Sunday, February 11, 2007

Narrowing down the search

Yesterday was a marathon of househunting. My realtor took me around to many neighborhoods in Apex, Cary, and Morrisville. Almost everything we saw was nice. Of course, some were nicer than others, but none of them were stinkers, which makes picking one that much harder. About 90% of what we looked at were townhouses, because even though I would prefer a single-family home, with my tastes and budget, a townhouse is my best bet. The same amount of money can buy you either a 14-year-old 1500 sq. ft. house with formica countertops, dated cabinets, and seen-better-days carpet, or a 2-year-old 1900 sq. ft. townhome with hardwood floors, solid surface counters, and 42" cabinets. This is basically what the market here has to offer in my price range. So of course I'd choose the townhouse in a heartbeat. As much as I may think I want a house, if I'm not willing to compromise on the "extras" to get in one, I must not want it that badly!

Today my realtor took me to look at a couple more townhouses in Cary, one of which was particularly nice, with a huge kitchen, very tasteful paint colors, and some hardwoods. Despite her hearty endorsement and the pressure of "This won't stay on the market more than a day," I didn't feel compelled to call off the search quite yet. We also saw a couple units in North Raleigh, which is closer to work. One is in a "planned unit development" called Bedford, which means the subdivision has a mixture of condos, townhomes, and houses ranging from below $200k all the way up to 7 and $800k. The unit was attractive enough, with nice upgrades, but it was kind of dark. There is an end unit in that complex with a lot more windows that I would have liked to see but we didn't have an appointment. The last townhouse was literally right up against Umstead State Park, which of course means a nice view. But it lacked a fireplace and had zero walk-in closets, which are two huge oversights if you ask me.

So I've narrowed the search down to two townhouses, one in Apex, about a mile from where I currently live, and one in Morrisville, which is about 20 minutes north. Both have nice views in the back--trees and water--and both have gas fireplaces and a neighborhood pool. Here's how they compare otherwise:

I'm leaning towards the Morrisville unit (referred to as "the drummer boy place" because we had to stand outside for about five minutes waiting for the owner's son to stop pounding his drums long enough to hear us ringing the doorbell). But I'm concerned about the commute conditions, so I'm going to get up early tomorrow morning and drive up to the townhouse, leave it when I would normally leave for work, and time it. I really hope I'm pleasantly surprised!


  1. Hi Melissa;

    Liz here. Well we bought our home in South Raleigh, near the 40 hwy.
    It has a nice yard, one that my dogs will think they went to doggy heaven.
    My choise for your house is the Morrisville one, the only reason is because it is a end unit. I would hate to be in a center unit. Clausterphobia and all that.
    Pus the bright kitchen sounds wonderful. Plus it has two masters, and you can never go wrong with that. Keep us posted.
    Our closing date is March 15th on our house in Raleigh, and we still haven't sold our house in CA :/
    If my father were alive he would be lecturing me on what a stupid thing to buy a house before selling, but we were in Raleigh, and we loved it and I am sick of flying there to spend the entire time looking for houses.
    Anyhow, good luck on your house hunting.

  2. Oooh, sounds promising! I love the sound of the deck.

  3. I am leaning toward the Drummer Boy Place for you! I look forward to hearing about the commute. :)

  4. While we love new construction and have only bought new, we much prefer an end unit for a townhouse. And it's only 3 years old - a new house will feel the same after 6 months.