Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Oh-So-Funny House Hunt

Man oh man. You should see some of the houses on the market and the shock on my face as they get snatched up. Really? You want to pay $250k to have your beautiful vintage house and HUGE backyard backing up to the brown line?? Or perhaps you want to spend $350k for a junior one-shoebox (you can't say a 9x7 area is a bedroom, can you?!).

Ahhhh, the possibilities of bad deals in my price range (no, not the numbers above) are endless! Even in this market. It all comes down to priorities as my wonderful real estate agent, Burt will tell you: Location is usually #1. Then you have to think about space, house design, bedroom size and then "amenities."

Sometimes I just want to give up on the house hunt. Maybe I'm just not ready, maybe I should rent? While I ponder, I'll leave you with this wonderful post on "10 oh-so-funny balconies." It should also give you some insight into how my house hunt has been going. (via @chiarchitecture)

This is my favorite:

2. Still in use?

I wonder is anyone still trying to use that railway?

Balcony fail

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Home Buying is Emo

That's right, buying a home is emotional. This is a great article from the New York Times (included below). It goes over three emotional questions you need to ask yourself before buying. I think you need to ask yourself a lot more:

  • Will buying this home mean you can still live your life the way you do (will you still have $ for travel, clothes and food?)?
  • Do you have a back-up plan in case you lose your job or need to pay a special assessment?
  • Is this really where you want to live, or are you just exasperated from the search!?
There's a lot that goes into this decision because it's a huge purchase. But I've thought it all through and I'm ready to take the plunge! House-hunting continues this Saturday.

Bucks - Making the Most of Your Money
April 21, 2010, 10:23 am

3 Emotional Questions Every Home Buyer Should Ask

I’ve been a big fan of Seth Godin ever since the olden days in the 1990s when we both wrote for Fast Company magazine. This week, he poses questions on his blog that will change the way you think about shopping for a home.

He, like me, is bullish on the money side of this, how a house, bought in the right way, can serve as a foundation for wealth (though by all means check out our new and improved Rent vs. Buy calculator, having its debut today, to see if now is the right time to buy where you live).

It’s the emotional side of this that can really trip you up, though. So Mr. Godin suggests asking the following three questions about what’s going on inside of your head:

1) How big a statement can you afford? When we buy a house and throw open the doors to friends and family, we’re making a statement about ourselves. We are settling down, yes. But we’re also saying: We can afford this. Look at what we’ve done. We are prospering. Or, even, sometimes, We Have Arrived!

This is dangerous.

2) Is this a referendum on your relationship? People who buy are often doing so with a spouse. It is a moment of anxiety and stress, perhaps the biggest purchase of their lives. And they don’t have much practice buying really big things. It is hard to talk about, too. So Mr. Godin suggests adding some “artificial rigor” to the conversation to make sure the buying process doesn’t become a referendum on how good your marriage is or whether the primary breadwinner is earning enough.

What sort of rigor? Mr. Godin doesn’t say. I’d suggest find a neutral party to counsel you, say a financial planner whom you pay by the hour. Or a couples therapist. Or a trusted friend. Please post your ideas for rigor below.

3) Will this kill your appetite for risk? “A mortgage can wipe you out” if you are an entrepreneur or big idea person, Mr. Godin writes. But not quite the way you may think. The pressure of the monthly payment may keep you from trying something potentially brilliant. You have a mortgage to pay, after all, and quitting to start a business would not be responsible.

Smart stuff, I think. How about you?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Beauty of the Burbs

The following is an incomplete list of what I'll miss if I ever move to the city. For city folk, a peek into what you're missing and some explanation of "why anyone would ever live in the burbs." For the suburbanites, a reminder of what you've got before it's gone!

- Family and friends. I'm about 99% sure fewer people will visit us since we won't be able to guarantee parking in the city.

- Rent/ mortgage is so much less you can actually afford to travel the world. See images of our latest trip to Indonesia (enjoy the captions)

- Lots of bedroom closet space. My closet is about 5 ft in diameter, and it's in my bedroom! In fact I've played hide-and-seek in there multiple times and once Igor couldn't even find me (hey, wait a second...!)

- Quiet hood, 'nuff said.

- The amazing grocery stores. I can't imagine only shopping @ Whole Foods, Dominick's, Jewel, TJs and the farmer's market when the weather is nice. I will probably go back to the burbs for my fresh, inexpensive veggies

- The joy of waiting for the purple line @ Howard when it's freezing outside, just kidding, this I won't miss.

What would you add to or argue with on this list??

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Leftover Matzo

What do you do with all that leftover matzo?? Make Matzo Brittle, an addictive little snack that only gets better as the days go on. A bajillion recipes exist online, but I chose this one, from another "go-to" site, Chowhound.

I tried to include the picture from the link on my blog, but for some reason it's not uploading properly, perhaps it's a sign from g-d to observe copyright

Back to the brittle. So easy to make and everyone is very impressed afterward. But be warned, I highly recommend a game plan to distribute it. Otherwise you'll end up like me and eat it for breakfast