Super Fast One Month Catch Up (Which of course means: Really Long Blog Entry)
March 31, 2011 § 3 Comments
So today is the three year anniversary at my job. I’ve never stayed at anything for that long. Year of milestones I guess.
I’ve spent the last month too busy looking at houses to write in this thing. Super quick updates since the last time (good thin I put every house in my gcal – neurosis wins again!):
March 1 – The beginning, again
Tuesday night I meet my boyfriend at the train stop and we walk down a row of lovely brick houses, hoping we stop in front of one of them. My realtor comes up to meet us as we arrive and one of the tenants comes out and asks who we are looking for. We tell them we are here to see he house and he shakes his head.
Did anyone tell you we were coming? Asks my realtor.
He points inside. Let me go get the other guy.
Other guy, presumably another tenant comes out. Both of them point to the stairs leading up to a dark apartment and tell us we have to talk to tony. Who is very obviously not home.
As we walk up the stairs we all know it’s futile but we do it anyway.
The tenant meets us on out way down and asks for my realtors card, promising to let the owner know. He says he’s only lived there for a few months and no one has told him anything.
We thank him and walk away, kind of hoping he was totally pulling one over on us and had really been living there for years and wanted to keep it that way.
March 5 and the house that almost was
All week I had been pestering my realtor to get me an appointment a this house on ditmars, about 30 feet away from where one of my best friends just moved.
A dozen dodgy phone calls later, we finally find ourselves in front of the house on a Saturday afternoon. We wait for the selling agent for about 10 minutes and finally shrug and knock on the door.
A very surprised tenant opens the door and we ask if we can see the house. Turns out no one told him what was going on.
A couple walks in behind us and asks if this is the open house. We exchange glances and stifle laughs as we say, Open house?
Tentatively making our way up the stairs, my heart sinks. We can’t get into any of the apartments and it’s clear that the tenants have been living there for ages and had no idea their homes were being potentially uprooted. One half of the couple points to a tiny dead mouse in the corner of the house as we leave.
My realtor has one more appointment scheduled on Vernon in about an hour so I tell him I’m going to wait my my boyfriends house close by.
What a blow. I made the mistake of building that one up in my head and now I feel like I lost something I never had. I whine that I don’t even want to see the other house.
Meander over to Vernon and my realtor comes out of the house very excited. It’s beautiful inside, he says.
I take a 15 minute tour and call my boyfriend. I really like it, I tell him.
Fully renovated, all new appliances, vaulted ceilings, three family, lots of light, huge backyard. All the rooms are at least as big as my room and no railroads going on.
We agree to meet tomorrow to take a look.
This time I have my boyfriend come as my critical eye. He walks in and says, wow, this is really nice. I haven’t heard him say that about any house right off the bat. So I’m not crazy.
This time we go down to the basement to find that the original arches of the house are still in tact. So beautiful.
I would love to have it finished down here, I say offhandedly.
We can do that, the sellers agent says.
How much would it cost?
He puts his hands up. Oh no, that’s all a part of the negotiations. Anything you want to add is negotiable.
Um, okay, cool.
We leave, shaking the seller’s agent’s hand excitedly. My roommates have to come see this.
My only reservation is this house is right next to the projects. Literally, my boyfriend says carefully.
Yeeeaaah, but how bad is that, really? Says naive Pam who wants what she wants.
Well, it’s never good.
Hmm, let’s keep thinking about it.
I email my mortgage guy immediately and ask if I can qualify for a loan for a three family house. This house costs 100k more than I’m currently approved for, yeesh.
Actually, with a three family, your income is secondary to the rental income. The whole calculation changes.
I get a loan approved with flying colors. So easy.
(so at this point you must realize that I didn’t buy this house. If not, hi, I didn’t buy this house. So easy = too easy it turns out.)
My cousin from canada is visiting this week, my cousin who I haven’t seen in five years. At the end of the week, I drag her, her friend, and my two roommates to see the house.
