They say confession is good for the soul, so I’m thinking maybe it’s time.
The problem lies with the internet.
No, I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time at any of those gambling sites. And I’m not addicted to any lewd or racy sites. And I don’t like the celebrity-watching sites. TMZ, take a hike.
But of late it seems when my eyes see the Google search engine box, my fingers automatically generate those three little words: Asheville real estate.
It’s not like we’ll be moving anytime soon. With a sophomore in a Virginia state college, we won’t be crossing state borders for the next three years. And with tuition bills arriving regularly, hubby won’t be retiring just yet.
So it’s not like I’m really looking in earnest. It’s just a curiosity.
Or it was until it turned into an obsession. I knew I had crossed the line when I started hiding my “little habit” from the family.
I’d wait until I was alone to log on.
Or if I couldn’t wait I’d turn the sound down so no one would hear that awful “virtual tour” music. It’s a dead giveaway! And I’d angle the screen so nobody would notice what I was looking at.
You can pull up all the multiple listings and see prices, lot sizes, home sizes, number of bedrooms and baths, heat source, exterior finishes, foundations, etc. etc. etc.
On the map you get a bird’s-eye view of the house, and see if your neighbors are mechanics who have 16 cars parked in the yard. And how close the railroad is.
You can toggle on symbols to show you locations of schools, parks, banks, grocery stores, gas stations, airports.
You can get all sorts of test scores from area schools, and comments from parents.
There are discussion forums to learn about local issues, like where that highway might be built.
What I’m looking for is something not in the middle.
I want to either be in the city or in the country. Not in the suburbs. Do I want an “in town” house, within walking distance to shops and restaurants? Or something more remote, with “lovely mountain views” (also septic systems and well water)?
And I want something either old or new, not middle-aged. Asheville has an amazing number of charming bungalows that were built in the 1920′s, which have been lovingly updated, if you can believe what the real estate agents tell you. (But is there any insulation in those walls?)
The area is also home to some great builders who are eco-sensitive and up to date on the latest products out there.
Perhaps the thing that most fascinates me is how low the prices are. Compared to the DC housing market, it feels downright affordable. It’s like playing limbo. How low will it go?
I had decided I wouldn’t even look at the foreclosures and short sales. I wasn’t going to salivate over someone else’s misfortunes. But then I ran across the $134,900 short sale house (with central air! hardwood floors!) We could practically write out a check….. So what if it only has two bedrooms? And that big highway running past the back of the property probably shuts down at night. Under Driveway, it usually says something like asphalt. Or gravel. But for this property, it says dirt. Hmm… Better keep looking.