I Feel Like a Hermit Crab

One who has gone through a molt and requires another domicile.

Diane has been looking at properties within about 40 to 50 minutes commute of my new place of work in St. Petersburg, Florida. Of course, she is restricting the search to things that (1) are within our current limited means to qualify for a loan on, which until Diane finds a job will be under $100K and probably closer to $80K, (2) that have a useful amount of yard (hopefully larger than 0.25 acre, ideally an acre or more), and (3) which we have some chance of closing on before the end of November so as to qualify for the stimulus package $8K tax credit. After work today, we went around to about four places this evening to check them out.

One has a pretty large yard, is situated in a nice neighborhood, and has a goodly amount of interior space at about 1500 square feet. However, over half that space has a nearly flat roof over it, and when I looked up there, about half of it was covered by a puddle left from the rain we had yesterday. We’ll check into how much a roof and ceiling repair would be, but the type of loan needed for including repair work itself takes about 90 days to process, which could mean we’d be out the $8K stimulus tax credit.

We looked at a house whose floors were obviously damaged and would require extensive repair. It had an odd layout and one of the two bathrooms was a large room situated in between the kitchen and a bedroom to the rear of the house. In addition to toilet, shower, and sink, it had what could become a small dance floor plus a washer and dryer on the opposite side of the room. Another house had small rooms and not much otherwise to commend it. The final one we looked at had a more normal layout and basic condition of a house, though the yard was among the smallest we were considering. It had some problems, including the fact that someone had almost succeeded in driving a car into the living room. There was not much obvious in the twilight outside, but inside there were scattered pieces of drywall and the studs had been obviously been broken and displaced inwards. The general conditions inside included a great deal of dirt and clutter, as it seemed that perhaps the previous tenants had been evicted or somehow came to leave the place full of their clutter and mess. There was a broken window in one of the bedrooms. However, the complete set of repairs needed would likely still fit in the strictures for an FHA loan, and most of the rest of the negative impression could be fixed by a thorough cleaning. On the down side, though, it may be a “short” sale, and thus unlikely to be one that could be closed by the end of November.

So the house hunt goes on. Diane looked at some properties in Tampa across the bay yesterday, including the exterior of a house on two acres. She’ll do a drive-by of a house in Manatee County across the Sunshine Skyway bridge tomorrow. If anyone has suggestions, drop a line in comments or email.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.