Other Talk "Otterville" plus Religion/Politics

...sleep on it

Old 02-13-05, 03:50 AM
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...sleep on it

...one simple instruction, unfortunately one that I cannot seem to follow tonight.

We found a really charming house today, it's an older home (probably from the 20s or 30s) with a full basement. I'd guess about 2000 sq. ft. The upstairs has the original hardwood in the living room, dining room, kitchen and 2 bedrooms. The bath and kitchen have been completely redone, minus the kitchen floor. The basement has just been completely finished and has a new bathroom down there too. It was looking great, has a 2-car garage, a walk-up attic, so we tentatively signed the offer sheet, but of course our realtor said to sleep on it.

Now here's where I'm starting to feel nervous.

The lot is narrow and sloped. It goes down at the back, which is where the garage is. So cold Chicago winters will find us constantly salting and shoveling the driveway so we can get out.

*There's a weird potter's shed, which is really just a room they tacked onto the back of the house. I want it torn down, it sits over a sewer hole and is probably not worth salvaging. That sewer hole bugs me.

*The yard doesn't have any grass, it's very woodsy and overgrown. I fear that grass won't grow and even if it does, the back yard is a small terraced deal. No room for outdoor entertainment unless we tear the potter's shed off the house. I see no room for children to play once we have them and I would not want to take my cats outdoors there.

*The front yard is very small and also overgrown, the house is really right on the street.

*Across the street (like 50 feet away) is a train track. A very active train track with freight trains heading into the major railhub in that area and also a commuter line IIRC.

*It's old and that kinda freaks me out. I'm not the kind that can watch scary movies.

*All those trees and the orientation of the apartments makes me feel like I wouldn't get any sunlight.

*I think it will be very expensive to heat the home. The owners haven't lived there, they said they didn't rent it out, but an older lady lived there before. I'm guessing it was one of their mothers and they let her stay there. So they have no idea what the gas bill is like.

Here are some pictures to help you see what I'm seeing.















I'm so worried over this decision that I think I might be sick to my stomach. Is this normal? Are my concerns unjustified? Should I just be happy to be able to buy such a large space and stop worrying about whether it will be too dark, not enough yard, too weird of a lot, waking up to horrid train noise, possible apartment noise?
Old 02-13-05, 04:39 AM
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When you are on the verge of commiting this much money and potential time and effort to anything, it is going to cause you some panic. If you weren't anxious and thinking about all of these things, then I would say you should be worried.

To me, it sounds like the biggest drawback is the train tracks. Have you been in the house or on the property when the train goes by? Do you know what the schedules and frequency of the trains are? It would suck to get this house and then have to relive scenes from My Cousin Vinny every night.

The house look great though, nice modern kitchen and finished basement. Probably with the wood floors, the heating bill would probably be higher, but if those big windows are well insulated, it might even out a bit.
Old 02-13-05, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by PrincessT

*The yard doesn't have any grass, it's very woodsy and overgrown. I fear that grass won't grow and even if it does, the back yard is a small terraced deal. No room for outdoor entertainment unless we tear the potter's shed off the house. I see no room for children to play once we have them and I would not want to take my cats outdoors there.

*The front yard is very small and also overgrown, the house is really right on the street.

*Across the street (like 50 feet away) is a train track. A very active train track with freight trains heading into the major railhub in that area and also a commuter line IIRC.

*All those trees and the orientation of the apartments makes me feel like I wouldn't get any sunlight.
Of the concerns you listed, I'd be most concerned about these. Especially the train. My last house was nearly half a mile from a train intersection and the train horns would wake me up at night. We'd have to stop conversations until the train went by. I'd have to pause movies until the train was finished so I could hear them, and that was in my basement! We lived there over 2 years and I never got used to it.

Only 50 feet away? It's going to be SO LOUD. Is there an train track / road intersection near you to? Because the trains have to blow their horns when they approach an intersection, and those things can wake the dead.

The potter's shed - you mentioned a sewer hole. Is it a drain in the floor, or a manhole cover, or what? I don't really know what you mean.

