Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Van Buren House

So, nearly 2 weeks after her disappearance, realtor Suzy resurfaced on Monday with a phone call to let me know that after her vacation she had come down with bronchitis. Okay, okay, so she was sick. I apologize for questioning her work ethic. Anyway, she offered to show me the little house on Van Buren (as in Martin) Street last evening after work. The house (which is the last one pictured below) is a 1949 bungalow that has had some renovations done, but not many. Happily, I think this might be a real possibility!!!

The Pros:
It still has plenty of fixing-up that needs to be done, so I don't feel like its been stripped of its soul the way some other properties have. The bathroom still has its original tile work - yay!

Although it needs work, it doesn't need major huge things like a new roof or wiring - mostly its cosmetic stuff (it currently has some NASTY carpet in every single room, including the kitchen - that would be the first item on my to-do list!).

It has a great fenced-in yard that currently features a rusty corrugated metal shed that I could probably knock down with a good shove, and some really old grape vines that are still producing!

The owner/realtor had intended to flip this house, but has since decided that its not worth his effort, so he's offering $12,000 to the buyer for improvements - woohoo!!

The Cons:
The house is set back from the street quite a ways, and that space in between is a gravel parking lot. Not very attractive, and a little confusing.

The reason there is a gravel parking lot in front of the house is because the property next door is a not-very-big house with 5 - count'em 5! - apartments in it. At the moment, they're all college student renters. Yay.

The view from the front of the house is of the back side of a service station. Also not attractive.

No air conditioning. No dishwasher. No washer/dryer. And no place or hook-up for a washer/dryer. Ancient refigerator (and not in a cute, vintage way, but rather in a electricity-guzzling 1980's way) and stove.

So, that's the latest news fromt he house-hunt! I have some thinking to do about this place...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Results of Hookie


Have to have some snapdragons...

Hens and Chicks from last year actually - they grew a few more over the winter!

And this is what I did in the afternoon, after I warmed up with that small stuff above...

Pictured above: the fabulous, glorious results of all my hard work yesterday! I'm still planning to fill in the big pot with zinnias, but I'll pick those up at a plant sale that I'm going to with G and Cathy (in celebration of Cathy's 30th - yay!) next weekend. I'm sure once all of this stuff starts to grow it'll fill in a bit. Looks a bit sparse at the moment, but I have hope! When I downloaded my gardening photos, I also found a few pics from a trip to Dumbarton Oaks last weekend, where the gardens are, well, a little bigger than mine. The last picture is of the orangerie there (what the rest of us would call a greenhouse). I put it in just for the comedic value of it next to my own pots o'flowers!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Playin' Hookie (or Hookey?)

Hmmm....Apparently I don't play hookie often enough, because I can't quite remember how to spell it. Nevertheless, I am playing it today! Many thanks to G and Laura for talking me into it last night! I decided this morning that since no one else was going to be in the office today, and since I have to work at a museum event this Sunday, I could safely not go in. However, I suck at playing hookie, because I did end up going in briefly this morning to feed and water our office bird, Peep, and to leave a note for my interns (who probably won't show up anyway). Then, I listened to voicemails and sent a few emails. Yeah, I suck.

But, then I left the office and went to Home Depot to buy plants for my container garden - they had Gerbera daisies on sale! Home Depot's garden department is infinitely better than Lowe's, in my opinion, and I generally enjoyed plant shopping with all the senior citizens who got to Home Depot at 9:30am on a Friday. Now, I'm going to tackle actually planting my new daisies. Hookie has officially started!

In other news, my realtor Suzy apparently went to Cancun on a week long vacation without telling me, and that's why she was MIA last weekend. Wish I could go to Cancun. Guess the real estate business isn't suffering as much as we all thought it was...

Monday, April 20, 2009


Well, no real news on the house-hunting front. I was supposed to see one house over the weekend (pictured above), but Suzy was MIA, so it didn't happen. Its another 1940's bungalow, that was somewhat renovated about 6 years ago, and from the interior pictures, it looks like it still needs plenty of work, so this could be a good one. It has two bedrooms and a converted attic, and one bathroom. We'll see - as usual, trying not to get my hopes up!

My parents were visiting over Easter weekend, and I took them on a driving tour of all the houses I've looked at so far. Their reactions alternated between appalled and enamored. My dad totally wants to buy the serious renovation house and make it his retirement project. However, he stands by his opinion that it would not be a good first-time house for me, though.

Otherwise, life is a little blah right now. Would real springtime hurry up and get here already?!?!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

House-Hunting Day 2

Despite a serious case of stomach flu last week, which pretty much had me laying on my bathroom floor for 3 days, I am carrying on with the search for a new place to live. When last we chatted, I had seen several scary places, one real possibility and had another real possibility on the list for the next scouting mission. Well, things have changed a bit since then. The "workman's cottage" pictured below ended up being a dead-end. Suzy called the owner to ask if he would even entertain what I could offer before she took me to see it (no point in falling in love with a house you can't have). The owner really did consider it, but finally said he really needed a bit more than I could pay. Darn. Another one off the list.

So, this past Sunday, G joined me for another day of hunting. Suzy took us to another bungalow just down the street from the first cute bungalow - a much lower asking price, but also a "short sale". I'm still not exactly clear on what a short sale is, but according to Suzy, the owner will get way more than what he's asking, and I would probably have to engage in something of a bidding war with other buyers. Hmmm. Also, the house is right on the edge of where the neighborhood starts to go downhill. Suzy seemed a tad concerned, but she didn't outright say that she wouldn't choose to live there. I think I'm starting to read her signals, though.

We also saw an absolutely awesome house very close to the river. It was a big, old monster of a house that currently has pot-growing college kids living in it, so you can kinda imagine the state its in. Because it hasn't really been taken care of over the years, it needs a ton of work, but for the same reason it still has its original woodowork and windows and all the cool stuff that makes an old house great. I really did think about it seriously for a while, but a conversation with Mr. Renovation (my dad) finally convinced me that it was a bit more than I could handle in my first house.

The last place we saw was just hysterical. It was a foreclosure, and was, well, whacky. Outside, it had a basketball court, a horseshoe pitch, a wrap-around deck for an above-ground pool (minus the pool), and a Greek-style tiled surround for a hot tub (minus the hot tub). It also had a smll forest of cactuses (cacti?) in the front yard, and several outbuildings of unspecified use. Inside, it was just bizarrely renovated to the point that I can't really even explain it. Later, while dissecting the properties we had seen that day in line at the local ice cream joint, G finally decided that the former owners used the house to film porn movies. And maybe deal drugs. One of the two anyway. Needless to say, its off the list.

And perhaps it was because of the stomach flu, but I started to feel not so great about the other real possibility house (the one pictured two posts down). I don't know if this is just me, but whenever I make a connection in my mind between nausea and something else, however completely unrelated, I can never quite get past it again. In this case, while I was laying on my bathroom floor for those 3 days, I spent a lot of time thinking about the houses I've seen, and I started to associate the one at the top of the list with being sick. Bad news. But now that I'm not sick anymore, I really am having actual, practical doubts. For one, it really has been stripped of all of its old charm inside. Its all bright and shiny clean with new fixtures everywhere, but nothing to tell you that it was built in the '40's. Secondly, there's really nothing left for me to do with it. Its done. I could paint the walls, but that's about it. That's kinda boring. Sigh. Anyway, its still on the list, I'm just not as enthused as I once was.

Sadly, I have no pictures of future houses to look at today. Suzy says there a quite a few houses that will be popping up in the next few weeks, but at the moment I've seen just about everything in my price-range. I've never been good with delayed gratification!

Stay tuned...