1.26.2009

Strike One

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?

16 comments:

boty said...

I always thought of you as a "mid-town" person. The half-way point between city and burbs...midtown. But of course my opinion, the closer to the city (if not smack dab in the middle) the better.

cathryn said...

Yeah, that's actually kind of where this house is. It has a very "mid-town" feel to it.

Alison said...

How much updating? Does it have really ugly bathrooms and kitchen cabinets? Maybe you could get on HGTV.

Wasn't this blog light gray with darker gray text earlier today? I kind of liked it. This is good too, though :)

cathryn said...

Oh yeah...the bathrooms and kitchen need some serious renovation. And I swear there is ugly-ass wallpaper in every room!

BTW, the Seller accepted our offer, so now once the contract is ratified, we will get the place inspected.

I was playing around with the colors earlier but then got bored with it and changed it back ~shrug~ eh. :)

Mars Girl said...

Ugh. My house looked like 1978, which was when it was built. Actually, though, the bathroom looked like 1958 and my dad would never let me live it down--he shamed me into remodeling it quickly. Now, I just have the kitchen, which, by the way, needs to be totally gutted and redone with new cabinets AND appliances as my appliances are clearly from 1978 as well.

Did I mention I need siding? And that my yard looks like crap? And that I replaced the windows two summers ago?

And they had hideous wall paper everywhere that I had to remove.

The joys of homeownership!! But, congrats, cuz when you DO fix it up--even little by little--it becomes more your own... And then you really feel a sense of accomplishment. So as much as I bitch about all the stuff left to do, I'm proud of what I've done cuz it's mine and it looks like me. =)

boty said...

send me pictures Cafra

Gibbarella said...

oh how exciting......yea you are going to get a house....I am happy for you guys and if you need any advice it is to not over buy at home depot even though they say no interest for a year...it is not worth it. Slow and steady wins the race....Oh and please do not build a 600 sq. ft. deck

cathryn said...

boty - I already sent you pictures. It's that 1930's painted brick cottage with the neat attic layout that I showed you and mom.

cathryn said...

Gib - It will certainly be tempting to overspend at Home Depot as there is A LOT that needs done! But, we won't be building any decks - it already has a pretty nice brick terrace off the back.

cathryn said...

MarsGirl - I hear ya. There is some lovely pink tile in the one bathroom and floral wall paper innearly every room! Ugh.

But, as you mention, it'll be fun (interesting) putting my own signature on the place and making it mine.

We looked at a lot of already renovated older homes, but decided we would probably prefer to renovate a house to our specifications.

Mars Girl said...

That really is true... The house I had in Colorado was recently remodeled... and I didnt quite agree with all the choices, though they were neutral in color, but I felt like it would be a waste of money to change them since they'd been so recently done. I guess that's why when I bought a house in Ohio I decided that picking one that required a face lift was a better choice since I could remake it in my own style... And it has been fun, albeit trying at times. But in ways, I really like my house in Ohio better because of all the work I've done.

Next time, though, I think I'm going to have a house built... then I can specify how I want it done and then I wont have to do anything else to it for awhile. ;) Ha!! But that's not for a long, long time, I suspect.

Donna said...

Congrats Ms. Homeowner :) NOW, the real fun begins....

Ask me, I know. As I continually shovel snow, pull weeds, etc. I hung wallpaper last night and will finish the job tonight. But only after shoveling more snow...

Calgon, take me away....

boty said...

can I live in your attic

Terah Lynn said...

Oh the joys of being a home owner...not that I would be speaking from experience :) Hope all goes well!

Alison said...

Those of us who are not related to you would also like to see pictures!

Delirious said...

Congrats!! Keep us posted :)