I live in a small shitty city that keeps trying to change its image and failing. The surrounding suburbs are lovely and expensive and with expanding commuter services, can bring its rich residents to the much bigger and more prominent city 40 miles away. This means that a $200,000 house in my city is a $400,000 house in the suburbs. The price difference compensates for things like taxes, school quality, and chances of being stabbed at Honey Farms. Far fewer people get stabbed at convenience stores in the suburbs.
This is all to say that house hunting isn’t going well.
Two more houses were hunted this afternoon, one in the suburbs and one in the city, both comparable in price, bedrooms offered, garage size, land allotted, and freaking lying shamsters pretending that their Zillow ads were accurate.
The ‘burban house purported to be a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 attached garage, mostly ranch-style house with a tiny alley of a backyard and hardwood floor throughout. One or two could easily live a pre-kid or post-kid low-maintenance existence in the openish floorplan, fully renovated kitchen and Fiat compatible garage with a spare room for the college friend/grandkid to stay in for a couple days on a visit. The third “bedroom”, a converted attic space with no storage whatsoever, could be used for… storage or activities that only take place in the center of the room since the angled ceiling sloped at such an extreme that even a tiny woman of barely-above dwarf stature couldn’t walk more than a few inches toward the wall without hitting my head. One would have more headroom in the Fiat than in this “bedroom”. Oh and it was For Sale By Owner which means grumpy older people will follow you around their empty house grunting every time you open a closet door. Which was 4 times. Because there were 4 closets in the whole house and perhaps I mentioned that the third “bedroom” did not have one.
The city house, on the other hand, was new paint on old plasterboard. When will people learn that “paint” does not mean “renovated”? There were some lovely updates: a new back splash, new water heater, new perfectly round dirt patch in the back yard where an above ground pool obviously used to be. The rooms were large and airy except for the paint fume covering mold smell and how charming are those old-fashioned door handles that “lock” with a skeleton key large enough to give away at ceremonies and just as useful. Turn them really hard while holding the plate they’re barely attached to to reveal tiny closets that the midsize plastic buckets I buy at Target are too big for and you’ve got your Master Suite His and Hers Closets just outside a half-bath with paint over water damage decor.
I’m disheartened by today’s expedition and not just because my in-laws tagged along. Where are the nice houses at the price point we can afford? Why were they abundant when we were struggling to pay our bills or before we had the child? Why is the market saturated with murder houses and catfish? And are people effing serious about the tiny houses because those are ridiculous and need to be stopped. I’m not saying we all need mansions but I have literal nightmares about trying to squeeze into the world’s tiniest bathroom amidst a bathroom-type emergency situation and where even do they store more than 2 rolls of toilet paper?