Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Observations From House Hunting

Andrew and I got back from an open house in West Roxbury tonight. I know, weird that it's on a Monday night but there were plenty of people looking most likely due to the fact that it was an hour long. And on the basis on how bad the house smelled, I think the realtor did it deliberately in a futile attempt to make the house seem desirable. But I digress.

When I look back to myself a month ago, I laugh at how clueless the former me was about house hunting. And, I miss how hopeful I was about finding the right place. Don't get me wrong, I was going in with a healthy dose of skepticism towards "old" houses while Andrew had most of the optimism, but I did have a rosy daydream of finding the right place.

I know we're only a scant three weeks into our search, but I feel like we've seen every desirable place in our price range and there's nothing that has popped up where Andrew and I have looked at each other and excitedly pictured ourselves living there (other than that house). So while we anxiously scan the new listings each night for a dream house, here are the random thoughts that cross my mind:
  • There are a ton of house hunting shows on TV these days and Andrew and I are hooked on most of them. Two of our favorites - House Hunters and Property Virgins.
  • The aforementioned house hunting shows are extremely annoying and depressing since housing is so much cheaper in most other parts of the country. Like the couple that scored a brand new three bed/two bath house in Iowa for $117,000. Of course, the trade-off is that you'd have to live in Iowa.
  • No amount of room deodorant or candles is going to disguise a smelly house.
  • Further to this point, I wish you could get a sense for how a house will smell from the listing so you can save yourself some wasted time. We've had some bad experiences with homes reeking of cat urine or really heavy smoke.
  • Sellers should really get themselves a decent agent who makes a simple effort to stage the house. Like removing post-its from a wall. Yikes.
  • Disclosures should really be reserved for serious things rather than a perky real estate description of "best house in the neighborhood!"
  • It's super awkward to run into the homeowners when you have a viewing appointment. We've had showings where it looks like the owner is simply hanging out in a room of the house (an agent is present and does most of the talking, but never introduces the mystery person). Even worse is when you run into a mom ushering her kids into the car, or in one instance, pulling her toddler around the neighborhood while we look.
  • I really hope we're not looking at houses into the winter - I can't imagine trudging through people's houses with mucky shoes and I don't know how we'd get a sense for the yard or any outdoor faults.
  • If I ever have an open house, I think I will seriously make prospective buyers take off their shoes to tour the house, a la my Asian roots. Although, I'm not sure how much cleaner their socks/bare foot would be. Perhaps I would need to provide cheap slippers (again, like Asian restaurants).

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