Selling Your House

Posted: February 21, 2010 in Ramblings
We went to look at a house today.  I was so astonished that I have to blog about it.
This house was described as "French Country" style, and indeed it was.  Non-standard architectural styles are pretty rare on the Eastside, so we felt it was worth going to look at even though it was slightly smaller than our current home, and slightly more expensive than we wanted to pay.  The house went on the market on the 20th of February.
Our agent, Ruth, met us at the house, and the first thing she said was, "That roof is about to go!"  The roof was cedar-shingled, with lichen all over it, and the shingles were warped and cracked and pulling away from the roof.  We discussed how much to knock off the asking price, since this is not something that could be let slide.  It looks like it’s about to go at any minute.
Inside, the style and decor was very harmonious and had an overall French Country flair, similar to the properties Chris and I generally look at on our favorite French real estate site.  The house even had some gargoyle touches (the porch lamps and in the kitchen).  But – ugh!  The kitchen gargoyle was covered in cobwebs.  We weren’t sure whether this was some "authentic" type of touch left on there to give a rustic European look, or if the owners simply hadn’t cleaned the house before listing it.  That was extremely off-putting.
The house was built in 1990, but the kitchen looked like it was from the late 1950s.  The island cooktop (gas rings) was white enamel, very old-fashioned, with rusty sections.  The cabinets had that faded look you get on wood cabinets when they’ve been handled repeatedly for many many years and not refinished.  The countertop was in good condition, but looked pretty bland (plain white porcelain tiles).  The microwave was an old one, too.  Even though the kitchen appeared good, to go with the overall flavor of the house, it really needed major updating.
Upstairs, nothing too scary except a big wolf spider lurking in the hallway.  But the carpeting was very old and the bedrooms were pretty small.
On the positive side, the gardens and landscaping were beautiful, even this close to winter.  You could see there was a very good structure to the garden.  There’s a small building (built in the same style) out back, which could easily be used as a glass studio!  That really intrigued me.  There was also a greenhouse and formal raised bed gardens.  Since the property was on 1.5 acres, it was very good land.  We weren’t familiar with the area, but Ruth said it was a high-demand kind of location.
But in the end all the work and updating scared us away.  The asking price is a whopping $845K.  Privately Chris and I thought it was worth $600K or thereabouts, but then, we were also scared off by the roof situation.  If the owners have let the roof deteriorate so badly, who knows what kind of other structural problems may pop up later – things not visible to the buyer, but rotting away in the infrastructure?
Frankly I’d just like to know about that kitchen cobweb.

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