Category Archives: Real Estate

Friday’s randomness today!

I have seriously been slacking in the “update my website” department. My excuse is that it’s summer! I have better things to do, like… um…. wait, it’ll come to me…

It hasn’t been all laziness here, though. We may have found a buyer for our house (HI CHUCK!), which, if it works out, is the single best thing to happen to all of us this summer. We won’t have to put the house under a Realtor’s care (which means a whole lot of extra work for me), watch it sit on the market, forlorn and unloved, and eventually sell it for not nearly enough money to someone who won’t love it.

If Chuck buys it, we know he will love the house, and also not cause us to have to pay a commission, which = yay.

So that means I have been looking at house listings pretty much non-stop for the past week or so, trying to get my head around the fact that a 23′ x 11′ bedroom on the 2nd floor of a Cape Cod is nothing more than glorified attic space. Because it is. And, you have to remember that the photos make the house look at least 354234% better than it actually is. Trust me. You absolutely MUST do the walk-through before you start deciding where your furniture is going to go.

Jillian is all systems go, which is normal. She is currently NOT napping, but she really ought to at least try to sleep because I’m leaving her up there until 3:30 either way. Lunchtime has now become Food Experiment Time, whereby I plonk down a selection of things for her to eat and she does whatever she wants to with them. I still make sure she actually eats something at breakfast and dinner, but lunchtime is for getting used to touching things.

She isn’t walking just yet, but she is damn close. She can walk along pretty well behind one of the many walky-light-up-noisy-ass toys that she has, but walking alone is still some ways off.



I’m currently being a Bad Mama by letting her watch Sesame Street in the mornings. She likes it, it keeps her out of my hair for a full fifteen minutes, and it might actually teach her something. When she sees Elmo or Cookie Monster she claps her hands and turns around to look at me as if to say “Isn’t this COOL?” She’s funny.

In other news, the Rag Shop stores have gone out of business. I have avoided going there because I am weak in the face of discounted yarn, but today the signs said “80-90% OFF!” so we toddled in to see if there was anything worth grabbing. I got 4 sewing patterns for a buck! That’s a savings of like, 80 dollars because patterns generally aren’t cheap! Not that I have anywhere to sew or even any urge to sew right now, but patterns for a quarter? I only wish I had time to rifle through them all!

I also got a selection of odd knitting needles for cheap. I don’t even know if I’ll need them, ever, but for a dollar? I’m buying them. Someday I may start a project that requires the extra-long size 3 needles. There was a huge basket of knitting needles that, um, light up but I didn’t even consider buying them because they were stupid. There were also some really crazy sizes, like size 50, which are just enormous. Unless I’m knitting a heavy-duty fishing net for a giant, I can’t imagine what I would need those for.

All in all, I wish I would have stopped in sooner, but I’m not supposed to be spending any “unnecessary” money due to this whole Real Estate thing we’re working on.

I am excited to find a house. With a YARD! Where I can have a garden! I did pretty well with my makeshift garden this year. My tomato plants produced actual, edible tomatoes and my red bell pepper was extremely good. I should have taken a photo of it before I ate it because it was beautiful. My orange bell peppers are almost ready, as are the green peppers. Next year, if I have the space and the motivation, I’m going to branch out a bit and try my hand at something odd, like eggplant.

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I have definitely been living up to my slacker roots lately. It’s just been too damn hot to do much else but sit in the air-conditioning and sing songs to the baby, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

The baby, by the way, is trying to learn how to walk. She stands up and briefly lets go of whatever she’s anchored to before she plops back down on her butt. Or her face, which is what she did yesterday. Twice.

We had our 1-year checkup last week, and it went really well. Kid is growing and growing and growing, up to 22.5 pounds and 30 inches! It’s only the 75th percentile for both, so I’m interested to see a 99th percentile kid. Her head, however, is in the 91st percentile, which makes Mama very proud. Lotsa brains in there!

In other news, the Great House Escape is progressing. We rented a storage locker and moved a bunch of stuff out (mostly things that haven’t been unpacked since we lived in Ohio… ten years ago), including my treadmill, which puts a wee kink in my fitness plans. I suppose I could chuck the baby in the stroller and run outside but it is, like I said, too damn hot. My lazy ass is going to have to start getting up early, I think. Shit.

But, yeah, the house’s fitness program is going well. Now that the majority of the clutter has been shoveled out, all that remains is to organize the rest, clean like an OCD patient, and then call the Realtor to come take photos.

Then I’ll have to maintain this freakish level of cleanliness so the house will make a good impression on potential buyers. Yikes.

On the other end of the process, we are seeing houses now and then to try to gauge what’s out there in our price range. We saw one this week that was… nice… but not quite what we wanted. The bedrooms were absolutely miniature, and the garage was at the back end of the back yard with no obvious way to get a car back there. It was a tad confusing. But the rest of the house was really nice.

The other house we saw was a shithole. For one thing, if you’re trying to sell your house, some air freshener would not go amiss. We walked in and were confronted with the kind of smell I associate with a poor family who has toddlers. You know what I’m talking about. Smells like food and babies and poor. Even if the house was lovely (it wasn’t), I would have been totally turned off by the stank.

Luckily, the house was a total shithole. The rooms were small, and the only way to get up the stairs was through one of the bedrooms. It was weird. Once upstairs, the dormers (it’s a Cape Cod) made the ceilings all crazy and there is no way my king-sized bed would be making it up there. So that one was a definite no.

