Monday, January 16, 2006

My Four Houses…..and two apartments

I don’t know what in the world made me start thinking about this, but this morning I have been thinking about all the houses I have lived in. (I have lived my whole life in Houston, Texas so there was not a lot of moving around.) My first house was a small 1,200 square foot three bedroom, one bathroom house. Mom and dad bought that house the year before I was born. They raised four children in that house and there are many fond memories there. I went to one elementary school, one Jr. High and one High school. We had very little money but there was a lot of love between those walls. I lived in that house till I got married; my dad lived there till he died. When it came time to sell the house, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. That was the house I was raised in and I didn’t really want to see it go, but we had no need to keep it.

When TF and I got married we moved into an apartment across the street from Sharpstown shopping center. I was close enough to work that I could just walk across the street, enter the mall, and walk the rest of the distance to Montgomery Wards. We were there for a year. Then we moved into our second apartment two blocks down and even closer to my job. We lived there for another year.

By then TF and I were able to buy our first house. It was a small 1,200 square foot one story, three bedroom, one bathroom house in Oak Forest. It was a pre WWII house just outside the 610 Loop. We only paid $ 19,500.00 for that house. It was what I would call a “fixer upper”. We worked on that house for the entire seven years that we lived there. Two of our children were born there and we loved that house. The neighborhood was old and there were a lot of trees. We sold that house in 1981 for $ 55,000.00.

We purchased our next house which was an 1,800 square foot (three bedroom – 2 bath) house in a brand new neighborhood with NO real trees. Each house, in the neighborhood, had one newly planted tree in the front yard and one in the back yard. Our son was born there and we lived in that house for about nine years. When we decided to move into the house we presently live in, we decide to keep the second house and rent it out.

The house we presently live in is only five miles north of that house, but it is in a well established older neighborhood and there are plenty of trees. I love trees and I am happy to have lots of trees on our lot. This house is about 2,300 square feet. The house is a two story, with three bedrooms, one bath and an office upstairs. Down stairs has the master bedroom w/bath, living room, den, formal dining room, kitchen, nook, ½ bath, and laundry room. Bonnie was in eight grade when we moved in, august of 1992. It’s been a wonderful house for our family. TF and I will probably live the rest of our lives here, unless a miracle happens and we are able to buy that house in the mountains of Colorado. The Lord has truly blessed our family. I would have never dreamed that I would live in such a nice house.

I think what got me thinking about this was a story I was reading about buying a house for a dollar. Yes, you can actually do that. Cities that buy houses for eminent domain would rather sell the house for a $ 1.00 than pay more money to have it demolished. You would be required to move the house to a piece of your own property. Interesting thought, if you are willing to be creative.

Here are several articles that I found interesting:

Looking to buy or sell in 2006? A property expert offers 10 pitfalls for the unwary.

Should I buy in a slowing housing market?

Search Foreclosures Nationwide!

3 Simple Steps to Reel In Buyers.

Have you overimproved?


At 9:56 PM, Blogger Mitey Mite said...

My first house was 1100 square feet, 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 car garage and cost $14,500. The next two were 1400 and 1600 sq. ft., respectively. The next one was 1800 sq. ft., and was my favorite floor plan ever. Paid $33,000 for it and when I sold it 11 years later I got $32,000 cash for the equity. The one I'm in now is 3000 sq. ft. on 1/2 acre, on the water and we paid .. drumroll .. $70,000. It had damage from hurricane Alicia and was repossessed. We had to put another $30K into it to make it habitable, but still... But now I'm anticipating and dreading remodeling it.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

mitey mite - Good luck with the remodel and pray that you don't get any more hurricanes. Don't forget flood insurance.

At 6:12 AM, Blogger keesh said...

This is a cool post. I lived in an apartment when I was really little and then we lived in old trailers. my parents divorced and we didn't have much money. We moved a lot! not to a lot of cities, but just in and out of people's homes, or our own small trailers. The first house I remember my Mom buying was when i was about 15, once she married my step dad. It was a cute, 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. I loved it! She then sold it and moved into a trailer park. Why she did that, I will never know...I don't think it was a money issue. But I now live in the home that my husband and I built right after we got married. I love it!

