Monday, January 6, 2020

House Hunting

We have been out house hunting, even though we will likely not list our current house until spring, when the hills are green.

We went through a house in northwest Boise that was 5 bed, 3 bath for about $351K.  Why so cheap?  A bunch of amateur DIY work that looked awful.  A $100K would make it a very pretty modernized 1970s home.

Today we saw a house in northwest Nampa on almost an acre.  Never went inside; the gate was open and the house unoccupied.  It had a koi pond that made me want to call animal protection. The water was murky, with koi in the bottom and a largely ineffective oxygenation pump.  All the extension cords connections were wrapped in plastic bags!

Around the back of this massive wall of concreted stones was the real pump house; clearly inoperative.  The listing described the pump as amazing.  Yes, it was, in the other denotation of the word.  At least three pumps and multiple lines to aerate a body of water about five feet deep and perhaps ten feet in diameter.  A DIY (disaster is yours) project.  The cost of removing this, filling the hole, and planting grass was likely enough to make the bargain price not so bargainy.  The rear fence was also a disaster; old and falling down.  Rotting Hardiboard and leaking gutter as well.

We looked at some new and almost new subdivision homes in Star that were hovering around $500K and were nice, although on small lots.  One actually had a seasonal creek behind it, impairing view-blocking development.  And it also had a koi pond but one that was properly maintained.

I am going to take out a mortgage to bridge over until our current house sells; then pay off the mortgage.  My loan application will likely cause shock for the loan officer.

Found perfect house in Eagle; while touring it, owner accepted an offer. from someone else while we were touring it.

UPDATE: We saw an even worse DIY yesterday.  Spectacular view, but they had built an add-on which used bricks (at least on one side) for a foundation.  To get around the drainspout issue, the drainspouts were inside the room, leading out under the floor.  The furnace was outside in a shoddy shack open to the elements.  They were asking $460K and were disappointed at the very low offers they had received.  "The value is in the land."

We made an offer last night on a house in Middleton which sits on a ridge with 1.27 acres.  The view is WOW! compared to our current WOW!!! view (three exclamation marks).  Shop and telescope storage will be tight.  Once we sell our current house in the spring, we will pay off the mortgage on the new house and see if there is a way to build a shop/telescope garage that does not block the view.  Middleton is a ways out, but large parcels with any view at all are scarce closer in.

Offer; counteroffer; countercounteroffer; complete.  We walked the boundary line today with the owner, an 80-year-old retired Boeing engineer.  It was much larger than I expected for 1.25 acres, with a considerable drop in elevation.  Any new development will be out of sight.

Now, in spring, we just need to sell our current house to pay off the mortgage and build the observatory.  I am hoping four bedrroms, three baths, four enclosed parking places and this view will do the job.


tkc said...

I remember going to see a DIY place when I was house hunting.

They hung the cabinets in the kitchen without measuring. So the cabinets didn't match the gap where the stove was. It wasn't even close.

They tiled ALL of the bathroom walls but at some point got tired of doing it and the tiles turned into a mish-mash mess of tiles near the door.

At some point the basement had flooded and had warped the dry wall. They just painted over it.

When I was leaving the open house for this place the realtor asked me what my thoughts were. I just laughed and said 'no'. I feel kinda sad for the agents that get to show these places.

William Ashbless said...

My wife and I are traveling to Boise over the MLK holiday to meet with our realtor and decide on what area will suit us best. We spent three vacations last year traveling in your state and looked at a lot of areas.

We are currently looking in the Caldwell/Emmett area.

We, too, are waiting for spring to market our own home.

Clayton Cramer said...

William: good luck. Caldwell has some rough sections (but idyllic compared to almost any urban part of California); Emmett is rural and small town. Lovely, in a very relaxed way.

Cincinnatus said...

Great to hear you found a house.

Windy Wilson said...

"Pride of Ownership" is usually a big tell when you see the DIY nightmares. I've never heard "Disaster is Yours" before. I'll remember it. When you're conscientious about building stuff you think Building and Safety is needless and interfering, a way for the city to make money off the ambitious, until you see places like you describe. Across the street from the house I grew up in, the one my dad built, were two houses. One had a front balcony on the second floor, but the railings were lower than my knees. The other looked nice from the front, but the owners while I was there must have believed the power of positive thinking made up for structural integrity. The back of the house was built without benefit of carpenter. Apparently the rain stayed out, so no problem. The owner dug out to make a basement without regard for a structural engineer's concerns in earthquake country. He had a magical belief that you could pack the cells of a cement block wall with the dry mix and pour water on top and it would seep down and make real concrete.
Amazingly enough, the house still stands, and its neighbor with the decorative balcony rails is the one being torn down for renewal.

Rich Rostrom said...

I must have missed it...

Why are you moving?

Is it too hard to deal with snow in the winter?

Clayton Cramer said...

Rich: A bit far from kids, grandkids, innumerable doctor's visits in the valley, and night driving is losing its charm. Our daughter wants us closer to an ER. The snow can be rough, and maintenance is increasingly difficult in our 60s.