Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The House Search Continues...

April 2010
After our first foray into house hunting went so well, we decided to try out a couple more...  We went and saw another house a couple of blocks away that was an old duplex.  It was on sale for $265,000 and it's listing had the exciting words of 'original built-ins' and a 'great opportunity'!  I can only say this about the house, it did have built-ins and the exterior was in okay repair.  What I can also tell you, is there was crack on the kitchen table and the renters dog peed on me.  FACT. 

Once again, the most disturbing thing about all this, we weren't totally deterred.   We actually calculated how much it would take to make this place liveable (roughly $100,000). It was only when our realtor told us they were firm on price we talked away. Let's count our blessings!

Since the neighborhood we lived in was 'hip' and 'up-and-coming'  we actually found it really difficult to see houses in our price range.  Several houses were put on the market and sold before we even got in the door.  This seemed unimaginable, everywhere we looked and listened people were talking about how bad the economy was and yet these houses were selling in 2-3 days.  It was really discouraging and in many ways intensified our need to find a house-- if the market was this quick now... what about in a year or so? I think this is how they get you.

So, we spent a Saturday a little further a field looking at houses in the Alberta neighborhood.  These were a series on small little houses with little personality and a huge lack of yard.  Until... we saw this one.  Personality was NOT lacking in this house. It was a cute tudor on a pretty nice block.  I was excited when we pulled up.  At first the inside was bad, but appeared to be fixable.  There were original 'features' and nice 'hardwoods' but then again the bathroom was completely caved in and the upstairs made no sense, sure there was potential.  But, we made the mistake of going in the basement.  Seriously, America is hiding some freaky stuff in their basements! This basement appeared to be a sex den.  Complete with curtained off raised beds, shag carpeting everywhere, leather walls and mirrors, lots of mirrors. I was just glad I had on high heels so I was about 2 inches off the carpet. phew. 

The night after this search Josh and I had a long conversation about how much of a fixer-upper we wanted.  We would need to be able to live in it while working on it... we would like to be able to sleep at night, we would need a working bathroom and a kitchen.  We decided we needed to look for houses in a little better shape, o yeah and we had about 30 days to sign a contract before the house buyer credit expired... pressure?

Friday, June 24, 2011

How bad could it be? Bad, real bad...

February 2010
To keep up on my recording I feel that I should go back to our house search.  It will give everyone a little background into our lowered living standards and our excitement in finding our current house.  From 2009-2010 we had been living in an AMAZING apartment on N Mississippi Ave in the heart of Portland. 
This is a great area of town with restaurants, shops, theaters and generally everything you could want.  We loved it, however, we did not love our location over a bar, our lack of yard for Gus, and our need for... just a little more space.

One day, I say a listing for a house that was 3 blocks away.  It was selling for the unbelievable $169,000, I thought... how bad could it be?  I asked Josh if we could go see, you know, just for fun... I mean heck even we could afford that right?  I think this was probably the moment we both should have gotten a glass of wine and just watched a movie.  But here we go, without having any idea of what we were doing we scheduled to see the house. 
This was the house, granted a little scary but had some nice bones, original windows, looked to be a good size.  This place had been 'rented' for many years, I think it's more appropriate to call it squatting. I wish I had taken interior pictures.  There had been a fire in the dining room area, there was a weird altar in the living room (yes an altar).  Someone had carved ankh's into the staircase and I was getting the vibe that sacrifices may or may not have happened there.  We walked through a little dazed with the realtor (eventually to be our realtor through the whole process) and were generally pretty freaked out, but I could see potential. 
Then... we went to the basement.   What you can't see in this picture is that the tree on the right hand side is actually coming OUT of the basement.  The tree was in the house, the entire basement wall was caved in.  I think without saying anything we knew this was not really a 'fixer-upper' this was a satanic structural nightmare.  I think it was truly decided decided when I hit my head on a gas mask hanging from the ceiling joists.  We needed to escape immediately.  This was the start of a very bad movie.
But, the scariest part, is that instead of running home proud of our success of escaping a Wes Craven film, we told the realtor... "well there is ANOTHER house a couple blocks away for sale and maybe we should just take a quick look at that one." And that my friends, is how it happens.

You started a blog... You're such a hypocrite!

June 2011

This feels like it should be a very important event in my life.  I have decided.... to start a blog...

This will strike everyone who knows me and more importantly myself as very odd.  First, I like to think of my self as very busy and important. cough.  Clearly, I already have far too much to do. Furthermore, I have openly mocked blogs before. So why the change? 

I have recently been obsessed with tons of house/life/garden/craft blogs.  This has made me realize while I personally offer nothing better or more meaningful to the web then the average person. This will be an opportunity for me to record the weekly trials and tribulations that my home ownership and life take on.  I look back on other people's blogs and I realize how much my house has already changed, my life has already changed, and I guess I feel the need to keep a record. I actually openly hope I have all of three followers, one of them, will of course be my mother, one probably Josh, and maybe some person in Croatia who really screwed up a google search.

So with this as my entrance... I feel the need to start at the beginning.