Yet Another Home Tour

I believe I've mentioned before that my wife and I are fans of touring homes. We find something that catches our eye in the local real estate ads and we either attend an "open house" for that property or actually call the listing agent to get a tour. It's a bit like car shopping for some of my male friends: they are always looking out of the corner of their eye. That's how my wife and I are about homes. And we learn so much about what's going on in our local market.

It's an interesting hobby.

So, while this is completely unscientific, it seems to us that the local market is losing value. Lots of homes are sitting for a long time. Sometimes, they aren't selling at all: they are just being withdrawn from the market. (How do we know this? While we have the agent's undivided attention, we ask a lot of questions.)

We saw a home on Sunday -- big home and big property -- and it was listed at about $40,000 less than originally. It was MUCH lower than comparible properties in the same lovely neighborhood. Now, you have to understand, it is a "fixer-upper". The home hasn't been decorated since Adam -- or at least the mid 70's. We figured roughly that it would take us about $20,000 to strip out terrible carpeting, terrible lighting fixtures and terrible wall finishes... but the house itself is solid and most of the big jobs (like finishing the basement, which is a common thing in the wintry northeast) was already done. There are enough bedrooms (including one which might be perfect for the new baby) and a suitable room for my wife's home office.

And that house is NOT getting sold.

Now, my wife made me promise on my dead father's grave, that we would not move until after the baby is born. That would keep us in our current home until at least next spring, because moving with a brand-new baby would be madness. But what if this house drops another $20,000 or $25,000 because no one is biting at it? We might just have to start a daily entry here on the joys of renovation. And my father might have to forgive me for just a little fib.


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