House Hunting: More 70’s

Around these parts, most land not being actively worked by farmers has been snatched up by developers, and subdivisions go up where the cattle used to roam.  This has led to a lot of zero-lot houses being stacked on top of one another, and the feeding of the vampire squids known as Texas Home Owner Associations. (Vampire squid meme thanks to Matt Taibbi, one of my fave gonzo writers.)

Thus, finding property that has an acre or more of land generally means looking for things that were built and homesteaded back in the 60s and 70s.

As I’m discovering…things built 40 years ago come with their own set of issues. Today we went and visited three properties; one on 3 acres, one that was supposed to be 2 acres, but was less than 1, and a third which I’ll leave for another day…because I actually kinda like it, and am going to go look at it again tomorrow.

Skyline Drive, Murphy, TX 75094

MLS# 11453532

What the listing agent said:

Murphy House Kitchen

Murphy House Kitchen

RARE FIND!! To die for Ranch style home. Country living with acreage in the city! Upgraded kitchen with stainless steel appliances, upgraded cabinets and granite countertops! Huge bedrooms, wet bar in living room. You are going to fall in love with the Backyard oasis! Master bedroom has sliding glass door for private access. 288 sq ft workshop OR man cave in back. What a jewel! ***MUST SEE***

My impression from the pictures online, and the property details entered in the MLS by the agent was that it had great trees, a good neighborhood, good schools, a pool, one story…pretty much everything I was hoping for.

However, this 197o’s ranch house did not have the 2 acres that caused it to show up in my search list, (since corrected in the mls), it didn’t have two dining areas like the listing agent said it had, and what the hell is a man cave anyway?

It’s actually a really cute little house, with massive old trees, teeeeeeny closets, no storage space, and cracks in the wall, leading me to believe that there are probably some foundation issues either already happening, or very close to needing repair. The kitchen has been renovated, but nothing else in the house has been, which is kind of strange, unless the owners started to remodel, and then realized that the house wasn’t worth what they were going to spend.

The house wouldn’t work for us, but it would be fantastic home for someone with time/skill/ interest to renovate.  Knock out a few walls, put in some closets, level up the foundation (a really common issue in Texas), lose the mustard color paint, and there’s some real potential in this little baby.  Not for the listing price, mind you, but potential none the less.

4912 Sachse Road Sachse, TX 75048

MLS # 11251736 $325,000

What the listing agent said:

This traditional country home nestled on approximately 2.6 acres has it all, surrounded by large Live Oak Trees. Featuring hardwood floors, plantation shutters, built-in appliances and much more. Private backyard area complete with heated diving pool & spa. 30 x 40 air conditioned Work Shop, 24 x 26 barn with tack room and attached is a 18 x 26 Equipment Storage. Minutes to schools and shopping.

What the listing agent didn’t say: House has been on the market for over a year because the listing prices is double that of the tax value, and the tax value is generous.  Total tax value on the property is $161, 340, which assumes improvements that have not been made.

Sloping Kitchen of Dooooom

Sloping Kitchen of Dooooom

The foundation has been repaired, (again, not uncommon in this part of Texas), but it was repaired really, really, REALLY badly.  The house has a hill in the center of it.  From the kitchen island, were you wearing roller-skates, you would roll quickly into a wall in any given direction.  The slope is obvious enough that my 7 year old said “Wow, look how much of a hill is in the kitchen, mom! This would be great for matchbox cars!”.

The “master bedroom” was a converted garage, complete with the exterior brick wall still in place as one of the interior walls.  (Seriously, wouldn’t you at least drywall over that so you didn’t have exterior brick facia? What were they thinking?)  One cool thing? Floor safe.  I do love a hidden floor safe. The door from that room led into a garage.  Because who doesn’t want to smell exhaust fumes in bed, I ask you?  All the discomfort of living by mass transit, none of the groovy convenient access to the rest of the world.  Speaking of shopping, on the strip malls popping up right by this property were payday lenders, chop shops, washaterias, and no real grocery stores or name retailers.  None of which bespeak gentrification, and all of which suggest that the neighborhood is quickly going the wrong direction.

No closets, small rooms, teeny windows, exterior walls in the “bedroom” that used to be a garage, no level spot in the house…all in all, this was a “bulldoze and start over” project.  Land out that way is nowhere near 100k an acre, so I have no idea what the people who are selling this white elephant are thinking.

The third house; I liked.  I’m taking the husband tomorrow morning to look at it…and I think I might make an offer on it.  I’m also looking at 4 more properties tomorrow.  This house hunting thing, it’s a lot more work than anticipated.

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