A tough househunting choice

Palo Verde Vista Place Oldfather Drive

We’ve recently seen more houses and had better results. We are excited to have found two possibilities. There are key differences in the houses, but both could potentially work for us. They are basically the same price. We welcome your thoughts or comments as we consider both houses. What do you think?

House #1 – Palo Verde Vista Place
West of I-10, it is 5 minutes from the freeway, and only 5 miles from the main areas we’d shop in.
Size: 3480 sf (plenty big), but only .93 acres. It is 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths plus a large gameroom w/wet bar.
Exterior: Sante Fe style but a little boxier than some.
Setting: Part of a planned neighborhood but with larger lots, so we’d have neighbors on the street and we see other houses from our patio, but none of their patios face ours, so it would still be fairly private.
Views: It has both mountain and city lights views from the patio.
Builder: Built by Sombra, a builder of several planned neighborhoods in the Tucson area.
Year Built: 2006
Interior Style: Nice but a little generic. One of the larger floor plans with some upgraded finishes.
HOA: A $10/month HOA but these have rules.
Pros: With 4 bedrooms plus the big game room, we have room for everything we need. House is fairly new and in good condition. Only major work is in the back patio. None of the areas (kitchen, laundry, closets, garage, patio) are ‘best of’ but nothing is bad. A nice example of a contemporary Sante Fe house set in a nice neighborhood. Can see TV from sink/counter area in kitchen when cooking, doing dishes.
Cons or Challenges: An older couple lives there and it is packed with their stuff and they aren’t big on maintenance. There is currently no fencing for the big dog that Alex would like to get. Would need to extend the concrete of the upper patio before it would comfortably fit a patio table. Back area would be on two levels. Long address. Internet access?
Other comments: Not as fond of the carpet and ceramic tile, but they are in decent shape and fairly neutral. Same with the dark gray solid surface counters in the bathrooms. No hot tub but water and electric are there. Main expense would be to finish out the hardscaping/landscaping in the back area and maybe add a fence. Doing this could really add value to the house. A house for sale next door with a great back area and infinity pool is asking almost $300K more. Not particularly exciting as is but could be spruced up and may have broader appeal if we were to ever decide to sell later on. MLS link, our photos

House #2 – Oldfather Drive
In Northwest Tucson, 10 minutes from I-10. 8.5 miles (20 minutes) from main shopping areas.
Size: 3009 sf house w/3 bedrooms, 2.75 baths, two bonus rooms (office/den, storage room). 2.15 acres.
Exterior: Santa Fe style with two nice gates and a nice area around the front door. Great natural desert.
Setting: Set back off the street, more isolated.
Views: Views are wonderful natural desert plants with the mountain ranges in the background.
Builder: Custom or semi-custom but we don’t yet know the builder. Feels very well built.
Year Built: Built in 1998, but newly remodeled which has brought up the value of the house.
Interior Style: More Tucson style with saltillo tiles, wooden beams (vigas), Mexican tile, Southwest touches.
Pros: Great setting, great views, privacy, big back yard, huge garage, great laundry room, room for a walk-in pantry, a dedicated storage room, more curb appeal, like all-tile floors (no carpet). 4-car 1650 sf garage that is double deep. We’d use half of it for Crossfit equipment, workshop, etc. 900 sf of the garage is sealed off so that it can be heated/cooled and has a built-in workshop. Great outdoor fireplace area. Feels well built, has lots of special details, and has been well cared for. Oriented with the front facing the East (good). Has a big back yard, a great fence for dogs, storage shed.
Cons or Challenges: Common areas don’t flow as well as I’d like and I’m not that excited about the look of the kitchen even though it is newly remodeled. The kitchen feels like it was made for a short person. There are only 3 bedrooms. We want two offices and a dedicated guestroom,  so someone would have their office in the windowless den. The kitchen is near the living room, but I wouldn’t be able to watch something while doing dishes. Not a huge fan of the cabinets or countertops but they do have the pull-out drawers inside and the lazy suzans in the corner cabinets.
Other comments: Not sure if we can get high-speed Internet access–a must-have. The driveway is dirt but we could cover it with gravel. The gates give it external charm. Some fixtures and ceiling fans need updating; may redo tile in master bath. Would make a few changes in the kitchen. Back patio isn’t very deep now but we have the fireplace area until we finish out the back yard. Would do more rockscaping out front. Has character and personality. Issues: Can we deal with the windowless office, can I make the kitchen more lovable without a big remodel, and is there Internet acces?
MLS link, our photos

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