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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 09:56 PM   #21
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Re: A House, not a Home

I don't think any place is as bad as San Bernardino, but here's a 1998 smog map for reference:

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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-07-2005, 11:58 PM   #22
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Re: A House, not a Home

Oceanside used to have affordable property. My parents kept their small Oceanside 2 bedroom house 4 blocks from the beach when they moved to Carlsbad 10 years ago (rented it out). They bought it 14 years ago for 95 grand. Their neighbor just sold for 750k. Good news for my parents is their retirement is set. Sad thing is their good friends right next door rented the house and never got around to taking up the open offer to buy the house they lived in. Now they can't afford the rent and have to move, and have nothing to show for it. It's sad to see all the beach towns lose their local flavor as the yuppies move in and everything gets painted starbucks green, but I guess that's progress....
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 05:40 AM   #23
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Re: A House, not a Home

House vs. Home always a psychology/economic push-me-pull-you. We have inlaws that spent their entire married lives selling their house every 2-3 years. They enjoyed their adventures and finally settled down in their 60s and did fabulously well financially.

A ex-partner of mine announced one day last year that the real estate market was peaking in his area so we are putting the house up for sale today.

Some people look themselves as Previous Owners in-the-making. I'm not built like that. I have a summer place by-the-sea appreciating at dizzying rates...can't sell it. Got a too big house in NY... gonna sell it, someday.

These places are homes to me BUT I'd like to walk on the other side for awhile given my love for Home Depot Living. Buy - Fixup - Sell and repeat.

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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 05:42 AM   #24
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Re: A House, not a Home

Here outside the levee - the new metric as I understand it is 15 feet above mean Gulf tide - the city is granting building permits so gentrification is underway - even Ivan last year hasn't seemed to slow it much.

Poop - may have to throw in the towel in ten years and go 'in search of country'.
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Re: We have a home.
Old 04-08-2005, 05:59 AM   #25
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Re: We have a home.

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Speaking from visiting open houses two or three times a month, and whose spouse records HGTV daily:

First off, HGTV: IMO "House Hunters" is one of their most pathetic shows, almost as bad as "Extreme Home Makeover". (Think David Spade-- "Oh, I need a new home, waaah I can't figure out how to do it, ooh luckily I have a realtor! Oh, I'm going to complain until I see a home that's 'just right'!") The one episode they did in Hawaii was looking at homes in the $1.5M & up category but passing them off as "everyday normal" places.

So JohnGalt, you don't need HGTV and if you don't know it then you'll never miss it.

Although I agree that Candace Olson is a goddess who can come to our house to change our lightbulbs anytime.

Second, today's home designs. My gosh, Mainlanders live in gigantic places. Lots here are measured in square feet-- 4500 sq ft is typical-- and single-story homes are less than 2000 sq ft. Who cleans those Mainland McWarehouses?

Traveler, your home will sell to the first person who loves a well-laid-out compact design. The only problem is that you're going to have to tolerate a crowd of several hundred "House Hunter" whiners before you get to the right buyer. The real problem isn't the buyers, it's the realtors-- especially the one that's "working for you". If you're using a realtor, they want reduced prices for quick sales instead of trying to earn another 6% of a 10%-higher full-price offer. That may take 6-8 weeks, so stick to your guns and don't budge on the price.

We used to live in an 1800 sq ft 4BR 2 BA home that was "just right" for maintenance, cleaning, & space. Then we discovered the best home we'll ever live in and we're still working on turning it into a nice house. It's 2400 sq ft (a lanai was enclosed to make a family room) 4BR 2.5BA. Luckily it's only 16 years old and most of the floors are tile, because the rest of the home & lot (1/3 acre) needs a lot of maintenance. Every project we tackle is designed to reduce either our utility bills, our maintenance, our yardwork, or our cleaning. I don't want to be tackling most of my current chores when I'm in my 80s.

Ironically it's not about the house, it's about the location. The neighborhood has one of the state's best school districts. Our street is packed with kids, most of whom seem to be in our familyroom or fridge when they're not at school. We have great views of the Ko'olau and the Waianae, the Pearl Harbor channel entrance from the back lanai, and a peek of Diamond Head out the 2nd story master bedroom. We live on a cul-de-sac, tne adjacent lot is a city water-maintenance building, the home across the street is vacant (the owner works in Japan), and we back on a steep gulch.

We joke that by the time our daughter is ready to move out, spouse's parents will be ready to move in. They can trade their own spaces...
You got a spare room? Cause I am sure to return to Hawaii soon, and your place sounds better than most of the hotels.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 09:03 AM   #26
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Re: A House, not a Home

Nords:
Thanks for the encouraging words about the right buyer wanting a compact, well-designed house.

And you're right about real estate agents. My apologies should I offend, but all the agents I've dealt with (and there have been many in the past twenty or more years) have been looking for the quick sale and not much else. I can hold out.

While I'm not a fan of attorneys, at least when you hire one he/she is positioned as being your "advocate". Not so the real estate agent despite all the talk about "feduciary responsibility to the seller".

Mine is a nice woman, experienced, seems bright. But there's a mistake in the MLS house description (she deleted the fact that there's a spa and put the wrong cross street down in the address). This was supposed to have been fixed on Wednesday morning and here it is two days later and still hasn't been. I just got off the phone again (for the third time) asking why this hasn't been done.

I have a couple coming over this morning to take a look at my sweet, cheery home. St. Joseph is buried upside down in the front yard facing the street and I have his holy card on the fridge. We're ready for action...

Gotta go and vacuum... again.
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Old 04-08-2005, 10:35 AM   #27
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Be of good cheer, Traveler

I bought my little home here a few miles south of you (Vallejo) and it sounds a LOT like yours -- 1700 sq ft, hardwood floors, etc. (Also coved ceilings, handmade tile fireplace, all-original hardwood trim (never painted, thank god!).

I could have had one of the McMansions across the freeway in a heartbeat, or I could have had a ticky-tacky box in a city closer to SF / Silly-con Valley, but I looked for almost six months for a house with charm and grace AND a mortgage that allowed me to sleep nights. Made an offer the day I saw it for 2K over the asking price.

I have only two bedrooms AND I work from home, but I'm happy as a clam.

Hang in there - there ARE people in the world who appreciate small but beautiful - you'll do fine.

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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 10:46 AM   #28
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Re: A House, not a Home

Those of you with acreage will laugh, but my home's "selling point" (in quotes bc I hope to never move) is the lot size. Most new houses in SD county have 8 feet or less to the property line on either side of the house, where as we have 20'. The appraiser said, "wow, this side yard can be approved for RV storage!". Back yard is slightly larger than average and has a hill which makes it private so I can walk around in my drawers with the blinds up ( I know, TMI). If any of you are looking at SD real estate, I would suggest looking in the South Bay area, just south of downtown san diego. It used to have a bad rep but coastal real estate is just to valuable to stay down, it's already gone up quite a bit, but still has some semi-bargains.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 12:31 PM   #29
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Re: A House, not a Home

Home, definitely.

It's an old home, well over 50 years old, built by a builder for his family of wife and three daughters. *There may have also been a live-in housekeeper because over the garage is a 500 sq ft room with its own separate entrance, storage, built ins like ironing board, and also direct access to the utility parts of the house.

Living in this house has been a pleasure. *The heavy paneled doors, built in china doors, and wooden screen doors still hang perfectly and close without a hitch. The plaster walls , without any cracks, reflect the mood of the weather outside. *The staircase is wide, the rises short, and is silent as one ascends. *Lots of eight on eight windows thoughtfully placed to capture the sun and greenery.

There is no great room, just a nice big living room centered around a fireplace and big old oriental rug. *The chesterfield sofas mix with the moving sale antiques mix with the two laundry racks which air dry our clothes.

There is a human-sized formal dining room, much used for get togethers. *When not dined in, it serves as general repository for mail, parcels, bags, books, magazines reaching a clutter climax until reorganizing and then...discipline reigns again. *I fantasize about somehow acquiring rolls of 17th c. Chinese silk wallpaper which would make a beautiful scene on just this particular wall.

Two thousand sq ft, but is spacious because of design. *Whenever the mood for travel strikes, I wander into a room I have't been in lately, and am cured for a few more weeks.

The house sits on one and a half acres, about half landscaped many decades ago. *By now, it has "good bones." * The trees are mature, the azaleas really call for a reckoning in their exuberance, and spring time awakens small armies of daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. *Dogwoods are beginning to bloom. *The daffodils are past their eve, nodding yellow crepe-y ruffles, and really ought to be deadheaded. *
One bad thing: The Moles and their darned tunnels. * Armed with garden hose in one hand, pitcher of home-concocted mole tonic in the other, I set off to flood their chambers and rid the lawn of the beasts. *Unfortunately my efforts seem entirely in vain, since the resident mole population seems to not have suffered one bit. *It is though an hour of cheap entertainment.

The rest is mostly overgrown trees and vegetation, set on and encompassing a hilly enbankment. *Our niece calls it "the jungle" and when she visits, enlists the unsuspecting by slipping her small hand into yours, to help her search for "lions and bears."

I guess the take home message: buy the builder's home, even if it's fifty years old.
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Re: We have a home.
Old 04-08-2005, 12:42 PM   #30
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Re: We have a home.

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You got a spare room? *Cause I am sure to return to Hawaii soon, and your place sounds better than most of the hotels.
You're always welcome to visit, Eagle. You won't even have to bring your own surfboard or home-improvement tools! (Around here the phrase "making your own bed" has a somewhat different interpretation.)
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 12:50 PM   #31
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Re: A House, not a Home

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If any of you are looking at SD real estate, I would suggest looking in the South Bay area, just south of downtown san diego.
I get the impression that you're not talking Coronado. Does that mean National City & Chula Vista are gentrified?!?

What would Kem Nunn write about that? Oh, wait, that was his latest book.

We enjoyed Kensington and the adjacent Normal Heights-- the perfect neighborhoods for raising a very busy toddler. Our rental was built in the early 30s, remodeled poorly in the 70s, and was home-improvement heaven for a handy couple with a tolerant landlord. And every day as I drove to work by the Kensington Coffee Company I'd gaze wistfully at the loungers enjoying their morning beverages and think "Only 1879 days to go..." Luckily we moved before we had to watch Starbucks drive KCC under.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 01:02 PM   #32
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Re: A House, not a Home

Exactly right, Nords! Only now they call the neighborhoods there something like, "Landing Heights" or "Rancho Del Mar Jolla Hills". When we were home shopping only 4 years ago I asked my wife if we could buy a place down there, brand new, 2500 sq feet with a veiw of the ocean (distant, but still a view) and it was about 250k. She was aghast at living in Chula Vista, so no dice. Now they are worth 500k and rising. Eastlake has become this major master planned community. Downtown San Diego has been so revitalised that little apartments have been turned into condos and selling for princely sums. Now Coranodo is just totally out of control. But you can get something there for about 600k....a two bedroom 600 sq foot bungalow They are charming, but being torn down fast to build McMansions (on tiny lots!)
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-08-2005, 01:17 PM   #33
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Re: A House, not a Home

Quote:
Nords:
Thanks for the encouraging words about the right buyer wanting a compact, well-designed house. I can hold out.
Here's some more.

Our most profitable home sale was a Pacific Grove CA condo that we owned 1986-9 while attending the Naval Postgraduate School. It (the condo, not NPS) was 3BR, 2BA, 1600 sq ft with a back deck in a gated community. We bought it with a realtor but sold it on our own (despite dire warnings from our realtor neighbors). The first offer (after two weeks) was a lowball by a couple who we later realized was fulfilling our ambition-- scooping up underpriced real estate and renting it for cash flow. We wanted to emulate their initiative but we turned them down.

We did our own Sunday afternoon open houses for six weeks (no kid then) and they were all very busy but there were no offers. By the seventh week we were starting to get a little concerned. (Bought $185K, offering for $220K, only that one lowball $205K offer.)

One Wednesday afternoon we got a call: "I'm from out of town and I'm leaving tonight. Can I see the place in 30 minutes?" We scrambled to put away the messes and we accidentally fired up the gas fireplace without opening the flue (more scrambling). The lady showed up on time-- aging but well-preserved and very well-dressed, like every other person in PG-- and strolled through in 10 minutes. She smiled nicely, said "Thank you!", and left. Our reaction was "Sheesh, what a tire-kicker!" (Or words to that effect.)

Friday morning we got a phonecall-- "I'd like to buy your place for $215K cash but we live in Palm Springs and you'd need to start the paperwork with the title company. Where should I fax the offer?"

We quickly came to terms and the entire closing was handled by fax & FedEx. (It must have showed in our attitude; after our next/final open house we received six full-price backup offers.) She rented the place back to us and even loaned us furniture when we started our Navy move.

They're delightful people. It turned out that Joanne was the widow of a Ford dealer and her new husband owned an architectural firm. He wanted to live near Pebble Beach (the golf course) and she wanted a pied-a-terre while they built their $5M mansion on 17 Mile Drive. Even so she wouldn't compromise her lifestyle. Contractors & decorators swept through "our" place while we rented back from her, and her furniture was top-notch leather & oak. They took us to lunch at the Spanish Bay club (their membership had just been approved). Another time she asked about good local restaurants and so we all dined together at the Asilomar, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and The Tinnery. His old college roomate was now a Navy vice admiral. They were great friends with "Marty", who turned out to be RADM Marsha Evans the Superintendent of NPS. We had a wonderful experience. It wasn't just a glimpse of another lifestyle-- it was another universe.

Joanne lived there for six months after we left and then sold it when they moved into her new home. She got $289K (and six months' rent) for a year's ownership. We still swap Christmas cards...
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-09-2005, 05:25 PM   #34
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Re: A House, not a Home

Nobody asked, but that has never stopped me
before

The Texas condo is 1000 SF with 2 good sized bedrooms
and 3 full baths (unusual). Luxury hotel/dining, upscale
marina, private golf course , swimming pool all on premises or within walking distance. But, it only works for us as it is all way outside of the city. Except for our
collection of dogs, the space and amenities would be
just fine for the 2 of us, even on a permanent basis.

JG
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-09-2005, 06:40 PM   #35
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Re: A House, not a Home

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It's been a while since I checked out the SoCal real estate market, but the area between Dana Point and Oceanside used to have affordable coastal property.
it's over $1 million. Is that affordable? Orange County is not afforable unless you are rich.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-09-2005, 08:48 PM   #36
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Re: A House, not a Home

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Orange County is not afforable unless you are rich.
Any idea as to why Orange County is more expensive than LA ?
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-09-2005, 10:02 PM   #37
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Re: A House, not a Home

Orange county is L.A.'s bedroom community. Everybody works in L.A. and drives back home either to the valley or the "O.C.". My uncle is a perfect example: Lt. in the L.A. Sheriff's department, lives in O.C., big McMansion house, wife drives an E-class Mercedes (she's a beutician). So basically, all the income being generated in L.A. is getting spent on property outside of it. Oh sure, there are your high profile millionairs in L.A., but there are a thousand low income types for every one of them to drag down L.A.'s average. All your middle and upper middle class commute.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-09-2005, 11:53 PM   #38
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Re: A House, not a Home

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Any idea as to why Orange County is more expensive than LA ?
In theory, it's because OC has experienced a job growth rate that far exceeds the rate of new development. * Most of the undeveloped land in OC is owned by one company (The Irvine Company), and they are pretty clever in how they control supply and demand. * At the same time, growth in areas like Irvine Spectrum has been pretty outrageous, so a lot of people are moving there and bidding the price of housing through the roof.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-10-2005, 05:53 PM   #39
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Re: A House, not a Home

I work in the Irvine Spectrum area. My firm moved to the Spectrum area six years ago. At the time, there was open space and many fields. Today, a totally different environment. Many new office buildings, additional traffic, new housing starting at $600,000 plus. At least an airport was voted down at the old El Toro Marine base.
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Re: A House, not a Home
Old 04-11-2005, 01:13 PM   #40
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Re: A House, not a Home

Wow - looks like there's a few of us here in northern CA. I live in Vacaville and just recently re-financed my house - I laughed out loud at what the appraisal was....I was lucky and paid about half that 5 years agao and even then I cried as I thought I was getting milked. Sheesh. House is about 1300 sq ft, 3 Bedrrom, 2 Bath - smallish yard - need more concrete and less lawn!!!!

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