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

Loved this post, you can feel the nostalgia of the moments spent in each house.
Thanks for the links.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Tammy & Jeremy said...

Have you ever seen FLIP THAT HOUSE on TV? I love that show and someday hope to buy fixer-uppers and sell them later for a big profit. Someday:)
PS. Long time no see!

At 2:17 PM, Blogger puremood said...

I grew up in the same house that my parents bulit and never moved around till I was older and married... the house is owned by my brother, now... it's located on our farm.

We were a military family for a while so had to move due to that but since we've been out of the military we don't plan to move around. I came from a family that never moved and he came from a family that bought/sold houses like candy.

We'll be right where we are while we plan our house that we're building and perhaps one day we'll get it all done (gonna take a few years).

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lived in a lot of houses growing up. My husband and I have lived here 15 years and we have tried twice to move, but money always holds us back. SOme day I'm going to succeed at it.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

They have the type of house you describe for a dollar here too. I think it makes great affordable housing for those on a small budget.
My house is too high maintanance. Not so much the inside, but the gardens. Living in the tropics everything grows so quickly, grass needs mowing etc.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Gosh...You and I have a lot in common, now that I read this post.

I lived my whole life in California. We lived in one house with my parents, growing up through school. When I moved, it was to an apartment and I went to college. When married, we lived in a 950 sq. foot house. We moved, and have lived in this house for 18 years, which is more than double the size.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Nine houses here. One of my regrets about moving so often is not seeing the landscaping that we planted grow to maturity. The Missus and I both love yard work and gardening, and were always putting in trees, shrubs and flower gardens. One day, we'll go back to a house or two and see how it turned out.

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Tillerman said...

Great advice. Thanks very much.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

kish - Sounds like your mom just liked trailer parks. Glad you live in a nice house with your husband.

Prag - Yes, each house was perfect of us while we had it. Good memories in all those houses. Enjoy reading the links.

tammy & jeremy - I love watching that show. I'm afraid that we are at the end of the house fliping period. The housing bubble is about to burst and prices will start going down. I can't believe it has lasted this long.

puremood - sounds like you have been around. Glad you are building a house of your own. It's always fun to design you own house.

day by day2 2days - I enjoyed living in only a few houses. There seems to be some stability about it. I'm not one that likes a lot of change. Good luck finding the house you want someday.

michelle - we don't live in the tropics but we usually get a lot of rain and during the summer have to mow about every five days.

barb - it does sound like we have a lot in common.

fred - it might be disheartening to go back. I went thru the old neighborhood (the Oak Forest house) about a year ago and was flabergasted at what I saw. I didn't even recognize the house. They had cut down most of the tall pine trees and the sweet gum by the driveway. The entrance to the house was moved to the middle and they had changed the roof to a different shape. I had to look at the address to make sure I was at the right house. It just blew me away. TF and I like planting and gardening too. We have had gardens at all our houses.

tillerman - thanks for stoping by. Come again.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger keesh said...

Lucy - yeah, nothing wrong with trailers, I just don't think she had very much motivation to do something different long term.

Fred - anytime you want to come to michigan and work on a yard, hollar :). I HATE yard work, gardening especially. the only thing I like is mowing the lawn :).

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Texas_Ivy10 said...

Great post! We moved around alot when I was a kid... but my grandparents lived in the same house for over 30 years. I love that house, and have for as long as I can remember. 2 of my uncles now own the house. I am so glad they decided to keep it when my grandparents both passed.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

texas_ivy10 - I wish we could have kept my dad's house too, but all of us had our own houses and we just couldn't keep it. The man that lived next door to dad had been telling him for years that he would like to buy it if he ever decided to sell it. We ended up selling it to him and he has put a lot of improvements into it. He rents it out to his brother and his family. Whenever I go visit my sister, I make sure and drive buy the old neighborhood and check out the house. It's funny how you get attached to a house that has so many good memories of childhood.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

You've lived the American dream.

I've lived in three states. I've traveled in all the states except North Dakota.

Everywhere is beautiful in its own way.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

The housing market may slow and might even go down in price, but that would be the perfect time to buy a house. Keep in mind that when values drop, some people panic and will dump their properties for way under what they're worth. Buy them and hold them and you'll make some bucks.


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