Thursday, May 8, 2008

Just a Few Houses Down

Just a few houses down from the house we put an offer on, there is this house:

MLS # 7 07 2 1030

(To see this listing, go to, scroll down to where it asks for the MLS number, and plug in the number but take out all the spaces.)

The listing price is $122,000 more than the listing price on the house on which we have our offer. When I saw that, I felt pumped! "Talk about a great deal we're going to get" I thought. And the houses looked about the same size, so I was thinking they are comparable. Now I have a chance to sit down and actually look.

So, to keep my head on my shoulders, below is what a person gets for $122,000 more than what we are offering on a house just down the street by a short row of houses that all look about equivilant. I am not placing a value judgement on the following. Sometimes something will be both a pro AND a con (for example, more space equals higher utilities, more to maintain, and more to clean, but also means some room to grow, etc.) With old houses like these, a lot of times it is also comparing apples and oranges. The price comparisons are interesting, but may or may not tell the whole story. Each house has its own character.

For $122,000 more on the same street...
1. 1,000 more square feet
2. An additional bedroom, and ALL bedrooms are large.
3. 0.2 fewer acres. A yard with nice child-friendly landscaping...but no pool either.
4. Granite countertops
5. Natural gas as the fuel source
6. A partially finished basement, with a fireplace (but as far as I can tell, this is the only one)
7. Three sets of stairs to climb...four levels
8. A narrow staircase
9. One fewer garage spaces, but two more total parking spaces
10. The same number of bathrooms
11. Clapboard rather than vinyl siding
12. Water seeping into the basement in either house, sump pumps in both
13. No appliances, except for the range
14. A storage shed
15. A seller whose sale is subject to buying a new home-- in other words, sale is "subject to seller finding suitable replacement housing"
16. A walk up attic
17. A security system
18. A house that is two years older

Now here is something that blows my mind: with that kind of square footage, why are they paying $2,646 in taxes when I would be paying $3,247? Doesn't something seem to be terribly "off" here.

I talked with my dad tonight, and he took the opportunity to forewarn me about the cost of upkeep for pools. I knew that they would be an extra cost, but I didn't think it would be as bad as he made it sound. Like I wasn't already worried enough about the higher mortgage than our previous house and the higher taxes. (And the fact that G. is not currently working.) But my dad knows relatively first hand about pool care, since his parents have one. Ugh.

Time for cold feet I think. I ALWAYS get it.

But my dad and I laughed about it and said that the "best I can hope for right now" is that my "offer does not get accepted." I think I'll be freaked out both ways: if I get it and if I don't. Ah, the joys of house-hunting.

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