Sunday, March 04, 2012

How To Buy a Home in the Duckpond

We are leaving Old Wire Road. It has had its highs and lows and everything in between. We re-imagined, rewired and re-plumbed our old cracker house and in the process made an unforgettable home.  We made friends, we lost friends, we lost chickens, dogs found us, we took care of the natural flora and fauna on our 13 acres, and most importantly, we had Moss and Giles. As our boys grow we look to their future. We have carefully considered the beauty and peace of OWR on the one hand versus the academic and cultural opportunities of Gainesville on the other. We briefly flirted with a home in downtown Haile Plantation, a planned community, but quickly reestablished our values after deciding it felt too "Oryx & Crake-y". Since then, we have only looked in the historic Duckpond neighborhood.  

1930's Spanish Colonial #1
The hunt for a new home began in November with some ambivalence and foot dragging on our part.  We looked at this home a couple of times. It was really nice, but it had some problems: the roof leaked in places and there was a crack clear through one of the walls. Someone bought it before we really were motivated to make an offer. It sort of slipped by without much effort or emotion.

1920's Cracker Home
This was an interesting overpriced option that we made an offer on. The offer was reasonable, but we're not sure it was ever considered. The gatekeeper was a architect that seemed to fashion himself after Dirty Harry. He spoke in whispers and peered out from behind his glasses with a disconnect that you might expect from a medium-level drug dealer. He didn't effectively make eye contact. Let's remember that he was trying to sell a termite-eaten home that needed to be entirely rewired, re-plumbed and needed a new heating/AC system (probably 100k of restoration work). The Dirty Harry of realtors whispered, "No, your offer was not accepted." O. K. dude...

1930's Spanish Colonial #2
This was a sweet home with a guest suite out back that seemed like a real possibility. It was overpriced, but we made a reasonable offer. The owner was excited. She was ready to deal and was motivated. Then, she uttered the fateful words,"Let me talk to my accountant" and then "let me talk to my parents." Within the week, the house was taken off of the market.  It seemed like it might happen and then it didn't. It made us a little sad and frustrated.

We'll call this the "Batshit-Insane-Tenants-Control-the-Homeowners" House
We weren't even interested in this house, but it was next to the Spanish Colonial above and so we decided to take a look. Except that the tenants don't allow the house to be shown and refuse to answer the phone. We were told that "we could walk around the outside of the house." This house was taken off the market within a week of our inquiry due to the uncooperative tenants. Can anyone say eviction? 

 1930's Georgian, Ready for Wallpapering
So, this is the nicest house we have looked at. It has been kept in immaculate condition. It's right on the Duckpond and a short walk to the Hippodrome. We made an offer. It has been accepted. We have started to imagine a life here. Now, we are just waiting for the closing date. Lastly, embedded in the concrete slab at the end of the driveway you might be able to see three little numbers: 666. Obviously, this is our house. Is it legal to keep a live jackal within Gainesville city limits?
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