House #9 – Rochester

by brandt

After we went and toured House #8 – Lake Orion, our agent asked if we had enough time to go see another couple of houses.  Not wanting to miss a chance to view more houses and take advantage of every house out there, we went about 20 minutes away to Rochester to view a house that had been on my “interested” radar, even though I had some reservations on the house.

Yes, that’s a wonderful Michigan winter carpeting the ground.   And take note, you’re also seeing a rare cloudless day in a Michigan winter.  Usually, we’ve got overcast gray skies all winter, which is how you can tell the people who go to tanning booths in January.

Anyways, here’s the house details:

  • Built in 1995
  • 3 BR
  • 2.5 BA
  • 2,058 square feet
  • Semi-finished basement (you’ll see what I mean)
  • 2-Story Colonial House
  • One of the better school districts in the state
  • Listing Price – $179,000

Now this is one of the few houses we’ve looked at that wasn’t a short sale, bank-owned, foreclosure, or Homepath house.  As a matter of fact, it looks like your run-of-the-mill private sale.  That means we will probably have a bit of an expedited process in getting this closed as well as knowing what exactly the seller is looking to do with the house.  The interesting thing was, it’s not like people were living in there.  As a matter of fact, we visited a house before this one and decided not to write-up a house-tour on it because there was people still living in it.  I’m talking, they left for the day for us to tour it, if-you-really-wanted-to-you-could-open-their-refrigerator-and-see-food-in-there still living there.  This house, however, was empty.  No signs of life other than little informational notes he applied to the walls with painters tape.  So it looks like he’s an investor, which might work to our favor because he’s probably sick of holding on to this house given the bad economy, and probably doesn’t want to pay another year’s worth of taxes.  Anyways, it’s a much more involved and personal process in working with a private seller.  On with the tour!

The first thing that you notice when you walk in is how open it is (which is a huge plus with us).  As a matter of fact, this is looking from a formal sitting room to the entryway (the door is on the left).  The right leads to stairs going upstairs and underneath those stairs is another set of stairs leading to the basement.

This is the view from the front door.  The master bedroom is off to the left, with the 2 other bedrooms at opposite ends of the corners on the right with a full bathroom between them.  While the paint is a bit darker than we liked, it was all in relatively good shape.  We’d be buying a move-in ready house with minimal livability upgrades needed right off the bat.  But before we head upstairs, lets tour the main floor.

This is a shot from the corner of the formal sitting room/dining room/whatever you want this room to be.  Through that entryway where you see Ashley’s figure is the kitchen.

It’s just your basic kitchen, and of course we’re gaining and losing some things.  We’re gaining dual ovens, which I’ve heard is a huge benefit.  As a matter of fact, my mother wishes she would have opted to put 2 ovens in, and I’ve known many more who feel the same way.  The counter tops are basic formica with stock white appliances and sinks.  While we’d like to live large and have the nice stainless steel ones, it does the job for the first house.  The cabinets are stock as well, but as my parents are learning right now, that’s very easily changed.  They’re in the process of painting all their cabinets white and putting crown molding on the top and molding on the bottom of the cabinet.  It looks really sharp, but obviously pictures do a better job than what I’m describing…and I don’t have any pictures yet.

Looking out from the kitchen into the family room, there’s a couple of things that strike me.  First, there’s no room for an island.  Not like an island is essential, but it does add a little something to the kitchen.  Second, the flooring in the kitchen is a dark linoleum that is supposed to look like tile.  While I’m not sure exactly what I would want to do with it (whether strip it and put down tile, put down hardwood, put down hardwood on the entryway into the kitchen, or put down hardwood on the entire main floor), there are possibilities there AND it’s not disgusting!  I think that’s become our biggest motto during the house hunt – “Is it disgusting?  No?  Let’s go take a look!”  Ashley mentioned she wanted to take out that wooden barrier-thing separating the kitchen from the family room, and while I’m torn 50/50 on it, I understand her thinking.  It does interrupt the flow from family room to kitchen.  That sliding door to the right leads outside, and let’s take a look at that.

The lots are smaller in this subdivision, but the lawns look to be in great shape.  It’s a wonderful location, and while we won’t have the huge room for our kids to run free, who knows how long we’ll be in this house.  10 years?  5  years?  3 years?  Who knows, it all depends on jobs/housing market turns out.  But for the next 2 years, I’m not worried about having a large-enough yard.

From the fireplace in the living room, there’s a couple of things that can be pointed out.  First, those are mighty tall vaulted ceilings.  There’s also that little balcony on top that is small enough to be a nice little touch.  Ashley is below it, and she’s only about 5’4″, so it’s not high enough to be out of reach, but not low enough that someone like me would need to duck.  Think Romeo and Juliet, but they live in the same house, and they’re re-creating their infamous dialogue.

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

“Um, right below you.  Give me a few seconds and I’ll climb the stairs and be there.”

“Praise the gods thou art present.  An 8-legged monstrosity hath shewed their face, and mine eyes were a’frightened.”

“Yeah, a spider, I’ll be right up.”

Anyways…I’m cracking myself up, and I’m sure all of you are reading this thinking “That was terribly unfunny.  You get a pity laugh out of me.”  Don’t worry, I get it from Ashley all the time!

The bathroom off to the right of the living room is your basic bathroom.  It’s a bit dark, and I didn’t get a good enough look to see if it was wallpaper or paint, but that would be changed.  I really like the faucet, and it’s a basic bathroom that wouldn’t need too much work to make it functional.

