Saturday, April 2, 2011

House Hunting

I don’t watch HGTV. In fact when I go to the gym and it’s on one of the televisions it makes me anxious. Maybe if I didn’t have champagne taste on beer pocket I’d feel differently about it all. So it’s with that attitude that we start dipping our toe back into the real estate market. One of my colleagues in Sydney, Australia was asking me recently what the housing market was like because there had been a news story where houses were selling for a dollar in the States. I laughed and said, yeah maybe in places where no one wants to live! After the first week of research I can firmly say that in desirable places here prices haven’t dipped significantly. The cheap houses are still in bad locations and in terrible shape.

In our first week we made a rookie mistake, we looked at a house that’s probably about $75K more than what we want to spend and it ticked all of the boxes. The house has been very well-maintained; it’s in a beautiful neighborhood close to where we live now. It has a great yard including a wraparound patio with a mountain view. I want to cry when I think about it.

So now back to reality, looking at properties in our range. Somehow I’m even less excited.

One funny thing about the whole process that seems universal is the realtor pictures on their websites and business cards. Now I’m all for capturing your best self on film. Look at Elizabeth Taylor. I still want to think about her in the arms of Monty Clift in A Place in the Sun when she was at her most beautiful. But a woman who showed us a house this week gave me her business card that had her picture on it and I had to do a double take. The pic must have been taken in the early 80’s. It was comical. When you’ve gained at least 50 pounds or aged at least 20 years and you aren’t Liz Taylor, it’s time to update the pic.

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