Operation AstroNerdBoy Buys a House 04

It was another tiring day of looking at places and hearing about how the lower-priced places are going to be snapped up fast. Next week, I’m going to have to remember to bring my cooler with a drink. I think I got a bit dehydrated today. Anyway, it was a rough start because I didn’t see my Realtor Mr. Ra at the first property we were to meet at and when I went to call him, his cell phone was no longer in service. Nice. He didn’t realize that had happened apparently. However, from there on, the day went pretty smoothly.

One thing I’m amazed by is how some builders clearly chose style over functionality. There’s one place that I like for the most part, but it has a wasted wall, seen partially here on the left (sorry about the brightness — I had the ISO set too high).

What you don’t see (because I forgot to take the head-on shot apparently) is the little cubby-hole for ~36″ TV, which is on the left side of the fire place. Above that and the fireplace is a giant, empty space. Across from the fireplace is the dining area (the right side of the picture, beyond which is the small kitchen).

I mention this because I have this really cool and expensive entertainment center, that when together is roughly 8-feet long. In this house, I’d have no great place to put it until the unfinished basement was finished off. So, if I buy this place, for now I’m thinking the entertainment center would go long-ways where you see “holes” where a couch once was. While that would unfortunately block some of the excellent light into the living room, that’s the only solution I could come up with. Mr. Ra suggested maybe putting it in the dining room area, but that was a non-goer for me.

The wall with the fireplace and cubby-hole are a complete waste of space as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, I’ve seen a number of these townhome-style condos in our looks as apparently the builder went nuts and just built tons of them. However, they don’t stay on the market very long, which is what Mr. Ra reminds me.

I looked at a number of other properties today though (I took the above pictures because I wanted to make sure in my mind that the Entertainment Center would be OK where I envisioned it). There was one that had a more practical floor plan, a real kitchen (rather than the tiny thing at the first place where I took the pictures), and looked pretty good on the inside. However, Mr. Ra noted how dense the neighborhood was and how many properties were for sale there, thus making it, in his mind, not so attractive even though the price was the same and it was a bit bigger.

He showed me to another one in that same complex, this time for ~$9000 cheaper. Apparently, some renters had just been evicted and it was being dumped on the market “as is.” It had a finished basement where a den and 3rd bedroom had been made as well as a 3rd full bath. However, one had to step over mounds of filth and abandoned stuff to see the place. It was in horrible condition. Were I to take it (and there’s no guarantee that the mortgage holders would go for the cheaper price asked by the Realtor trying to unload it), I’d be paying at least $300 to get the thing cleaned out (I really wish I’d taken pictures because it was a nightmare), then another $2000 to get the carpets replaced (that’s just guesstimates). Then I’d have to buy closet doors because apparently While the location of this property was at one end of it, thus removing some of the crowded feelings my Realtor had concerns over, the giant lot across the way from where my master bedroom would be facing was about to have stuff built there. So it would be noisy for a while.

I eliminated a few places I saw last week by going through them again this week. One had really looked sweet last week, mainly because the lady of the house is an excellent decorator. However, this week I came with an eye for practicality and saw many problems space-wise and with storage. So despite the fact that they dropped the price about $2500, its off the list.

Another place of note this week was a 1050 square foot 1-bedroom condo. Yeah, 1050 square feet for a 1-bedroom place. That’s bigger than my 950 sq ft, 2-bedroom place I rent now. Mr. Ra wasn’t sure I’d want to see it and had a few concerns as it was a brand-new 2006 condo, but I said what the heck. When he said “brand new,” I didn’t realize he meant, “never lived in.” If I wasn’t so keen on having an office, it might have had some consideration. For starters, it had a proper kitchen, and is the ONLY place for sale that I’ve seen with a proper pantry. Being an upstairs unit, it was similar to my place in Denver, only much, much larger as the access to the condo was on the ground floor, and the stairs up were in my unit.

The bedroom was huge and I could have worked the desk in there two-ways, though I would have purchased a divider of sorts to section off the area where my desk was (which is a corner unit, each side being 6′ long). The bathroom was the biggest bathroom I’ve ever seen in my life. You walk into this thing from either the bedroom or from a door catty-corner to the bedroom door. You had this nice, ultra-fancy sink, with a fancy toilet. Then you had a shower with fancy glass. Then you made your way to this giant tub that would make the Japanese proud, which looked like it could be set up as a hot tub. To the left of that was a humongous, walk-in closet.

That was all well and good. The $155,000 price tag wasn’t. A rep from the building company for this property came by, much to Mr. Ra’s annoyance. I’d just been inspecting the kitchen before he showed up and there had been three very loud bangs from the floor, which didn’t sound good at all. Mr. Rep blew them off as “settling” since no one has ever lived in this unit to help it settle. Remember, it was built in 2006. Anyway, Mr. Rep was pretty desperate to unload the place. He didn’t even blink and talked of knocking $10,000 off the price, throwing in a free (high quality) washer and dryer as well as a free (again HQ) fridge to get me into this property. I told Mr. Ra later that if they knocked it down to $125,000 (or less) and did all that other stuff, I could make it work and would live with the cheaply built deck. Mr. Ra didn’t think that would happen. Man, if these guys couldn’t unload it in at least 1.5 years, I can only imagine the nightmare if I ever wanted to sell it.

The other places weren’t anything special, so I won’t bore you with details about them. Its still scary to me when I think of actually buying a place. I guess that’s understandable, considering this is my first place.

Reader Comments

  1. The whole process sounds exhausting, yet interesting, although quite expensive at times.

    I recall in one of my high school classes, in architecture, all things of aesthetics typically are not as important as those of functionality.

    Nice photos.

  2. “I recall in one of my high school classes, in architecture, all things of aesthetics typically are not as important as those of functionality.”

    Exactly, and it was functionality that won the day in the end (as the next post goes into). But, there are people snapping up these aesthetically pleasing places though.

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