We got a call from our landlord on Saturday that really rocked our world. He and his wife want to sell the house we’re living in when our lease is up in August. (Yes, that’s a month after the baby is due.) The question in the air is this: Do we want to buy the house? If not, we’re moving this summer.
So, we’ve been racking our brains for the last few days, pondering the implications of our decision. We love the house we’re in, and the views from the Berkeley hills are gorgeous, and we don’t want to have to pack our stuff and move. The price sounds potentially OK, too. But the school district in Richmond isn’t great (or even good), private schools cost circa $14K a year (without extras like after-school care or sports), and we are expecting a baby.
Anyway, this is all very much up in the air as we weigh our values, our options and our finances. Our first step is to buy a book called “How to Buy a House in California,” and we’re following it up with intense house hunting this weekend. If you want to get an idea of what we’re looking at, the main target cities are Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito (and perhaps Kensington). Here’s one home listing with a virtual tour.
(BTW, the pricing listed for this house is probably quite deceptive as most places we’ve seen or heard about go for over their asking price — sometimes $25K or more above their asking price. Which is kind of depressing and makes it more difficult to know what it will really cost. A friend in San Francisco said she finally got her place a year and a half ago, after having bid on 10 places previously and being outbid on each one.)
UPDATE: The realtor I’ve been dealing with says,”Regarding price, it’s very competitive out there and houses priced low will sell most times more than $50K over asking.” Of course she has a financial incentive for getting us to pay more, so that’s certainly something to keep in mind.
UPDATE2: Talked to the realtor about that house I linked to above. She says she expects it to go for more than $750,000 – $800,000. And the house is apparently in pretty bad shape, like a staircase is leaning, etc., so it needs a lot of work. Crazy underpricing game, isn’t it? (posted April 11, 2005)
UPDATE3: That house on Ventura went to contract for $810,000. (posted April 20, 2005)
P.S. The glucose tolerance test turned out fine. I don’t seem to have gestational diabetes.