Thursday, January 17, 2008

Midget House

Last Sunday, I went to an Open House for a home that was in my (tiny little) price range. It wasn't a bad house, although they would have had to drop the price by about 25% to get me to consider it. The place needed some work. One problem was the layout. The house itself was small, and it had been chopped up in to teeny-tiny odd-shaped rooms, making it appear even smaller.

The deal-killer was the staircase. The second floor had sloping ceilings, reducing the available square footage. But the ceiling also sloped at the stair landing between the first and second floors. Which meant that every blessed time you went up or down the stairs, you would have to duck when you got to the landing, or risk conking yourself in the head.

WTF?! Who would design something like that? I mean, yeah, the house was built in 1936 - so what? Was everyone under 4' tall back then? Was there some kind of crippling pandemic back in the twenties that rendered the next two generations midgets? If so, it seems like I would have heard about it before this.

Seriously, I just could not bend my mind (or stoop my body) around that staircase. I mean, it was on an exterior wall - they could have just built a stair tower (not sure if that's the right terminology, but I think it's close) or something to accommodate the dang stairs.

So! That was My First Open House. Exciting! And I'll tell you what, when I got back to my apartment, I walked in the kitchen and went, "Aaaahhhhh!" Because my kitchen is about twice the size of the one in that house. Ditto my living room.

Guess I'll just have to keep looking.


bridgett said...

Welcome to the Land o' Quirk. I have very funny Open House stories, including the one where the family had piled boxes against the basement door to make it hard to go down into the basement (because there was about 8 inches of water on the floor)...the one where there was a toilet -- just a toilet -- installed right at the top of the stairs where you'd have to basically leapfrog over it to get to the second floor...the one with the duck-over turn in the staircase's coffin corner (like the one you described)...the one that didn't have any interior walls, just sheet plastic where the walls "could go".

What we figured out is that our real estate agent was intentionally showing us crappy houses on the low end so that we would be more easily persuaded that we needed to take out a bigger mortgage and go higher (making her more commission). So we dumped our real estate agent and located our current house by talking to coworkers.

Rockycat said...

Yeah, I've heard that realtors aren't really interested in showing the cheaper houses, because they don't make enough commission off of them. Which makes it that much harder for me to find a house I can afford. Sigh!

listie said...

Don't write off all realtors just yet. My mother was a realtor for 40+ years. She worked mostly with lower and middle income people. She never got even close to rich, but by the time she retired she had listed and sold houses for several generations of some families. Ask around; you can locate one that will be happy to work with you. And, if you want a referral in your area, email me and I'll put you in touch.

My first house had the sloped ceiling over the stairs. After years of living with it, we had a dormer added to solve the problem. One of the bedroom doors also 1/2 opened onto the stairwell. We just got used to swinging around the doorframe to avoid falling down the stairs.

Rockycat said...

Thanks for the advice, listie! I don't think I'm ready for a realtor yet, but I appreciate your offer of a referral - very generous.