(These ideas are explicated in this sloppy manifesto)
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Taking the little road to a big commitment
So we bought a new house, finally. This is something we've been thinking about for a long time, and working on in earnest since we met, fell in love with and had our hearts broken by Bloodhaven. The house we're buying is this one on East El Caminito Drive in Phoenix. (The link to the listing will expire on 1/7/05, but the hotlinks within it are live, for now, so you can see all the pictures.)
If you know Phoenix, you can figure out where the house is on this map. We're between Central Avenue and Seventh Street, just south of the Arizona Canal. We can get on the trail paths of the canal at the east end of the street, which will be a treat for dogs and bicyclists.
It's actually Cathy who is buying the house. I'm just throwing a lot of money at it. As a Professional Sales Monster, my income is considered undocumented. Plus which, once you've bought a really expensive divorce, you don't get to buy anything else, ever.
Even so, I am essentially a first time home-buyer. It's funny, because I've done this so many times that it's second nature to me. I wrote the contract exactly as we submitted it before Cathy had even seen the house. But I'm like a hooker getting married; I understand the mechanical part perfectly, it's the enduring commitment that's new to me.
Not just because I do real estate for a living, we have a pretty long set of objectives we wanted to fulfill, and this house is a reasonable compromise, for now. We wanted:
1. A home to do business from in the North Central Phoenix neighborhood we plan to list in.
2. A home that we can live in as a family and ad hoc petting zoo for at least two years (yes, that comes second; we could always split the home and office functions, but we really, really need an office we can bring clients to).
3. A home that is convenient to Cameron's life, which is evermore downtown as time goes by.
4. A home that will appreciate in value significantly in the two or more years we're in it.
5. A home that will avail itself to what I call Abuelitoria (homes for the little grandmas, should they need to come live with us).
6. A home that is pleasing to Cathy--who will insist that the domestic esthete is me.
Of these, Bloodhaven is perfect in every respect, which is why it continues to break our hearts. This house, El Caminito ('little road' in Espanol), is okay for number 1, ideal for numbers 2 and 3, an excellent bet for number 4, a total zero for number 5, and, for number 6, it is very, very nice no matter who is the judge.
The home is a classic Phoenix Ranch House, but the seller has gutted and completely remodeled it. He opened up the sight lines, making it feel much newer than 1962 inside. The kitchen is all new, with gorgeous cabinets, granite countertops and a black flat-top range on a vast granite island. The living room, which we'll use as our office, is huge, as is the great room/family room. New plumbing, new wiring, new landscaping front and back, new roof, new stucco exterior. The lister took the photo above, and it doesn't do the home justice. I'll build a web page shortly that will show it better.
There's always more with me. (For example, the surrounding neighborhood presents a nice redevelopment area, good homes that could be better sitting on dirt that is in huge demand. We think we can make a few deals with refurbishing yuppies and scare up a whole lot of business within walking distance of home.) But the important thing for now is that we're having a party. After we close and before we move in, we're going to hold the house open for friends, family, clients and neighbors, so you can see what we got for our money.