This is a guest post by SVB, the Silicon Valley Blogger. She is a software engineer juggling a family, an IT job, and running her household. At The Digerati Life, SVB discusses finance and business with how-to articles as well as personal stories.
I decided to take a nice stroll down our street after months of being generally cooped up indoors due to the colder weather. It feels like the start of summer these past few days with vegetation budding and the rest of us trading our colds for allergies. Here’s to a lovely, brisk walk down a winding country lane, where I could nod at the neighbors walking their dogs and pushing their babies and grannies along. I love this quiet neighborhood with the heavy vegetation. It’s hard to find crannies like this around here, where I can find solitude from the furor and congestion of busier spaces.
The State of Real Estate on My Block
First stop: The red house that’s still boarded up. It’s been that way the last few years. It’s a lovely new house but it’s incomplete and I only hear activity on the grounds on sporadic occasions. It’s a shame, it’s a pretty house with a high pitched roof that’s waiting to hear its destiny. So far, it’s quiet, with its framed openings all boarded up.
The state of this property: unfinished.
Second stop: The house on a slope. It looks fairly large, probably with an additional 20% square footage over what we have, but maybe it could be an illusion. The fact that it looms over our house could just make it look big. This place has 4 or 5 large, fierce sounding dogs roaming its perimeter behind a wire fence, which I secretly hope is electric. These dogs seem aggressive and make a lot of commotion anytime anybody passes its vicinity. The shocker to us was that this house showed up as foreclosed when we did a casual check of our area. It’s pretty unusual to have something that appears so commanding to be in foreclosure. Well then, who wants to be our neighbor?
The state of this property: in foreclosure.
Third stop: The former tacky colored eyesore from another era that was finally upgraded. I made an about face and started walking the other direction. This brings me to a lovely place that has just gone through a makeover. It used to be the eyesore of the neighborhood. I am sure when you look around your community, you have one or two spots that you pray will reinvent itself. To me, this was one of them. It was a cottage, really, with a strong teal color right where our main road splinters into feeder lanes. So it was front and center to all visitors coming in to the community. It welcomed people with its outdated charm, but it was time to go.
Three years ago or thereabouts, we got our wish, and the owners decided to raze it for something probably 3 times its size. It has a nice river stone foundation wrapping the entire house. And a bunch of trailers in the back yard where the owners decided to hole up for all these years. No, they haven’t been able to move into that nice new house just yet. And the canvased, graffitied temporary fence was only taken down very recently. It looks like money troubles kept this house unfinished and we’re still wondering what’s up.
The state of this property: unfinished.
Fourth stop: A beautiful, very spacious new home way down the street. This house was listed as “for sale” more than once in the last year. There was no interest in it for what seemed like forever and we thought it may have been overpriced. It was listed once more and we still think it’s overpriced but weirdly enough, it has sold…and only after a month or two. Great job to the agent who sold it!
The state of this property: newly sold after a few months.
Fifth stop: Another beautiful, spacious new home right next door to the fourth stop. The framework, style and set up looks almost identical to the other house that was just sold. It is for sale as well, with its OPEN HOUSE sign dangling by the front yard. And that, I think, is the kiss of death for any house — when its owner decides to share the market with their nicer looking neighbor.
So this house was competing with its next door neighbor for potential buyers’ foot traffic. The only difference that I see in house quality here is that this house is at an intersection as the last residence on our street. Having almost the same price, square footage, age and look didn’t help while it stood there side by side with its competitor. So there it still sits hoping someone will notice. I’ll be honestly surprised if it finds a buyer soon — I don’t see too large a pool of buyers for this home’s price range. But it must be breathing easier now that the competition is out of the picture.
The state of this property: for sale with no more competition.
The State of Real Estate Equation:
* Two (2) unfinished homes
* One (1) home for sale
* One (1) home just sold
* One (1) house in foreclosure
* Equals (=) a noticeable real estate downturn but no blood in the streets yet.
And that was how my walk turned out: peaceful, refreshing and very telling.
All this week, Consumerism Commentary will be featuring guest bloggers. The above post was contributed by SVB. You can read more of the Silicon Valley Blogger’s thoughts on money and technology at The Digerati Life.
Published or updated April 2, 2007.