Charming but Smaller or "Not so Wow" but Less Tight

mamattorneyApril 26, 2013

I think we have narrowed down our search to two homes.

One is a 1928 Tudor style (with addition) and the other is a 1980 colonial.

It's no contest on curb appeal - the tudor has so much more character. The colonial is fine on the outside - not ugly, nice and symmetrical (something I like), but kind of just -- there -- if you know what I mean.

On the inside, they both have their pros and cons. On the whole, the colonial is bigger - not by much, but definitely by usable space - and more practical. It has bigger bedrooms and closets, that's for sure. And the colonial has an attached garage, which, while not on our "must have" list IS nice. But it's a front load - in your face garage, and to me that's a negative. I'd love an attached garage, but I like the tucked away in the back concept of the detatched visually. the kids could walk to school easily from the tudor - it's a much longer walk from the colonial; I doubt most parents even let their kids walk from that house.

Both meet all our "musts" (4 BR) and "very much would like to haves" (Kitchen table and dining room table; 1st floor family room). The tudor has more character, even on the inside, but all those wall angles and niches I admire may cause problems for furniture placement, and the smaller closets that I'm mentally ignoring may come back to bite me when we actually move in etc. The colonial is a bit utilitarian, but has a very nice kitchen and I KNOW is more practical on several levels. The tudor also has radiators for heat - which I've never had and don't know much about. And the smaller tudor's taxes are about $2,000 more a year than the colonial; the colonial is a brand new listing; the tudor's been on the market awhile.

I'm drawn to both for different reasons. I've played the mental game about choosing one to see if there is regret for not choosing the other and I feel regret with both. Probably because I like both for different reasons. I know you can't tell me which to choose, but has anyone been through this exercise? How did you decide? Any advice?

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That's a tough one.
Make a list with weighting factors and then compare.
Try to see yourself in the house.
Visit the neighborhood and try to chat with neighbors.
Go by your gut feeling.
(Also, why are the taxes of the Tudor 2K higher?)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Location, location, location. Which house suits your family's location needs better? Which location will be easier to sell in the future? Which location offers better schools, walking, quiet ... whatever appeals to your quality of life?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:59AM
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If the tudor were x$ less than the colonial, would that make a difference to you (since it has been on the market a while)? If not, I'd be worried about the storage issue. Does the Tudor have a garage (just not attached)? What kind of climate are you in? If you have no storage in the house, and plan to put some things in the garage, are you going to be comfortable going "out there" to get something from the freezer at -10* (just saying)?

What age are your kids? Will you have years of driving them to school? Is either neighborhood more kid-friendly (culdesac living, or lots of kids)? Would carpools be difficult to set up for your Colonial home?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:38AM
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I know it's not your major issue, but you did mention radiators in the Tudor. I grew up in a house with radiators and have always loved them the best of any other heating system. So cozy and warm, and I love the little noises when they start to heat up. My old house had nice metal radiator covers in many rooms, and my brother and I would fight over who got to curl up on the big one in the family room to watch TV or do homework. Thanks for the memories!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:58AM
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Playing arm chair internet psychologist: It sounds to me like you fell in love with the Tudor, but your practical side really likes the colonial.

So ask yourself is the Tudor husband material -- or is it just a crush and when you get over that the drawbacks will be too many? Or is it something that with a little bit of work the relationship will be long-term?

I think I would approach it with measuring the rooms on the tudor and figure out where would your furniture go and plan it all out along with planning out where you would store things, since these seem to be your main issues with that house.

Then do the same with the colonial and also figure out what you could do to give it some curb appeal. Does the house have enough yard to turn the entry to the garage? Ie make it side entry or add one in the back and turn the current garage into living space. Costly but could be done. I think having the garage front facing is very common in some areas, and I've seen homes with great curb-appeal and still have that. Just think nicer garage doors, plants/pots, pergolas, etc. I think a colonial would be easy to add curb-appeal to.

How is the locations of each house with proximity to childrens friends, play areas, shopping, groceries, commutes etc. Also is one area more popular than the other from a re-sale perspective?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Again, pros and cons.

The colonial is in a cul de sac. It's also across from a large park with a lot of amenities for the kids even as they grow out of the playground equipment (tennis courts, basketball courts, skate park, hockey, regular skating and a sledding hill for winter), but the houses are only a few blocks apart so it's not like that park is out of the question for either house - it's just REALLY CLOSE to the colonial.

