So, the delusional sellers of the house we love(d), which is WAY out of our price range, countered our extreme low-ball, but still realistic, offer with a completely laughable offer. And so we bid them adieu and moved on. Their loss! No, seriously. We are SO not going to play the real estate games from the over-inflated market of two years ago.
As first-time home buyers, we refuse to shoot ourselves in the foot right out of the gate!
NEWS FLASH: The real estate market is not going to bounce back in the next 6 months...or 9 months...or even 12 months.
The predictions for 2009 are not swell. Their house has been sitting on the market since June, and is overpriced by AT LEAST 10% in this market. They are either playing the ostrich or have no real desire to sell. Whatever. I'm over it.
Moving right along, Friday evening we put an offer in on another house. A house we love equally well as the last one, but which needs considerable updating. This house is a bank-owned foreclosure property for almost dirt cheap in an up-and-coming, but still somewhat transitional, neighborhood in East Nashville. It's much more urban than where we live now, with sidewalks, older houses, mature landscaping, and cooler architecture, but totally out of our comfort zone in a fairly unfamiliar part of the city.
That's been one of the major dilemmas in house-hunting: deciding on which type of area would suit us best. We are both familiar and comfortable with the suburbany safety and comfort of the Bellevue area (which is about as far west as Nashville goes). Our work commute is minimal. Our location, right now, is very convenient because...well, mainly just because we've both lived here for years and know where everything is. Despite the big box stores and chain restaurants, the complete car-dependency, and the cookie cutter architecture, the 'Burbs do have some positives. For instance, we like trees. And there are many trees out where we are, including the two best (in my opinion) parks in Nashville.
But, deep down, we're not really suburban types. No really, we're not. Daniel and I both love older mature neighborhoods, with older houses, sidewalks and alleyways, walkable conveniences, public transportation, and easy access to downtown. We dislike Home Owners Associations who tell us what kind of mailbox we have to have, but love Neighborhood Associations who organize urban neighborhood gardens, outdoor concerts, and charity drives. We much prefer spending our money at local independent shops and restaurants rather than at Wal-Marts and Applebees.
While we're not exactly the hippie, new-agey, musiciany stereotypes that are common in East Nash, neither are we the church-going, conservative, mini-van stereotypes of the 'Burbs. And honestly, we lean more towards the former rather than the latter.
Even though technically I didn't grow up IN the city (the bustling metropolis of Erie vs. the quiet township of Harbor Creek which is directly to the east of the city limits), it never felt like I lived out in the suburbs. We lived in an old 1930's house, with a front porch, in an older neighborhood. We were within walking distance to a grocery store, a post office, a hardware store, a bank, an ice cream parlor, the fire station, a church, a couple of restaurants, the high school, and the public beach. And yet, it was safe; we went to good public schools, we had lots of trees around us and plenty of open outdoor space in which to play. It was, looking back, an ideal environment. Oddly enough, Daniel grew up in almost the same conditions, 500 miles south. I guess that's part of the appeal of this house we put an offer on - it represents those elements we value in a neighborhood.
Still, IF we end up getting this house we put an offer on, it will mean some fairly dramatic life changes for us. It's a little unsettling to think about. But exciting. Ya know?