House #5 – Lake Orion

by brandt

We were back on the house hunting trail again this last weekend. Last Friday, on a whim, I decided to browse through again to see what was out there, and if anything had changed from the listings that went out earlier that morning. To my surprise, a foreclosure had just dropped $18,000 to put it JUST outside our price range. I’d had conversations with my agent about what to do about houses that were outside of the price range, and she said it’s worth investigation because if it’s been on the market for a while, they might be willing to go even lower. Needless to say, we were very surprised.

Another big plus concerned the type of house – it was another Homepath house, which, as you will remember from the last one we looked at, has a lot of incentives as far as federal government loan programs go (most notably, no mortgage insurance). Once I get with a Homepath-authorized loan officer, I’ll post some updates with better information on the loans.

Here’s the details on the house:

Built in 1994 (a more modern house which Ashley really likes)
Listing Price – 161,900 (over budget for us, but our agent thinks they might go less)
Bedrooms – 4
Bathrooms – 2.5
Sq Footage – 2,385
Unfinished Basement
2 Story Colonial
Gas Fireplace

All pictures taken from a Motorola Droid phone (some day, we’ll remember to bring a real camera).

Here we go!

I didn’t get any good pictures of the outside yesterday (we were pressed for time), but on my way home from work tonight I’ll snap a few and upload them. Here are a few from some listing sites:

The house is at the very end of a court, but instead of having a nice cul de sac the street just ends.  It’s the weirdest thing.  The street ends, there’s a barrier with a sign that says “Dead End,” then you see 4-5 feet of grass/weeds/land, then the same street starts again.  Obviously, the subdivision next to this one wants to have a definate division between the properties.

This doesn’t do justice to the backyard.  If it were all leveled out, it would be great, but there is a steep slope going to the trees.  At this vantage point, the ground flattens out and they’ve got a little fire pit, but I would have to do some investigating into leveling out the backyard.  Could we just get a ton of topsoil to level it out?  Also, the deck is a wood deck with a vinyl siding on top of it.  Think of a dock at a beach, that type of finish – so it creaks and is slippery, but I’m not sure what Ashley and I would do with it.  Ashley loves the fact that it’s closed in through the entire deck, and there’s no risk of a kid falling out.  However, it doesn’t seem that accessible to me.  But that’s all details – the fact of the matter is it’s got a big enough deck to have a grill plus furniture for entertaining.

Let’s go inside.  These are my pictures plus a few agent pictures thrown in.

As you walk in, there’s a nice staircase going to the upstairs with a very nice wooden railing.  There’s not a lot of room in this foyer area, but off to the right there’s a “standing” area (you know, those awkward meetings when you want to invite someone in out of courtesy, but not too far because you don’t want them to think you’re really serious?), and off to the left is a formal sitting room.

The stairs have a great balcony up above that looks out to a window over the front door, which gives a ton of great natural light to this area.  The railing is a nice wood, and while we’d like it a bit darker, I think we’ll be able to manage for now.  The carpeting needs some work, but it’s not as torn up and beat up as the Rochester house.  Fannie Mae went through and professionally cleaned the carpeting, but there are some stains that won’t come up.  While it’s not the most appealing thing in the world, it’s livable.  I’m not worried about contracting some scary disease if I walk barefoot on these carpets.  However, that wallpaper has got to go.  I’ve heard that while it’s a pain to strip wallpaper (which I’ve done before), it’s a lot easier to strip then paint compared to repainting.  Anyone else heard this before?

Here’s the view from the formal sitting room/formal living room/place where people put expensive furniture not suitable for relaxing.  I love this view, and I’m not sure what Ashley has in store, but this has a lot of potential just from the simpleness of it.

This is the view from the opposite end of the formal sitting room/formal living room/place where people put expensive furniture not suitable for relaxing room, which probably makes this a dining room.  The somewhat bay-style windows let in a ton of light, the carpeting in these 2 rooms are just about brand new (we woudn’t touch this area), and the walls/molding are a nice neutral beige color.  There’s even crown molding, something that Ashley has been wanting to do for a long while.  Maybe at some point we’ll get fancy and replace the hanging light, but for right now, it works.

To the Kitchen!  I’ll drop 3 pictures here, all from different angles, then I’ll give a brekdown of it all.

First, from what I understand, we’ll get the oven, microwave, dishwasher plus cooking range because they’re all installed.  The last house we went in (on Aldrin) had EVERYTHING ripped out, but if everything works well, the only thing we would need is a refrigerator plus washer/dryer, which makes getting into the house much cheaper.

They also REALLY liked wallpaper and paint – just wait until we go upstairs – but again, that’s all cosmetic.  The cabinets are already white like Ashley wants, so we might have to go to Home Depot or something to get handles and what not, and those are real hardwood floors.  While we would like a darker hardwood, we would probably refinish the floors rather than rip them up and replace them.

The other thing that stood out to us was that the previous house we looked at in this subdivision had a much smaller area in the kitchen, so small we couldn’t figure out where to put a table.  This has a big enough kitchen to have a decent area for the work triangle, plus have an island, plus a kitchen table.  This pleases me.

