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holiday break

22 Dec

It’s done, finally done! I got the keys to my new place and after the nail-biting thrill of the move in – will the sofa fit down the stairs or will it not? Answer: it will if reduced to sticks – I am a newly minted resident of Bay Village. Two weeks and counting…

And now, during the holidays, is a great time to be living here – the gas street lamps are bedecked with wreaths, strands of Christmas lights twinkle from most windows, there is even a live Christmas tree lot only blocks away. If I ever get my act together to do a Christmas card, I think the photo would have to be taken in front of their warming trailer. So much holiday cheer.

Season's Greeting...from your friendly local Christmas tree lot

While this time of year usually sees me enduring planes, trains, and automobiles on my way home to the Midwest, Christmas 2011 is going to be spent planning and hopefully executing – with a sledgehammer! – home improvements. The new place is totally liveable as is, but it is in desperate need of an update. And we’re not just talking some paint here and a new shelf there – although it will need that too – we’re talking some fairly serious changes to make use of every one of the 480 square feet.

By Boston standards, 480 square feet is small-to-average size for a condo like mine. The real issue is how that space is being utilized. In my place, it is not.

The worst offender is the bathroom. As you walk in you are confronted with the wraparound wall surrounding the shower which juts out from the right and is directly opposite the sink which is jutting out from the left. It creates a narrow chute that you have to manuever through as if you were lining up a move in Tertris. The toilet is installed too close to the wall so that you have to turn about fifteen degrees to the left when, ahem, seated and there is virtually no storage in the room itself. The only bright spot here, other than the fact that it is clean and in working order, is that the bathtub is slightly oversize so that, once you can get to it, you are in for a great soak.

There are many bathrooms smaller than mine that don’t feel half as difficult and the difference is – if you will excuse the repurposing of the term – intelligent design. My good friend Luis, currently studying interior design, has agreed to have a go at it and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with. Stay tuned for that.

Otherwise, the holiday break is going to be a godsend in getting back on track with my writing projects. I have a short story ready to be submitted to a few year-end fiction contests. It’s an old one and I am hoping I can find it a home in this round of submissions. Drafting continues on the novel/fiction project, which has gotten a little derailed as of late – if I let myself think about it too much, I am ready to throw away everything and just start over. Again. A week away from work is just the thing to allow me to plow forward  before my critical mind can catch up with me.

I am also hoping to start posting about Punch, the short film adaptation of Suckerpunch that Leigh and I want to shoot in the very near future. She’s been to this rodeo before, but I’m still a newbie in the realm of film production and am excited to get into it.

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almost home

27 Oct

i finally found the place. it is a little garden level in bay village which, as the birth place of edgar allan poe, i take as a good sign.

it has been a long slog, but not as bad as i thought it would be. the slog continues, though – i don’t close until the end of november – so maybe the real headache is to come. but i doubt it. everything has been straightforward and the people involved pleasant and responsive.

the one thing that has lived up to the big, scary hype? financing. already the hurt is on with little expenses (application fees, inspection, credit check fees) piling up. and i’m assuming it will be a few months after closing before i get over the sticker shock. to be fair, my rent is a pittance at least in terms of the greater boston area, one of the most expensive rental markets in the country. it’s not so much that my expenses are going to soar as i am entering the real world, paying closer to what most of the poor, cash-strapped suckers stand for around here. at least that is the line i’m taking.

so…am i crazy? boston isn’t supposed to be in the long view for me and here i am, not only planting roots but paving over them and caging in the trunk, like the little trees lining the cobblestone sidewalks of my new neighborhood. crazy like a fox, i hope. two more years to finish up my thesis, so i’ll be here anyway. and then there is the idea of having my own space. beyond all the decorating and remodeling ideas that have me excited, scrawling floor plans on whatever is at hand whenever i’m sitting on the train, there is something so calming in knowing that, at least for these square feet in this particular place in the world, i am on my own. it’s the same allure that makes me a city dweller now and probably forever: that gorgeous anonymity afforded by a crush of people just as faceless as i am because there isn’t scrutiny enough for all of us.