The small yard. This would be a deal breaker for me. You already said that it's basically too small for you. The house I now own is on the corner of a fairly busy residential street. I got used to that fairly quickly, but it has a yard about 1/4 the size of my last home, and I still feel clostrophobic(sp?) here because the other houses seem so close to me. But, I grew up in the country on an 18 acre property, so that could be just me.

Sunlight. If you are a person who *needs* sunlight, as I am, you'll probably be disappointed if your lot is covered with trees. That's pretty easy to fix with a chainsaw though.

You mentioned apartments being close to you. Keep in mind that there are ALWAYS people coming and going from apartments. The constant action would make me uncomfortable.

Please just take my comments as just that. If you really like the house, and the house itself looks great IMO, go for it. I just don't want to see anyone else get into a house and hate every minute of living there like I did in my first house. Good luck.
Old 02-13-05, 07:14 AM
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That's a murder house if I've ever seen one
Old 02-13-05, 08:43 AM
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While there are many good points to the house, think of these issues.

Measure the rooms and then measure the ones you have now. An empty house looks deceptively large.

snowblower - $700 no way you are going to want to shovel that much driveway and then go to work every time it snows, also it takes time to shovel

fix the back yard - $5000 - $10,000 the railroad ties were green, so really poor sunlight and probably rotted, replace with lock blocks and landscape

replace windows - $5000 with insulated units

refinish driveway - $2000 every few years

remove shed - $1000

upgrade electricity - $2000, just a guess that you'll need to do it because of age of house

Hate to be a downer, but I wish I'd thought of these things before I bought my house
Old 02-13-05, 08:59 AM
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Throw a low ball number at them and see what they say. Like 75% of what they are offering. They may just want to sell it, and the money you save justifies your complaints, plus you won't have much invested in it if you want to move soon.

Oh and someone may have mentioned it already, but the front yard is probably overgrown to absorb some of the noise from the trains.
Old 02-13-05, 09:41 AM
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I agree with the points that jw2299 brought up.

Especially the train, since that's one thing you really can't much about. No way would I live 50 ft from railroad tracks. Not only the noise (great "My Cousin Vinny" reference) but if they're transporting hazardous materials and there's a problem... well...

The house itself looks really nice, though! Man, I'd love to have a basement like that.
Old 02-13-05, 11:02 AM
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I would literally go stand by the house in the evening (2-3 hrs) and in mornings (2-3hrs) and see how bad the train sounds. That's going to be your biggest issue in resale, I imagine.
Old 02-13-05, 11:12 AM
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Another vote for the train probably being the biggest issue, and possibly the nearby apartments. Also, I would be very interested in the types of people that live in those apartments. That will give you some indication about how much crime/noise you are likely to get from them.

If you aren't happy with the size/layout of the yard and the location, these are things that really cannot be fixed at all no matter how much money you spend.
Old 02-13-05, 11:15 AM
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the bathroom seems too clustered together.

The house looks like it has a cozy feel, which I like.

You get chance to meet any neighbors about the trains?

In the final decision, I prefer not to move into that house. Small yard, Small Bathroom,

@ my cousin vinny.

Last edited by Mole177; 02-13-05 at 12:31 PM.
Old 02-13-05, 11:18 AM
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Holy crap, forget all that other stuff. That train will drive you up the wall! If it wasn't near tracks I would say go for it, but that's a deal breaker for me. My apartment is about 30 meters away from a rarely-used track and it still bugs me when it goes by.

Be aware that you can still rescind your offer.
Old 02-13-05, 12:25 PM
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Thankfully we didn't make the offer, we just signed the papers with the realtor (one of our best friends) and he said to call him in the morning. We were outside when a UP freight train came by and I was absolutely alarmed. I mean, I've lived near O'Hare and had to stop a conversation, pause the DVD, all that mess when planes went by, but at least they were gone within a minute. The train kept going and going and going.

Good point about the apartment people. I was trying to poke my head over the fence (nearly falling down BTW) to see their cars. I saw the balconies and they seemed like it wouldn't be a problem, but who knows who will move in next?

