Monday, June 23, 2008

Holy Crap

Well we're back from Asheville and as it turns out we can't technically "afford" to live there. Not maintaining our current quality of life anyway... and certainly not gaining any square footage as we had originally hoped. WTF?! All those "dream homes" I found we're complete shitholes. And by shitholes I mean somewhat dilapidated. And People... People... That is with us raising our price up to 100K over the sale price of our own home. 100K to buy a house that needs at least 100K to bring it up to level of our current home (which is 90 freaking years old and not exactly in mint condition!!). I cannot freaking believe it. Cannot. What a nightmare. And NO the surrounding areas aren't any cheaper. And NO it is not a buyers market... not when sellers do not do their dishes or even make their beds before showing their house... RIDICULOUS. So needless to say I'm a bit depressed. It's not like we haven't lived in an "urban" setting before (and... ahem... Asheville... NYC you are not) and we don't sticker shock easily... but this was unbelievable. I mean Ann Arbor to Asheville is a pretty lateral move in terms of type of city, size, population... but let me tell you it is NOT a lateral move in terms of quality of life (neighborhoods, housing, etc). At this point we did find a house we like... but it is 60K more than ours... and the exact square footage (but we lose the finished basement and the playroom as the space is divided differently).

**You can find my additional commentary in the comments of my previous post.


Deb said...

Ugh... I'm so sorry. I'm glad the girls were so amazing on the trip, but I'm sorry the trip wasn't what you'd hoped.

Heather said...

Total Total bummer. I'm so sorry to hear it. I'm SO glad you went though!!!

Robin said...

I'm so sorry. I hope y'all are able to work something out.

Glad the girls were good. At least they didn't add to the stress.

Mr Furious said...

The lowest of the low was Saturday night. We has spent the whole day looking at houses that either required a serious compromise of one form or another (size, space, neighborhood or condidion) or a dramatic and prohibitive jump in price.

It was amplified by the fact that we thought this would be a fairly even transaction. But that's NOT going to happen.

We ended up with less for our house than we thought—though probably what was fair—but the real problem is that the houses close in price in Asheville were NOWHERE NEAR as nice as our house in terms of actual quality of condition and neighborhood.

In Asheville I think our house in a comparable area would command $500K. No fucking joke.

So that being the case it was a sort of sticker shock.

And when I was down there in May, The Army was not in effect.

I can't tell you how much of a "are you kidding me with this shit?" that was. Every goddamn time we went from the apartment we stayed at (which is above my future office—yay) to the car across the street, we encountered a "I'm trying to buy a hot dog..." panhandler of one variety or another.

I don't want to sound callous, because I am a good person, who was more than tolerant—even generous—with these people in NYC, but I am feeling a zero-tolerance policy towards this now. Because I'm older? I'm with my kids? I don't know exactly, but I know that feeling of "Oh jeez" mixed with "Is this guy safe?" is one I don't enjoy.

Couple that with the fact that we arrived in the dark of night, and Saturday was too hazy to get much of a view, the positives seemed not to exist.

Being asked to pay top dollar for less and with negative crap like the army on top, we were beaten down on Saturday night...I was dismayed at the prospect of dragging my wife to a place she might hate, and I think Mrs F was just shocked, depressed and despondent.

We decided to cast a wider net and to regard our realtor as "if we settle on a house he showed us, fine. But if we need to keep looking, we need a new agent." So we went 30 miles down to Hendersonville the next day with expectations of more for your money and no Army, and with our filters dialed up to "high" for eliminating non-matches.

We were disappointed yet again.

There no army of homeless punks, but instead you felt like the town was a giant Sunrise home. The preponderance of ear care offices was our first clue, but as we went to the houses I had found the night before online, either every neighbor needed an assistive device to walk, or the street was way too busy. The one house we stumbled across and had the realtor open up, was, honestly stunning, yet still on a sketchy street and needed a new kitchen turned out to be almost a 100 grand over our house!

Hendersonville was a no-go, and we felt like there is no way to do this search from a remote location...what would we do?


