Friday, January 20, 2012


We have been looking at real estate lately.  Considering the stellar trends in the stock market and the looming European debt crisis, property (of just the right sort) seems a sane investment.
We have seen many, many properties over the last months.  It is very much like HGTV when they are hunting houses and say things like, "We've seen almost 200 houses and nothing is just exactly right!"  And then on the show they highlight 3 of them, at least one of which it totally unrealistic for the buyers.
We have seen probably 225 houses, beating the HGTV record to flinders.  Some as "drive bys" where we are looking at the neighborhood and some as "open houses of opportunity" where we are just out running errands and spot the tell tale balloons on a Sunday afternoon.
We have seen everything from total wrecks; bathed in dog poo, pizza boxes and crumbling retaining walls to beautifuly maintained showplaces that are obviously very much loved.  We have bumped into the same selling agent numerous times to the point where she said, "You guys again!  Haven't you found anything yet?"
Our house hunt has covered everything from income property to McMansions to buildable lots.  Our criteria has shifted from "anything" to locations limited by freeway access and commuting times to a realistic assessment of renovation/repair costs.

We saw one very "special" property that I will describe:  It had excellent freeway access.  It was well within our price range.  The architecture was such that Stubble announced something to the effect of , "This is the kind of place the I would design for myself"..,.
3500 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, it was perched on a hillside in a lovely neighborhood of "custom" homes (not mansions, just really nice places) and it had views straight from postcards.

Walking the property we were impressed.  Very little other than adding grass seed and water and a new deck railing was needed...then we walked inside...

In the parts of the house where there was carpet it was pulled back to reveal a cracked slab that was settling ominously.  The three full bathrooms all featured standing water in the showers - and a hole where the toilet was supposed to be. We joked that the tiled tub in the master bedroom would make a good koi pond if we just added a liner and a pump.

The kitchen was missing built in appliances and an island.  The two feet of electrical conduit that was sticking up in the middle of the space was a dead give away.  Another special feature was the half bath with floor to ceiling windows with no window treatments overlooking the neighbor's driveway.

Even though nothing was turned on, you could hear the sounds of running water (under the slab?).

Even though we all "liked" the house, as a group we determined that we wouldn't take it even if somebody offered it to us for free like an abandoned kitten....."House.  Free to a Good Home".

House Hunting - The Saga Continues.

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