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For Nancy S in Maine

Posted by Kathy G on 7/02/02 at 18:35 (088946)

My husband just told me that a friend with a summerhouse at Hills Beach told him that the house on the uppermost point of Hills Beach sold for $1.3 million this week! It's just a simple ranch but they intend to tear it down and build a much bigger one! The location is beautiful but this person is afraid it's the beginning of the end for the area. She fears that people will begin to buy up the cottages and replace them with big houses, one by one.

Wow - I can remember when no one even knew where Biddeford,Maine was - or cared, for that matter! Hang on to your place at Old Orchard - it could be worth millions one day!

Re: For Nancy S in Maine

nancy s. on 7/03/02 at 09:58 (089020)

first of all, it's ghastly hot here in maine right now too. 94 degrees and climbing, and very humid. i've been a complete zombie. we get a nice little seabreeze every once in a while, and then -- poof -- it's gone. we finally found and put our one air conditioner in the upstairs den -- where the computer is, which is why i can type at all today. yuck! heat makes me sick. since this is unusual for the coast here, i'm hoping it means i won't have to keep moving north to escape. i'd like to stay here awhile!

kathy, that's incredible, the price of that hills beach house. unfortunately, i do think it reflects a trend. they're paying for the location and then want to tear down the old cottages and build big starter mcmansions. in ocean park and old orchard, the cottages aren't on big enough pieces of land for that to happen, thank god, plus many of us are on dune land, which is epa-protected -- meaning you cannot add to the footprint of the building already there. whew! but i do hope hills beach will save itself somehow from 'progress.'

the town we left to move here -- westbrook -- is an old factory town and wasn't considered desirable at all. but even there, during our ten years, all sorts of old houses and trees were razed and cut down and replaced with treeless all-the-same mcmansion developments.

most of the new houses are big enough to hold 10 or 12 people, but it's usually a couple with one or two kids that spend every cent they don't have to live in one of those things. i don't get it.

we'll keep an eye on hills beach for ya, kathy, and if we can have any say, sign any petitions, whatever, to help save it from rampaging development, we'll be doing it.

stay cool however you can!
nancy

Re: small houses/cottages

Carole C in NOLA on 7/03/02 at 12:12 (089036)

What is it with people wanting to live in huge houses? More and more people are divorcing and living alone, and yet houses get bigger and bigger. I would so much rather live in a small house, since there's only one of me. Around here it seems like most of the small houses are falling apart and not in good areas.

I'm not yet sure if such a thing as an upgraded small house even exists here. If someone has more money than a bare bones small house costs, they get a bigger house instead of fixing up the smaller one. I guess the world takes all kinds, as they say.

Carole C

Re: small houses/cottages

nancy s. on 7/03/02 at 13:08 (089038)

ah, another person after my own heart. i'm with you, carole. i just don't get it. when i was single (for a long time) and renting, i once had an apartment with two bedrooms instead of one. i didn't know what to do with it. the choice of rooms was confusing. i used it for storage that i didn't really need and kept the door shut. (of course, that was before i became self-employed and developed five too many interests to boot.)

now it seems that as families get smaller, the houses get bigger.

my husband's job isn't glamorous, but he spends the bulk of his work time renovating older houses that still have a lot of life left in them if someone will do the work. i feel it's a real contribution on his part as well as on the part of the people who hire him.

now that we buy instead of rent, we always get some run-down thing that he spends a few years building back up. if we ever buy a place that needs no work, he'll be devastated, even if he's 90 years old. i'm typing in the middle of a construction site right now, and it threatens to go on for several months! remind me not to complain if the hammering gets to my head....

i hope you find that smaller house you'd like, in a decent area!

nancy

Re: small houses/cottages

Carole C in NOLA on 7/03/02 at 21:48 (089074)

You are so lucky to have a husband who is interested in renovating. I'll bet that you have saved a lot of money that way.

I'm hoping to not have to do too much renovating. Then maybe I'll be able to get some built in bookcases installed, or perhaps get a fancier front door, if the house needs things like that.

I found one beautiful brick house on a corner today that seemed nice, even though it is 1700 square feet and I'd prefer 1200-1300. But, it's not perfect; the roof is old, and it would be hard to resell because it has almost no backyard. Also, it has a half bath in the garage. How weird is that. LOL

So for now, I'll keep looking. Emile, my realtor, says that when I find my house I'll really know it in my heart.

Carole C

Re: small houses/cottages

Kathy G on 7/04/02 at 08:38 (089097)

This fixation with large houses is a really strange phenomenon that's evolving. Here in southern NH, most of the new houses are large, with at least four bedrooms and many look like Monopoly houses that grew up out of the land. In the typical family, both parents work full time. Monday through Friday, they pick their two children up from daycare, rush home to make supper (or stop for takeout on the way home), throw in a few washes, get the kids to bed and then wake up to start it all over again. Weekends are spent food shopping, cleaning and doing yard chores. Monday, they start it all over again. I just can't figure it out! It's not like they get to spend much time in their beautiful, enormous houses! I just think they're letting life slip by without taking any time to enjoy themselves or their children!

As Nancy said, Mchouses is the name of the game. Super-sized is better. They all drive SUV's - not small cars. And so many are cutting it so close financially because they have these enormous mortgage payments and the stess level has got to be unbelievable. I sound old but I really want to tell them to slow down and review their priorities.

That said, of course, it should come as no surprise that we still live in the same small ranch that we bought 23 years ago. It was considered a 'starter house' but we decided years ago that it was going to be our 'finisher' house, too! We keep making changes in it to satisfy ourselves and we're really very happy with it. It's exactly what you're looking for, Carole. It would be an awful long commute from New Orleans, though!

It's great, Nancy, that your husband is renovating older homes. In our town, we don't have a historical district but recently, they've decided to let the historical society make non-binding recommendations. They don't have much power but it's better than nothing. The lovely old house in which my husband grew up was sold by the people who bought if from his parents a few years ago to be torn down to make way for a Rite-Aid. I fear that Joni Mitchell's song about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot is becoming a true reality here in southern NH.

Re: small houses/cottages

nancy s. on 7/04/02 at 16:01 (089124)

congratulations, carole! (from another thread -- on your approval.) it's both very stressful and very exciting to look for a house. you definitely know you're alive.

about that half bath in the garage: now, there's a full bath in the house, right? i'm sure this is a stupid question, but up here you never know! someone must have used the garage as a workshop area or something. i know i wished we'd had one in the barn in our old place.

i think your realtor is right: you KNOW when a house feels right. it may not have every single thing you hoped for, but the main stuff is there and you feel 'at home.' i felt that way as soon as i walked into both houses we've bought. we have almost 1200 sq ft for two of us (plus three kitties), so i don't blame you for wanting less than 1700. but it depends on the layout too. have fun looking, and best of luck in finding what you want.

it's true that we're in luck that phil renovates for his work. if he didn't, we'd be living in a shack, because hiring out is really expensive. but at the rate you've got, you should be able to find a nice place.

kathy, i'm so impressed that you've stayed in the same house for so many years. i have to say, i don't notice that people in mcmansions seem any happier than the rest of us -- in fact life seems more stressful. it looks that way from the outside, anyway. i think what you describe isn't happening only in new hampshire -- it's happening all over the country. sad. it seems if people would really stop and think and prioritize, this path to nowhere would change. maybe it will, in the big picture, as evolution continues.

nancy
p.s. carole, a corner lot is considered very desirable. if there's even a small yard, sometimes the corner position makes up for lack of a bigger yard. and if you get a brick house, i'll be very envious!

