I need to lose some weight… a LOT of weight…and i don’t mean just what i am carrying around with me. Friday was look at houses day…. the first one was a make-us-an-offer-any-offer tear down in Biddeford and the other…well the other lured me in because they took the time to post a picture of a frog on a lily pad in the water feature in the garden…a very small lovingly cared for garden…in a very small house…i want to emphasize the ‘very small’ here. This little cottage is in Portland, someplace I hadn’t even considered, but i had cast my net wide and was now looking at everything in my ballpark in southern coastal Maine, regardless. It is smaller than the one in Saco that I dream about at night, it’s actually smaller than my apartment if you measure it correctly. I can tell a lot about a house living area from the listing even the parts they don’t show, I can dope out. But basically i bother to go look, to see the NON living space, to see where there is room for storage, and for work areas and for the damn cats. So I said, sure lets see it, what have i got to lose?
Long story short I have signed an offer on this one. What I am seeing in houses that have been empty for a while, is a lot of moisture and mold that has to be addressed before you can even live in it while you make changes. Putting aside the costs of any sort of improvements or fixes, moisture is the enemy of the book. Fighting the rising damp can take a life time and sometimes can’t be beaten, ask nearly anyone in England or Florida. This house is occupied, and the owner like me has her eye fixed on another house, a bigger house elsewhere and is in a hurry to sell. So there is a very good chance she will take my cash offer for lower than asking price. In my opinion and that of my broker, holding out won’t bring her asking price, it will just delay her move and force her to keep reducing the price. WHY? because of the ‘very small’ part of the description. The second floor isn’t really a floor, it’s basically a sleeping loft..there’s head clearance down the center but not for anyone taller than me, and even i bump my head at the top of the stairs.
But that can be fixed which is what anyone else looking at the house is thinking, that they are going to have to tear the top off and add a second floor, but not so I. Though I will start saving for a dormer for the bedroom. The cellar isn’t much taller and isn’t as damp as it could be..at least right now in summer, with the itty bitty windows open. But that too can be addressed. The only thing i MUST do to it before Day One is replace a window with a back door and add a full screen porch/catio – that will get the furries out of my face and actually open up the charming back garden, it is a shame the house doesn’t actually have a back porch to begin with. It also doesn’t have a closet in the place, cept an improvised one in the 1st floor bedroom/office. The gardens are to die for because the woman who lives there also works at home and has time to garden. It already has the insulation and heating system improvements I would have made, cept without the solar aspect. I literally don’t HAVE to do anything to it unless i want to. And that has a SIGNIFICANT dollar value attached to it. Instead of buying a big hungry baby, i’m buying a little old lady with some peculiarities.
The tininess of this house puts it within my reach monetarily. I had to let go of a lot of decisions I had made; some as long as a year or many years ago….. no small town, no view, no guest room, no garage, and very few walls bookcases. All those books I packed last September have to be gone through and culled down once again, even the few pieces of furniture I retained have to be reconsidered. Things have to be built in place, and be svelte and minimalist. Being neither svelte not miniscule in all but height myself, i need to start with me. If I can reduce MY size, the house will seem bigger, if I bring in less stuff the house will seem bigger, if what i bring in solves many problems and isn’t being one, then the house will seem bigger. I still have no idea what to do with my clothes should I buy this house..I spent years getting it down to ONE closet full and now I am considering a house with no closets at all.
Why not keeping looking for a bigger house? why bother? why shouldn’t i scale all my crap down to fit inside the house? How much of it do i really need? I have been fascinated by the tiny house movement for years, it’s time to put my clutter where my mouth is. I’ve been saying large houses have large problems, small ones have smaller ones. But this is all rhetorical unless she accepts the offer one of the hooks is that the closing would be very quick, sooner rather than later, which is scary on its own face. Am I still as prepared as I was? Unlike the little red house, I know nothing about this one, and only a smidgen about the neighborhood, and what I know abour Portland is its a great place for me to spend my money.