Monday, January 08, 2007

Bunch of Houses We Didn't Buy (Y1/M9/D8)

I haven't posted much lately for a couple of reasons: (1) my digital camera is no longer talking to my laptop. I don't know why but I'm looking into it;and (2) we're busy house hunting. Let's look at some houses that we won't be buying:

This house is cute as a button. However, the bathroom remodel is weird -- it's like the bathroom has a long hallway in it and really they should have built two baths in the space (one dedicated to each adjacent bedroom). Also the kitchen needs to be 100% redone and the swimming pool takes up 85% of the back yard. With a list price of approximately $750k, the remodel costs would make this house too expensive for the neighborhood. Also, it's on an alley and that exposes you to some unsavory elements.
UPDATE: As of April 18, this home back on market. Prices increase and decrease between $765 and $785k each week.

This house is in a great neighborhood. And it's priced about $200k below all the neighboring houses. It's in great shape inside (and my contractor was tickled to meet the semi-famous musician who lives there). But this house is such a bargain because it's only 1000 sq. feet (2 bd/1ba). And the garage is a sound studio. So we'd have to convert the garage back into a garage or at least convert it into living space -- but if it were living space there's no way to access it (except from outside). Basically walls have to be moved. It's also on an alley and it's a small lot (less than 6,000 sq. feet). We really could make this work, especially at the price, but we'd outgrow this small house quickly and I don't think we want to buy a house where we know we will want to move in two to three years. This was a really hard call. We thought long and hard about writing an offer but finally we just decided it wasn't the house for us.

UPDATE: This home sold for $685k. It was listed at $675k. It was the same agent who had the little Spanish style bungalow that I bid full price on. He apparently has quite a talent for creating bidding wars.

Oh my god I love this house. I love it so much. It was built by one of the Disney architects and the house is modeled after Snow White's cottage. Inside the details are amazing. The corbels have faces carved into them! And it's a full quarter of an acre lot in a decent neighborhood. Here's the drawback: the house was built in the 1930's. It needs new wiring and new plumbing. Also that roof, it's a cathedral ceiling with lots of custom woodwork.... and no insulation at all. If you add insulation, you lose all this craftsmanship but if you don't it's Cold! Or Hot! I mean, it's a brick house with cathedral ceilings and it gets to be 100+ degrees in the summer and 30s and 40s in the winter. Can you say "ginormous electric bill"? I knew you could! It's also a pretty small two-bedroom one-bath house. But I love it!!!!!!! E won't let me buy it. But even if he would, the seller and I are about $200k apart in value (I'm right about value; she is insane). You want to know how insane? She already lowered the price $300k and has had no offers in six months. Yeah. Her crazy.

UPDATE: As of March 9, it was off the market and now it's back on at $850k.

So we are still looking. It's hard and very time consuming. We thought about buying the condo we rent now, but I just don't want to pay HOA's and deal with an HOA and Sid needs a yard. I'm just trying to keep focused on three questions: (1) Is it the right street?; (2) Is the lot big enough; and (3) Can I live with the walls where they are? You can't change the street, you can't change the lot, and it aint cheap to move the walls. So, if the answer to any of those questions is "no," then we keep looking. I think it's important to stay focused on those three points because there are so many other variables that it's easy to get caught up in the process and make a big mistake. And honestly, if the answer to all of those questions is "yes" the damn house is sold before it even gets on to the MLS. It's crazy, even in an allegedly soft market.


Stephen Blackmoore said...

House hunting has to be up there with root canal and hernia surgery. Best of luck there. You have my sympathies.

Kate said...

Thanks ~ we'll take all the luck we can get. And love that L.A. Noir!