So we might be buying this short sale after all. It depends on what happens at the appraisal, since we are financing it and it is a, er, remodel opportunity. Good bones, great neighborhood, great floorplan. At that point, the required adjectives change, and get less flattering.
It's a 1600sqft CMU house on about a 7500sqft lot, so it's comfortable, not big by American standards, but we expect it will be quite adequate for us. The plan is to fix it up chiefly with our own sweat and tears, but I am pretty sure I will hire a roofer. I'm leery of tackling that myself with only evenings and weekends to devote personally and a labor crew composed of various capable but inexperienced young men from church. Beyond the roof, however, we plan to:
Renovate the two bathrooms
Build our kitchen cabinetry (google Ana White if you are interested)
Strip, grind, stain and seal the concrete floor (currently gross carpet and tolerable tile)
Seriously re-landscape the front and back yards (may require a Bobcat, we'll see)
Put a radiant barrier up in the attic - I want this house to be easy to cool, and hey, I'm a thermal engineer
In the course of the major waterworks do-over, I am seriously interested in PEX plumbing, and my preliminary survey of the piping indicates that this house would be very amenable to a PEX overhaul (block houses can be plumbed in the slab - BAD - or plumbed in the ceiling - GOOD - this one looks to be plumbed in the ceiling).
The long-term plan will be determined by how stable my university employment is and how hot the housing market is when we roll over the two-year capital gains finish line. The floorplan is so unique, however, that we think it might just be a good home. It is one of the most open 70s-era homes I've ever been in, and has a LOT of natural light, especially for a block home. It feels palatial compared to our 1100sqft condo, which is divvied up into a hall (?!?!), kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. This house has approximately three linear feet of "hall", accessing the second and third bedroom and second bathroom door. The kitchen and common area are the center of the home, and the bedrooms and garage access this vast open living space. We like it. Also, the kitchen is not a dank galley with no light, but has excellent natural light and a work triangle. The Mrs. likes it.
We will keep you posted on the status of these and the condo projects (which would mostly still be on the table, just aimed at sale not at living-with).