The laundry room was right across from the bathroom, with the door leading into the garage in between the two rooms.  I think that’s linoleum on the floor, and other than that, it’s your basic laundry room.

Downstairs to the basement we go!

Carpeting down the basement is very nice, and to the right you can see the big daylight windows in the basement.  Here’s a couple better pictures.

This is right next to those big daylight windows.  They’re a great touch for a basement, because you can officially create an additional bedroom down the basement with those windows.  According to my understanding, each room must have a method to get out (thus, windows in every bedroom).  While the seller, when he was working on finishing it, decided to leave this area open, it still allows the opportunity to close this area off and make it a bedroom.  You also might be asking what’s going on with the floor.  According to the note the seller left in the basement:

If you can’t read that very well, it says this:

These floors have recently been acid stained and I am in the process of applying the final coats of floor polished.  Please be careful, as the transition strips have not yet bene nailed down.

In case you are not familiar with acid stained floors, they have many advantages.  They are traditionally seen in commercial spaces, which experience high foot traffic due to flooring’s durability and low maintenance.

– The floor is virtually indestructible.  It will not chip, fade, stain, or show wear and tear.

– There is virtually no required maintenance and can be cleaned with a damp mop or broom.  While an additional coat of polish every 3-5 years may be required to restore shine it is not required.

– The floor will not trap dust or allergens.

– The floor looks great (in my humble opinion).  Please note that the hazing you see in spots on the floor can and will easily be buffed out.”

So there you go.  I mean, it looked nice, I’m just not sure how long we would want to keep it, especially if we want to continue finishing it.  Back to the upstairs (where everyone really wants to see).  We’ll go to the bedrooms first, and save the master bed and bath for last.

This is the girls room, or whoever likes pink, or whatever color we paint it. Again, notice the vaulted ceiling and the nice walk-in closet.  The bathroom is right next to the room, with the other room right across from this one.  If we start thinking about our kids, it’s really nice to have the kids room in the same general area as our bedroom, and relatively close to each other.  Obviously, for potty training purposes, a close bathroom is also very high on our list.

This is the other room.  This house has a lot of cut-out shelving areas at the tops of the walls, which makes it look different and modern.  I think I like it, just because it’s something different, but then I look at it again and think “What do you do with a space like that?”  I guess you can keep it for aesthetics, but sometimes my analytical mind keeps thinking that something needs to be done with that space.

The bathroom is a basic bathroom with blue paint everywhere.  It does the job.  Not much I can say about this one.

To the love lair err I mean MASTER BEDROOM!

Here’s looking out from the master doors.  Yes, it’s got double doors, which is a nice addition.  Plus, I really like how much you can see from the bedroom.  You can see the other rooms, downstairs to the front door, out the balcony on the other side to the family room, and out the windows to the backyard.  Anyways, enough with the delays, let’s get to the bedroom.

Yeah, that’s a big ol’ bedroom.  I’m in the back, not even in the back corner of the bedroom, and there’s a couple of things to point out.  The door right next to the double doors looks to be a linen closet.

There’s another door directly to the left of this door.  The walk-in closet is pretty spacious, with enough room for all of Ashley’s shoes and all of my work clothes.

And that’s not even looking on the left side of the closet.  Plenty of room.  Then you get to the bathroom, on the other side of the room (opposite the big double doors), which would need a little bit of work.

It’s a nice tall shower, which a 6’4″ dude like me can appreciate.  Right above the shower you can see some wallpaper that needs to be stripped out, which we would do anyways because it’s really dark.  The other things that would be nice would be a window to let in some natural light and dual Jack-and-Jill sinks, though it looks like this bathroom will be able to expand for it.

All in all, this house has a ton of possibilities.  Ashley doesn’t want me to jinx our chances, so I’ll just say that we’re interested, but still trying to figure out if we should jump on one of the other houses, this one, or maybe wait it out a little bit to see if one of the houses we’ve got our eye on is going to show up on the Homepath listings.


  • Younger subdivision
  • Higher resale value based on location (city)
  • Very close to all major necessities (work, shopping, groceries, etc)
  • Modern,open floor plan
  • Opportunities for renovations


  • Private seller, so less willing to offer concessions
  • Higher-end of subdivision
  • Smaller lot-lines
  • Very little space between houses

Basically, we’re trying to figure out what we should do next.  I’d like to think it’s a complex chess match, but it’s more like an intense checkers game.

All images taken from my Motorola Droid cell phone.  Someday, I’ll remember a real camera.  By then, we’ll probably have a house!


6 Comments to “House #9 – Rochester”

  1. I really like this one!!! it makes me wish we were house hunting! maybe two, three, four more years…

  2. I really like this one! Very open and airy. Looks like there is a lot you could do to make it “yours.”

  3. I saw one of your comments over on a YHL post and it caught my eye so I wandered over. I love reading your house tours and am adding you to ye ol’ google reader so I can follow along! I still can easily remember the joys and frustrations of house hunting for your first home (husband and I did it 3 years ago and recently sold it… don’t try selling a house in this economy). Best of luck to you and Ashley!

    • Goodness gracious thank you Claire! Such a kind comment like that makes an old grouchy codger like me blush!

      I’m hoping this is the worst real estate economy we’ve seen for a while, because based on the prices we’ve seen for some of the houses, I couldn’t imagine trying to sell right now. Especially considering what the market value is going for!

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