Buyers discover 3rd time is charm After 3 moves, mother, son feel at home in Bel Air


David and Zudie Dolina have found their dream home -- at last.

They thought they had it in 1991 when they bought a split foyer in Jarrettsville. But that wasn't it.

Then in 1994, they bought the brick rancher in Forest Hill. But that wasn't it either.

Now after moving three times in six years, the widowed mother and son have found their ideal home on Ring Factory Road in Bel Air.

"My sister's mother-in-law has taken us out of her address book," jokes David Dolina, a 40-year-old clerk at Fallston General Hospital.

The Dolinas' search began six years ago, after receiving an inheritance that allowed them to sell their four-bedroom bungalow in Parkville and move to Harford County. They hoped to find a safe, quiet neighborhood. They found it in Jarrettsville.

David fell in love with the 20-year-old house on North Bend Road as soon as he saw the back yard with its tall oaks and a stream running at the edge of the property.

"I said, 'This is great.' "

Using the equity from their Parkville home and the money they had inherited, they paid cash for the $135,000 home.

But no sooner had they moved in than the Dolinas realized the house was smaller than the one they had left in Parkville. For months, they stored some of their furniture in the garage.

With an addition -- and a few other modifications -- it would be the perfect house, they thought.

They hired a contractor to enlarge the family room, create a sun room, build a bath with a Jacuzzi in the master bedroom and extend the hallway.

They also replaced the carpet, put down new tile and painted it inside and out.

They spent $60,000 to turn it into their dream home, but when they were done, "it was still the same house," David says, the frustration still evident in his tone.

After three years in Jarrettsville, they began to look again for a new home. Their house languished on the market six months, and the Dolinas worried that it would never sell. But suddenly a couple from California wanted to buy the house -- on the condition that they could take possession in two weeks.

The Dolinas scarcely had time to call the moving company and pack their belongings and almost no time to find a new home. They looked at only two properties before choosing a brick rancher in Forest Hill.

This time, there was no question that the home was large enough -- it was huge. It was 80 feet long and 24 feet wide with a fully finished basement.

"It was a massive house," David said.

But Zudie liked the way the rooms were laid out, and they really had no time to find another.

Again the Dolinas set about refurbishing. They put a new bathroom in the basement, renovated the kitchen and spent $10,000 to install central air conditioning and a heat pump.

Then came the winter of 1995-1996 and the Dolinas began receiving electric bills topping $400 a month.

"I said there was no way we could stay here," David says.

So last spring they began looking once again at house ads.

"We said this is the last time," David says.

Experience had taught them that they wanted a small, energy-efficient house that was easily accessible and close to stores. They thought they found it in a house in Fallston, but the owner couldn't wait for the Dolinas to sell their home.

Then their real estate agent mentioned a brick rancher on Ring Factory Road. They had reservations about buying a house on a main thoroughfare, but they agreed to take a look.

It was love at first sight.

"As soon as we pulled up, we knew it was the home," David says.

The 42-year-old home had three bedrooms and two bathrooms and sat on a half-acre. Stores were close by. It was perfect. Well, almost.

Since moving into their home in June, the Dolinas have transformed the interior. Walls have been repainted. Carpeting has been ripped up to expose hardwood floors. The kitchen has been enlarged and outfitted with new cabinets, appliances and floor.

Having found their dream home, the Dolinas now can find humor in their many moves. They joke that they can pack so well that "we could probably do it for a living," David says.

They lost thousands of dollars on renovations and real estate agents, but not one piece of crystal in their moves.

Zudie, however, has had enough of buying houses. "When I go out of here, it will be in a box," she says.

Pub Date: 3/16/97

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