Yet again

Since February 2007 we’ve been living in a house that Heather’s grandfather bought around 1946 and which now belongs to her father. We’ve done maintenance and repairs and paid property taxes in lieu of rent.

But while the house has its good features, it’s lacking several things we’d really like to have. Storage space inside the house is one. There’s no useful attic, and the basement is low and damp, and has a very uneven dirt floor.

There is only one bathroom. Granted, Heather’s grandparents raised five children in the house, and had parents and grandparents living with them at times, and I don’t think they even had one bathroom when they started — the outhouse is still, barely, standing. Still, we’d like more than one… and we’d like a tub, not just a shower stall.

The kitchen is large, but doesn’t have enough cabinets or countertops. There is no laundry room, and the basement isn’t suitable for laundry — we have the washer in the kitchen and the dryer in the cramped, unheated back vestibule. There is no garage. There is nowhere to set up a workshop.

Besides that, the house was neglected a great deal in the last couple decades. We’ve fixed up some things, but it really needs more money put into it than we can afford on a house we don’t own.

So after four years there, and after the passing of Heather’s grandfather which means her father is free to do as he likes with the house, it’s time to move on. I don’t relish buying another house and moving again — we’ve done both too often already — but it’s time.

The house we intend to buy is on Split Rock Road near Onondaga Road, still in the Town of Onondaga but in the West Genesee school district and with a Camillus zip code. It’s big, too big for us, really, but better that than cramped, and it dates from 1890 with a couple more recent additions. Useable attic with pull-down stairs, and a better basement than the present house. Two full baths, including a big tub. Big kitchen with an island and space for more cabinets if we need more, which we probably don’t. Laundry hookups are in a closet by the kitchen but we might set the laundry up in the basement.

Garage… well, it has an embarrassment of garage. Two car garage at basement level, and a detached garage. The latter building has not only parking space but a 1-bedrooom apartment, with storage space above it, and a full walk-out basement. Which was full of junk last time I looked, but the sellers are supposed to clean it out, so there will be lots of workshop space. We’ll be renting out the apartment.

Given all the garage it’s not surprising there’s a lot of asphalt, probably more asphalt than we need and maybe we’ll have some of it removed. There is also a pool, which we’ll have to decide how much we want to do with, and a deck, and a fenced garden plot.

The lot’s not as spacious as we would have liked, and in particular it’s narrow, and there’s not much in walking distance (an elementary school across the road, but Kenny’s going to middle school, and there’s a park up the road a little), and it’s going to need a fair bit of maintenance work done in the next few years. On the other hand, for its size and its features, we’re not paying much, even by Central New York standards (I think we’re something like the third most affordable metropolitan area for housing in the country) and especially once you figure in the rental income.

We hope to close by late May. We’ve had the home inspection and radon test, and we’ve gotten past sticky negotiations over immediately-needed replacement of the roof on one of the additions. There are still things that could derail the deal, though — septic dye test, FHA inspection, some things our lawyer wants to see — and we just have to hope they don’t. As for when we’ll move, that’s a good question. Heather will be out of town all of June, and of course Kenny’s in school until late that month too. So most of the moving probably will be in July.

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