To short sale or not to short sale

Wow, sorry for the lack of posts this weekend. It was pretty busy, but without too much happening on the house hunt. Brian and I had narrowed our listings down to three by Friday, two in Downers Grove and one in Villa Park. Our typical Sunday schedule of house hunting at noon was thrown off when Brian got a 3 p.m. assignment, but Anthony was great enough to take us out at 9:15 a.m. He also had two more listings that had just come in, another in Downers Grove and one in Westmont.

The day quickly became the day of weird floor plans. From long, narrow rooms to jacuzzi tubs in a wet, moldy, unfinished basement, it was an unusual day, even for us.

This was one of the first houses we saw in Downers Grove. It was a cute 2 bedroom, 1 bath place with good curb appeal. This one is listed at $124,995.

At first we thought the place was staged really well, until a peek in the fridge confirmed that someone was still living there. The inside was in good shape- the current owner has made great use of the space.

This kitchen cracked us all up. It was a lemon-lime green, with matching plastic tiles. It was bigger than a lot we have looked at, with room for a small table. Yay for eating space!

Here is the biggest problem with this house. Up until this point, it had compared with the Lombard house from last week. But, not only was there no place for a garage, there was no where to put a garage. The backyard was definitely long enough, but at 10ft more narrow than the Lombard house's lot, there was no room between us and the neighbors to have a driveway put in. Definite no on that one.

I immediately dubbed this house the octopus house. With five bedrooms, it was definitely the biggest we have seen. The house had an interesting layout, with every room extending off of this massive, 11X30 living/dining room combination. Eight doors came off of this room, into the five bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and spare room. The number of rooms was nothing compared to the size of the rooms. The smallest came in at 8X8- maybe big enough for a walk in closet.

This had to be the weirdest space in the house- it is supposed to be the master! At 8X18 feet, it wasn't much more than a wide hallway! This was also the house with a wet, moldy basement until you got back to the far corner. It looked like someone had tried to finish it at some point- drywall was installed and there was a partially finished bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. I definitely would not be taking any baths in the corner of a dark, damp basement!

Not to mention that this was the back yard. There is a small patch of grass around the corner, but most of it was a cement slab with access to the back alley. We definitely want more space, especially for Frankie!

This was another odd layout. The house itself was very spacious, but there were some oddities that we might not be able to look past. You enter through a living room and into the kitchen, were you see the lovely half bath in the middle of the space. In the picture, I am walking toward the second family room, which is tucked away in the back. While the fireplace on one side of the room was nice, the washer and dryer hidden by floor-to-ceiling curtains on the other end was not so wonderful.

This was the "pass-through" master bedroom. There were pseudo-French doors from the family room, and another door leading into the hallway that goes to the other two bedrooms and full bath. While it had a lot of space, we just weren't sure we wanted our home set up like a racetrack, although I'm sure Frankie would have loved doing laps.

This was our top pick of the day, and likely our top pick of the 20 houses we have seen. It had everything our previous top contender, the Lombard house, has- plus an attached one-car garage, a third bedroom, fenced in back yard AND a designated eating area!

This is the huge kitchen and dining space, you can see the attached laundry through the door in the back of the kitchen. The laundry has access to the garage (I am already thinking of how wonderful winter driving could be!) The kitchen even had plenty of room to where we could build a peninsula along the wall by the garbage can for extra work/storage space. Did you see the eating area? I love it!

Finally, the yard! It had a full fence, and although it lacked the deck the Lombard house had, it still had a big concrete patio with plenty of room for a grill and dining area. Frankie (and probably Brian) would love running around back here!

All this house would need would be a few new coats of paint inside, and a few days spent ripping up carpet and refinishing hardwood floors. But, there is a downside :( This house is listed as a short-sale. Although we really hate the idea of waiting for weeks with a chance of no response from the bank, this house is so perfect that we don't want to pass it up. Brian will be talking with Anthony (our realtor) today to really get a feel of the short-sale market and to see what kind of time frame we are looking at here. The house is listed at $139,900; we are hoping that if we offer somewhere right around $130K that the bank will consider us a serious bidder.

Since I am in the suburbs until Wednesday, Anthony is trying to get us into another house that was on our list in Downers Grove either today or tomorrow. We also might see if we could get back into the Villa Park house with Brian's dad so we can really see if it is as good as we think it is. We shall see.