The tudor is on a regular street, but not a busy one. It's much closer to the K-5 school (2 block walk vs. 5-6 block walk). Both locations would have bus service to the junior high and neither location has bus service to the high school (the colonial is .03 miles too close for bus service), but the tudor is closer to the high school (1.10 miles versus 1.47 miles - that's probably 10 minutes strolling; my guess is I'd drive my high schooler from the colonial, but make them walk from the tudor).

My kids are young (4th, 2nd grade and preschool, so I've got a lot of years of school to go).

I think that some would say the cul de sac location is preferable because of the extreme lack of traffic, but as far as day to day school commute, the tudor has it beat.

I think the tudor has a better overall location for our family because I only have another year or two that I would really worry about traffic issues. The older kids already have enough sense not to chase a ball into the street - the littlest one is a toss up on that. It's not like either one has truck traffic or anything.

Neighborhoods are both fine. I don't know specifics about actual neighbors but know people who live all around the neighborhood already. We're moving from about 4 blocks away.

So, location - the tudor wins out for our family. Not sure which would have a more general appeal though. I've always admired the houses in those cul de sacs as we currently live on a much busier street and I think many would feel the same.

Storage in the tudor in general is not as much of an issue as bedroom storage, although the colonial has much more main level storage overall. The tudor turned one of the 4 bedrooms into a giant master closet (bigger than we'd ever need). the master bedroom has a smallish closet, the colonial has a nice big master closet. We might have to store off season clothes in the basement, but we wouldn't have to go to the garage for real storage.

I sort of feel that if the colonial were in the location of the tudor, that that would seal the deal. But - it's not.

lyfia - I just saw your response and you hit the nail on the head. I do love the tudor, but think the colonial is the "better" house. I don't know if the drawbacks are too many.
Here are the links:



This post was edited by mamattorney on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 13:15

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:25PM
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The tudor is so cute - I think I'd fall in love with it too. And you like the location better. Are you a packrat? If you can live with less "stuff" and can fit in the tudor, I'd go for it. The thousands you'll save on the sale price could buy new furniture that fits the house. Go to Room and Board and have some fun!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:56PM
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(1.10 miles versus 1.47 miles - that's probably 10 minutes strolling

You might try walking that - You would have to be jogging or running to cover either distance in 10 minutes. I'd say the shorter distance would take about 20 minutes, and the longer one a half hour.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Terriks - I meant the difference between the trips - the colonial would be about 10 minutes longer than the tudor. Yes, my guess is it would take 20 minutes to walk from the tudor and closer to 30 from the colonial - maybe longer because I think those distances are "as the crow flies".

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:05PM
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I'm jealous :)
I personally would prefer the Tudor because of the location, it's less generic and presumably better built than the 1980s house; in my house, when my kids jumped off the bed upstairs, the kitchen clock fell off the wall downstairs.
Just a few questions: What are the windows, roof, furnace, AC, etc. like in both houses? How old? How is the insulation, including for noise? What are heating and cooling bills?The 80s house is or will be soon "old" but not "old" as in charming.
What's the deal with the basement seepage and wall cracks in the Tudor?
How long are you planning on living in the house? Would either suit you once the kids are teens or off to college?

How high will the new taxes be like? The colonial has low taxes because it was last sold in 1984 for 169K as opposed to the last sale of the Tudor in 2005 for 675K, so the taxes are bound to go up.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Me, I'll take the Tudor - being an old house nut. Less space can be a virtue. You know how nature abhors a vacuum - if you have a larger house you'll just have to deal with it getting too filled up anyway. Might as well have a smaller, neater, more efficiently organized home from the get-go. That's my philosophy anyway. And, being a visual person, I must have a house that visually and spatially delights me and makes me happy. If it's just ho hum or if I have to cringe and not look at its details because its awkward looking - then I won't be happy there.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:18PM
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The link to the Tudor doesn't appear to be working.
(Do I recall correctly that you recently posted a pic of the Tudor in another thread -- dark with a wing on right as you looked at it? Perhaps I am wrong about that.)

