email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Well, I'm a bit depressed today.  I've lived here 30 years, improved the property, improved my gardening area, and I gain NOTHING!  Because every year, the neighbors' trees bordering my property grow taller and cut out more sunlight. 

If I had known those trash saplings of 2 feet 30 years ago would grow to massive shady sunlight-sucking monsters 50' tall by now, I would have mowed them dead!  I have asked the neighbors' if I could pay to have the tall trees replaced with fancy flowering smaller ones.  They say "no" because they like the shade.  Hint, hint; on the east and south sides THEY DON'T GET ANY SHADE FROM THOSE TREES!  But they are oblivious to that.  "Just saying NO" is easier.

So last year, after the gardening season was over, I looked at new homes on the internet.  I would like an open house layout with rooms defined vaguely by 30" high walls (all the better to put plants on). and a large enough property so that trees can't block the sunlight in some 40'x40' garden.

I visited some open lands.  They were all corners of farmland being sold off for cash, with working farmland next door.  Well, if you don't know what farmland fertilizer and/or a horse stable smells like all Spring and Summer; *I* do!

So that idea was a failure.

Last week, I looked for existing houses on 1-3 acres of rural land away from farms.  I found 5 that looked good.  Within a day, I learned that 2 were under contract for sale, 1 had a fussy homeowners association controlling almost anything you can image, and 2 were still available.

I visited those 2 houses with a realtor agent today.  Gosh, photographs can be deceptive.  Both were 3 bedroom/2 baths and 3-5 acres. 

The first, pictured here, was great inside.  Lots of great features inside, nice interior, high wood beam ceilings, a kitchen island with an induction cooktop, granite counters, large rooms, 2 car garage (in my case that would be 1 car and 1 boat), dual fireplaces (right in the center of the house), etc.  The basement was chopped into small rooms ( I want a workshop).  But mostly, the back 2 acres fell right into a ravine practically straight out the back door.  No chance for gardening there.  The house is basically like a Monopoly Hotel sitting on a baseball cap (good front visor, nothing behind).
So we went to the other house.  An acre wide and 5 acres deep.  The backyard was sunny ("gardeny").  And it was flat further back, so I could get for open space cutting down some trees.  Nice toolshed.  The upper interior was cramped but more space than I have now.  The basement was large; plenty of room for woodworking equipment.  
But it stank of mildew and showed water damage.  The reason was obvious when I looked under the deck.  The foundation is crumbling from long-term rain exposure.  The backyard drains TOWARD the house.  Whoever leveled the terrain originally should be drawn and quartered!  There were chunks of foundation spalled off from water damage.  Looking back into the basement, it became obvious the basement had been routinely flooded and the owners had tried a cheap paint job to cover it up.

Both properties were being sold for $350,000 in a rural area with well water and septic fields.

The realtor pair with me had never shown the properties previously and were dismayed by the problems I pointed out.  They seemed genuinely upset.  To the point were they took pictures of the problem areas and even noted some they found themselves ( a water-stained ceiling tile, for example). 

I'm sure that won't stop them from selling either place to anyone who wants them; that IS their job.  But they WERE surprised at what they saw.  I'll bet both places drop below $300,000 very soon. 

For someone who never bought a used house (and only my current one new-built) I sem to have a knack for discovering evidence of problems.  I noticed some other tricks the homeowners tried.  One front door rubbed hard on the carpet, yet there was no wear showing.   That meant the carpet was new.  So when I rapped on the carpet, the subfloor didn't sound solid.  That meant rain-damage through the roof.  Sure enough, there was discoloration in the ceiling above.  It had been re-painted and poorly, so you could see the spot if you knew to look. 

So my search continues.  A rambler on a basement on an open yard.  That's all I ask.  Looks like I will be staying here another year, though I will continue to check the listing "just in case".

Bad as my sunlight is, I refuse to move in the middle of Winter or in the middle of gardening season.

My plan is to buy a house, move, then clean/repaint/renovate the existing house.  I can have 2 for a few months because the current one is paid off so there is no expense holding it for sales prep.

But I'm sure not going to move unless I like the house better and I can garden better!!!


Megan said...

Real estate buying and selling is stressful, Mark, so take your time and give yourself a break from it every now and then.

Sydney, Australia

Just Ducky said...

Pays to know what to look for as a home owner. Thankfully I have friends who are realtors and won't and haven't pushed me wrong. They look at things critically too.

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

That stinks about the neighbor's trees.Home prices out your way are pricey. In my town, you could get a new home with land for $200,000 or less.