I've been itching to post about this since Saturday, but I didn't want to jump the gun or jinx myself: Matt not only found a house he liked, he successfully put in an offer on it, AND, as of yesterday, it is officially not a money pit!
Or, it's a small money pit in all the ways we predicted.
Overall, it's a pretty awesome house. It was built in the 1950's, so it has some really awesome features, mainly hardwood floors and gigantic windows. Unlike most houses from that era, though, this one also has giant bedrooms (unusual) and normal-by-modern-standards-sized bathrooms (practically unheard-of). It also has a crazy amount of closet space and a full attic, on top of a giant open living/dining room. There's also a smaller front room, a medium-sized kitchen, and a bonus/second master bedroom and half bath that are located over the garage.
It's going to need a fair amount of work, though. It's been owned by the same people since the 1970's, and it's probably been about that long since anything was updated. Replacing the original (crappy, single pane) windows is a must, as is (in my humble opinion) getting rid of the orange shag carpeting in the bonus room and the stick-on linoleum tiles in the kitchen and entryway. The floors, in general, are a job of work: where they haven't been haphazardly carpeted or linoleum'd (I will never understand why people stick cheap linoleum on top of hardwood floors), they're in pretty rough shape: dirty, stained, and scratched. The whole thing needs to be sanded and re-finished. On top of that, Matt has some contractor-y stuff to do: none of the outlets are properly grounded, and the attic is inadequately insulated.
Meanwhile, I've tasked myself with making the place look nice, which is somewhat daunting. I'm not particularly wild about decorating; my idea of making a bedroom look nice is picking out a duvet set from overstock.com, Target, or ikea, selecting a color I like from it, and painting the walls that color. If I'm feeling especially interested, I may change the light fixtures or add some coordinating lamps or artwork. I have the same attitude towards bathrooms: pick out a set from Kohl's, paint walls accordingly. I guess that would go for living rooms and kitchens as well, but I've never "done" either one before. When you rent, you don't generally invest in sprucing up the place, and up until now, all I've ever done is rented or live with my parents.
While my usual approach will probably work just fine in the bedrooms, it's not going to hold up in the bathrooms or the kitchen. The bathrooms need new floors, and I'm not really a fan of the wall tiles (also, one of the tubs is mauve. MAUVE. Why?). It's looking like I'm going to have to start from scratch with all 2.5 of them. Indecision, ahoy! The kitchen poses additional issues: it has these really awesome vintage cabinets and countertops, but the formica topping of said counters has got to go, even if I wind up replacing it with formica of another color. Beyond that, I need to pick out a 100% new floor color, as I am 75% sure that there's no hardwood underneath the three layers of linoleum I was able to chip away. I also have something of a pantry quandary that can only be explained through pictures, and I need to help Matt select new appliances (must needs have a dual fuel range).
It's a lot to do, so expect further posting from me on the subject-- but not necessarily here. Matt's been considering starting a blog to document the process, and if he does, I may post my house-related entries over there instead of here. We'll see if he does it, though.