We have ended up considering a place I found—and really liked—in May, and that Mrs F was extremely excited about in the morning on Saturday (It was the third of about 15 properties we saw), but I feel like that was just buried by the rest of the day on Saturday. As we discussed it on the lonnnng drive home I think we're in a good place with this now, but it was certainly rough getting there.

Mr Furious said...

The kids were phenomenal. Aside from Kid's impatience with the DVD playing and Baby's 1 a.m. meltdown when we were less than an hour from home they were great.

They continue to amaze and impress me with their bravery and stoicism.

Mrs Furious said...

"The preponderance of ear care offices was our first clue"
It's true folks there really were a LOT of this stuff around.

Oh you failed to mention one house in Hendersonville was a crazy run down Victorian ACROSS from the gas station and it was still expensive.
What gives Asheville?!

Julie said...

This completely bites.

P.O.M. said...

Oh shitdamn. I was hoping things would turn around and you'd come back a happy camper.

So, this place mr. F is speaking of - the 3rd one you saw on Sat, it's a possibility?

Mrs Furious said...

Yes we actually put an offer in on the house today.

Deb said...

I hope the house turns out to be absolutely perfect and the neighborhood better than you think. I'd hug you both if I was there.

gooddog said...

OMGoodness I'm glad you guys didn't decide on Hendersonville. It was hard to not put in my opinion but OLD FOLKS and HICK come to mind. I too hope Asheville turns out OK for you guys and that this house is a good fit. It will be fun to have you in NC and get your blog-opinion on all things NC. (We live about 1.5-2 hours away from Asheville.) Did you take pics of the house you bid on today?

Mrs Furious said...

Bingo! Tell me why is everything so freaking expensive?

And yes we'll put up picks tonight.

Mrs Furious said...

ahem.... we'll put up pics ;)

hicktowndiva said...

Mr. & Mrs. Furious-
Sorry you had such a bad trip to Asheville. I really think that when you are able to spend a little bit more time exploring, you will see some of the better aspects. Did you see the Biltmore Village area? The Biltmore Forest neighborhood--so beautiful. I also like the neighborhood around the Grove Park Inn, which is near downtown.
I've never seen a lot of "Army" types in Asheville...but remember, that Bonnaroo just wrapped up and that brings a lot of transient hipsy-dipsy types to this part of the country for the second week of June. I can imagine that some of them would drift down to Asheville.

I'm hoping that it all looks much more hopeful once you've rested up. That is SUCH a long time to spend in the car with kids, even well-behaved ones.

Mrs Furious said...

Hicktown Diva,
Oh it would have been much better if I had made a previous "vacation" type visit first. I think I would have seen more of the nice things and less of the bad... but with so little time and so many properties to see we pretty much just saw the Mc Donald's and the inside of our car ;) Having said that the real hard part was just the shock at the housing prices... we had no idea it was so expensive there.

lucinda said...

I thought that there was a university in Asheville. Do you think that just made it more expensive or is the school out of town or what.

Mr Furious said...

UNC Asheville is there, but it's not like U-M. It's not downtown, it seems to be at the edge of town by itself, and I doubt it is anywhere near as big.

I think the fact that this is a vacation and retirement destination has inflated prices beyond what the size,quality or location would normally command.

In other words, a bunch of rich people buying summer homes or retiring is pricing normal folks—local or new out of the market.

Kiki said...

Mr and Mrs. F, I am so sad to hear that the trip was not all you had hoped, but am glad that you have potentially found a home that you like/love!!! I can't wait to see the pics...

I am soooo glad that Kid and Baby managed the trip so well, thank goodness for small blessings!!!

gooddog said...

"I think the fact that this is a vacation and retirement destination has inflated prices beyond what the size,quality or location would normally command"

I think that's it exactly. Boone and Asheville really are considered "resort towns" which is what makes them great and cost a ton. I'm glad you at least found an option for a house that would work. Also, I have a friend who lives there if you would be intersted in getting any info from a resident. She is VERY conservative but could be helpful for the day to day things- general MDs (not for kid, I know you have those), school, playgrounds, whatever. Ooooh, I may have a more liberal friend-of-a-friend too. just lmk. Hang in there!

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