But looking at the "Colonial" I think that it will appear to be "dated", i.e. identifiable to the late 20th c time period (not the period colonial era) more quickly than a "Tudor", a style which has not suffered a recent tsunaml of popularity-to-the-point-of-banality like the generic "builder's suburban colonial with frontload garage" style.

Of course, both are derivative styles, but the Tudor due to its lack of ubiquity will not seem so stale in 10-20 years' more time.

(As an aside, if you do choose the colonial, you might consider rehanging the shutters correctly. Nothing says fake faster than shutters hung outside the window frame, with the white edges of the window casing beaming out.. Even if they are non-functional, hang 'em right and you'll make an instant improvement to the facade. Assuming the siding hasn't faded, it should be an easy fix.)


L. (Who always prefers quirky, even weird, houses, so what do I know? YMMV)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:23PM
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The link to the Tudor at an extra space in it.
Liriodendron explained it much more eloquently what I tried to say with the 80s being "old" soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tudor

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Has the Tudor gotten any updates? Does it have a 200 amp electrical box? New grounded circuitry? Any GFCI's in the kitchens or baths? What is the plumbing material and has it been updated? Does it have any insulation? What about AC? If the Colonial has central heat, is there also central air?

None of those things are "charm", but they all cost money to install and create comfort and safety in a home. Charm is great, but if it doesn't also come with all of the updates, and you have to do them all, it's going to be expensive, and you'll be living through a construction zone experience to add them.

I'd assume by the age alone that the Colonial has a mostly modern infrastructure. It may only need a few GFCI outlets added and possibly a roof replaced if that hasn't been done.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE old houses with charm. But, I've also owned them. Or, they've owned me. A lot of time, effort, and money, was spent updating the important things, and I never had time to do a lot of living because of the projects. And the utility bills were ENORMOUS! All of the stuff behind the walls isn't charming or sexy, but it makes a much bigger difference in how comfortable you are in a home than having authentic leaded glass panes in an original window.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:33PM
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Maybe try the link below for the tudor . . . I put them in and then took them out and then put them back. Must have lost something in my frequent edits.

First, I was concerned about the owners' privacy, but then I figure, what the heck, they are already on the internet, so I put them back :-)

I don't know what's up with the cracks - it's nothing I got my nose out of joint about, but that would be for the inspection. As far as seepage, I agree with Tony (in another thread on this board) that basements either leak, used to leak or will leak. We just had record rains last week (as in over an average April's worth in 48 hours) and if a basement was going to leak it was last week. It got some seepage, but not drywall damaging, carpet replacing damage. I'm OK with it.

I'm not that hard to please - I think that's why I'm pulled to the colonial. If I was a less practical person, it would be tudor all the way!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tudor

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Sorry, I misunderstood about the walk. I also don't find 6 blocks too far for older elementary aged kids to walk to school.
And count me in as another who loves the Tudor, but for practical reasons, such as those that live_wire_oak mentioned, I might pick the Colonial. Tough call!

ETA - I think that if I picked the Colonial I would always wonder what it would be like to live in the Tudor.

This post was edited by terriks on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 14:12

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Good point live_wire. I don't know the answers to those very practical questions about the guts of the house aside from the fact that the windows are not original, I think they were replaced when the addition was put on in the early 2000's. I think I saw GFCI outlets, but I have no idea about the rest. Both have central air and the colonial has a new roof. Thinking about it, usually the realtors like to advertise 200 amp service and new furnaces/boilers etc so if they aren't mentioned my guess is they aren't there.

These are things I need to think about. I've never owned a truly older home. Grew up in a 1960's house, current house was built in the 50's, before that was a new construction condo. We're not really interested in doing a lot of upgrades, especially for the internal stuff.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:04PM
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I would be all over the Tudor... location is better, the house is lovely and those diagonal floors in the Colonial would drive me nuts.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:20PM
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I'm a very practical person when it comes to stuff, but also have a love for old houses but my practical side always wins out.

The Tudor is very cute and looks well maintained. I like the look of the colonial too. Doesn't look dated on the outside to me and I like the simplicity of it. Seems like it would be easy to maintain. Looks like it has curb appeal to me, but those houses are not common in my area so got nothing to compare to.

I think I have the same feeling as you. Love the Tudor, but the practical side of me says the Colonial.

