our house is a very, very, very fine…

roller-coaster ride.

There’s a reason the homebuying process is long and involved. Because it’s not for the faint-of-heart. Ok, perhaps that’s just our luck and not how it would be typically described?

What a whirlwind few months it has been!  Where did we leave off? Oh yes, we were happily in love with our house, neighbors, and street and settling into our new life with a baby when all of a sudden we’re ‘casually’ seeing what is really out there in the real estate world and BAM…you get hit by a bus! (FRIENDS anyone?  no? just me?  ok then…)

Because we weren’t seriously looking to move in the immediate future, we started toying with the idea of buying the proverbial worst home in the best neighborhood and then putting our architecture and design skills to the test to renovate the home, sell ours, and then move in.  After all, isn’t that the first rule of real estate?  Buy the worst home on the best street, in the best neighborhood?  We seemed to have success with that in our current home, could we do it again?  The thought of NOT living through a renovation, especially with a baby, was VERY appealing.  On the other hand, because we’d done that once already, we also had that romantic idea of walking into a great home that had all the perfect details and us falling in love and having to have it… a stark contrast to our previous experience.  With this potential new idea in mind, we spoke with our mortgage broker and worked out some financials to see if this was even possible.

There was a particular home we had in mind in one of the very best neighborhoods in Baltimore County, so we set out to see how crazy things were about to get.


We will save the full story for another post, but suffice it to say, we toured the home, drew up some plans, met with a contractor, spoke to the listing agent, and even met the neighbors; essentially having all of our ducks in a row, just about to put an offer in when the house suddenly got another offer and we were out before we even started.  We completely invested ourselves in the idea of essentially building a new home saving only 1 room of the existing house and more than doubling the size of the structure with new construction, but was it really what we would have been happy with?

After that experience, we decided that we would keep an eye on what the market brought in and would only act on something if it really was a great opportunity.  Naomi was increasingly more committed to City life and I was increasingly more committed to finding the next great opportunity for our little family- City or County.  We were a little drained after all that fast back and forth and a little sad that we may have lost the opportunity to live in that very desirable neighborhood, so we diverted our attention back to work and life and thought, ‘maybe the spring will bring something new.’  Still not committed to leaving the City, we made a list of the top 5 neighborhoods within Baltimore City that we would ultimately want to live in and keep our eyes on.  Then, like fishing, we threw our line back in the market waters and carried on until we got a bite, a BIG bite.

Could it be?  A home in our number one neighborhood, 4 times the size of our current house with every room listed that we could imagine…and in our price range?  I think it took us all of one minute to pick up the phone and call our realtor to schedule a tour at the house the very next morning.  We pulled up to the house, completely ignored the overgrown yard and bright house paint colors, walked in and fell hard.  REALLY hard in love with every part of this very-much-in-need-of-love home.

elmwood artistic

I don’t think it had been touched since it was built in 1901, even the servant bells still worked.  Nothing about this house was right for us- it was built into a steep slope with no flat yard, the kitchen location and layout was not at all what we wanted, there was a LOT of work that would need to be done and we’d have to live there and do the work over time, AND the house was MUCH too large for us.  We wanted a modest sized home to raise our family in, this 6 bedroom home with a 3 room master suite was not really what we had in mind – our current home literally fit within the foyer of this place….ahh…the foyer and the grand stairs in all its 1901 glory (think of the Home Alone house grand stair and enormous foyer- only difference between this one and Kevin’s humble abode was the stair case was flipped to the right-hand side).  Three levels of beautiful, original woodwork and open all the way through the house and all three levels.   I think we imagined Gabriella’s wedding day with her walking down the steps in true Father-of-the-Bride style during minute number 2 of standing inside the house and put an offer in on minute number 3 of being within the house.  We then ran around the place like kids discovering all of the quirks and details of this original ‘suburban Baltimore family home.’  One of the Roland Park Charmers, as they were known.  We were overwhelmed and completely ignored everything that was wrong with the place and put a full price offer in.

Things happen for a reason, right?  At least that is what we told ourselves when we found out the next morning that there had been multiple offers on the house and they did not choose to accept ours.  ‘What’s that, honey?  Oh, you feel like someone just ripped your heart out and then stomped on it with some running spikes?  Yes, me too.’  We were devastated to say the least and very defeated.  We had the same thoughts as house number one; that on our budget, we’d never be able to afford a home in a neighborhood that we wanted to live in.

Nothing on the market compared to that home and after seeing that we decided that there was NO WAY we wanted to live in a ‘newer home’; that it had to have some character and charm.  We would not even step foot in a cape cod or rancher (no offense but for some reason, they were very prevalent in the neighborhoods we were looking at, in our price range), and we were fairly certain that we did not want to be forced into a position where we’d need to live in the house through a full renovation.

‘Knock, knock, knock.’ Oh, hold on a second, there’s someone at the door.  Just when you think it’s all over, that’s Opportunity at the door with a silver platter containing the cutest home for a reasonable price in a great CITY neighborhood with the best school district, right in the middle of all the historic neighborhoods we love.  Would we see it the next day and go through the emotion of an offer again?

Yes, yes we would.  A myriad of decisions, paperwork, and game-playing back and forth and 3 months later, we owned a new home.  Foreclosures, you’re a b*tch, but wait until you see what we do with our new little place!  Welcome to our new site where Urban and Charm meet and we make this house our home… 🙂



Filed under home buying process

2 responses to “our house is a very, very, very fine…

  1. Hahaha only an architect would know the layout of the Home Alone house (or any other TV/Movie abode, really…)…

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