Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Annals of Real Estate: Another One Gets Away

Earlier this month, we went to a broker open house for a condo in an old stone church in Brookline, near Coolidge Corner. We fell in love.
The space in the living-dining room was dramatic, with a soaring, arched ceiling, three tall windows, and huge walls that could easily hold built-ins for the hundreds of feet of bookshelves that we need:
Over this room is a high-ceilinged loft more than 20 feet long, perfect for an office-library. There'd be space for many more bookshelves and a very long desk. My husband would have plenty of room for his papers, filing cabinets, and computer equipment. But we'd still be able to talk to each other when I was down below, and the mess work area would be invisible from there:
We were worried about cats jumping off that low wall and falling down into the living room, but we thought we could come up with some sort of low, glass-barrier solution. Here's the view from the loft:
The kitchen was small, but still much roomier than our current one, and very elegant: 
There was no a fireplace, and we really want at least one — but there are solutions for that, too. For example, gel-fuel fireplaces don't require a gas line or any special venting. They burn cleanly (and even crackle, like firewood) for about three hours, using cans of slow-burning fuel that's similar sterno. 
The lower floor had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The sloping walls under the windows would be challenging for the cats, but I thought we could find a way to fix that:
We told the listing agent we'd be making an offer; we just needed to talk with our own agent and put the two of them in touch. We kept waiting for a phone call from our agent; who couldn't reach the seller's agent to ask a few more questions. But we heard the next morning that another couple had submitted an offer within a couple of hours of our seeing the place. And the sellers signed it right away, before we had a chance to put together our offer. The agent was very apologetic and seemed a bit stunned. She said she'd asked the sellers not to react so quickly. 

Ah, well. The other buyers had beaten us to the chase and won it fair and square. We were asked to submit our offer anyway in case theirs fell through. So we did — and it was handsomely over the asking price as we'd intended all along — but we learned last week that the deal was proceeding. 

So it's back to Square 1 for us, but we learned valuable lessons. We check for new listings multiple times every day, sometimes a few times an hour. The next time a prospect appears, we will get in to see it fast and, we hope, first. If we can't reach our agent to arrange this, I'll call the listing agent myself. And if we like it, we'll make an offer right away. No matter what.

In the meantime, we're trying to focus on the drawbacks of the church condo: no fireplace... no private outdoor space for gardening or sitting, which I would dearly love to have... and those big windows looked right onto an equally big parking lot. Then there were the various cat issues, although we think they would have loved running up and down the steps and exploring all that space. Then there was the dangerous proximity of Party Favors, famous for its cakes, cupcakes and fancy cookies. It was practically my closest destination.

No place is ever perfect (and almost no place that we like and can afford has enough space for all of our books). This one was lovely, well-situated, quiet, and would have worked for us, but we will need to work harder and faster... next time.

1 comment:

  1. My boyfriend used to live on the same street as this church before we moved in together, I always wondered what they looked like on the inside, and it definitely exceeds my expectations! Fingers crossed you find your dream home soon!

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