I know for me the kitchen in the Tudor would have to be switched up some for the way I work. It would drive me crazy to have the Dishwasher in my prep space. I like to keep it open and put stuff away as I'm done with it and couldn't do that there, but on the flip side the Colonials kitchen I don't like the look of, although it would be easy to paint and build a different hood surround, but the layout works well for me and having a little helper.

The great part about the Tudor and the driveway is you have plenty of riding bike space or basket ball space etc. which in the colonial might end up being the cul-de-sac.

How about requesting utility bills for both houses as well as check with your insurance what the cost would be on either to see what your carrying costs would be too.

As for closet space - you can always add Built-ins, dressers etc. Room sizes seem just slightly smaller for the Tudor except for the 14x9ft room which is much smaller/odder. Still decent sizes of the other ones though.

What does your family think?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:59PM
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I would choose the Tudor, providing the HVAC/ roof/ electric and plumbing were in good shape. It has way more charm and a better location, especially concerning the distance to the elementary school. That is an everyday, rush of the morning thing, vs proximity to the park is less so. Full disclosure, I am a tudor owner. The lines/ style and workmanship please me every day. I enjoy coming home to its beautiful face.
I do like colonials as well, and this one is okay. I don't like the solid surface counters (plastic) too much similar colored wood in kitchen (cabs/floors/trim) and diagonal laid flooring is fine for accent, but overwhelming here.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:15PM
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Now that I've seen it, definitely the Tudor.

I believe you should always choose the house that makes your heart sing.

Every thing else is just shelter.

(Especially in this case where the Tudor is not an old, uncared for wreck.)


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Tudor is better staged than Colonial, does it color your views?

The tudor is stunning, interest rate has been very low, why has it been on the market for a while?

Which house will be more suitable when your kids are in junior and high school with tons of their friends and activities?

Imagine tomorrow morning you see a "sold" sign in front of either of the two houses, which one will give you more regrets?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Personally I wouldn't buy a house the age of the Tudor regardless of how much I liked it and the Colonial is pushing it. I generally prefer not to buy a house more than 20 years old.

FWIW until my kids were well into middle school, really high school age they liked living on cul de sacs. It tended to be the place that the neighborhood kids would want to play and it really facilitated getting together with friends to do stuff outdoors.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Tudor! I live near a large SE city...and those older homes just completely retain and gain value. It just looks like a charming home for children to grow up in. Plus, who might get a bug to do a little reno or addition or something in a few years. It just has better bones, and to me...good bones and better location DEFINITELY win out!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:07PM
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I love the Tudor and the all brick. The interior looks totally updated and I am looking at houses in another part of the country and wish I was looking where you live!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:54PM
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Tudor is cute, classic, timeless style.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:59PM
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I like older homes but I would feel claustrophobic in the Tudor. The kitchen appears very cramped - look at the table and imagine the chairs pulled out as if your family were sitting at the table. You'd have trouble getting to the sink or dishwasher. The rooms feel very small to me and boxy.

I love open spaces, I feel like I can breathe. With 3 young children I think the Colonial would work better. Very bright and open, kids can run all over the place. Love the deck.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:17PM
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I'm with Jane. I'd choose the colonial. The Tudor is your first husband - dark and mysterious. The Colonial is your second husband - easy to live with and reliable. Just skip straight to the second husband.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 12:37AM
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Well, not sure you wanted all these opinions, but if you did, I'd choose the Colonial (or wait for a house somewhere "in the middle". I would have a difficult time with the closed-in feeling of the (empty) house. If it had stuff in it and people, I don't think I'd be very happy in the Tudor. The LR has small furniture and is still cramped. But, that is me. So, you need to figure that out.

I am not real crazy about the sideways floors in the Colonial either, but maybe that is exacerbated by the angle of the pictures? And, it could be fixed with rugs.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:01AM
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Tudor! I am sure the electric is updated, it has central air. There is only abut 100 sq. ft difference in size. Locations and lot sizes so similar.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 7:50AM
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The last paragraph of the following article sums it up for me - if you don't care about that type of connection, buy the new house.

