Do I have to share a bathroom with the neighbors?

by statia on March 3, 2006

Yesterday on our lunch break, we went over to look at some new townhomes that were being built. We’re kind of hoping to get into a townhome because I really don’t want to have to buy any sort of lawn equipment, only to haul it 3000 miles across the country a year or so later. I know, I know. You’re thinking, “who the hell does their own lawn in California?” Work with me here people, I’m going on a fantasy tangent.

So, I’ve been in a bajillion townhomes over the years. I’d like to think that I’m a pretty good critique of the set up of the townhome. I was completely addicted to looking at model townhomes back in the day, and really, how many times am I going to say townhome in this paragraph? Townhome townhome townhome. Moving on.

So we take a look at a couple of models. Same layout, except one of the models had 2 bedrooms and a den. The other had the den area made into a third bedroom. Seriously people. Is townhome in California code for “the inside of a locker made to look pretty?” Every model I’ve been in on the east coast has been at least 1700 or more square feet. The model here was kind of like this: (set up split level like) tiny living area the size of my pinky with doors to the powder room (approximately as big as an airplane bathroom), garage and “walk in” storage closet. I think the storage closet may have been bigger than the living room itself. I’m not sure. Second level. Tiny dining area which was about the same size as the living room (which remember can only fit a loveseat and a small chair, you can FORGET about a coffee table). The kitchen area was nice, but the “family room”, and people, I use the words “family ROOM” very loosely here, was shoehorned practically on top of the kitchen. Fitting ample sitting in there AND a TV would take magic. The second story (really third, since the garage area was first floor) housed the bedrooms and/or den and a bathroom. The staircase winds, so you don’t realize it until you get to the top of the stairs, but you get there and if someone was the bedroom at the top of the stairs, you’d surely run smack into the door. It’s not a landing, it’s stairs, stairs stairs, HI, BEDROOM DOOR!!! The bedrooms were so small that there’s no way we’d be able to have an office/ guest room. The master bedroom was “quaint” but the bathroom smacked of cheesiness with just a double shower that was hideous. The biggest area of the whole house was the two car garage, so if we could redo the two car garage into a family room and park the cars in the living room, surely I think we could make it work. Total square footage: 1324. Our apartment is not much smaller than this. Yet we’d have a mortgage payment that would force us to live on top ramen that was expired.

{ 12 comments }

donna March 3, 2006 at 4:22 pm

I can’t even imagine what it must be like to househunt in California. My in-laws recently bought a tiny townhome in southern CA for $500,000. They expect to get a big return out of it, and I hope they do, but good lord! The amount of house that would buy here in Dallas is just amazing.

md March 3, 2006 at 4:24 pm

Ugh. Keep looking. ;-)

Z. Hendirez March 3, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Probably just as well. If you aren’t going to stay at least three years, you’ll not even make up your investment before you move. We had to move after 2.5 years and almost lost money on the deal.

robyn March 3, 2006 at 8:22 pm

What everyone else has said. Without planning to stay there long-term, let your budget absorb the bebe costs and then house hunt. Mortgages are too permanent just to settle, and in CA I don’t see you doing anything but…

Ornery March 4, 2006 at 12:04 am

My favorites are those really long and skinny townhomes, the ones where two people walking side-by-side would immediately get wedged and require a crowbar to pry them loose.

wessel March 4, 2006 at 9:50 am

Maybe I can make you feel better:

An apartment in Jerusalem, on the 4th floor, with no elevator, needing an entire renovation (read: gut job), and being about 1000 square feet in size, with no storage space and no parking, no central heating and no air conditioning . . . will cost between 400K and 600K. Oh, and a gut job renovation that such a gem would require will run you about 100K. Total: 500K to 600K.

I would never tell a lie.

Feel better now???

wessel March 4, 2006 at 9:52 am

Oh, and that’s for the ugly greyish-tan stucco buildings with no lawns/landscaping/gardens in front. For something with a sweet little courtyard and a garden with a quaint little wrought iron gate, add another 100K.

Donna March 4, 2006 at 11:38 am

This is exactly the reason we live in the boonies…even now you can buy a lovely home with property in decent shape for the amount you would spend on that townhouse (hate that term). But, for someone not willing to commute or stay the long-term, that doesn’t sound like a good solution. Maybe think about re-upping that lease after all?

Stephanie March 6, 2006 at 7:24 am

ugh. but small living can be enjoyable, in that i can’t get away from my husband enjoyable. Mr. M and i live in a 950 sq ft row house that is exactly 11 feet wide, and we paid a king’s ransom for it….ah to live on capitol hill.

girl March 6, 2006 at 8:53 am

where are you planning on going that’s 3000 or so miles away in a year and a half?

we live in a townhome model that’s in an apartment complex and while it is certainly cozy (1 bed, 1 bath), we like it a hell of a lot more than the one bedroom we were living in before this one. our last apt was a mere 683sq ft and this one is 813, I think. that’s not a huge jump, but it’s made a big different. we managed to get a loveseat, chaise, couch, coffee table, and small entertainment center all into the livingroom b/c it’s long (16X11 or something). this is the most seating room we’ve ever had, so it’s nice that we finally have the option of having people over. we never invited anyone over before, b/c they had nowhere to sit. our bedroom is upstairs and has our queen bed and two computer desks against the wall. again, it’s cozy, but it works. our computers used to be on the kitchen table!

damn, I’m babbling. sorry about that. ;)

girl March 6, 2006 at 8:56 am

I meant to add that I’m completely jealous over how cheap housing is in Louisiana compared to Texas. Boy’s sister and husband just rented a 2 bed, 1 bath house in a decent neighborhood for a whopping $475/mo. granted, it needs a lot of work, mostly in the form of painting, but the landlords are paying for all of the paint and deducting the cost of their labor from their rent b/c they want to do it all themselves. so they’re getting a lot of creative freedom. not to mention, they don’t have to sign a lease.

SJW March 6, 2006 at 10:03 am

Our townhouse is 1350sqft and has 2 generous bedrooms, plus 2.5 baths – I don’t understand paying thru the nose for the same square footage with a 3rd bedroom the size of a broom closet. We will hopefully buy a house in a couple years as our townhouse purchase was an “in” into the market, but honestly, if I’d had the chance to do it again, I’d have stayed with a rental and paid off debt instead. I think you’ve got enough going on already!

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