Re: small houses/cottages

Carole C in NOLA on 7/04/02 at 17:30 (089127)

Nancy, I do like that house on the corner with the little yard. It's brick, too! It is about 20 minutes away, just past the suburbs, and it's actually at the intersection of three streets so it's on a corner, and so is the (only) house next door. It does have two full baths inside, both with shower/tubs. The man who lives there is retired and does a lot of work in his garage. His wife made him put in the half bath out there so that he wouldn't mess up the house so much going back and forth to the bathroom. The house has built in bookcases all across the den, on either side of the fireplace, and that carpeted, sunken den looks so comfortable to me.

Today, I've been looking at the outsides of houses that are more in town than the one I liked. It's kind of worrisome to look at houses in town, because we have big problems with subsidence. When subsidence is really bad, houses become uninhabitable due to it. Most houses only have some, but they have to have the plumbing replaced under the slab now and then due to the ground sinking, and that kind of thing. I really want my house to be on reasonably solid ground, but that's very difficult here.

I saw one today in the middle of my price range that looks like it's on fairly solid ground. It has a garage and French doors across the front of the house. It's in a very convenient location in town, across from a school. It's hard to tell in the summertime how difficult that might make life.

Tomorrow Emile (my realtor) is going to show me some more properties, so maybe he can show me that one too.

Carole C

Re: McMansions and McSchools

Suzanne D on 7/04/02 at 17:31 (089128)

The trend you all are speaking of is also happening in schools around here - probably all over the country. And I question if progress is always worth it in schools as well as homes.

For instance, the elementary school where I teach has almost 300 students. The building is old - and I'm not saying it couldn't stand some repairs - but all in all it has been kept up well and is always very clean and inviting. It has character - an old-style two-story school of brick with wonderful wood floors and carpet and an old gym with beautiful wood floors. The older people in the community come to our Fall Festival and remember going all 12 years of school here. There is standing room only for our Christmas programs, and parents feel very welcome to come at any time. The gym is opened on Sunday evenings for basketball, and the community really utilizes our school. Some miles away is an even smaller elementary school with people who love it, too, and a long history in its community.

So you guessed it: we are being consolidated and moving into a new 'super school' in January. It is one-story and sprawls out impressively about 5 miles away from here. But the floors are all concrete and tile - even the gym, and our P.E. teacher is about to have a fit over that. He has pushed and begged and pleaded for wood as he fears stress fractures and other problems. We can have a lovely sculpture in the front entrance-way, but there is not money for a wood floor.

The next year there will be re-districting in our large county system, and we will have 600 students in the building after that. Many of us fear we will lose more than we will gain. But we have not been able to halt progress.

Ironically the other school where I have taught -in a neighboring county - is also being replaced. They are scheduled to move in at the start of this year.

When I write about this, I feel like an 'old' person who must sound as if she is ready to retire along with the buildings. That is not the case! And I'm sure many years ago, people hated to lose the old one-room schools. In the end, it's the people who make the difference, but it will take effort to not let the building overwhelm us.

Well, enough of that. I'll get off my soapbox now! I do agree with what you all have said about the houses, though.

Take care,
Suzanne :-)

Re: McMansions and McSchools

Carole C in NOLA on 7/04/02 at 17:46 (089132)

Oh Suzanne, I could not agree with you more. I felt the same way when I was a student... learning seems to be encouraged by comfortable surroundings, and so often the newer buildings seem to be built to impress, rather than to be used.

You don't sound old at all. You sound like someone who has some knowledge and experience when it comes to schoolrooms.

I just hope they made it big enough, so that the children won't be out in portable buildings in a year or two. I've lived in communities that actually were that short-sighted when building new schools!

Carole C

Re: McMansions and McSchools

Suzanne D on 7/04/02 at 17:55 (089135)

You're so right, Carole! In fact, that's where the redistricting will come in - to help relieve the overcrowding in one of the bigger, newer buildings in the county. They have 3 or 4 portable buildings sitting beside their school now. We are in the southern, less-populated rural area of our large county. We have not grown like the area nearer town, so we will be absorbing some of their overcrowded population.

And, yes, students will not be nearly as impressed with a statue in the entrance-way as they will be in the comfort and attractiveness of their classroom. I have heard others talk of new buildings in which they are not allowed to hang up things in the hallways, on certain walls. I hate that 'institutional' look. I keep my walls 'plastered' with things, the hallway full of the children's work, and the door covered part of the way (just leaving enough open for me to see out but keeping the children from being distracted) and have curtains hanging at the top.

Goodness, I didn't mean to get started again...Thanks for understanding!

Suzanne :-)

Re: McMansions and McSchools - To Carole

Kathy G on 7/05/02 at 08:23 (089165)

Carole,

I looked up subsidence in the dictionary and then realized that you went on to explain it in your posting. I never knew that could be a problem. Of course, here in New England, unless a house is close to the ocean or a lake, it has a basement. Now, I know this is a stupid question, but why is it more of a problem with the houses closer to town? In fact, I'm really interested in why it happens it all. Is it because of soil conditions? I sound like the country hick I am but can you explain?

The brick house really does sound intriguing. And the idea that the wife had the husband put in the bathroom in the garage makes me think that she must have really taken good care of the house. She was probably a pain to live with but the result would be a really well-maintained home!

This sounds like an exciting time in your life although a bit daunting. Have you looked at any condos yet?

Re: McMansions and McSchools - To Suzanne

Kathy G on 7/05/02 at 08:40 (089167)

Hi Suzanne,

You're so right. This is happening everywhere throughout the country. We just opened a new elementary school in town but have another building in which we are housing Readiness and Grade One. Many people wanted to have two small schools but the majority were opposed to the idea of 'neighborhood' schools, so we ended up with one monstrosity. It took four or five years to get the elementary school approved. I was in the minority because I favored two smaller schools. We would have renovated the building in which readiness and Grade One is now situated. The majority of people wanted a new super-sized building so that's what we have.

What's ironic is that our middle school is in desperate need of an addition and this keeps getting defeated. I don't know where they think all the kids from the elementary school are going to fit when they graduate to middle school. The middle school was supposed to be built in phases but this final phase has been voted down at least three times.

New Hampshire has the dubious distinction of having no sales tax and no income tax so our property taxes support education. The result is that rich communities have better schools than the poorer communities. The issue has gone to court and it's being tossed about but the bottom line is that some of our schools are not very good. Our town is in the middle of the pack, so to speak, but education is a very volatile issue. Our town is one of the few without public kindergarten, which is not state-mandated (or supported). The latest strategy is to eliminate Readiness in the hopes that people will support kindergarten but it is being done at the expense of the children.