Preserving Glen Ellyn history, one house at a time
Residents can nominate projects for Historic Preservation awards
February 18, 2013:By Quan Truong

The Stephan family was awarded the 2011 Renovation of the Year Award by the Glen Ellyn Historic Preservation Commission for their work on this century-old house. (Stephan family, Handout)
Renee Stephan stared at the plaster around the doors that still needed a coat of paint.

Over by the century-old fireplace, which she and her husband painstakingly restored, she noted missing tiles.

Her Victorian farmhouse style home on Main Street, nestled in the middle of a block that features some of Glen Ellyn's oldest houses, is far from perfect, she said.

"But we love it in spite of all of its idiosyncrasies and all its imperfections, and there's a lot of them."

The 1890 house has come a long way, and the Stephan family has been recognized for their work on it. Village officials are searching for others who have done the same.

Residents are encouraged to nominate projects for this year's Historic Preservation Awards. Nominations are accepted through April 1, and the awards are presented in four categories: Restoration of the Year, Renovation of the Year, Streetscape Compatibility and Architectural Details.

"We're very fortunate in Glen Ellyn to have this mix of architecture and even have Greek revival architecture," said Lee Marks, chairman of the Glen Ellyn Historic Preservation Commission. "People tell me one of the main reasons they move here, as opposed to a subdivision, is for its small-town charm."

The Stephan home won the 2011 Renovation of the Year award. It is one of more than 50 in the village that is recognized for its history by either the commission or the Glen Ellyn Historical Society, Marks said. The National Register of Historic Places lists four places in Glen Ellyn, including the George Baker House, the Alfred A. Schiller House, Stacy's Tavern and the Main Street Historic District.

The Stephan family spent about 2 1/2 years adding a garage and breezeway, making many trips to the historical society and even magnifying old photos so they could replicate the architectural style. They found an old, handwritten document from Benjamin Gault, the son of James and Mary True Gault who build the house, specifying his ideas for the home, which included using limestone from Batavia.

And so, the Stephans used limestone for the foundation of their garage. They also replicated the swoop in the gable from the front of the house and used matching shingles.

The house had become somewhat of an architectural puzzle, after more than 100 years of revolving ownership and old construction, Renee Stephan said. One previous owner had turned it into apartments and built additional rooms and walls.

When they purchased the house in 2003, the couple found a closet had been built around a "beautiful old coal-burning fireplace." They have since unearthed it and moved doors around so the house is more functional.

"We've adapted to some of the challenges," Renee Stephan said. "I think in many ways, in order to own a historic home, you have to be OK with the cracks in the walls, the holes or the fact that something will need painting again."

She calls it a work in progress.

"When we first saw the home, and we decided to purchase it, we didn't look at ourselves as owners of the house," she said. "We looked at ourselves more like caretakers of a home that was an integral part of Glen Ellyn's history. We felt it was entrusted to us in a way."

At some point, she'd like to take down the old aluminum siding and restore the century-old hardwood underneath. It'll be a big project and will take a lot of time, she said, but she and her husband are OK with that.

"I guess in having this home, we feel honored being a part of Glen Ellyn's history and a community of people who try to preserve it," she said. "To be connected to something in the past helps you feel grounded in a way. Not to mention the beauty, the charm and character. The narrower streets, old trees and the older architecture, I think people find a lot of comfort in it."

For more information, visit the Historic Preservation Commission's website at

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 8:35AM
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I would choose the colonial if those were my only 2 choices. The tudor seems cramped, and not one of the more charming ones, IMO. Plus, I don't like the updates they have done to it. While the colonial does not ooze personality, it seems to have better space in general, and you can do more to make it your own.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Don't know what area in the country you are in but in a house with radiators you most likely won't have air conditioning.

My first house was a cape cod with radiators and it was an expensive proposition to put in air conditioning.

Although the radiators did keep the house warm in winter.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 8:54AM
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It really depends on your personality. Are you a romantic (Tudor) or practical (Colonial). It sounds like the Colonial is the right choice for you.

I, on the other hand, am a romantic and would choose the Tudor in a heartbeat. I have to be in love with my house and when you are in love, flaws don't seem so important.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:00AM
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In both houses:
I would take the kids, send them upstairs, have them hop around, and listen downstairs. Also, flush some toilets upstairs and listen downstairs. Go upstairs and listen if you can hear talking or playing from downstairs. Many of the "newer" constructions are incredibly noisy.
Also, check the quality and condition of the windows, doors, walls.
How old are the furnace, water heater, roof?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 11:38AM
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mama: Both look like very nice homes, although I LOVE the tudor! And I love Glen Ellyn! We looked there extensively before we bought in Clarendon Hills (where I am now.) (Also I know your new mayor-elect; my late DH did quite a bit of work with him.)

