND in our price range.  She e-mailed Greg back and said it looked like the back yard had a ravine so that was probably part of the issue and suggested we drive by before we saw it.  He had something to do that evening with the Reds so I figured I'd run by it.  He'd already had her set up the appt to see it but I was curious.  Well, when I drove by I figured out the issue right away, the driveway was the STEEPEST driveway I have ever seen in my life.  I tried to talk Greg out of going to see it but it was too late the appointment was already set up.  He also didn't quite believe the driveway could be that steep, until we drove up it!   When we toured it we liked it pretty well except for the crazy driveway.  There is no way in the Cincy/NKY area I could ever get behind dealing with a driveway that steep with the ice we tend to deal with a couple times every winter. 

So our first trip out was pretty much a bust.  We went ahead and had JA set us up to see three more houses over the weekend in the Edgewood area.  This appointment was fun because I was pretty sure Joy thought we were loons because N decided she was going to dress like a princess for that appointment, right down to the shoes.  We saw three houses this day.

The Expressway House:  This house pretty much met our qualifications but it didn't have a real family room and it was pretty close to 275.  Being close to a major through-fair is actually one of our qualifications, my grandfather told me once that any house you look at should be less than 5 minutes from the highway for ease of getting around.  The house, however, didn't have a family room and the basement was not really built in a way to add it easily.  So another no go.  Didn't love this one but didn't hate it either and it had a pretty good yard.

The Cat House:  We really like this house.  It has this fabulous title because it has been a rental for the past 20 years and when we walked in the current tenants had cats.  Wow, did they have cats.  However, the kitchen was pretty cute, the bedrooms were a nice size and it had a great family room and storage on the lower level.  The backyard was not as flat as we'd like but Greg and the girls ran around it for a few minutes and had a good time. We told Joy we wanted to come back and see the house once the tenants moved out to see how it looked vacant and see also if the smell was gone once the cats were moved out.  She said she would contact the listing agent and get us back in once they'd vacated.  

The Horrible Layout:  This house was not ours from the minute we walked in.  It was terribly outdated and very poorly laid out.  Not even worth describing.  

So from the first five houses we saw, 1 maybe and 4 no-ways.  More later as we see more houses. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

House Hunting Criteria

Now that we have returned from vacation and finished moving out of the rental house into an apartment we have had time to look at some houses.  We are hoping to find something in Fort Thomas or possibly Edgewood because of the schools.  Greg and I spend a lot of time debating public school vs Catholic school for the girls.  I went to public school all the way through Grad school and Greg went to Catholic school all the way through Notre Dame.  At this point we are open to both options but decided to look at these two areas because we know they have good public schools available.  

At this point we are looking for houses with at least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, family room,  a nice backyard (preferably fenced), an updated kitchen, garage and lots of storage.  We are looking in the 150-175k price range because we want to keep our payments low so we can pay it off faster.  

Our real estate agent has turned on a web portal for us that allows us to get all of the houses in our price range in the areas we are looking at and weed out the ones we are interested in.  It's pretty neat, it sends us a link every time a new house comes on the market that meets our criteria.  Now that she has turned it on there are quite a few houses we need to go through to start our search.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meeting Three Princesses!

We just got back from vacation and I don't have time to recount most of it right now but here are some pics of the girls with three of the Disney princesses!




Saturday, March 16, 2013

Florida Day 4

On our fourth day in Florida we went to Disney!!!  We went with my Dad and his girlfriend.  We managed to cram 3 different parks into one day!  

We  started the day at the Animal Kingdom.  They have a really nifty African Safari and animal jungle.  The girls & adults really enjoyed both.  Then we went to the Bug's Life show.  The girls did not enjoy it.  It's in the dark and both girls have a fear of bugs.  We found out the Winnie the Pooh characters were available for pictures so of course we took the girls to meet them.  L loved the stuff characters, N not so much!

After we met the characters we decided to head over to the Magic Kingdom with a mission to meet some princesses.  When we got to the Magic Kingdom we figured out where the princesses were and got Fast Passes so we could do other things while we waited.  We went on the Buzz Lightyear ride, watched some of the parade go by and afterwards the girls got to meet three of the princesses!  They met Rapunzel, Aurora & Cinderella.  They had the best time saying hi to them and getting pictures taken. N made sure to show each of the princesses her new Minnie Mouse toy, Minnie ended up in every picture! After the princesses we went to the Haunted Mansion and checked out the newest edition to the Magic Kingdom.  Greg and I then rode Space Mountain and remembered why we don't ride many roller coasters anymore!!!

When we were done with Space Mountain we were all hungry for dinner.  Nothing at the Magic Kingdom jumped out at us so we headed to Epcot and had a delicious dinner in Mexico while we watched the fireworks.  

I love Disney and was glad we were able to get the girls there one more time before the girls turn three and can still get in for free.  It will probably be a couple years before we can take them again. 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Florida Day 3

On our third day in Florida we spent a little time on the beach outside our hotel, went to the Children's Museum of Tampa with our friend Alison & had some awesome sushi for dinner!