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Big money! No whammies!

So, a cute little house up the street went on sale a month or two ago. The important thing about this is that in our neighborhood, there aren't a lot of identical houses, and the normal way to compare sale prices on homes is to look at comparable houses. Housing prices are skyrocketing, so there's always questions about what houses are worth, vs. what they're selling for.

Our neighborhood is old, so a lot of the houses have had additions done, but in different ways. For example, there were two (originally) identical houses on Noyes Ave, two blocks away from us. One of these one-story-with-basement homes put an addition on the back a couple of decades ago, while the other house added a story-and-a-half last year, but only to the existing dimensions of the first floor. Two homes that started out the same, but are no longer comparable.

Needless to say, this house isn't identical to ours. It's a sort-of-English-cottage house, and ours is a sort-of-Cape-Cod house. Both houses are about the same size, though, although the one up the street has been redone more thoroughly and more recently than ours, and has more finished space. We bought our house this time last year; this house that just sold went for $200K more than ours sold for last year. Let me repeat that: two hundred thousand DOLLARS more than ours sold for last year.

I'm not about to believe that our house is also worth $200K more than it was last year. Considering the laundry list of things we've done (or had done) since moving in, I know we're closing the gap between how nice that house is and how nice ours will become. We have ceiling fans. We have central air. We have window blinds. I've partially kept up on the landscaping, but the things that need to be done are not tremendously time-consuming or expensive. We have one dishwasher, and now we're getting a second. We're getting rid of the drinking-age washer and drier and putting in modern super-whoopie models. We've had the paneling removed from the kitchen, and I'm 80% done with wallpapering. The kitchen has a new sink and faucet, and now has a garbage disposal. The downstairs kitchen will be demolished on Sunday, to make space for the furniture in the TV room/guest bedroom to be moved out, so that the paneling there can be removed and replaced with drywall. That room has new tile, and so does the hallway and downstairs bathroom.

What's left? The electrician that did the line for the garbage disposal will be back to fix some wall switches and bring some dark areas of the house back to life. The electrical panel is not maxed out, but will be if we add any other major appliances; it would need to be reworked. That'll be done the next time we get a major appliance. The rest of the basement needs new tile, and so does the landing on the first floor stairs that lead to the basement. Drywall for the downstairs kitchen and office may also be done sooner than later, depending on the guy who's putting it up. I know he's going to do the ceiling work in the upstairs kitchen that I've never done before. He may also help us cover up some pipes that hang out in the office. We need window treatments in the basement that don't suck. The garage door could use replacing sometime this decade, as well as the water heater.

Amazingly, it's not an endless list. I'm sure something else will come up.

I'm also curious about how our neighbor's solar assessment will turn out. There's a $50 fee to figure out how much electricity your roof could generate if equipped with solar cells; the family we do a nanny share with is having it done today. Hmm...

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
major_beefcake
Jul. 1st, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
Don't be so uncertain! Even down here in VA Beach, our house has gone up around 80k since we purchased 2 years ago and that's with no upgrades. You'll be surprised how much they are worth to a buyer!
sethcohen
Jul. 1st, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)
No uncertainty here
I'm not uncertain. Having the value of our house exactly reassessed isn't necessary. The goal is to make it liveable, not increase its value. The fact that its value is increasing is good, because that gives us the ability to keep doing the upgrades we're doing. If we take equity out to make improvements, we get some or all of that equity back. That's a Good Thing (TM).
pocketnaomi
Jul. 1st, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Now you know why we are not going to be moving *into* your neighborhood anytime soon, however much we want to.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )