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The house-hunting has begun.


Okay. At the start of these things, you do see the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it's all a learning experience. Is it ever. Behold! In the city of Seattle you can get a 1,700-sq-ft vintage house (built in, say, 1909), which only needs new floors, new windows, a new foundation, a new roof, new paint, new appliances; what the heck, new wiring and plumbing too; new landscaping unless you like weeds; a full clean-and-disinfect to banish that gag-inducing smell permeating the place; oh, and I'd budget for an exorcism too, just in case--the "unfinished" basement with the dusty bathtub and overturned mildewy mattress in the dark corner does have a certain negative aura--yes, my friends, all this can be yours for the low, low price of $279,950!

Only the people from NYC and the S.F. Bay Area didn't blink at that number, I'm guessing.

There have been perfectly charming houses too. They've just tended to be rather tiny, in our most-desired neighborhoods. Fortunately, there are better places with enough room out there, in our price range. We just have to decide whether we want to live in a much farther-distant neighborhood. Got to say, though, West Seattle is looking good right now, longer commute be damned. Saw a couple desirable things there for only around $250,000. Which is still a freaking humongous sum of money, but at least it doesn't go into a black hole where you'll never see it again, like rent money does. The mystical forces of Appreciation are strong at work in a city like this one (brains, beauty, jobs--Seattle has it all; thus the prices, I guess); and since we're not banking the whole economy on Microsoft or Boeing alone anymore, it ought to stay that way for quite some time to come.

But, jeez. Stressful little process, this. Reminder to self: it gets better with every outing. We learn more every time. We get better at eliminating properties without having to see them. The right house is out there. And no one will force us to keep that pink-and-orange contact paper in the kitchen cupboards.



( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:30 am (UTC)
good luck with your house hunting! I'm a lurker.. but as I've recently been burned by mortgage companies, you might do a google search on the term predatory lending.

okee.. relurking now. just wanted to drop a warning.
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:40 pm (UTC)
Aww, cute shepherd! My family always had a shepherd or two while I was growing up. *sigh* Anyway...

Yeah--heh, according to the junk faxes we get at work, I could be paying as low as 1% interest on my mortgage!...and then getting screwed over in later months. We've only gone to folks who have been recommended to us by trustworthy people, and so far the three different lenders have come in with about the same numbers, so chances are they're reputable. I've been learning more about prepayment penalties, lifetime interest rate caps, and adjustable rate mortgages than I ever wanted to know. :)
Oct. 18th, 2004 06:21 am (UTC)
Aw! *hugs for M!* I know you will find the right house in time. :-) Sending prayers and good thoughts your way!

BTW, glad to see you posting again. You have been missed, dearie. :-)

xo <3
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Hasn't seemed like such a long hiatus - well, only a week technically - but time does fly when you're ridiculously busy. :)
Oct. 18th, 2004 07:14 am (UTC)
oh, and I'd budget for an exorcism too, just in case


Yeah, those turn-of-the-century houses do have that, um, vibe, don't they? :-)

Good luck in your continued search. And trust me, find one with decent wiring. I'll tell you someday about the time my fusebox EXPLODED while I happened to be standing next to it...
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
Yikes. Yes, we plan to have professionals look into those things reeeal carefully. I don't like surprises of that nature, either. :)
Oct. 18th, 2004 10:17 am (UTC)
Good luck with the house hunting! Though if you think those prices are expensive, you should be glad you don't live in England, because prices here are CRAZY.
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:43 pm (UTC)
True, I hadn't thought of how they might compare over there! I bet with the going conversion rate of dollars-to-pounds, it would be even more expensive. Which is too bad, because there are lots of British locales where I could really use a summer home... ;)

I imagine the London vicinity is the most expensive? Seemed like anything in London always cost a bit more than it would elsewhere.
Oct. 18th, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC)
London prices are, simply, nuts. Let me find you some examples from my area, which is quite a well-heeled middle class place, but isn't the most expensive in London:

4 beds, 2 receptions, 45' garden... £599K.

