Thursday, February 24, 2011

House hunting begins

Confession: I am mildly (read: insanely) obsessed with real estate, and my obsession has kicked into high gear in 2011. I am on a mission to find a house, people. This hypothetical house does not need to be The Perfect One (if we were going for perfection here my dream home would then look a little something like this:

Straight up Cribs status (and highly unattainable at the moment). Basically I want to be as disgustingly wealthy as this guy from those Direct TV commercials:

But for now I suppose I can do without my own private backyard vineyard, heated marble bathroom floor, and miniature pet giraffe. All J and I need right now is something with a roof, some semblance of a backyard (patio, even?) where I can enjoy a glass of wine outside, located in a relatively safe neighborhood. I'm not picky, but I also haven't let go of all my standards...yet. Things I know I don't want in my first home:
  • High HOA fees. This means that most condos/apartments/town homes are out.
  • Located on a busy street. There's almost nothing I love more than hearing buses and big rigs blaring by right outside my front window. Almost. I don't need iron gates or tall stucco walls up around my estate, but I do want a little privacy for my starter home, which means living across from a McDonald's is out.
  • Located in a dangerous neighborhood. I would like to steer clear of areas with ample amounts of hurricane fencing, barred windows, plaid shirts buttoned only at the collar, and sketchy dudes hanging out on street corners in the middle of the day. (Hello, obvi drug deals.) I really don't want my life to turn into one long, unedited scene from Friday (though I definitely would have gotten my bike back if Deebo stole it. Just saying.)
  • No parking. I'd like an attached two-car garage since J has a vintage '60s Volvo we need to garage, but I'd also like a driveway and street parking for when friends and family come to visit for one of my fabulous Breakfast at Tiffany's-style parties, where women in pearls and men in suits need to crawl out bathroom windows and down fire escapes once the po-po makes a grand appearance due to noise violations. Because this is clearly a common occurrence in my life.
  • The best house in the neighborhood. I'm concerned with the resale value of any home I buy since it is just a starter and not something I see myself in long-term if we want to keep moving up. Once we're ready to relist on the market I'd be pretty disappointed to find out that our house's value is being dragged down by our neighbors' properties.
  • Rot, mold, termite infestations, cracked foundation, et. al. I am all down with a fixer upper, but there's a difference between special ordering granite countertops at Home Depot to replace existing linoleum ones versus hiring a contractor to jimmy up the entire home and fix jacked structural issues for nearly $100,000. Nope, not so keen on the latter. I fantasize about house flipping but the thought of actually having to do it (especially with my first) is somewhat that's out. Same with other, lesser problems like termite infestations. Yuck. I don't do bugs.
So there is my list. I did find a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home nearby that was just listed for a scant $238,000 ("Unbeliebable!" exclaim J. Bieb fans worldwide), but by the time we contacted our realtor (yes, we have a real live realtor!) she told us there were already 11 bids on the place -- after only five days of being on the market. It's a short sale so that price may not even hold once the bank gets in on it, but I'm convinced there's something seriously wrong with the place since it is practically brand new (built in 2001) yet is by far one of the cheapest properties in this area for what you get. I'm going with someone might have been murdered in it, or perhaps it's haunted.  "Neither of which is true," my realtor tells us as she gives J a worried look that his wife seems slightly deranged. 

"But that's what was said about the Amityville Horror house and look what happened to that couple," I gently remind her, my pointer finger flailing around all matter-of-factly. 

Haunted or not, our search continues....


  1. Super jealous! Can't wait to hear about more house hunting so can live vicariously through you! Still drowning in student loan debt for the next few years or so and apartment prices in NYC are ridiculous.

  2. Congrats honey! I have to confess my own real estate obsession kicked in around Christmas. I gained a house when I moved in with M back in June 2010. Now, it's a nice house don't get me wrong, but it's a starter home with a nice patio and open back yard. However,we definitely have dreams of a house that is has a sprawling lawn and circular driveway. :)

    OK, so I have a website you'll love to screw around with-- You can make your own inspiration board from all the home decor pictures. And don't get me started on all my interior design blogs I follow. If you are interested I'll pass on the names of those too.

  3. Doesn't everyone need a tiny giraffe? :o)

  4. Congrats on house hunting! I watch HOuse Hunters on HGTV even though I'm no where near buying a home! I hope to purchase one by 30 though! SO I guess I have 5 years to get my act together! This def sounds fun! Stay away from the high HOA fees!

  5. I'm totally obsessed with buying a condo! I love going to open houses on Sundays, but I'm not any closer to buying than I was when I started. I don't think I'm ready!

  6. Good luck with your house search, you should always aim high! PS I am obsessed with the miniature giraffe and I want one!

  7. There's only one thing to never forget when buying a house: when the guys who just did the inspection are explaining every mundane detail of it, just not your head along. When they're done, look up seriously and say "so no ghosts, right?"