The front steps had two tiles laid into the corners of them with what might have been zodiac symbols and pictures, but they were not familiar to me or my husband. They didn't look like the animals of the zodiac to me. I know this is going to sound corny, but after thinking more about the bedroom, I was wondering where we'd put our bed, then I imagined sleeping there and immediately felt great uneasiness. So though I'm not a religious person in the sense that I don't attend church regularly, I still believe there is a Universal Consciousness (who I call God) and I prayed for guidance. I said if there is anything unsafe or evil about the house, please give me a sign. Immediately I went cold, got the sweats and felt like I was going to throw up. I did. So without really overthinking it, I'm going with my gut so to speak. Too often I don't and end up in trouble. I woke my husband up and told him and he immediately said let's not move there.

Beautiful basement and kitchen and lots of living room, but wow, too creepy for me.
Old 02-13-05, 12:30 PM
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Sit on it!
Old 02-13-05, 11:21 PM
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LOL! Too funny! Well, we decided to go for it.

We made an offer and got a counter today, then we countered back and should hear tomorrow. Only after going back out to the home for a 3rd time! We looked at the windows more to see how much light can come in. The house faces south and we looked to see how many of the overgrown hedges we could trim away. They're about 10 feet tall! Unreal! Plus we talked with the woman next door. She has two children and said it is a quiet neighborhood all in all. The train makes noise, yes, but she says they don't even notice anymore. The windows facing the tracks are all brand new.
We looked more at the back yard and after we have the huge potter's shed torn off -- it's a real dump -- we'll have plenty of space for a flagstone patio and we can redo the terraces with stone, or concrete and a faux-stone face. The railroad ties are green and rotting.

I think the reason it seemed a little gloomy was due to the overgrowth. There was a woman who lived there for years and years. Her husband passed in the 80s and after awhile, she collected so many things that she couldn't live in the main floor anymore, so she moved into the basement. (Reminds me of a recent thread......) They say she was a tad senile, but still together enough to function. She had a little apartment cookstove and refrigerator down there and lived straight on the concrete. She passed about 2 years ago and a couple bought this house at the estate sale for their son to fix up. He bailed on them, so they spent loads of time re-modeling. I think the house is just looking for someone to open it up, give it more curb appeal and cut back the wild growth to let that southern sunlight in. The whole front of the living room is windows. The west side has 7 windows, including a huge one, nearly ceiling to countertop, in the kitchen. The east one has 4, 2 in each bedroom.

We're going to go with full spectrum paints, put our full-spectrum bulbs back in our lamps (they're out right now on our realtor's recommendation--so depressing!) and brighten up the dark hardwood with some colorful area rugs. If it truly is too gloomy and too noisy after a few years, we will move. But until then, we'll give it a go. Jeez, the home theater possibilities in that basement are mind-boggling. It's like 1000 sq feet I think!!! The house could really could be a gem if done properly.
Old 02-13-05, 11:51 PM
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The house is haunted, AND she's been possessed even before moving in!

(Just kidding...good luck with that train if you end up moving in. The house looks very nice.)
Old 02-14-05, 12:02 AM
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I just saw "The Grudge".....I'm not saying it is haunted, but getting blood out of anything....big pain in the butt.

-pedagogue
Old 02-14-05, 12:17 AM
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I generally find that when people have as many objections/concerns as you do, that they should keep looking. I do agree that you will get use to the train, but that should come at a decent discount, because it will affect the resale value.
Old 02-14-05, 12:32 AM
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As you can see, once the hedges were trimmed the home is quite attractive, especially at night:

Old 02-14-05, 10:45 AM
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If you are yound and do it yourselfers then go for it. Spruce it up, cut out the overgrown stuff and flip it in a year. Make your money and move up. The place does have many qualities and potential. Looked into some tall shrubs to buffer some of the street/train noise.
Old 02-14-05, 11:53 AM
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I lived for a few years in an apartment by often used freight train tracks. My bed was about 25-30 feet from the tracks and a train went by ever hour or two. I got used to it and started not even noticing when the trains went by.

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