I'm huge on walk-to locales, which is a main reason we bought where we did (walk to train, town, grade and middle schools, church, library, etc.) Sounds like either home would work nicely for that, so I can see where it's a tough decision. Both also look like they have nice outdoor spaces for the kids.

Have you been in either basement since our giant rains? I know that some areas of Glen Ellyn had alot of water, and I'd want to see the basements right away to see how they fared.

I agree with an earlier poster about walking around the neighborhood and getting a feel for the area right near each house. I love my neighbors and I hope you luck out with yours too. Either way, you're in a really nice area with great schools and amenities. Good luck with your decision!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Good point about looking in the basement. My cousin lives in Glen Ellyn and she said, "I've always wanted a lakefront home!"

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:18PM
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The tudor is classy, really stunningly beautiful -- the pics look like a magazine spread -- I would jump on that in a heartbeat. If your kids end up being involved in a lot of extra curricular activities in high school you'll end up really appreciating the short walk from the high school (we're 1.1 and when we're all running different directions and can't get there to pick one of them up it's a huge help to have it walkable.

The colonial: yawn. It's starting to look out of date, and white it might have a few extra sq. ft. the square footage doesn't look as well used. By carefully choosing furniture, and editing what you put in each room, you'll never notice the difference. Cozy also means less $$ to heat/cool. And I'd take a home from the 20's over the 70's, no question, especially one that's already been updated (nicely, too).


    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:43PM
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What Jane ny said. I love old homes, but this does not look like a particularly good example of a Tudor. It's cramped even staged. The lack of bedroom closet storage will be a disaster when your girls, if you have any, are teens. It's easy to think you'll live with less stuff but not realistic.

The pictures of the colonial have been resized disproportionately and they look bigger than the Tudor and emptier, obviously, but the Colonial does have a better traffic pattern and spaces for your family. I'd buy the colonial--- or keep looking.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 4:30PM
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I'd choose the tudor - it has the location and the charm. It doesn't look at all cramped to me, it's just that the photos are not taken with a fisheye lens like the colonial.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:10PM
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Wow! How great of you all to offer so much advice.

So many things to think about. I did get a bit of info on the tudor's "guts"; it's not complete but it is reassuring. Roof, boiler, windows, upgraded electrical and and central air added in 2001 with addition.

I think we have definitely decided against the colonial; my husband and I went out to dinner together last night and had a nice, calm, focused discussion on the issues. We've come to the conclusion that we truly need to love the outside of the house just as much as the inside. This particular house feels too much like settling. This is our "forever" house and it's too much money for us to settle so severely.

On the other hand, we're struggling with whether the tudor is right for us. I love so many things about it, but I don't know if I love it to visit it or if I love it to live in it forever. It's not that it's too small - it's really not. All of the rooms are fine - including the kitchen and the living room. I can't put my finger on it. Maybe we aren't truly "old house" people. I definitely would have no desire to lovingly restore an old house. But it just seems cozy and warm and big enough for a family of 5, but small enough for a family of 2 when the time comes.

This is 1,000 times more difficult than I thought it would be.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Sorry to pipe in a bit late but you seem to be leaning towards the Colonial, having said that you wrote;

We're not really interested in doing a lot of upgrades, especially for the internal stuff.

Some of the upgrades made 12 years ago will need to be redone within 8 years or so, and I don't read anything about plumbing, insulation, foundation, weep lines, water service, storm and waste sewers to the street, driveway, walkways, gutters, downspouts, brick re pointing, soffits, facia. Is this a historical home that comes with all the issues when dealing with historical societies? Is on a list that will eventually be deemed historical? What condition is the roof trusses in both garage and home? Has the entire house been rewired or just the addition, any knob and tube hidden? This a list of " some " items to be addressed for a home built in the 20's.

