Monday, June 23, 2008

Take A Number

Would someone please tell the people in my area that it’s a buyer’s market? While housing prices are down in most parts of the country, our little corner of the market continues to remain relatively strong. Pulling up to an open house is like showing up for a party. There are cars up and down the block and a continuous stream of people parading through the house. You will find yourself squeezing past a family of four to catch a glimpse of a master bath. Waiting in line to get a peek at the inside of a linen closet. And it’s not because these are fantastic deals. They’re not. This is the bottom of the barrel for this market, and they’re still north of a million. When something comes on at this rung of the ladder, it sets off a feeding frenzy of hungry house-hunters and prices get bid up above asking. It’s highly discouraging. Even more so when the listings tout new cabinets, appliances and countertops! (Their exclamation point, not mine.) And you show up to find the cheapest, off-the-shelf, oak cabinetry and white, featureless, appliances, including an electric cooktop. What an insult. Especially when, as in one recent viewing, the house is a mid-century Eichler that has been completely defiled with traditional oak cabinetry, mirrored wardrobe doors and a brass-trimmed fireplace. Nearly every original design element destroyed so that the place resembles a sad, fading starlet wandering, confused in a housecoat and slippers begging for a tube of lipstick, a shot of Bourbon, and some heavy curtains to save her the embarrassment of anyone looking in. The worst insult? It sold before I even had time to post this piece.

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