I hope you enjoy your teaching next week. Is it the Title One program under which you are teaching? My sister-in-law and friend each taught that during the summers they had children in college. They're like you; they just love the little ones and really enjoyed the experience.

Re: McMansions and McSchools - To Carole

Carole C in NOLA on 7/05/02 at 13:23 (089178)

Kathy, subsidence is particularly a problem in the the New Orleans area.

This city is built below sea level, with a complicated systems of levees and pumps to keep the water out. If you dig a hole very deep, it fills with water. That is why houses here do not have basements and why the dead are buried in above ground cemetaries here.

Much of the New Orleans suburbs, such as Metairie and Kenner, are reclaimed swampland located between levees at Lake Ponchartrain and at the Mississippi River. There has also been a lot of fill used under some areas. If you can imagine building levees around a swamp and pumping the water out, and then filling in the low spots with landfill, that is what we are built on. The land is not that stable, especially during drought conditions like we had last year, when the land cracks and settles.

As a result, most houses suffer from some effects of subsidence. I've seen houses literally broken in half and uninhabitable from it. Most houses just show it in that the driveway tilts down from the house to the street more than it once did, so it may have broken or it may be difficult to get into a garage. People try to repair the effects of subsidence but usually it's apparent around the slab.

When the land shifts under a house, the plumbing under the slab may have to be replaced. That is very expensive. Also, people sometimes have to put more dirt around their houses and re-do the landscaping.

I really know very little about subsidence, so that is why I want to avoid it and its problems. The cute brick house that I talked about before, is outside of the New Orleans 'soupbowl', and so subsidence is not considered to be a problem there. Yes, that house was very clean and very well maintained by the Creole couple that lived there.

One other problem with that house that I forgot, is that the husband put a porch swing under the tree in the front yard. It's supported by a metal stand shaped like an inverted 'U' that looks very sturdy. He said he would take the swing, but the stand stays. It probably goes clear to the center of the earth, with a couple of billion pounds of concrete down there to keep it steady, and I have no idea what to do with it other than to put up another porch swing.

Today I saw a house that I think may be better! I haven't seen the inside, though. It's on a dead end street, up by the lake where there is much less subsidence, and it's not showing any subsidence at all. It's very cute with an elegant double door. It is twenty years old but looks well maintained from the outside. It has no garage, but I guess I can live with that. It is a great neighborhood, and I will try to get my agent to show it to me.

Carole C

Re: Kathy...

Suzanne D on 7/05/02 at 21:39 (089199)

I would have been agreeing with you, Kathy, about wanting the two schools. Unfortunately, many people equate quality with something being new and big and fully equipped with the latest in technology. But that does not ensure good learning. You would not believe the waste that occurs when huge amounts of money are dumped into a school to buy the latest computers, calculators,etc. Many times the teachers aren't trained to use them, and they sit there wasted.

Kindergarten is state mandated and has been for many years here in Kentucky. But it is just now all day in my district. It has been half-day for years. Last year in fact was the first year for it at my school. As a first grade teacher, I am anxious to see how that affects my class who just completed full days of kindergarten.

And yes, the summer school next week is funded by Title One money. I am ready to meet the children Monday!

I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne :-)

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 15:49 (089216)

I was SO SURE that the house on the dead end street was the one for me. Today I got to see the inside of it.

I can't believe that anyone would let their house go that much in the mere 20 years since it was built. The living room was dark and not clean, the wallpaper was ugly and messy, and the kitchen was, well, functional is the only kind word I have for it. It was depressing. And, I don't want a fixer-upper, I want an already-been-fixed-up.

BUMMER! I was so sure that was my house. But, I brought a list of the dozen best that I had seen on drive-by's, and gave it to Emile (my realtor). He is going to show me at least half of them on Monday.

Suzanne mentioned a children's book a while back, which my daughter and I read while she was growing up. We loved it and reading it together was a very close and loving time for us. The book is about a little bird that fell out of his nest and was looking for his mother. He'd walk around and say to everyone he came across, 'Are YOU my MOTHER?', and finally found her in the end.

I feel like the little bird, except instead of 'Are YOU my MOTHER???' I'd be saying, 'Is THIS my HOUSE???' I am going to be so happy to really have a home of my own to settle in, a place where I can stay indefinitely. I know it's out there but I just have to find it.

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

nancy s. on 7/06/02 at 17:14 (089220)

i'm sure it's out there too, carole. it sounds like you have a very nice realtor.

the realtor we had when we first bought a house 11 years ago gave us a multiple listing book and said 'do some drive-bys and then call me.' i did a million drive-bys (ok, maybe only 500,000), and picked out five for us to see the inside of.

when phil called the realtor to take us to see them, he declared, 'i'm not really interested in running a taxi service' (!). i guess he thought we were supposed to buy just from seeing the outside so his golf games wouldn't be interrupted!

so we called the listing realtors to show us the houses, and fell in love with the second place and bought it. our snobby realtor lost out on a very easy commission.

but i digress! you have a good one, and remember that there WILL be disappointments along the way -- it comes with the territory. remember not to try to make yourself love something you don't. wait for that 'at home' feeling.

good luck!
nancy

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 18:32 (089225)

You are right, Nancy, Emile is a pretty good realtor. He pointed me towards the right URL for all the MLS listings in the area, but he didn't stop there.

He's doing a lot of work for me on his own, even though he has several other clients right now and is going through 'the closing from h*ll' with some rather peculiar ones. He sent me 55 listing sheets by e-mail this morning, that he had compiled over the fourth of July. I drove by 26 of them this morning.

He doesn't quite know what to make of me yet, or what to find for me, and that is his major flaw as a realtor so far. For example, 15 of the 55 were houses with over 5 bedrooms, two stories, or over 2300 square feet, so they will do me no good. But at least he's trying, and included some very good properties that I missed when I went through the MLS listings myself, some of which are now on my 'short list' after driving by. He says he really wants to make a sale. I believe him, because twice he asked me why I chose him, out of the blue.

Your realtor sounds awful. Emile was better than that even before I got prequalified with the mortgage company.

Emile also has been helping me to avoid neighborhoods where subsidence or flooding are unusually problematic. After he told me of the subsidence problems in a particular area, I drove around and yes, the ground looked unevenly sunken and terrible, and the houses were not doing so well either.

I also asked him if a house in a rather posh area was underpriced, and he said, 'no, it's over $100/square foot! Look at how small it is'. So he's helpful in grounding me in reality. And yes, that house is at the top of my list for Monday. :)

Today I was determined to love the insides of the house we viewed, because the location was absolutely ideal... no subsidence, no flooding, and a safe and convenient neighborhood... MY kind of neighborhood... and also because the outside of the house looked immaculate. But, when we entered, I must have looked like I had seen the grim reaper. I could hardly speak. Emile was watching me and I'm really glad that he figured out my response just by my face. I didn't have to tell him a thing.

After we had seen all the rooms, I told him, 'Well, I guess we should go see the backyard', and he said quietly, 'Not unless you are interested'. So, he knew exactly where I was coming from. We left.