The teal paint and countertops aren’t bad, but not my favorite.  Again, we can deal with it.  I can live with the ugly.  I can’t live with the germs.  And this doesn’t really have any.  The back splash looks to be tiled, so that might be some fun getting those off.  Our agent told us that we can tile over if we wanted, but I’d want to get those right out of the wall.

Here’s your basic living room.  It’s got a gas fireplace, with slate around it, plus a mantle that does the job.  Ashley’s already talking about doing something else with that.  and you can kind of see one of the stains I was talking about on the right.  It’s been deep cleaned, but some of that stuff just won’t come up.

Here’s the bathroom – and this is making it look big.  You open the door, and BOOM there’s the toilet.  You would have to hide in the corner between the toilet and the door to close the door, do your thing, then wash your hands, then move back to the corner, then open the door, then exit.  It looks like this was supposed to be a small basic bathroom, but the huge counter makes it seem extremely cramped and small.  Again with the wallpaper…oy.  The basement stairs are right across from the bathroom door.

It’s got a mudroom with washer/dryer hookups, giving 1st floor laundry, which many say is a big plus.


We’ll be doing a lot of work stripping this wallpaper.  However, that being said, I love this upstairs.  This is from the view of the master bedroom – 2 bedrooms at the end of the hall (and yes, that pink hue coming out of the rooms is NOT altered or edited – that’s how bright the paint is in there), and the bathroom is right next to those 2 rooms.  As you walk up the stairs (towards where I’m taking the picture), there’s another room off to the right.  They’re basic rooms, with windows and closets.  I stacked the pictures below.

Yeah, that’s some bright pink – but the one thing that I do kind of like is the fact that it was lived in – and it kind of  tears me up a little bit knowing that someone who had kids had their house foreclosed on.

Here’s where my mind was blown – look at the MASTER BEDROOM!

And because that’s not the best picture, here’s one of the pictures from the listing agent.

Specs?  20 FT x 13 FT.  Wow.  it’s huge!  I mean, it feels like our apartment up here a little bit!  The vaulted ceilings look great, and the thing that Ashley liked a lot is that you can get away with getting some large gaudy furniture and not feel like the room is tiny.  She’s excited becaue we might actually get a headboard/footer, something we haven’t had since we’ve been married.  The double doors are a wonderful feature, and the bathroom is in that tiny door off to the left.  The one thing I wish we could change would be that the closet is a small walk-in, and it’s located in the bathroom.  I originally thought about expanding it and having it go out into the master bedroom, but now that I’m relooking at these pictures we might have to rethink that.  All I know is this – that’s a tiny closet for a big dude like me.

However, it’s not a deal breaker – we’ll just have to adapt.  The bathroom is seperated out into his/her (or I’ve heard them called “Jack and Jill”) sinks, and a separate door for the toilet/shower/tub area, which is a good feature for people like Ashley and I getting ready at the same time in the morning.

Our agent did say there was some work that needed to be done on the shower, and potentially pulling it out was in the works.  The bath is something that is nice, but not a requirement (I’m not going to complain).  It seems like a tight fit, but the amenities are worth it.  It’s also a neo-angle enclosure, but I can’t put my hopes on it – it all depends on what the inspector says.

Going down the basement, the floors are wooden and it’s got a landing before you hit the basement, which allows you to hide the basement a bit.  It’s an unfinished basement, but one of the larger one’s we’ve been in.  I like the high ceilings, and the water heater/emergency sprinkler tank (yes, it comes with one of those)/furnace are all in one corner.  Lots of potential for finishing it, but that’s a project WAY down the road.  We gotta get the house first.

As you can tell, there are a lot of pros, and we’re both really pumped about it.  There are some cons, for example, the lack of a backyard as well as the weird ending to the cul de sac.  However, it was a weird feeling walking through and walking out – there is a definite feeling of “This is our house.”  So much so that the cons were hard to come up with.  While we have the Rochester house still out there, one of the biggest selling points on this one is the lack of PMI when it comes to the funding of the house – and even at an additional $100.00 per mortgage payment, we would still be saving $1,200 over the course of the year.  So while the Rochester house would be a wonderful bargain, I think we’ll have to wave good bye to that one and HELLO LAKE ORION!

And you know we’ll keep you posted on what happens!  I’m actually signing our purchase agreement right now, so now we wait (again!).


5 Responses to “House #5 – Lake Orion”

  1. this house is absolutely gorgeous! I LOVE the outside, and the inside needs a lot of work, but the frame of the house is all there. MAN–what would i do to live where you do?

  2. Hello wallpaper! But what an amazingly big house for that price – that would be highway robbery where I live (but all housing markets are so different). Good luck on the offer, let us know how it goes!

    • Oh yeah, that wallpaper really jumps out at you – and it was EVERYWHERE. Sadly, it was a stupid situation where Fannie Mae was doing one thing, the bank was doing another thing, and the agency was doing another. It would have been a great fix me up!


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