20 March 2008

Home Décor – Additional

Upon another weekend of house hunting, we have a few more tallies for my pigeonholing of religion vs. décor. First were two houses that again fall into the single religion = very austere grouping. The first one I could tell from outside the house how granny it was; I could see granny drapery through the windows. The inside was not terribly religious, just a big, centrally-placed bible and a little cross tucked away in one of the rooms. Still, it fit neatly into my categories. The second one was terrific: the first non-Christian confirmation of my categories. This was a Muslim house, with inscriptions in Arabic all over the place. The women wore traditional fully covered clothing. And the house was very barren and not welcoming at all.

However, the next two homes kind of destroyed my breakdown a bit. The third house we saw just didn’t fit since the current owners were just reselling a house they bought last year. There was literally no décor to speak of. The fourth house was tasteful granny, but fully secular. I’d never seen one of these before. It’s always contemporary secular, tastefully granny but kind of religious. Very odd.

Anyway, it was a nice old guy and his wife moving to a condo. We weren’t supposed to meet him, yet we did. Why? It was sort of a townhouse, in this case, garage connected to the neighbours’ garages but the actual living space did not share walls. Also, the backyards were separated by tall fences. To get to the backyard, you have to go through either the garage or the house. We went through the backdoor of the garage (we didn’t want to track our dirty boots through the house to use that back door). So me, my wife, my mom (who came down to help us out) and the real-estate agent were in the back when we noticed that the back door to the garage had closed and locked. We were trapped in the backyard with no way out. Doors unopenable. Fences unscalable. Neighbours absent. The realtor had his cellphone and was able to call the owners who had to hurry back to free us. The good news is that we got to examine the backyard in exquisite detail while we waited.

They had a very nice garden.

The owner did eventually free us after a little while. I was amazed he did. He’s quite hard of hearing and I was astounded he could understand our desperate phone call. Our agent said that in the many years he’s been working, something like this has never happened before.

Anyway, despite getting locked in the backyard, we put in a lowball offer on the house. We’ll see what happens.

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4 Comments:

At March 20, 2008 11:43 p.m., Blogger Carlo said...

Wow. Buying and maintaining a house just seems like so much... work. I have no idea how I'd be able to handle it. You know, without a maid or something. I'm not looking forward to that - if ever.

 
At March 23, 2008 1:17 a.m., Blogger langmann said...

Bid low. Thanks to my economics background and potentially useless ability to read boring papers, we were convinced that the real estate market is failing, my wife and I bid $15,000 less on the asking price of a house, and it was immediately accepted (meaning we probably could have bid even less).

I'd say buying a house right now is a crappy time to do so, but hey we suck.

 
At March 23, 2008 4:15 a.m., Anonymous Karen said...

Having grown up Catholic, I never really realized how many religious items were in my parents' house until it came time to empty it and sell it. Multiple crucifixes, and several religious paintings adorned the walls. They'd been around since my childhood, and I'd ceased noticing them years before.

Fortunately, Mom (the Catholic half of the parental units) died first, and Dad (raised Lutheran) wasn't much into crucifixes and whatnot. So when he sold his house and came to live with me, getting rid of the religious stuff was pretty painless.

 
At March 24, 2008 10:04 a.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

It is a lot of work. Degrannifying a place like that would take a lot of effort, so when you move in there's painting, reflooring, etc. We plan on only using one bathroom if at all possible to cut down on the cleaning, but we have a hard enough time with the apartment as it is. Now we'd have to at least double the living space to be cleaned and add a yard and possibly garden, plus worry about paying more utilities and doing our own maintenance if there are plumbing problems, etc. So yeah, more work.

Langmann, it's a so-so market right now. Where I live, houses are just flying still - most are bought for asking price withing a week or two. But I've heard too that the real estate market is going down, so that's bad for me buying now. On the other hand, interest rates are pretty low right now, so I can't complain. Regardless, it's better than shelling out $1100/month for rent.

Karen, I never noticed any of this stuff before I started looking for a house. It's very interesting getting the glimpse into the lives of other people. One very nice and very expensive house we viewed turned out to belong to a guy my wife sees everyday on the train to work. She never guessed that he was loaded. His was a tasteful and secular house, btw.

 

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