Bobbie, my ex steady date and now just my friend, has been teasing me about Emile because Emile is a handsome man in his late fifties. He says I should get to know him more closely, but I told him that is silly because Emile is married. Unhappily married is still married.

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Suzanne D on 7/06/02 at 18:34 (089226)

Carole, I know you will find just the right house. And when you do, all the looking and the effort will be worth it! :-)

Yes, the children and I really like the book ARE YOU MY MOTHER? That was a cute comparison. I'm sure you feel about like that little bird as you go around looking for YOUR house!

It DOES sound like you have a good, responsive realtor. I'm glad that he is working well with you.

Good luck! I look forward to reading more about your house hunting.

Suzanne :-)

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Suzanne D on 7/06/02 at 18:47 (089227)

It wasn't boring at all, Carole. First because I am interested in YOU and what is important to you, and second because it is interesting to me to read about your house-hunting. Having always lived in church parsonages, I find it quite interesting to hear about your adventures with this.

My, there must be a lot of houses for sale in your area! Of course, I forget how big your city is!

Keep telling us about your experiences; I enjoy hearing about it.

Suzanne :-)

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

nancy s. on 7/06/02 at 19:01 (089228)

i agree with suzanne: not boring! it's a long, hard process, usually. and i think i forgot to say that the little tale i told was the second period of looking for us -- we looked for a month a while before that and gave up.

this guy does sound good. they work with so many people that it does take a while for them to get a handle on what a particular person is looking for. he seems interested in learning that, so he should be a good person to work with.

i think the most tiring part is thinking 'this might be it,' and then going inside, trying hard to picture yourself there, and realizing it isn't right. after you picture yourself and your whole future life several times in a bunch of different places, it can get pretty disorienting! but then there's the anticipation all over again of one that seems good -- and going to find out.

it takes a lot out of you, but it's exciting at the same time.

i must've missed something -- about emile being unhappily married? you're right, though: unhappily married is still married. when you try to ignore that, you end up the unhappily unmarried, right? (i remember it well and wouldn't touch it with a 100-foot pole.) trading unmarried & doing fine for that is a bad bargain. i can tell you know this already.

nancy

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 20:31 (089230)

There are a lot for sale here, Suzanne! It amazes me too. There are 652 properties for sale in the two suburbs I'm primarily interested in, plus the properties out in the country that I was interested in at first.

I'm glad my post wasn't too boring. It helps me to think things through when I can discuss with my friends here, even if it's not exactly FOOT stuff. LOL

Carole C

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 21:00 (089231)

Well, when I first talked to Emile, I told him I was looking for a house for me alone. I told him that after four years of happily living alone I was absolutely certain I would never be remarrying or living with anyone else ever again, if I could help it.

In response, he blurted out 'Believe me, I know EXACTLY what you mean!' Then he said he is married, but that he feels the same way. We both quickly changed the subject at that point and all has been totally professional since. I don't mess around with the married guys, period, so it's kind of irrelevant anyway. Bobbie knows that, so he's teasing me about it, gently. :)

Thanks for the encouragement about Emile figuring out what I want. I have to admit, it's pretty hard because I'm not even sure what I want from moment to moment. It is like a learning process, as I look at houses and realize things. Like, I thought getting a house with or without a pool would be OK until I looked at that house with a pool, and then realized I don't want one. I originally thought I absolutely HAD to have a garage, but now that I discover that so few houses here have a garage, I feel like that's just a 'plus', not a 'must'. At first, I thought a two story house with a bedroom downstairs would be OK, until I discovered that there are plenty of one story houses to choose from and I'd prefer that. So, he's trying to keep up with my learning curve and it's sometimes a little difficult.

It was very sobering to try to picture myself living in that disaster of a house we viewed today. I could see myself there, living in that dark, oddly smelling place, depressed and discouraged with life. Ugh! At least the decision was easy.

I'm trying to get excited about another house the way I was about the one today. I think I'm getting pretty interested in the small house in the posh neighborhood. I am just exactly the right person for a small house, and the neighborhood meets my four requirements (minimal subsidence and flooding, safe quiet area, and convenient). It has been on the market for a couple of months, so I'm wondering why. It has ceramic floors in the den, but if I get it I'll have it re-done or something. It would be a great investment compared with the others I've been looking at, because of the location.

I wonder how many houses most people look at before they buy? So far, Emile has shown me 7, and with 6 more Monday that will be 13. I am awfully particular and the 'gut feeling' factor is so important. I can't just say, 'it has to have this and this and this', because it's just not that logical with me.

Let's hope that one of the houses Monday is the one. Bobbie (ex steady date) told me tonight that he thinks I should build, instead, but I don't think I will. There are not many vacant lots around here, and only one in a neighborhood I like.

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

wendyn on 7/06/02 at 23:45 (089240)

When we found our house, it was after seeing several on a particular day. There was a numer of 'spec' homes that had been built and they were just sitting empty (market was lousy at the time). Everyone had told me that 'you just know' when you find the right one.

We came in this house even though it was about $7,000 more than what we were hoping to spend. As soon as I saw the kitchen, something clicked - I thought 'I can see myself in this kitchen'. After we saw the whole house and went home, I told hubby I'd found what I wanted.

He couldn't believe it since I'm always the 'cheap' one in the family and I was going over budget.

But - when you know you know.

If we'd bought the smaller one, we would have moved by now....I know you'll find the right place Carole!!!!

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Carole C in NOLA on 7/07/02 at 00:16 (089241)

I sure hope that happens to me too, Wendy! What an encouraging story. There are a lot of homes available here right now, and I just need to find the right one. We don't have any spec homes in the suburbs I'm looking in, because of the shrinking population, but there are some that are empty because the owners have moved away.

I don't even need to worry too much about going over budget, because I want a small home and the high dollar homes are too big for me. I would feel lost in a home over 1800 square feet or so, all by myself! And the energy bills might be pretty high in a big home, too.

I wonder what my home will be like. Will it have a bay window with a view of the back yard, where I can put my breakfast table? Will it have a pantry? Or (dare I hope) a separate, glassed in shower with a built in seat/ledge? It's late so I'll go to bed and dream about it, perhaps. :)

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

john h on 7/07/02 at 19:14 (089250)

Carole: Since you started house hunting I cant stop humming 'This Old House' by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Buy a house please so I can get this tune out of my head.

Re: house-hunting and children's books

john h on 7/07/02 at 19:21 (089252)

Wendy: When I saw our house for the first time that is exactly what I said. I can see my self in this kitchen.

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Carole C in NOLA on 7/07/02 at 20:26 (089260)

I am hoping that I can buy one soon too! On Tuesday Emile promises to take me to ten houses after work. I don't know if that is possible, but we will try!

You may have to start humming 'This New House' if there's such a song. One of the houses we will look at is only 8 years old (and costs an arm and a leg).

Also there is a wonderful house that we will see which is only 25 years old, and it's the one I'm dreaming of now. It has 1450 square feet, with lots of light (I like that part!) and recently updated with a new kitchen and new flooring. That's the one I'm dreaming about now. It has an ornate wrought iron gate into a garden, before you get to the front door, and I am so curious about the garden. It has a carport and is advertised as 'cute as a bug'. I never really thought bugs were that cute, but I hope I like the house.

