Monday, March 30, 2009

Sticker Shock

I've been house hunting casually for over a year now. Since I'm renting currently, I don't have to get into a place immediately, but it's always in the back of my mind.

I love searching through real estate magazines and websites. I love imagining what I could do to a place to make it mine. There are quite a few older, bungalow style homes available at any given time near downtown where I've been looking. I love the character of the homes, the big trees, the quirky neighborhoods. I also love that I'm looking in one of the cheapest places to buy in the country. You can get a very nice house in this area for less than $150,000. The thing I'm not loving is the amount of shoddy, leaky, cracked foundations I'm seeing. I know that eventually I'll find something that I'll fall in love with, and will be in good condition, but it's kind of a bummer when that's the only thing wrong with a place. It's definitely too big of a wrong to ignore, though.

I've recently run on to a number of awesome, modern pre-fab or kit houses that I'm in love with. Most I have seen in Dwell magazine, which I should really just pony up a subscription for since I buy nearly every issue off the shelf.

The first was the one that really got me thinking. Rocio Romero, located (conveniently for me) just outside St. Louis, MO has a prefab kit that costs around $40/ sq. ft. which is really reasonable. I love the styling and natural light.

I love the large windows in the back (seen in the second photo), but you'd have to have the perfect piece of property to put this on if you wanted any kind of privacy at all. Also, it's just a little bit stark in this configuration.

I also found another from Live Edge, of Oakland, CA, that seems really cozy. Designer, Paul Discoe, combines Japanese woodworking techniques with salvaged urban lumber to create a comfy-yet-modern home.

It's still very modern/minimalist, but the wood really adds a warmth that I like. I emailed to get the details and thought for sure I was seeing incorrectly when I received a reply. Build-out on this one...$250/sq.ft.!! HOLY GEEZ!

Keep in mind that neither price includes land, basement/foundation, appliances, or finish. That means that on the second option I'd be looking at a price probably close to $300,000 or even $350,000 for a 1000 sq.ft., three bedroom house. That same amount would buy you a VERY nice 4-5 bedroom, probably twice the size, home in this market. Not to mention I don't have anywhere near that amount to spend. That's what lots and lots of solid wood costs, I suppose.


Back to the drawing board.

No comments: