House #7 – Rochester Part 2

by brandt

Part 1 is here.

OK, so I said it was a Homepath house, right?  And you remember what it meant to be a Homepath house, right?

You forgot?

Oh dear…

OK, a Homepath house is a house that is foreclosed on and the Government (most notably, Fannie Mae) is selling the house with loads of incentives to get someone into it.

First, they offer lower down payment and lower sale prices than other homes.  Conventional loans typically want 20% down, FHA loans require 3.5% down, but Homepath homes usually are OK with as low as 3% down.  Less cash to put down on a house, more cash in pocket.  Second, they are great for people who have less-than-great credit (which isn’t an issue for us).  Third, NO PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE!  Talk to any homeowner who has to pay PMI, and it is one of the worst parts about home ownership.  Fourth, no appraisal fees (which can be upwards of $300-$500)…again, more cash in pocket.  Fifth, because of the real estate economy, they’re also willing to chip in 3.5% towards closing costs – which is what we’ve been asking every time we’ve made an offer on a house.

OK, I’ve strung you far enough along – PICTURES!!!!!

It’s a quaint house (as quaint as 2,300 sq ft can get you) set off from the dirt road.  There’s a paved driveway, plus a walkway up to the house.  The front yard is a good distance away from the road (I don’t dare to guess, it was dark and I couldn’t see very well).

As you walk in, there’s a nice foyer area with a large stairwell going upstairs.  The hardwood extends into the kitchen (through that area on the right) as well as the formal dining/sitting room (which heads off to the left).  The carpeting was an odd green color (obviously replaceable), the paint wasn’t too bad, and the hardwood had some wear.  Structurally, the wood looked in good shape, it just needed a good sanding and refinishing to give it the once-over (here’s looking at you, Greg and Ashley, from 7th House on the Left!)

Let’s head to the right.

Here’s a shot directly right of the stairs.  Notice a nice coat closet off the main drag, which I never thought about but is a great idea for storage.  As you head down that hallway, you’ve got the laundry room at the end of it (1st floor laundry, from everyone I’ve talked to, is highly coveted), a half-bath off to the right (before the laundry room), and the garage leading into the laundry/mud room.  Let’s check it out.

This is the half bath, and it’s a normal half bath at that.  It has a relatively clean sing and toilet (actually, they look kind of new), and while the paint is a bit darker than I’d like, that’s the wonder of getting a DIY house – you can do whatever you want!  The cabinets remind me of the house I grew up in, and while there’s no mirror, the best part of this “half-bath” is behind me:

Right behind the door (I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t look) was a floor-to-ceiling tiled shower!  And I know they counted this as a half-bath, but still, there’s a full master bath, a full guest bath, and now a toilet/shower on the main floor.  My agent said “This way you can come in from the garage and take a shower right on the main floor!”  I then made a stupid wise crack about me getting hot and sweaty and tanned working on the land and coming home and ripping my shirt off to jump in the shower like it was a page from a trashy romance novel.  Both my agent and Ashley were not amused, but I did have a hearty laugh myself.

It’s got a nice basic mud room/laundry room complete with storage plus a sink.  I wanted to say a “shop tub” but that doesn’t sound right at all.  It’s spacious enough to have both washer/dryer PLUS have room to do whatever needs to be done in a mud room (get muddy?)

As we turn the corner, we see a far-shot view of the living room (this picture is taken from the kitchen).  It’s got a mauve/brown carpet which needs to be taken out, but the fireplace is a very nice touch, as well as the huge amount of windows.  The paint was a neutral enough color in the living room as to not make us want to gouge our eyes out, but that wasn’t the case everywhere.

This was probably one of the biggest selling points for Ashley.  Mind you, we would have to get a range/oven/stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher plus washer and dryer to get us started, but look at all that space!  And all those cabinets!  While the paint is a bit dark for my taste, combine this photo with the last one, and there’s more than enough room for an island PLUS a little breakfast nook!  While we both want a bit darker wood (for the hardwood plus the cabinets) the most important thing is that everything looked in very good shape.  Let’s go to the dining room (right through that doorway on the left).

These 2 pictures are facing two different angles.  The first is showing the dining room/office/whatever going  to the front door.  The bottom picture shows the dining room/office/whatever going to the kitchen.  It’s got hinges on each entry way to hand really nice glass-paned doors, and while part of me would like to really open up those entryways (especially that one leading to the kitchen), I’m not sure if it would be possible.  Again, the hardwood basically runs a circle from the front door to the kitchen through the dining room and back to the front.

Upstairs we go!

Not the best picture since many of the lights in the house were burnt out, but you can see that it has a nice banister leading upstairs plus almost a little balcony you can peer out over.  What’s that?  You want a better view?  Sure!

We could probably sand/finish the banisters (they looked a bit worn) and the green carpet would probably have to go, but the most important thing is that we didn’t feel disgusting when we left the house. We didn’t feel as though we needed to take a bath, or wash our hands (like we’ve felt with some other houses).

This is always the hardest part.  The 2 guest rooms were obviously rooms for kids.  Here’s one of them, with dual closets and a decent size (14×10).  The paint was a bit bold, but it was nice to see it being a kids room (though hard to know that a family was foreclosed on).

Here is obviously a little girl’s room (though it could be a boy’s room, bright pink paint and all).  This was a bit smaller (13×11), but it still does the job of housing a little one with dual closets.  These bedrooms are located at the end of the hall, with the master at the other end and the full guest bath between them.

The location is pristine, because when we start having kids, I think I would want to be on the same floor as my babies and not snoring away with a full floor between cries.  When they’re teenagers, well, that’s a bit of a different story.

