Monday, February 11, 2008
A River Train Runs Through It
One day, we would like to own a home. One day. In the mean time, we have a great place that serves us well and isn't breaking the bank. Our childcare arrangements are fantastic so we're in no rush to go anywhere. So, we bide our time and look. And look. And wait. Wait some more. Watch the mortgage industry fail. Hold off, look again, fight about it and start the process all over again.

Last year, we thought we'd found a house. Actually, we did but our offer wasn't accepted. Some of you know this already because you heard me WHINE about the whole SAGA and talk about it ad nauseum. But for those of you who didn't have the pleasure of hearing me talk about our once and future home, consider yourselves lucky that you didn't hear me wax poetic about lally columns and water tables.

John is a good shopper because he does all his research before hand which is very irritating to me because I like to get a base understanding of something, do a quick comparison and MAKE A DARNED DECISION ALREADY. But for monsieur, its all crunch numbers, check data, recheck data, drive on every single street in the town, double check crime rates and cross reference the demographics to make sure we aren't living in Senior Citizen City or College Town-ville. Then he crunches the numbers again, divides it by drive-his-wife-crazy and multiplies it by school test scores in order to arrive at a price he's willing to pay for a house. According to some of our friends, that price is insulting to homeowners but the man knows what we should pay if we'd like eat and have hot showers and dagnabbit, that's the price he's sticking to. Plus, we've been insulted by homeowners asking outrageous sums of money for homes that boast 1.5 bathrooms only to discover that the .5 bathroom is a toilet in the basement. That's it. A toilet. With no walls.

So this real estate game? It's a give and take.

Yesterday I drove out to the town His Royal Highness has deemed worthy enough to live in (read: cheap enough to afford) to an open house. HRH had seen this home a few months ago. He thought it worth a look if someone, like a realtor, was already going to be there from 1-4 pm on a Sunday. So I ditched him and the kids after church and drove out to see it.

So, there I was and the wind was HOWLING through the windows that need to be replaced while the realtor told me that the home has a lot of "potential." Which is a synonym for "needs a lot of work." We went upstairs first, since another couple was there and they'd seen the downstairs already. We walked on LIME GREEN carpeting "which we might want to replace" past a lovely stained glass window. Saw all three bedrooms and one full bath on the second floor and then got to see a neat hall of closets which offers "a lot of storage options." I think it would be better suited to a second full bathroom, but that's potential for ya.

Then I got to see the kitchen which needs "updating" or a complete overhaul, depending on who you ask. It had a built in ironing board, though! And part of the room had been chopped off to form a half bathroom. The living room "boasts" a fireplace, which may or may not work, may or may not be gas and probably hasn't been used since Reagan was in office. There's a "sunny" family room off the living room. The "sunny" room has a lot of windows to let in said sunshine and hoo-boy was it cold in there.

The piece de resistance was the basement, with its top hat and walking stick motif embedded in the linoleum at bottom of the stairs. It screams "entertainment center!" And that's exactly what the owner used the space for: dancing the lindy while drinking rob roys in his hey day.

There's a two-car garage with "space" above it (think the Fonz's apartment over the Cunningham's garage without running water or a place to prepare food). The house comes complete with a nosy neighbor who kept eyeing me suspiciously as I inspected the front yard.

My gut feeling on the house was: yeesh. needs a lot of work; worried about the "For Rent" signs across the street but if they came waaaaay down, we could afford the work and the house. And food. The price I'm thinking is very low. Perhaps it is not a yeesh but a possible maybe?

Next I drove over a part of town which is supposed to be closer to transportation looking for some more open houses. I was thoroughly enjoying my drive through pretty, tree lined streets when I found a nice house with balloons out front. I popped in for a look. A very nice realtor took me through a "nicely appointed" home in "desirable" __________ Town; I'd crossed the border and in doing so would be paying 100k more than the house I'd just seen (for half the space) and 50% more in taxes. I stayed anyway and was shown the usual high-end features: granite counter tops, stainless appliances, hardwood floors, crown moulding and a formal dining area. The realtor was quick to point out that "they just don't make homes with dining areas anymore." Really? Can that be true?

Then quick quick quick was shown the backyard, which was large and very close to transportation. So close, in fact, NJ Transit trains run right through it. I realized they were getting me in and out before the the 2:45 barreled past, blaring its whistle.

And so we bide our time.


Blogger Andie said... you know why I am still living in a 3 room house!

Post a Comment

<< Home