Thursday, March 05, 2009

I Am Part of the Solution -or- Tommy Silva Doesn't Live Here

Have you heard about the incentives first-time homebuyers have been given recently? It seems that if I get off my duff and buy a home by Dec. 1, 2009 I will get an $8,000 tax credit. Yes, people, you read that correctly: credit. So I'm lurking on Real Estate sites quite a bit and trying to figure out what I might want.

I know that I do not want a big yard to mow. No long driveway to shovel. I don't do a very good job of maintaining the inside of my apartment, so I think it's unreasonable to think I'd spend a lot of time on the outside of my home. And since I'm the only care-taker this home will have, I better be prepared to do what it takes. No yard.

However, I might be done with noisy neighbors. I would like to do a certain amount of customizing and decorating, to make my home MY home. I would also like a safe place to park my car because I might also be done with scraping every morning. And I might also be done with excessive random dings in my car because it spends its entire life in a parking lot.


In my area, I have more-or-less two options: 1. buy a condo. 2. buy a small house in an old neighborhood where they don't have lawns.

Condos: expensive, possibly with upstairs neighbors (I refuse), neverending HOA fees. But many are new and have efficient building materials and techniques. They might actually be insulated and air-conditioned. A lot have nice kitchens. A lot don't.

House: More responsibility, but no HOA fee, so I can afford more house, or upkeep costs. But totally mine. If I don't like that it's not insulated, I can insulate it. I can buy new windows. I can pay a guy. I might watch too much "This Old House" for my own good. But buying a house outright is very attractive to me. If only I knew Tommy Silva and could hire him to fix my cheap house. I would love an old house with tall ceilings and a cute facade, but I do not want the floors to slope, or for it to leak every time it rains, etc. I would have to commit to fixing it and fixing it right. OR I could buy one already fixed. But most of those haven't been done with the advice of a designer and they aren't that great. And, I think a 100+ year old house will always be a 100+ year old house. But I also am a believer in urban rehab instead of building new crap.

Case in point:

This house is so cute, and look at the great fireplace (they do not make them like that anymore, let me tell ya)! But the rest of it is a disaster. It is being sold as-is, and I could practically write a check for it. It would cost me less than my next car. It's near other rehabbed houses in a neighborhood with some bad ones like this, but quite a few well-maintainted homes, too. The temptation is great, but I know the work needed would be ridiculous. Please remind me, if it looks like I'm going crazy and going to buy something like this, that Tommy Silva Does Not Live Here, and I Am Not On This Old House.



Teri said...

Rehabbing is a bunch of work but you can save money doing it yourself. Do you remember my little house in St. Louis and the kitchen that we redid? If I can recall correctly we were quoted a price of $24k to redo the kitchen. We did it ourself for less than $7.

How about a split level where you could rent out the other half?

Colleen said...

I think you know that Ted and I are totally DIY-ers, but if the whole house needed rehab...eek! It's a very cute house, but I would hire out most of the work and do the fun decorating stuff myself. With our kitchen it was half and half - we did the demolition, he put everything back in, we painted and finished. This really is the perfect time to buy, but it's a lot of work. Best of luck and I can't wait to see how it turns out for you!