3 bed semi detached, £455K

2 bed Grade II listed apartment, £290K

And in case you were thinking "well, those are all period properties", this ugly 2 bed flat costs £185K.

Absolutely ludicrous, and it's why I don't intend to settle in London. How anyone buys anything is beyond me!

Apparently this is a really good time for British investment in property abroad, however!

Oct. 19th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC)
Ack! Those are through the roof. Especially with the exchange rate. I see why you won't be settling there! Have to wonder who on earth can afford these things.

But yes. Given the exchange rate, fabulous time for you Brits to invest in some American properties, though not vice-versa. ;)
Oct. 19th, 2004 11:08 am (UTC)
People can't afford them, that's the problem. Instead they mortgage themselves to the eyeballs. Some people even have 100% mortgages down south! Not a wise idea.
Oct. 18th, 2004 10:27 am (UTC)
yuck, I HATE house hunting... but good luck to you all the same :)

Oct. 18th, 2004 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Glad it's not just me.
Oct. 18th, 2004 10:41 am (UTC)
As long as you can find something you like, you can always move in a couple of years. I hate house hunting.
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:45 pm (UTC)
Apparently the average first-time house buyer only stays in their house about five years. Maybe it was three, even. I don't like moving, so I'm hoping for more like five. Ideally by then we can turn a good profit on that first house. (And spend even more on the second...ah, what a vicious cycle.)
Oct. 18th, 2004 04:03 pm (UTC)
the gap between move-in condition and price tag is pretty disparate here in the suburbs of nyc (50 min due North in the famed Hudson River region).

Basically, a three bedroom, 1.5 bath raised ranch with an attached garage on .5 or less of an acre around here is worth *at least* $300,000+. Also, for that pricetag, you can expect to do about $10-20K worth of "TLC" to it upon moving in. Move in condition houses with an acre+ are in the neighborhood of a half million dollars around here. Shit, there is a brandy new condo-community up the hill from me that goes for a half million *plus* monthly maintenance fees per unit. Needless to say, we can't afford to buy here, not even in our wildest dreams.

We're looking into buying land and building in NH...
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:47 pm (UTC)
Erk, yeah. Still, half an acre, that's a lot of land. In town here the lot sizes are seldom above 5,000 square feet. You're pretty much paying for premium land in Seattle. Of course, if we went 50 minutes out of the city, and looked into a more rural setting, we could probably get a much better deal. If it wasn't dissolving in the rain, that is. :)

Good luck finding something, wherever you end up!
Oct. 18th, 2004 04:59 pm (UTC)
The readers from Southern California didn't blink either. Shit, that's a great deal! I'm looking at condemned 2B condos without working toilets for $375,000. Just shoot me.
Oct. 18th, 2004 05:48 pm (UTC)
Jeez - California is getting out of control! Even boring little Davis (the town, not the former governor) was way too expensive for what it was. The worst has to be S.F. and L.A. though, as expected. Ah, the price for the "privileges" of living in a metropolis...
Oct. 18th, 2004 11:40 pm (UTC)
new here
hope you don't mind an outsider's opinion. i stumbled across your site a while ago looking for LOTR things as a distraction from work. and i kept getting weird looks from people since every 10 seconds or so i let out an audible guffaw.
anyway, i will no longer pity myself for living northwest of D.C. and seeing new townhouses go up starting around a half mil. nice to see i'm not the only place that's overpriced. good luck!
Oct. 19th, 2004 03:16 am (UTC)
Re: new here
Ah yes, I've heard the D.C. area is just as bad. Frustrating, huh?
Anyway, welcome, and good luck to you as well in finding affordable decent housing someday. :)
Oct. 21st, 2004 03:38 pm (UTC)
sweetie, where I come from those prices are a godsend. the only things you can find for that low price on Staten Island (suburban-esque burough of NYC) is in bad neighborhoods and even then they are card-board condos or small ranches by midland. Houses at the bottom of our hill are selling for 750 to 900 thou when they were bought in the early nineties for 350 or so. I'm telling you to count your blessings
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )