Monday, May 4, 2009

Hales Acres

For a year now we have been considering housing in Carbondale, certainly one of the recruiting devices employed by SIU was showing us the favorable housing options in the Carbondale area. It was just a year ago, for the second interview, when Karen and Ryder and I drove down, that we got our first tour of real estate with Marcia. I believe it was that very trip when we saw what became known as the Victorian Legend, and the focus of much thought and planning as the year unfolded. We even made an offer on the 40 acre farm with the grand old Victorian house. Meanwhile, we saw the housing market take a nose dive as the Bush fueld economic disaster dashed our hopes of cashing in on our prime real estate in Oak Park. Despite not having a clear prospect for selling our house, we threw our hat into the ring and offered the appraised amount for the farm. I think its safe to safe we never really felt completely comfortable with the prospect. The main problem being the house. Magnificent Victorian built in 1895 and "completely restored" with new wiring, heat/AC, kitchen etc. It was truly impressive, but it was still so very much like the house we own in Oak Park, a 1913 mini-Victorian, small rooms, no closets, in adequate bathrooms. When the sellers of Victorian wouldn't budge and we couldn't come closer that $70,000 on the deal, we just let it slide and recommenced our serious house hunting venture. This time with refined criteria: as new of a house as possible, with as much land as close to work as we could find. This actually revealed dozens of new options. We spent the last weekend of April in Carbondale, staying at the ever so quaint Pin Oak Motel on the out skirts of town, and toured 12 properties. We had our hopes on the 7 acre place in Blackhawk but it was a real disappointment. Great if we wanted to go into the horse business, but it was a tiny house. The second house we saw, on South Hunt Road, seemed to have just what we were looking for, it was built 1994, 4200 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths on 1.5 acres on a secluded lot. As we continued to tour other properties, ranging from rustic to McMansion, we narrowed down our search to three properties. After visiting all three for the second time the house on South Hunt Road, not only emerged as our top choice for this trip, but in fact, was just exactly what we were looking for. I had hoped for more acreage, but this property backs up onto the woods and is just 2 miles west of Crab Orchard National Wildlife area, and though it has just 1.5 acres, the wooded lot goes on forever. It is secluded, but in an 8 property subdivision with lots of 1.5 to 18 acres. It is just 3.8 miles from SIU, so it is secluded, but not remote. We drove back to Oak Park and as soon as we got home called Marcia and made an offer. In marked contrast to the owners of the Victorian farm, the owners of the Hunt Road property do want to sell. We offered, they countered, meeting us half way, and accepted all of the contigencies. Having been preapproved for the loan for the Victorian and having navigated our way through the sales contract with the failed deal, makes doing this deal smooth as silk. I am returning to Carbondale this week for the home inpsection and mortgage application and on the 29th the three of us return for the closing. I think we will camp out in the house after the closing-- an empty nest, soon to be filled with all our stuff that has been stored away for these last months, and our pets who will love the new wilderness they will inhabit. Hales Acres, 724 South Hunt Road. Now, if we can only sell our *other* house....

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