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Sunday, May 08, 2005

House Hunting

So this weekend, Christyn and Brian began the house hunt in earnest, and I went with them because a deranged piece of me really misses the hunt. I love house hunting. It's always fun to compare what various people feel is the value of their property, see what options are out there, and see what people have done with places.

There was an interesting place over on N. 18th Street. The house and garage all seemed in decent shape, and that's a nice neighborhood downtown. The downside to that place, much like the downside to our place, is the neighbor next door. The house next door was nearly falling down, totally overgrown, and generally a shambles. However, unlike the house next door to me, this one looked unoccupied, and possibly at the start of a renovation project.

We also saw a great piece of property in Sunnyvale. Trouble was, the owners had owned it for 50 years, and hadn't done much of anything in the way of upgrades. Things were generally decently maintained, but 50 years old is just old for a house, especially a house that wasn't well built in the first place. Plus, they were heavy smokers, and the smoke overwhelmed the living room. Too bad really. It was a huuuuuge lot with nice trees, and the original 2 car garage had been converted to a second living room and a new 2 car garage added on the front. This didn't mess up the architecture, and added a fabulous space in the otherwise smallish house. Oh, and did I mention the huuuuuuge lot? Yah. Oh well.

Then there was the horror house in Newark. It mentioned that it had projects in progress. The house had broken windows. The mail slot in the door was a hole. The side door on the garage was crumbling from water damage. We went in since the place was unlocked to find a kitchen with no flooring, a bathroom with no fixtures, and a fan in the added on room which had two bulbs glowing dimly orange, though not at the 40 watts they were labeled. For this, they wanted $519k. Unbelievable.

Another surprise was a McKuen complex over in the Cambrian area of San Jose. McKuen complexes are a dime a dozen. They're a 4-plex with a 2 2-car garages where each of the residents get a half a garage they share with one other resident. The unit was a 2/1 that had been nicely reappointed inside. The bathroom was a little bit Watercourse Way. The kitchen had the nicest cabinets I've seen in years. New carpets, gorgeous paint choices, new trim, new light fixtures. But still, it was all to dress up a ugly dog. McKuen complexes remain poor construction and poor design. It will be a very nice starter/bachelor pad for someone with different priorities.

I tell you though, I'm glad we found our place when we did. It looks like prices have spiked yet again, and I could probably turn my place around and sell it now for around $540k. That's scary since that's $100k difference in less than a year. Very scary. But I don't want to sell my little home. I'm rather taken with the place. It really has a good flow to it, and I love my wood floors, and I love the tiny cottage look of the front. I think I've decided what color to paint the dining room. I'm taming the backyard, and still loving my kitchen with it's gas stove. I made yummy crepes stuffed with eggs, pepper jack, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed spinich, and chicken tortilla sausage for breakfast on Saturday and oatmeal with grilled sausage and fresh sliced strawberries for breakfast this morning. Few things beat being curled up on our sofa, with good breakfast, good stuff on Tivo, and enforced kitten snuggle time. Life is good here. And yah, house hunting is still fun, even if I'm not hunting for me.

2 Comments:

  • Window shopping and comparing can be fun. There were news stories that said that house prices rose by 5% in March alone.

    By Blogger Chris S, at 10:42 AM  

  • Of course the price jumps are one of the best reasons to get the hell out of California. There's little chance of Fyshgrll and I ever owning anything in this state.

    By Blogger Flonkbob, at 12:09 PM  

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