Carole C

Re: PS, John, your other post to me just now got messed up (nm)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/07/02 at 20:27 (089261)

.

Re: For Nancy S in Maine

nancy s. on 7/03/02 at 09:58 (089020)

first of all, it's ghastly hot here in maine right now too. 94 degrees and climbing, and very humid. i've been a complete zombie. we get a nice little seabreeze every once in a while, and then -- poof -- it's gone. we finally found and put our one air conditioner in the upstairs den -- where the computer is, which is why i can type at all today. yuck! heat makes me sick. since this is unusual for the coast here, i'm hoping it means i won't have to keep moving north to escape. i'd like to stay here awhile!

kathy, that's incredible, the price of that hills beach house. unfortunately, i do think it reflects a trend. they're paying for the location and then want to tear down the old cottages and build big starter mcmansions. in ocean park and old orchard, the cottages aren't on big enough pieces of land for that to happen, thank god, plus many of us are on dune land, which is epa-protected -- meaning you cannot add to the footprint of the building already there. whew! but i do hope hills beach will save itself somehow from 'progress.'

the town we left to move here -- westbrook -- is an old factory town and wasn't considered desirable at all. but even there, during our ten years, all sorts of old houses and trees were razed and cut down and replaced with treeless all-the-same mcmansion developments.

most of the new houses are big enough to hold 10 or 12 people, but it's usually a couple with one or two kids that spend every cent they don't have to live in one of those things. i don't get it.

we'll keep an eye on hills beach for ya, kathy, and if we can have any say, sign any petitions, whatever, to help save it from rampaging development, we'll be doing it.

stay cool however you can!
nancy

Re: small houses/cottages

Carole C in NOLA on 7/03/02 at 12:12 (089036)

What is it with people wanting to live in huge houses? More and more people are divorcing and living alone, and yet houses get bigger and bigger. I would so much rather live in a small house, since there's only one of me. Around here it seems like most of the small houses are falling apart and not in good areas.

I'm not yet sure if such a thing as an upgraded small house even exists here. If someone has more money than a bare bones small house costs, they get a bigger house instead of fixing up the smaller one. I guess the world takes all kinds, as they say.

Carole C

Re: small houses/cottages

nancy s. on 7/03/02 at 13:08 (089038)

ah, another person after my own heart. i'm with you, carole. i just don't get it. when i was single (for a long time) and renting, i once had an apartment with two bedrooms instead of one. i didn't know what to do with it. the choice of rooms was confusing. i used it for storage that i didn't really need and kept the door shut. (of course, that was before i became self-employed and developed five too many interests to boot.)

now it seems that as families get smaller, the houses get bigger.

my husband's job isn't glamorous, but he spends the bulk of his work time renovating older houses that still have a lot of life left in them if someone will do the work. i feel it's a real contribution on his part as well as on the part of the people who hire him.

now that we buy instead of rent, we always get some run-down thing that he spends a few years building back up. if we ever buy a place that needs no work, he'll be devastated, even if he's 90 years old. i'm typing in the middle of a construction site right now, and it threatens to go on for several months! remind me not to complain if the hammering gets to my head....

i hope you find that smaller house you'd like, in a decent area!

nancy

Re: small houses/cottages

Carole C in NOLA on 7/03/02 at 21:48 (089074)

You are so lucky to have a husband who is interested in renovating. I'll bet that you have saved a lot of money that way.

I'm hoping to not have to do too much renovating. Then maybe I'll be able to get some built in bookcases installed, or perhaps get a fancier front door, if the house needs things like that.

I found one beautiful brick house on a corner today that seemed nice, even though it is 1700 square feet and I'd prefer 1200-1300. But, it's not perfect; the roof is old, and it would be hard to resell because it has almost no backyard. Also, it has a half bath in the garage. How weird is that. LOL

So for now, I'll keep looking. Emile, my realtor, says that when I find my house I'll really know it in my heart.

Carole C

Re: small houses/cottages

Kathy G on 7/04/02 at 08:38 (089097)

This fixation with large houses is a really strange phenomenon that's evolving. Here in southern NH, most of the new houses are large, with at least four bedrooms and many look like Monopoly houses that grew up out of the land. In the typical family, both parents work full time. Monday through Friday, they pick their two children up from daycare, rush home to make supper (or stop for takeout on the way home), throw in a few washes, get the kids to bed and then wake up to start it all over again. Weekends are spent food shopping, cleaning and doing yard chores. Monday, they start it all over again. I just can't figure it out! It's not like they get to spend much time in their beautiful, enormous houses! I just think they're letting life slip by without taking any time to enjoy themselves or their children!

As Nancy said, Mchouses is the name of the game. Super-sized is better. They all drive SUV's - not small cars. And so many are cutting it so close financially because they have these enormous mortgage payments and the stess level has got to be unbelievable. I sound old but I really want to tell them to slow down and review their priorities.

That said, of course, it should come as no surprise that we still live in the same small ranch that we bought 23 years ago. It was considered a 'starter house' but we decided years ago that it was going to be our 'finisher' house, too! We keep making changes in it to satisfy ourselves and we're really very happy with it. It's exactly what you're looking for, Carole. It would be an awful long commute from New Orleans, though!

It's great, Nancy, that your husband is renovating older homes. In our town, we don't have a historical district but recently, they've decided to let the historical society make non-binding recommendations. They don't have much power but it's better than nothing. The lovely old house in which my husband grew up was sold by the people who bought if from his parents a few years ago to be torn down to make way for a Rite-Aid. I fear that Joni Mitchell's song about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot is becoming a true reality here in southern NH.

Re: small houses/cottages

nancy s. on 7/04/02 at 16:01 (089124)

congratulations, carole! (from another thread -- on your approval.) it's both very stressful and very exciting to look for a house. you definitely know you're alive.

about that half bath in the garage: now, there's a full bath in the house, right? i'm sure this is a stupid question, but up here you never know! someone must have used the garage as a workshop area or something. i know i wished we'd had one in the barn in our old place.

i think your realtor is right: you KNOW when a house feels right. it may not have every single thing you hoped for, but the main stuff is there and you feel 'at home.' i felt that way as soon as i walked into both houses we've bought. we have almost 1200 sq ft for two of us (plus three kitties), so i don't blame you for wanting less than 1700. but it depends on the layout too. have fun looking, and best of luck in finding what you want.

it's true that we're in luck that phil renovates for his work. if he didn't, we'd be living in a shack, because hiring out is really expensive. but at the rate you've got, you should be able to find a nice place.

kathy, i'm so impressed that you've stayed in the same house for so many years. i have to say, i don't notice that people in mcmansions seem any happier than the rest of us -- in fact life seems more stressful. it looks that way from the outside, anyway. i think what you describe isn't happening only in new hampshire -- it's happening all over the country. sad. it seems if people would really stop and think and prioritize, this path to nowhere would change. maybe it will, in the big picture, as evolution continues.

nancy
p.s. carole, a corner lot is considered very desirable. if there's even a small yard, sometimes the corner position makes up for lack of a bigger yard. and if you get a brick house, i'll be very envious!

