Because life is busy it took us about a week to get out and look at houses again. We tried to take better notes and be more thorough this time around, which meant that house after house was a disappointment. Things that should have had enough space made odd uses of that space, so they didn't. Others were amazing, but didn't actually have enough space in the end. Nothing was in our neighborhood (well, some were, but not in the elementary school boundary), but some were at least in neighboring neighborhoods. After all of these were a bust we headed over to another neighborhood further away for one last house before we had to get back and pick up the kids from a friend's house.
The house was all brick, which needed tuckpointing badly. But cute exterior. We walked in expecting to see more weird use of space. We immediately noticed Ryan's favorite kind of vents - the ones in which all the Legos will fall. There was a nice-sized living room. To the right of the entry was what we thought was the dining room. Seemed a bit tiny, but big enough for our table, so no worse off than we are now. Then we went into the kitchen which had all been redone. And realized that what we thought was the dining room wasn't - it was just an eating nook. The real dining room was on the other side of the kitchen (a bit of an odd layout, honestly, because why do you need two eating spaces on either side of the kitchen?). Ryan realized the eating nook would be a perfect foosball table room. The real dining room had French doors out to a deck and the back yard. The back yard was basic - square with grass and a couple established trees. Rather nice to have it be a blank slate.
There was a hallway bathroom, which had also been completely redone. And a bedroom on the main floor. Seemed a decent enough size, with the usual smallish closet. Then we went down to the basement and there was another small bedroom down there with a nice size closet. The basement was also newly finished (the only problem with that being that it hadn't been through a winter here yet, so water problems in the basement was an unknown). Ryan decreed that the basement had requisite space for drumset and computer desk, though the ceilings were pushing it a bit height-wise. The basement also contained another full bath and entry to the garage.
As you entered the house you were met by a stairway. We climbed the stairs to find a half story with just a bedroom. Clearly the master bedroom. And it had a half-bath, which Ryan immediately loved. And a closet that was a decent size (well, many people would consider it small, but compared to every other closet we'd seen all day, it was huge!).
Before we left our realtor noticed that the stagers had attempted to cover a bulging crack above the fireplace with some pictures. That made us a bit nervous because there were a few possibilities as to what could be causing that. We knew that'd be something we'd want to find out more about.
We decided that evening to make an offer. We hesitated a bit once we looked at the sale records and realized that the house had been bought at auction just last fall and was clearly a flip. Took a bit of time to read up on advice about that and then went ahead and signed the paperwork for the offer. The seller accepted our offer that evening. Competitive market, what competitive market? You just make offers and they get accepted immediately, right? This fact did give us pause - why did it seem we were the only ones offering on the houses we'd chosen? We'd done all we could to note details and potential big problems this time around, but had no idea what horrible things we might find on the inspection.