(maybe that’s what’s to be expected of someone who grew up in a family of six and had roommates ever since leaving home. if it wasn’t the city it would probably be hermitage. what can i say? blake was right: you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.)

there is so much possibility in this new place. i have high hopes for what it might mean for my writing – i’ll be too broke to go out and cause as much trouble thereby recouping more than a few hours to spend at the desk. and, now having the domicile, i’ll get to try out being domestic. i may start cooking and, if i can survive the learning curve without poisoning myself, i might even try baking. hmm. this could get out of hand. considering my tendency toward hipster spinsterism, i’ll have to keep an eye on myself. i will be damned if i end up living with four cats celebrating the holidays in a hand-knitted reindeer sweater! (damned, i tell you!)

so that is the state of things (and also my excuse for neglecting the blog for this long). perhaps it is just the effect of pulling on another pair of big-girl pants, but with real estate on the line everything seems to get a shade more serious. the plan – get back into a more regular writing schedule by the time i get into the new place. finish up my classes. finish up the screen plays that are still only drafts. i am putting down roots, but the seeds will be airborne soon enough. time is ticking…

looky-loo

18 Aug

okay, so this probably isn’t helping the cause of getting out of boston, but since i’m here…

i’ve been looking at condos. it’s as close to the bottom of the market as it’s likely to get so the pickings are better than they’ve been since i landed in this burg. not that i make an insane amount of cash – i can still quality for affordable housing loans for those with low incomes in boston- but i figure i have enough behind me to stave off a monthly mortgage if the price is right. the mitigating factors? i don’t have a car so i need to be close to public transportation. i am living in central square in cambridge right now paying a laughably low monthly rent (laughably, as in -all the way to the bank) in an almost perfect location as far as i’m concerned. unless i find the Exactly Right place, there’s not too much incentive to move. well, except for the whole building up equity thing.

and that’s the heart of this venture. i’m no slouch at the savings account but i’ve started from zero – not even zero, actually. much less than zero, from the moment i arrived on the east coast. student loans, not much in savings, absolutely no financial help from any quarter. not an enviably position, but it is a point of pride (i take what i can get, okay?) that i have gotten myself firmly up to zero and managed to save a pittance besides. but it’s taken me about six or seven years to do that. i wanna see what i can do in my last couple of boston years with my largest monthly expense – rent – going back into my own portfolio.

i’ve been out looking twice so far – once in cambridge, once in the south end. the cambridge place was gorgeous, move-in ready, and straining the limits of my budget. the south end places, if you could get past the psuedo-sketchiness of the neighborhoods, required a little imagination but could be viable options. today it is fenway. the places are in my price range (which is kind of pitiful, but a girl’s gotta start somewhere, child), close to the t or the #1 bus (the lifeline from cambridge to boston via mass ave). i’ll be interested to see what the spaces are like in person. on paper i got the impression that they would be modest little studios.

so when the location and price line up, the thing that interests me is how to know when the place i’m looking at is The Right Place. which is, i guess, a state informed by the purpose to which i want to put my last few boston years. i’ve got a book to write to earn my creative writing degree, so i want a place that is conducive to that kind of work. i’m also looking forward to the solitude, a space that is just mine (that in itself would make a space conducive to writing. it certainly is the missing element in my current living situation). i’m hoping for something open, too. something that could admit gatherings of friends, fellow writers, interesting and creative people in need of a meeting place. it’d be fun to be in the middle of a movement, or at least to have the space to start one. even a movement of one – i’m just imagining having an art room, a place to paint, sew, make and do. all the stupid little projects i’ve piled up in my head and haven’t yet found a compelling enough excuse to get to work on. hmm. i guess it’ll be like that old saw about pornography: when i see it, i’ll know.

so, fenway it is. we’ll see what can be seen. more to come…