You have a young family a century home is not for the faint of heart.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 6:56PM
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If this is your forever home, you should love it. Otherwise you will either move again or be as dissatisfied with it as you think you will be with the Colonial. Isn't there anything else for sale?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Yes, I think we are going to wait. We're looking in a small part of a 26,000 person town - not even the whole thing, so there's nothing else we're interested in in the "up to $650K" range; in fact that colonial popped up a few days ago and piqued our interest, but I don't think it's the best choice for us. There are more possibilities over $700K (more like over $800K - there are only two for sale in the $700's - one is a new construction from a former tract builder, which could work, but tract new comes with lost of costs like upgraded this and that and landscaping that makes the real price a lot greater than it looks:

and the other one was built in 1929, so it will come with the same issues as the tudor and we might as well spend $100K less on one we like just as well - although I haven't actually been in it to say that with certainty:

We may have to reevaluate our price range, but I don't want to do that just yet.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 7:49PM
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I love the last one. Seems like good layout of the rooms too and all a good size, and none of the diagonal floors the other two had. Of course much more expensive too.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:20PM
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When you look at the price per square foot of the two older homes, they are nearly the same--- $258 for the Tudor and $262 for the house described both as French and Georgian in the same listing. The more expensive house is 20% larger, which is significant enough to make a big impact on your daily living. However, the basement is not finished to the same standard as the rest of the house or the other houses, which detracts from its value quite a bit.

I like the look of the new house's exterior, but wouldn't buy it. The details are very builder generic, and the lighting and windows look skimpy for a house in that price range. However, it is both the least expensive per square foot and the biggest, and the closets are bound to be better.

The French Georgian (all new category, lol) looks to have the best combination of character, location and features. If you make an offer take the basement standard into account. You have limited inventory to choose from, that makes it difficult, but all the houses are very nice and you probably wouldnt be unhappy in any of them.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Just wanted to pipe in and say that old houses aren't always so much more work/money intensive. Mine is about a decade older than the Tudor (and in the same general area), was built to last and has been maintained well, and I don't think it's any more expensive to maintain than houses built in the 1980s -- you have to replace stuff when it breaks/wears out and sometimes there are surprises along the way. :)

I like the Tudor but totally agree that you should wait to find something you really like. Good luck!

While I agree with you that it's not unusual for basements to leak, it would be a major consideration for me. Maybe look into waterproofing? I have friends who got a closing credit to have it done in their new place; I also have other friends who incurred about 20k in damage after the recent rains even though they thought they'd address their flooding issues.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 3:18PM
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Just a final update:

A new house came on the market last week and we liked it a lot and had our offer accepted today. It's similar to the colonial, but with more curb appeal (to us). It's not without negatives (no first floor family room is a major one), but we love it! It was a definite, "this is our new house" moment when we first toured it even if some of the other houses we toured (possibly even the colonial and the tudor both!) look better on paper. So glad we didn't "settle" in our own minds.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Congratulations!! I hope the move and all the closings go smoothly.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Congrats! It's great to know when it's "the right one."

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Congratulations! So good to hear that you have found a house that is a better fit. Hope you will share some photos!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Congrats! If you have time I would love to see pictures too.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Sure - here are a few pics:





Lower Level/Family Room (it's a walkout)


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Love it! And so will you!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:33PM
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I absolutely LOVE this house! Definitely worth waiting for.

It's exactly the house I'm looking for. Good job - so glad it worked out for you. Congratulations!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:31PM
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Oh, so nice! There are many details to appreciate. I hope everything about the transaction goes smoothly for you.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:31PM
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Very lovely, and move-in ready! Enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 3:30PM
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Lovely home. What a nice, large breakfast nook area. Love all the traditional trim.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Good things come to those who wait -- and sometimes really great things come, too. This is a beauty -- so, so much better than the other two -- the front porch is really gorgeous belongs on Houzz!) and I love the basement, too. Oh and the deck. Oh and the... well, just everything. Congrats!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:55PM
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I ADORE your house! So many lovely details in the moldings, the porch and that large nook. Definitely worth waiting for. Thank you for sharing photos. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Now THERE's a realtor that knows to use good photos.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:51AM
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Indeed! (weedy).
Beautiful photos and beautiful house. I hope the transaction is smooth-sailing!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Congratulations on your new home! It looks like the quintessential family home, warm and welcoming and beautiful.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 11:34PM
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