Here’s the guest bath, and I think there’s a ton of potential here.  His and Her’s sinks, plus a full tub/shower bath give this room a ton of…well…roominess.  There’s 2 circular mirrors over each sink, though I’d love to rip those out and go all gaudy and put a huge ol’ mirror covering the entire sink area.  Tons of storage, plus the sinks aren’t right next to each other so you’re not bumping elbows while brushing your teeth.

OK, the moment you’ve all been waiting for….LETS GO TO THE MASTER BEDROOM!  Which reminds me of a funny story….which I might tell later to embarrass Ashley…

Again, I apologize for the darkness.  Pictures on a cell phone + poor lighting + dark outside = bad pictures.  The master has a very unique layout which lends itself to possible expansion and lot s of possibilities.  First, it’s big.  We’re talking 20×12 big.  Big enough that the previous owners had a king sized bed in the middle of the bedroom, plus 2 chairs at the end there near the windows (we could see the indents from the feet).  The entrance is to my left, with the walk-in closet to the back left there and the master bath right behind me.  Let’s take a look at the closet.

Alright, I know it’s petty and picky, but…this closet was kind of underwhelming.  I would love to get blueprints of the place to see if we can extend the closet a bit further out to the left there, but I’m not sure it can happen.  It seems like a better option would have been to reduce the size of the room and have more closet space than to have a huge master bedroom with a smaller closet.  I guess that means Ashley has to get rid of some shoes?  Right?

Edit by Ashley: Wrong, buddy.  Bye-bye  random computer parts that we don’t need.

But there’s always a need for random computer cables…….

Anyways, on with the tour.

So this is the other end from where the windows are.  You enter through the door on the right.  The bathroom is the door on the left.  And this….THIS is what made Ashley squee with delight.

That’s right.  THAT’S A FREAKING JACUZZI-BATH!  WOW!  And it doesn’t look gross either!

Plus His and Her sinks (though it looks like sacrificed a bit of room to fit the big tub in there, I don’t think Ashley is going to complain.  And here’s what made me squee.  I think I shed a tear when I saw this:

Yes friends, that is a legitimately tall shower.  With tile up to the ceiling.  And a tall shower head.  Being 6’4″ has some advantages – basketball was always quite easy for me, I just have to stretch a bit and I can get things off the top shelves in stores, and I never worry about being literally talked down to (figuratively is a different story).  But the bad parts are that I extend the length of our queen sized bed, and showers just weren’t made for big dudes like me.  There are times when we’ve stayed in hotels where I feel like Buddy the Elf trying to take a shower.

Well apparently this one was made JUST FOR ME!

The only thing that I do worry about with both the main-floor shower and this shower is that it’s a shallow shower.  Doesn’t go in very far.  And while I don’t need to be in a cave while I shower, I don’t want to be knocking my elbows the entire time.

Anyways, to wrap up the house tour, here’s a few more pictures of the exterior:

This is from the edge of the property, and it shows a deck that needs some TLC and some nice pavers leading down to the lawn.  The outside looks wonderful, though.

This, however, was what I wasn’t too happy about.  They probably had a dog, which would explain the need for the fence, but a wire fence?  Ugh.  Ugly.  Very good-sized yard, perfect for a little dog, but I’d want to either replace that fence with a nicer one (wooden or otherwise) or just remove it.  I’m not sure what’s involved in removing a fence, or how  the neighbors would feel, but I never liked fenced in yards.  I think it ruins  the sense of community.  Ashley, on the other hand, grew up with fences around yards and has the opposite feeling – basically, I take good care of my yard, and I don’t want someone’s negligence to undo my hard work.

So let’s look at the pros and cons:


  • Meets our housing requirements
  • Homepath house
  • Quick closing
  • Lots of DIY renos inside
  • Within our area
  • Not too much longer drive to work
  • Huge potential for a great resale later on


  • Not in a subdivision
  • Farther drive to work
  • Deep into the country
  • Dirt Road
  • Farther away from friends
  • Lesser-valued homes have potential for lower resale

Well?  What do you think?  What do you think we did?

Of course, we made an offer!  My agent is working on the paperwork right now, and since the house has been on the market for 45ish days, Fannie Mae might look at us and though our offer is less than what they wanted, might dump the house on us because they just want to get rid of it.

The nice thing about our situation is now that we’ve got those other 2 houses out of our system, we can basically start fresh.  There aren’t a lot of buyers out there right now (my agent says business has really slowed down for her) and so we might be in a right-place-right-time position to grab a house before the hordes of people come looking in the spring.  If Fannie rejects our offer, we’re no worse for wear.  It’s not as if we missed any great opportunities, we’re just resetting.  Here’s hoping it goes well!


4 Responses to “House #7 – Rochester Part 2”

  1. VERY nice find! What a fantastic yard!

    You know you can always find a pretty climbing vine and have it cover your ugly chainlink fence. I’d think they put up chainlink rather than something nice because a lot of fence costs a lot of money :o) Fences are great for dogs and kids, if that’s your plan sometime down the road.

    Good luck! We’re rooting for you!

    PS: It’s nice to know that my husband isn’t the only one collecting bits and bops of odd old computer parts and cabels … heh

    • I think they probably had a small dog, because none of the other houses seemed to have fences. And if you have a small Schnauzer, it would be perfect. Vinyl fences look the best, but they are quite pricey. Wood has a lot of maintenance. Who knows, we might end up stripping that fence out completely!

      And as far as the cables go, I can’t help it. I’m like a hoarder. I can’t get rid of a cable because at some point in the future I KNOW I will need it. I just know it. So we’ve got a huge Rubbermaid container full of cables and spare computer parts. They’ve come in handy once, I think.

  2. Love that house!!! It’s beautiful. It’s so fun to read
    your posts about this whole house hunting experience.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: