Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Craig's List

Trying to buy items on Craig's List is a lot like shopping for our first home. There is a lot of crap out there in our target price range that looks okay in photos but when you go to see it in person it is horrible. And the good stuff goes fast so you have to be ready to jump quickly.

We are looking for a dining room (or as I usually spell it "dinning room") set and a dresser for the kids (low enough to diaper changes). We've been trying to be frugal about our baby purchases - tag sales, used cribs, etc. - a bit contrary to the "baby nurse" we're paying an arm and a leg for but we don't need the "perfect" nursery or baby stuff since we know it will just get beat up and spit up all over. I try to remember to check Craig's list every day but you end up driving all over Massachusetts to look at stuff that is a "Monet" in the posted pictures. [Please tell me I am not the only one who can quote most of Clueless by heart including the line about how Cher's rival looks like a Monet.]

This is strangely reminiscent of our househunting. Husband and I must have done at least 75 open houses over the course of 2 years by the time we bought our house last August. We knew the market was destined to go down and we probably could have done better if we waited until this year but I didn't want to play that game and we are both happy to be settled before we learned of the tykes' impending arrival. The number of homes in Massachusetts with weird layouts, falling down, etc. for $500-$600k is astounding. No garages, no 2 bathrooms, no A/C (a big complaint of Husband who is from the midwest). We solely used ziprealty.com -- checking all the time in our target areas - north of Boston. We had our realtor take us to THREE houses - that's it. We made an offer on the first one but didn't get it (charming farmhouse with a HUGE garage, corner lot but NO closets), the second one we decided against (abutted a commercial property and was hundreds of years old and need quite a bit of work) and the one be bought - new upstairs, older downstairs. I really feel like we knew we got a fair deal - at that point we thought we could put our own realtor shingles and could recite "comps" cold. Husband found the Mass Land Records a great way to check out recent sale prices. In the end we did not feel taken and that we got a fair deal (not a bargain but a fair price). We had to move quickly though since we have seen how quickly good stuff goes regardless of the market - if it is in good shape and a fair price in a decent town it will sell quickly.

Fortunately Husband and I were on the same waivelength about location, "must have" amenities and price. To be honest we spent less than I thought we would (if we were looking right now with 2 kids on the way I'd probably be pushing for more space and more yard and thus more $$) but we've made up for that with a remodeled kitchen and downstairs bath we did immediately upon moving room (or should I say paid someone to do). I'd love to have a mud room so we stop scattering mud and objects around and a 2 car garage but it is good to have something to aspire to in the next house (there is no room to add on in our small lot).

Husband thinks we're staying in this house forever which I nod along to in hopes of encouraging all his home improvement projects but secretly think one day we'll out grow it.

I still love watching House Hunters (the bigger the budget the more fun) but don't like "Property Virgins" since I think people make too many emotional choices and don't understand how much it really costs to buy a house (pre-approval is a ceiling, not baseline).

1 comment:

What A Card said...

From far away, it's okay, but up close, it's a big ol' mess.

Yes, I can probably quote Clueless front to back :)

Be glad you didn't get the "no closet" house. We thought we could live in a no closet house. Yeah, now we find out there's no where to put all the kids' stuff! It's a constant disaster zone. Ugh. I'm ready to just get a huge closet organizer and turn the living room into a giant walk-in closet.

Nice to see you yesterday! Glad you made it :)