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Go Ahead and Tell Me I'm Crazy (The I Want a Second Home Story)

16 years ago

You all won't know me here but I'm a frequent interloper.

Tell me I'm crazy, if you must. This is my story: I am in love with an amazing MCM built in '52 by an architect who had some local fame and studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. Walls of glass and brick, open floor plan, some updating by current owner, gorgeous 1.5 acre yard with mini-swimming pool. The poor dear has been on the market more than 18 mos, and the owner (now widowed) had moved out. There are not many architecturally interesting midcenturies in my area, so this is exceptional.

I must own it. I've been drooling over this house since it went on the market. I can't believe it hasn't sold, yet I know why -- the owner has priced it unrealistically high (though has lowered the price at least 3 times, still overpriced though) and in my area there is not yet an appreciation for this style. Our current home is fine but it doesn't satisfy some internal "need" I have, which is to have an interesting home with soul. We've thought about building, but I just don't think we have the intestinal fortitude, much less the time, to go through the process. This house would give me peace and kill the need to build or look for another house.

The negatives...we can't move there. It is too small for my family. The schools are much inferior to where we are now. It is a farther commute for both my husband and me. It is built near the site of a lead smelter plant, gone since the 20s, but some soil was contaminated but the EPA has since cleaned it up and declared it "ok". I have a call out to them to discuss. I can't believe that wouldn't affect the property values. It would be a long-term purchase for us because I don't think we'd be able to unload it any easier than the current owner unless we did some major additions.

I want it to be our weekend place. The crazy part? It's only 20 minutes away from our current house. Not your typical vacation home. But it is in a lake community, has that mini-pool and oh, that yard. And is right by a large municipal park.

We can afford it, easily, but having said that it is a costly "toy" when one considers all the other expenses of maintaining a house you don't even live in. Not to mention the fact that it's old, and certainly will need ongoing repairs. And I will have to make a lowball offer to get it down to what I feel it's realistically worth in this market. No idea if the owner will go there, but again there are reasons to believe she might consider a low offer.

Ok...of course it's obvious I'm trying to justify something that's irrational. Comments? Should I just forget it and go ahead with building (hippies, we'd go green), knowing that the process will be torture but then we would have exactly what we want without the pain of two houses to maintain? I still think I'd always remember this house as the one that got away. Ugh!

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