Re: small houses/cottages

Carole C in NOLA on 7/04/02 at 17:30 (089127)

Nancy, I do like that house on the corner with the little yard. It's brick, too! It is about 20 minutes away, just past the suburbs, and it's actually at the intersection of three streets so it's on a corner, and so is the (only) house next door. It does have two full baths inside, both with shower/tubs. The man who lives there is retired and does a lot of work in his garage. His wife made him put in the half bath out there so that he wouldn't mess up the house so much going back and forth to the bathroom. The house has built in bookcases all across the den, on either side of the fireplace, and that carpeted, sunken den looks so comfortable to me.

Today, I've been looking at the outsides of houses that are more in town than the one I liked. It's kind of worrisome to look at houses in town, because we have big problems with subsidence. When subsidence is really bad, houses become uninhabitable due to it. Most houses only have some, but they have to have the plumbing replaced under the slab now and then due to the ground sinking, and that kind of thing. I really want my house to be on reasonably solid ground, but that's very difficult here.

I saw one today in the middle of my price range that looks like it's on fairly solid ground. It has a garage and French doors across the front of the house. It's in a very convenient location in town, across from a school. It's hard to tell in the summertime how difficult that might make life.

Tomorrow Emile (my realtor) is going to show me some more properties, so maybe he can show me that one too.

Carole C

Re: McMansions and McSchools

Suzanne D on 7/04/02 at 17:31 (089128)

The trend you all are speaking of is also happening in schools around here - probably all over the country. And I question if progress is always worth it in schools as well as homes.

For instance, the elementary school where I teach has almost 300 students. The building is old - and I'm not saying it couldn't stand some repairs - but all in all it has been kept up well and is always very clean and inviting. It has character - an old-style two-story school of brick with wonderful wood floors and carpet and an old gym with beautiful wood floors. The older people in the community come to our Fall Festival and remember going all 12 years of school here. There is standing room only for our Christmas programs, and parents feel very welcome to come at any time. The gym is opened on Sunday evenings for basketball, and the community really utilizes our school. Some miles away is an even smaller elementary school with people who love it, too, and a long history in its community.

So you guessed it: we are being consolidated and moving into a new 'super school' in January. It is one-story and sprawls out impressively about 5 miles away from here. But the floors are all concrete and tile - even the gym, and our P.E. teacher is about to have a fit over that. He has pushed and begged and pleaded for wood as he fears stress fractures and other problems. We can have a lovely sculpture in the front entrance-way, but there is not money for a wood floor.

The next year there will be re-districting in our large county system, and we will have 600 students in the building after that. Many of us fear we will lose more than we will gain. But we have not been able to halt progress.

Ironically the other school where I have taught -in a neighboring county - is also being replaced. They are scheduled to move in at the start of this year.

When I write about this, I feel like an 'old' person who must sound as if she is ready to retire along with the buildings. That is not the case! And I'm sure many years ago, people hated to lose the old one-room schools. In the end, it's the people who make the difference, but it will take effort to not let the building overwhelm us.

Well, enough of that. I'll get off my soapbox now! I do agree with what you all have said about the houses, though.

Take care,
Suzanne :-)

Re: McMansions and McSchools

Carole C in NOLA on 7/04/02 at 17:46 (089132)

Oh Suzanne, I could not agree with you more. I felt the same way when I was a student... learning seems to be encouraged by comfortable surroundings, and so often the newer buildings seem to be built to impress, rather than to be used.

You don't sound old at all. You sound like someone who has some knowledge and experience when it comes to schoolrooms.

I just hope they made it big enough, so that the children won't be out in portable buildings in a year or two. I've lived in communities that actually were that short-sighted when building new schools!

Carole C

Re: McMansions and McSchools

Suzanne D on 7/04/02 at 17:55 (089135)

You're so right, Carole! In fact, that's where the redistricting will come in - to help relieve the overcrowding in one of the bigger, newer buildings in the county. They have 3 or 4 portable buildings sitting beside their school now. We are in the southern, less-populated rural area of our large county. We have not grown like the area nearer town, so we will be absorbing some of their overcrowded population.

And, yes, students will not be nearly as impressed with a statue in the entrance-way as they will be in the comfort and attractiveness of their classroom. I have heard others talk of new buildings in which they are not allowed to hang up things in the hallways, on certain walls. I hate that 'institutional' look. I keep my walls 'plastered' with things, the hallway full of the children's work, and the door covered part of the way (just leaving enough open for me to see out but keeping the children from being distracted) and have curtains hanging at the top.

Goodness, I didn't mean to get started again...Thanks for understanding!

Suzanne :-)

Re: McMansions and McSchools - To Carole

Kathy G on 7/05/02 at 08:23 (089165)

Carole,

I looked up subsidence in the dictionary and then realized that you went on to explain it in your posting. I never knew that could be a problem. Of course, here in New England, unless a house is close to the ocean or a lake, it has a basement. Now, I know this is a stupid question, but why is it more of a problem with the houses closer to town? In fact, I'm really interested in why it happens it all. Is it because of soil conditions? I sound like the country hick I am but can you explain?

The brick house really does sound intriguing. And the idea that the wife had the husband put in the bathroom in the garage makes me think that she must have really taken good care of the house. She was probably a pain to live with but the result would be a really well-maintained home!

This sounds like an exciting time in your life although a bit daunting. Have you looked at any condos yet?

Re: McMansions and McSchools - To Suzanne

Kathy G on 7/05/02 at 08:40 (089167)

Hi Suzanne,

You're so right. This is happening everywhere throughout the country. We just opened a new elementary school in town but have another building in which we are housing Readiness and Grade One. Many people wanted to have two small schools but the majority were opposed to the idea of 'neighborhood' schools, so we ended up with one monstrosity. It took four or five years to get the elementary school approved. I was in the minority because I favored two smaller schools. We would have renovated the building in which readiness and Grade One is now situated. The majority of people wanted a new super-sized building so that's what we have.

What's ironic is that our middle school is in desperate need of an addition and this keeps getting defeated. I don't know where they think all the kids from the elementary school are going to fit when they graduate to middle school. The middle school was supposed to be built in phases but this final phase has been voted down at least three times.

New Hampshire has the dubious distinction of having no sales tax and no income tax so our property taxes support education. The result is that rich communities have better schools than the poorer communities. The issue has gone to court and it's being tossed about but the bottom line is that some of our schools are not very good. Our town is in the middle of the pack, so to speak, but education is a very volatile issue. Our town is one of the few without public kindergarten, which is not state-mandated (or supported). The latest strategy is to eliminate Readiness in the hopes that people will support kindergarten but it is being done at the expense of the children.

I hope you enjoy your teaching next week. Is it the Title One program under which you are teaching? My sister-in-law and friend each taught that during the summers they had children in college. They're like you; they just love the little ones and really enjoyed the experience.

Re: McMansions and McSchools - To Carole

Carole C in NOLA on 7/05/02 at 13:23 (089178)

Kathy, subsidence is particularly a problem in the the New Orleans area.

