Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Writer's Block

Yeah, it's been over a week since I blogged. It's not that there's nothing to blog about either. It's just every time I sit down to write something, I stare at the blank page and have nothing to say. Me. With nothing to say. Wow, what are the odds? I probably ought to buy a lottery ticket.

So I'll give you a wrap up of what's going on in real estate:

I'm working with a new set of Brooklynites (I don't care if spell check doesn't like it, I'm calling it a word.) A father/son team. I won't use the term "nice" because honestly that's not a word I use to describe anyone unless I'm gritting my teeth. No, my native New Yorkers are blunt, cynical, open-minded and funny. Just my kind of people. We've looked all over the valley at various areas and at houses of all sorts and tomorrow we're going to narrow it down to exactly what they're looking for. These guys are willing to look at anything because the dad used to do contracting so it's making for some interesting viewings. So far my favorite has been the house with the wallpaper peeling off the walls in big sheets because of the amount of water that has come through the bedroom ceiling. Totally fixable, but the price they were asking was laughable. It would have been high had the house been in pristine condition. We're looking at several more tomorrow and I'm positive we'll be able to find something they'll be able to work with.

Mamoo, Miss Lee & I went to look at a few vacant homes yesterday. Miss Lee is looking for a vintage home, to go with her beautiful vintage style. There are lots of homes from the era that she loves out there. But there are two distinct things about vintage homes: they are either really expensive, or in really bad neighborhoods.

The first house was priced a little high and the neighborhood was questionable. We had tried to look at it previously and been somewhat unsuccessful. The problem was that it was almost dark when we went and there was no electricity so we couldn't see much. Honestly, it looked better in the dark. So we moved on.

The second house was priced really low because it was a fixer. The neighborhood wasn't bad, but the house needed major renovations. It had a lot of potential, but would require a "tore up from the floor up" type renovation. I do have to say though that the shaking, rolling "fun house flooring" in the kitchen was different.

The third house was priced between the first two and was in a much nicer neighborhood. It was a recently renovated 1952 three bedroom home. Now, normally, I would shy away from recently renovated mid-century modern homes. Normally, they are purchased by "flippers" who go through and neutralize them. I call it "flipper beige". They take out the pink, green, yellow & blue tiles and replace them with cheap Home Depot beige tiles. They paint everything either white or beige with white trim. They put in cheap brass fixtures and cheap brass knobs. They top it off with beige tile in the kitchen and beige carpet in the bedrooms. In other words, they suck the life right out of them.

Houses built in this era have a lot of charm because of the colored tile and quirky details, not in spite of them. They have niches and different finishes than every other house. They welcome you. I hate flipper beige houses. But this house? Is decidedly not flipper beige. The investor that bought this house kept the colored tile and kept the little details. And I'm pretty sure she added some back in. The main bath still has it's pink tub surround, but the sink had to be replaced. I would imagine at some point that a previous owner "updated" it and took out the original pink tile. But this investor took the time to add back in white subway tile. And it looks really nice. She also took the time to create new shutters around the windows that look original. She managed to keep the character and still renovate the parts of the house that needed it. She put in a new a/c unit and updated the electrical and plumbing. She painted it inside and out, using crisp white to accent the various built ins. She updated the fixtures with ones that look like they came with the house. And she either kept or added an old Roper six burner stove. The fridge & dishwasher are brand new, but are both white so they match the old stove. How cool is that?

Long story short, Miss Lee loved the house and we submitted an offer. Which they accepted within a short time. Her closing date is in 30 days. If Miss Lee is okay with it, I'll try and post pictures of her new home at some point in the future. And I look forward to sitting on her back patio, overlooking her green yard, drinking coffee with Mamoo & Miss Lee in just 30 days.