Perfect House, Wrong Neighborhood

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm obsessed with old houses.  1920s Craftsman bungalows set my heart aflutter like nothing else.  I love the details they have that modern houses lack, the quirky layouts and little surprises.  The problem is, most of these amazing sorts of houses are in terrible neighborhoods here in Capital City.  I'll grant you, there are still some less expensive options south of a street you historically tried to stay north of, but I think that rule is a little more flexible these days because of people like me who love the charm one hundred year old houses but can't afford the huge and well-kept options that are north of the street.

None the less, there are some gorgeous houses in terrible condition that could be brought back with some elbow grease and investment.  But the fact that they're in just downright bad neighborhoods means they'll probably never get the love and attention they deserve.

Like this charmer:


Built in 1925, with three bedrooms and one bath.  I love the exposed rafter tails, the typical half columns supporting the porch roof.  1270 square feet.  Its price?  $10,000.

Or this one:


Built in 1918, 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, 1668 square feet.  $25,000.

Or this one:


3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1632 square feet.  Built in 1910.  $45,000.

Sometimes, I like to indulge in the fantasy where I'm brave enough to buy a gorgeous old house with tons of potential in a terrible neighborhood and bring it back to its former glory.  The yard would be beautiful, my neighbors would love me, and I'd even get my picture in the paper when they did a human interest article on me.  Then reality strikes and I remember that, like too many people, I'm too afraid to risk life, limb, and possessions.

The fact remains, though, that they just don't build houses like these anymore.  It breaks my heart that they probably will never be as beautiful and loved as they once were.  And think of how awesome it would be if instead of spending money on McMansions, people went back to the old neighborhoods and used their money to restore these snapshots of American history!  It's for this reason that I will never own a house less than 60 years old.  It's just my part of preserving America's past. 

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