This city is built below sea level, with a complicated systems of levees and pumps to keep the water out. If you dig a hole very deep, it fills with water. That is why houses here do not have basements and why the dead are buried in above ground cemetaries here.

Much of the New Orleans suburbs, such as Metairie and Kenner, are reclaimed swampland located between levees at Lake Ponchartrain and at the Mississippi River. There has also been a lot of fill used under some areas. If you can imagine building levees around a swamp and pumping the water out, and then filling in the low spots with landfill, that is what we are built on. The land is not that stable, especially during drought conditions like we had last year, when the land cracks and settles.

As a result, most houses suffer from some effects of subsidence. I've seen houses literally broken in half and uninhabitable from it. Most houses just show it in that the driveway tilts down from the house to the street more than it once did, so it may have broken or it may be difficult to get into a garage. People try to repair the effects of subsidence but usually it's apparent around the slab.

When the land shifts under a house, the plumbing under the slab may have to be replaced. That is very expensive. Also, people sometimes have to put more dirt around their houses and re-do the landscaping.

I really know very little about subsidence, so that is why I want to avoid it and its problems. The cute brick house that I talked about before, is outside of the New Orleans 'soupbowl', and so subsidence is not considered to be a problem there. Yes, that house was very clean and very well maintained by the Creole couple that lived there.

One other problem with that house that I forgot, is that the husband put a porch swing under the tree in the front yard. It's supported by a metal stand shaped like an inverted 'U' that looks very sturdy. He said he would take the swing, but the stand stays. It probably goes clear to the center of the earth, with a couple of billion pounds of concrete down there to keep it steady, and I have no idea what to do with it other than to put up another porch swing.

Today I saw a house that I think may be better! I haven't seen the inside, though. It's on a dead end street, up by the lake where there is much less subsidence, and it's not showing any subsidence at all. It's very cute with an elegant double door. It is twenty years old but looks well maintained from the outside. It has no garage, but I guess I can live with that. It is a great neighborhood, and I will try to get my agent to show it to me.

Carole C

Re: Kathy...

Suzanne D on 7/05/02 at 21:39 (089199)

I would have been agreeing with you, Kathy, about wanting the two schools. Unfortunately, many people equate quality with something being new and big and fully equipped with the latest in technology. But that does not ensure good learning. You would not believe the waste that occurs when huge amounts of money are dumped into a school to buy the latest computers, calculators,etc. Many times the teachers aren't trained to use them, and they sit there wasted.

Kindergarten is state mandated and has been for many years here in Kentucky. But it is just now all day in my district. It has been half-day for years. Last year in fact was the first year for it at my school. As a first grade teacher, I am anxious to see how that affects my class who just completed full days of kindergarten.

And yes, the summer school next week is funded by Title One money. I am ready to meet the children Monday!

I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne :-)

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 15:49 (089216)

I was SO SURE that the house on the dead end street was the one for me. Today I got to see the inside of it.

I can't believe that anyone would let their house go that much in the mere 20 years since it was built. The living room was dark and not clean, the wallpaper was ugly and messy, and the kitchen was, well, functional is the only kind word I have for it. It was depressing. And, I don't want a fixer-upper, I want an already-been-fixed-up.

BUMMER! I was so sure that was my house. But, I brought a list of the dozen best that I had seen on drive-by's, and gave it to Emile (my realtor). He is going to show me at least half of them on Monday.

Suzanne mentioned a children's book a while back, which my daughter and I read while she was growing up. We loved it and reading it together was a very close and loving time for us. The book is about a little bird that fell out of his nest and was looking for his mother. He'd walk around and say to everyone he came across, 'Are YOU my MOTHER?', and finally found her in the end.

I feel like the little bird, except instead of 'Are YOU my MOTHER???' I'd be saying, 'Is THIS my HOUSE???' I am going to be so happy to really have a home of my own to settle in, a place where I can stay indefinitely. I know it's out there but I just have to find it.

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

nancy s. on 7/06/02 at 17:14 (089220)

i'm sure it's out there too, carole. it sounds like you have a very nice realtor.

the realtor we had when we first bought a house 11 years ago gave us a multiple listing book and said 'do some drive-bys and then call me.' i did a million drive-bys (ok, maybe only 500,000), and picked out five for us to see the inside of.

when phil called the realtor to take us to see them, he declared, 'i'm not really interested in running a taxi service' (!). i guess he thought we were supposed to buy just from seeing the outside so his golf games wouldn't be interrupted!

so we called the listing realtors to show us the houses, and fell in love with the second place and bought it. our snobby realtor lost out on a very easy commission.

but i digress! you have a good one, and remember that there WILL be disappointments along the way -- it comes with the territory. remember not to try to make yourself love something you don't. wait for that 'at home' feeling.

good luck!
nancy

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 18:32 (089225)

You are right, Nancy, Emile is a pretty good realtor. He pointed me towards the right URL for all the MLS listings in the area, but he didn't stop there.

He's doing a lot of work for me on his own, even though he has several other clients right now and is going through 'the closing from h*ll' with some rather peculiar ones. He sent me 55 listing sheets by e-mail this morning, that he had compiled over the fourth of July. I drove by 26 of them this morning.

He doesn't quite know what to make of me yet, or what to find for me, and that is his major flaw as a realtor so far. For example, 15 of the 55 were houses with over 5 bedrooms, two stories, or over 2300 square feet, so they will do me no good. But at least he's trying, and included some very good properties that I missed when I went through the MLS listings myself, some of which are now on my 'short list' after driving by. He says he really wants to make a sale. I believe him, because twice he asked me why I chose him, out of the blue.

Your realtor sounds awful. Emile was better than that even before I got prequalified with the mortgage company.

Emile also has been helping me to avoid neighborhoods where subsidence or flooding are unusually problematic. After he told me of the subsidence problems in a particular area, I drove around and yes, the ground looked unevenly sunken and terrible, and the houses were not doing so well either.

I also asked him if a house in a rather posh area was underpriced, and he said, 'no, it's over $100/square foot! Look at how small it is'. So he's helpful in grounding me in reality. And yes, that house is at the top of my list for Monday. :)

Today I was determined to love the insides of the house we viewed, because the location was absolutely ideal... no subsidence, no flooding, and a safe and convenient neighborhood... MY kind of neighborhood... and also because the outside of the house looked immaculate. But, when we entered, I must have looked like I had seen the grim reaper. I could hardly speak. Emile was watching me and I'm really glad that he figured out my response just by my face. I didn't have to tell him a thing.

After we had seen all the rooms, I told him, 'Well, I guess we should go see the backyard', and he said quietly, 'Not unless you are interested'. So, he knew exactly where I was coming from. We left.

Bobbie, my ex steady date and now just my friend, has been teasing me about Emile because Emile is a handsome man in his late fifties. He says I should get to know him more closely, but I told him that is silly because Emile is married. Unhappily married is still married.

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Suzanne D on 7/06/02 at 18:34 (089226)

Carole, I know you will find just the right house. And when you do, all the looking and the effort will be worth it! :-)

Yes, the children and I really like the book ARE YOU MY MOTHER? That was a cute comparison. I'm sure you feel about like that little bird as you go around looking for YOUR house!

It DOES sound like you have a good, responsive realtor. I'm glad that he is working well with you.

Good luck! I look forward to reading more about your house hunting.

Suzanne :-)

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Suzanne D on 7/06/02 at 18:47 (089227)

It wasn't boring at all, Carole. First because I am interested in YOU and what is important to you, and second because it is interesting to me to read about your house-hunting. Having always lived in church parsonages, I find it quite interesting to hear about your adventures with this.

My, there must be a lot of houses for sale in your area! Of course, I forget how big your city is!

Keep telling us about your experiences; I enjoy hearing about it.

Suzanne :-)

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

nancy s. on 7/06/02 at 19:01 (089228)

i agree with suzanne: not boring! it's a long, hard process, usually. and i think i forgot to say that the little tale i told was the second period of looking for us -- we looked for a month a while before that and gave up.

this guy does sound good. they work with so many people that it does take a while for them to get a handle on what a particular person is looking for. he seems interested in learning that, so he should be a good person to work with.

i think the most tiring part is thinking 'this might be it,' and then going inside, trying hard to picture yourself there, and realizing it isn't right. after you picture yourself and your whole future life several times in a bunch of different places, it can get pretty disorienting! but then there's the anticipation all over again of one that seems good -- and going to find out.

it takes a lot out of you, but it's exciting at the same time.

i must've missed something -- about emile being unhappily married? you're right, though: unhappily married is still married. when you try to ignore that, you end up the unhappily unmarried, right? (i remember it well and wouldn't touch it with a 100-foot pole.) trading unmarried & doing fine for that is a bad bargain. i can tell you know this already.

nancy

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 20:31 (089230)

There are a lot for sale here, Suzanne! It amazes me too. There are 652 properties for sale in the two suburbs I'm primarily interested in, plus the properties out in the country that I was interested in at first.

I'm glad my post wasn't too boring. It helps me to think things through when I can discuss with my friends here, even if it's not exactly FOOT stuff. LOL

Carole C

Re: realtors and so on (warning! long and boring LOL)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/06/02 at 21:00 (089231)

Well, when I first talked to Emile, I told him I was looking for a house for me alone. I told him that after four years of happily living alone I was absolutely certain I would never be remarrying or living with anyone else ever again, if I could help it.

In response, he blurted out 'Believe me, I know EXACTLY what you mean!' Then he said he is married, but that he feels the same way. We both quickly changed the subject at that point and all has been totally professional since. I don't mess around with the married guys, period, so it's kind of irrelevant anyway. Bobbie knows that, so he's teasing me about it, gently. :)

Thanks for the encouragement about Emile figuring out what I want. I have to admit, it's pretty hard because I'm not even sure what I want from moment to moment. It is like a learning process, as I look at houses and realize things. Like, I thought getting a house with or without a pool would be OK until I looked at that house with a pool, and then realized I don't want one. I originally thought I absolutely HAD to have a garage, but now that I discover that so few houses here have a garage, I feel like that's just a 'plus', not a 'must'. At first, I thought a two story house with a bedroom downstairs would be OK, until I discovered that there are plenty of one story houses to choose from and I'd prefer that. So, he's trying to keep up with my learning curve and it's sometimes a little difficult.

It was very sobering to try to picture myself living in that disaster of a house we viewed today. I could see myself there, living in that dark, oddly smelling place, depressed and discouraged with life. Ugh! At least the decision was easy.

I'm trying to get excited about another house the way I was about the one today. I think I'm getting pretty interested in the small house in the posh neighborhood. I am just exactly the right person for a small house, and the neighborhood meets my four requirements (minimal subsidence and flooding, safe quiet area, and convenient). It has been on the market for a couple of months, so I'm wondering why. It has ceramic floors in the den, but if I get it I'll have it re-done or something. It would be a great investment compared with the others I've been looking at, because of the location.

I wonder how many houses most people look at before they buy? So far, Emile has shown me 7, and with 6 more Monday that will be 13. I am awfully particular and the 'gut feeling' factor is so important. I can't just say, 'it has to have this and this and this', because it's just not that logical with me.

Let's hope that one of the houses Monday is the one. Bobbie (ex steady date) told me tonight that he thinks I should build, instead, but I don't think I will. There are not many vacant lots around here, and only one in a neighborhood I like.

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

wendyn on 7/06/02 at 23:45 (089240)

When we found our house, it was after seeing several on a particular day. There was a numer of 'spec' homes that had been built and they were just sitting empty (market was lousy at the time). Everyone had told me that 'you just know' when you find the right one.

We came in this house even though it was about $7,000 more than what we were hoping to spend. As soon as I saw the kitchen, something clicked - I thought 'I can see myself in this kitchen'. After we saw the whole house and went home, I told hubby I'd found what I wanted.

He couldn't believe it since I'm always the 'cheap' one in the family and I was going over budget.

But - when you know you know.

If we'd bought the smaller one, we would have moved by now....I know you'll find the right place Carole!!!!

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Carole C in NOLA on 7/07/02 at 00:16 (089241)

I sure hope that happens to me too, Wendy! What an encouraging story. There are a lot of homes available here right now, and I just need to find the right one. We don't have any spec homes in the suburbs I'm looking in, because of the shrinking population, but there are some that are empty because the owners have moved away.

I don't even need to worry too much about going over budget, because I want a small home and the high dollar homes are too big for me. I would feel lost in a home over 1800 square feet or so, all by myself! And the energy bills might be pretty high in a big home, too.

I wonder what my home will be like. Will it have a bay window with a view of the back yard, where I can put my breakfast table? Will it have a pantry? Or (dare I hope) a separate, glassed in shower with a built in seat/ledge? It's late so I'll go to bed and dream about it, perhaps. :)

Carole C

Re: house-hunting and children's books

john h on 7/07/02 at 19:14 (089250)

Carole: Since you started house hunting I cant stop humming 'This Old House' by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Buy a house please so I can get this tune out of my head.

Re: house-hunting and children's books

john h on 7/07/02 at 19:21 (089252)

Wendy: When I saw our house for the first time that is exactly what I said. I can see my self in this kitchen.

Re: house-hunting and children's books

Carole C in NOLA on 7/07/02 at 20:26 (089260)

I am hoping that I can buy one soon too! On Tuesday Emile promises to take me to ten houses after work. I don't know if that is possible, but we will try!

You may have to start humming 'This New House' if there's such a song. One of the houses we will look at is only 8 years old (and costs an arm and a leg).

Also there is a wonderful house that we will see which is only 25 years old, and it's the one I'm dreaming of now. It has 1450 square feet, with lots of light (I like that part!) and recently updated with a new kitchen and new flooring. That's the one I'm dreaming about now. It has an ornate wrought iron gate into a garden, before you get to the front door, and I am so curious about the garden. It has a carport and is advertised as 'cute as a bug'. I never really thought bugs were that cute, but I hope I like the house.

Carole C

Re: PS, John, your other post to me just now got messed up (nm)

Carole C in NOLA on 7/07/02 at 20:27 (089261)

.