The good news is that prices are sliding way way down and the kinds of houses we’re starting to see in our price range are improving. That does not exactly bode well for the house we’re trying to sell, but we are hopeful that our Realtor team will be able to help us market it effectively and we’ll be able to flee the premises before too long.

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Oh. My. God.

We are going to live in our townhouse FOREVER. There is another townhouse on our street that is exactly the same as ours (except they don’t have a fireplace and we do) that was put on the market in January. The listing has been allowed to expire, but I’m not 100% sure what that exactly means. Whatever it means, that house didn’t sell and it was priced pretty reasonably.

The kitchen in that one is nicer than ours, which seems to be a big selling point these days. I know that when I look at a house if the kitchen is crappy, I’m less inclined to like the rest of the house.

One of the biggest issues is that the houses that we’re looking at as buyers are starting to come down in price. We could easily put a down payment on a new house without having to wait for the money from the sale of this one, but there is no way we can carry two mortgages even for a short while so we actually HAVE to sell this house before we can even seriously look for a new one. Bleh.

I still think we’re going to go ahead with The Great De-Cluttering of 2007 and get a storage locker and stuff. If we proceed as if we’re going to sell the place, perhaps we will get lucky? If nothing else, it will force us to live with less, which we will have to do anyway if we’re going to stay here much longer. We grew out of this house two weeks after we moved into it.

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The Realtors are coming!

AIEE! We looked at a house this morning that has definite potential. The house itself was interesting – it was built in 1935 and looked like rooms had been added here and there whenever they were needed. There really seemed to be no “plan” involved, but it was interesting! If we end up buying it, I am totally naming it “The Burrow.”

It has 3 bedrooms but only 1 bathroom. That’s not a huge deal, really. We don’t really need more than one bathroom. In a perfect world, I’d have my very own bathroom which I wouldn’t have to share with anyone, but until I win the lottery, that is just a dream. The master bedroom is a nice size, so I’m sure our bed will fit in there (that’s an actual deal-breaker. If our bed doesn’t fit in the house, we aren’t buying it no matter what other amazingness it features). The other two bedrooms are nice-sized and there are closets and stuff relative to the size of the rooms. That’s always good, too.

The yard is the best part, I think. The house sits on almost a half-acre, which is practically a farm in the area of New Jersey where we live. Best of all, it’s a level lot, so the yard is 100% useful. I can already see where I’d like to put my garden, my shuffleboard court (alley?), and possibly a skee-ball machine or two. There’s not enough room for me to have a cow, but maybe I could get a chicken or two.

The basement leaves a bit to be desired but, like the rest of the house, it has some potential. If we wanted to, I’m sure we could finish it out and make it into a living space.

There is a one-car garage, which is nice to have but not really necessary for us. I would finish the garage as a fitness room and that’s where the treadmill and Freddie’s bike could live. There is plenty of room off of the driveway to build a garage if we are so inclined.

Thursday, the Realtors are going to come over to our current house and help us figure out how to sell it in a market that is pretty much the textbook definition of shitty. There are a billion and three townhouses exactly like ours on the market that have been there for months and months. So in order to sell ours in any kind of reasonable time frame, we’re going to have to price it right (that means low), and clean it up (that means storage locker and paint).

That means there are roughly twenty-four trillion things that we will need to do in this house to get it ready for showing. I’m going to have to start at the top and clean out the attic, clean out the closets, dust, remove cobwebs, dust some more, de-hairify the carpet upstairs (and I’ve been molting like a goat for the last six months, so THAT should be fun), get down with a toothbrush in the bathrooms and clean things like grout, dust,de-funkify the washing machine AGAIN, SOME MORE, organize the closets and bookshelves, dust, get the carpets cleaneed AGAIN, SOME MORE (and that pretty much guarantees that Chester will barf on them), dust, think really hard about scrubbing the brick fireplace, dust, scrub out the kitchen, and dust. Some more.

Then I’ll have to call our Homeowner’s Association and get them to pretty up the landscaping out front, which I have been after them to do FOR A YEAR. Fuckers. I want the tree pruned and the dead azalea bush removed and the rose “bush” (it’s just a pitiful stem of a thing that produces exactly two blooms a season) either rehabbed or removed.

And, while all this is happening, I need to keep my husband from talking himself out of it. He’s making noise about me going back to work and I’ll do it if I have to, but there are 235 things I would rather do instead and that includes plucking out all of my leg hairs one by one. But if that’s what needs to be done, I will find a way to make it happen. Ick.

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The current real estate market blows

And it sucks, too.  We desperately need to get out of our townhouse and into a bigger house, preferably with a yard!  And maybe a garage!  And maybe a basement!  Unfortunately, we live in New Jersey, and I have tried but my husband refuses to live anywhere else.  Believe me, I have tried.  It would be SO NICE to move closer to family, since we really don’t have any here.  I would love for Jillian to grow up around her cousins and all the rest of my enormous gigantic family, but… here we are and here we shall stay.

Our realtor sent us the comparisons for townhomes in our area and it’s depressing.  Not only are there approximately seventeen billion townhouses on the market here, but they have BEEN on the market for ever and ever and ever and EVER.

When we bought this place three years ago, it was on the market for about 6 and a half hours (yes, HOURS) before we put our offer in.  It was THAT crazy!  Now, well… there’s a townhouse exactly like ours for sale that has been on the market for 116 days.  Dayum.

We are going to spend the next little while seeing if it would even be possible for us to buy a bigger house.  We’ll have to do some math and see what a mortgage payment would look like for the kind of house we’d like to get into.  I could look into going back to work, but what I would bring home versus what daycare would cost might mean that it’s just not worth it.  We’ll have to see what happens.

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