Everyone ooohs and ahhhhs accordingly. I’m already envisioning how I’m going to set up my room.
Before we leave, my realtor says, okay, we need to make an offer tomorrow. Write down all the changes you want to make to the house and think about what you want to offer.
Okay! I say, looking around at my four escorts excitedly.
We get take out and I’m beside myself. Another friend comes over and I tell her all about it.
And its all new and all the appliances are stainless steel and they’re going to do whatever I ask them to do to change it, like add a balcony on the second floor and finish the basement. Theonlyproblemisitsrightnexttotheprojects.
I tell her.
She then begins to retell every horror story I’ve ever heard her tell and how they all happened at the exact intersection where the house is.
Yeah, boy roommate chimes in. I got there a little early to check out the “food outlet” and the first thing someone says to me when I walk in is what are you doing here white boy.
Yeesh times two.
Okay, I can’t buy this house, can I?
My friend shakes her head as she bites into a piece of chicken. I wouldn’t rent a room at that intersection.
Awww, I’m sorry, she says. Think of this as like your rebound house. You just went through a bad house break up and something shiny came along to distract you.
I had already made my list of dream requests. I save it to my drafts for maybe another house and send my realtor a short email with one of the more horrifying stories my friend has told me and an emphatic pass on the house.
March 19 and the house tour of Bushwick
We meet at the first house and it’s another case of my-landlord-didn’t-tell-me-you-were-coming. We leave after tentatively walking through one unit.
The next house has taken some creative license and decided to paint some rooms a pepto bismol bubble gum pink and some rooms a baby blue only a baby should wear. Also, only two of the six bedrooms had windows.
The next house was huge and two of the three units were open. Awkward layout and railroad apartments turn off my boyfriend who comes to meet us to see this one house before rehearsal.
The next house is in an amazing location. Right off wyckoff in between the dekalb and Myrtle l, I’ve been salivating about seeing this house all week.
We get there and meet a tenant with two adorable dogs. He is brisk and says no one told him we were coming. We find out from the sellers agent who is 20 minutes late that the tenants have been living here for about 8-10 years each. Yeesh again.
We walk into the first unit and a very polite couple allow us into their home. I barely remember any features of the house because all I can picture is their wine collection in the corner, two giant, comfortably worn blue suede couches that take up the living room, a lovely bedroom slash office, and a very well-kept kitchen.
I’ll wait for you outside while you go and look at other houses, my roommate mumbles to me.
Oh I’m done. I whisper back. I look at my realtor and shake my head, no more, I’m good.
He says something diplomatic to the selling agent and we leave.
The next day he calls me and very politely tells me that I need to have a more open mind about going into houses with tenants.
You don’t know the tenant-landlord arrangement, he says. Some tenants are offered money to move out and most are given a lot of notice. Very few houses we see in your price range will be vacant. I know you feel bad for the tenants, but you also don’t know their situation.
My realtor has been a real estate agent in New York since 1987. I was 2 years old in 1987. I guess he has an idea of what he’s talking about.
At the end of the day, I still plan to trust my gut. If the situation seems shady, I don’t want to involve myself, no matter how perfect the house.
More house hunting this weekend. Spring is sprung and houses are supposed to pop up all over the place. Someday by prince – er, house – will come.
It’s hard to read this over and over! I really really really hope you find a great house tomorrow or yesterday or next week but from here it’s not looking good. It seems to me like houses in Bushwick are worth more falling apart and going for $600 a room. I feel like maybe you should take a look in other areas, and before you start arguing with me, I know you want to live where you want to live, but just for a week or so maybe pretend you are looking for a house in Kensington or Astoria or Flatbush, I don’t know anything about any of that but I feel like it would give you some good perspective on what you’re seeing now.
What was the intersection with the dream house next to the projects? Was the friend Maggie?
I miss you and your roommate!
Also March 31 is the 2 year anniversary of me leaving on my bike trip! I think I’m riding back to NY this summer!