Friday, September 21, 2007

It had to be you...

As the inaugural post, let me say that I'm going to try and post weekly. I've seen a lot of blogs die over the years though, so the odds are against me. And to be sure, at some point, some day, hopefully before I die, the topic of the blog, our house, will be mostly renovated and we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our labor. And at that point, when I finally really have time to do something like blog, I won't have my subject matter any more.

I was thinking the other day about the thousands of houses I looked at online and the 50 to 75 that I took my family through to find the "perfect" house. A lot of the houses we looked at were nice, well cared for houses that didn't meet our criteria. Some were absolute holes. The price differences in the housing market amazed me. There were some deals out there and some definite rip offs. Situations where, if two houses were placed right next to one another, you'd just have to laugh at the way they were priced.

I felt bad about not buying some of the houses, especially the "for sale by owner" houses. You could see in some people's eyes that they were desperate to get rid of their house. We ran into one very nice woman who had bought an old Victorian house and decided to remodel it. Some of the things she did were nice, others were not. After a very short time in the house, I could tell that she was in trouble. The electricity in the house was out, so she showed us around the basement with a flashlight. I don't think the water was on. She talked about how she had bought another lot and was building a new house and how she had fired her real estate agent after six months because she wasn't getting anywhere. Now she was cutting the price and trying to sell it herself. Afterwards, I looked up the property on the county tax role records and sure enough, she was delinquent on her taxes. The house didn't suit us.

Then there was the older couple who were offering a gorgeous 1920's colonial style house in a very desirable part of town. They had been there many, many years and were looking to move to a retirement home. The house was very well taken care of with custom counter tops, a beautiful conservatory and great decor. They talked about the house with such enthusiasm, I couldn't believe that they really wanted to move. Unfortunately, their house was on a corner lot and the lot size was only 8000 square feet. Again I felt bad not buying the house.

Finally, there was the 1920's brick four-square located within walking distance to all the major downtown amenities. It is very similar to the House of 42 Doors. It is the town house to our country house, with similar floor plans, but it had been kept up and modernized over the years - modern electrical, good plumbing, a new kitchen and two bathrooms. The owner of that house, really was not coming to terms with his sale of the house. He kept wandering around saying "Oh, I guess I still have to..." and each time it was some major house project that would take a few months or more. He hadn't changed his mindset to "I never got around to...". We really struggled as to whether or not to buy that house.

In the end, we got what we got. But I sure wish I had enough money to buy all the nice houses we saw, so that I could live in each of them for six months or so and then pick one. Maybe someday.

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