22 December, 2007
Posted by Joanne at 11:08 PM
Well, the papers are signed, and the ink is dry. After searching for six months, visiting scores of properties, and going through two mortgage brokers and two buyer brokers before finding good, honest professionals to help us, we are now the proud owners of a two-flat along the North Shore.
My fiance Ted and I had slowly come to the realization that condo living wasn't really for us. We had been living in a Chicago six-flat for the last 5 1/2 years, and while we loved our top-floor unit and our neighbors, we were no longer really happy with the experience. Everything from what kind of lock to put on the front gate to what bushes to plant in the front lawn must be decided by committee. It's exhausting and often frustrating. Still, we had no intention of moving anytime soon; the condo market in Chicago is kind of sluggish, and we were going to wait for a better seller's market before selling.
And then my mom said she might be ready to finally sell her house. She's lived in the same house in the far Northwestern Suburbs for the last 30 years, but since my dad died three years ago, the house had become too big for one person. She wanted to downsize and she wanted to be closer to her children. My brother is in Texas, and he's the one with kids, but Texas is too far from the rest of the family, and with its brutally hot summers it was not really an option. The perfect solution seemed to be for my mom, Ted, and me to get a multi-unit building together.
But where? Ted and I lived in Chicago, and my mom absolutely refused to move back into the City. Like my dad, she had grown up on the north side, but they had moved to the suburbs when I was three. She had no desire to go back. I love city life, and couldn't imagine going back to the suburbs, where I would be dependent on my car to do everything. This town seemed like a good compromise--it was a suburb, but one connected by the Metra and the CTA Purple Line. We could walk to many of our errands, and still hop the train downtown for a show or to visit friends. Best of both worlds, I guess.
So here begins the Saga of the Box House. It's a blog I'm starting for my own amusement and to chronicle our restoration and renovation efforts. Everyone tells us the house has "good bones," which I interpret as meaning it will need a fair amount of work before it's up to our standards. I hope we're up to the challenge.