A perspective neighborhood
As you know from my last post, I am house hunting. I’ve been searching online, driving through neighborhoods, talking to my Realtor, and trying to get an idea of where and what I want. It’s starting to come together.
I walk most every morning, so I figured that I’d kill two birds with one stone. I know, a most violent idiom, to be sure. But, simply put, it means to satisfy one or more tasks with one effort.
Actually, I could say that I knocked off 3 birds with one stone.
1 – Cruising a neighborhood and getting a sense of it.
2 – Looking at some perspective houses.
3 – Doing a bit of photography.
There is so much to be learned and discovered walking. There are things that, legally, a Realtor cannot tell you. For example, they cannot tell you the demographics of the area: Age, color, children, income, etc. Nothing. It’s against the law. You have to find that for yourself. All that they can provide is previous sales data and a way to get into the house.
Walking is a great way to get a flavor for it. A simple walk in the morning will give you an idea of the number of children. A simple look around the street corners where they wait will tell you. It will also give you an idea of the racial makeup. I much prefer to be in diverse neighborhoods. Also, a walk through many of the streets will give you an idea of how strong the neighborhood association might be and, in general, how well the neighbors keep up their properties. And, you can get a general idea of how friendly people might be. I’ve seen several other walkers, all very friendly, and even met a man and his quite friendly and curious dog.
I’ve lived in all sorts of neighborhoods, from the somewhat ritzy neighborhoods where the yards are perfectly landscaped, immaculate, not a blade of grass out of place, but the place has a decidedly empty feel about it, desolate. There seems to be no one around, save for the people tending to the all important landscape. All cars and SUVs are tucked away in the two or three-car garages, the children are busy elsewhere, Scouts, soccer, tennis, boarding school, whatever. The parents are working hard, away from home, trying to support this lifestyle. You’d hardly ever see anyone out playing. Not my kind place. Even the walkers keep their heads down and don’t say anything.
Then, there are the yuppie villages, like one that I saw in Fort Mill, SC, called Baxter Village, homes starting at $200, 000. Here, the houses are crammed closely together, but have big front porches to try to give the place a feeling of community. At the entrance there are all sorts of trendy spots to hang out and have dinner ‘on the patio’. There are several club houses, pools, etc, and the association fees are sky-high, sometimes hundreds of dollars per month, just for the privilege of living there.
Finally, there are the regular neighborhoods, both upper-middle, and middle class neighborhoods. Where your every day working guy/gal live. They may or may not be able to afford someone to take care of their grass, so you see them out on Saturday morning doing it while the kids are playing in the street. Lots of life here. My kind of place.
So, it was a very productive time, I must say. I am going to look at a house tomorrow that I really liked. I may even make an offer. Regarding the photo at the top of this post, that is right across the street from the house. Not a bad place to be, actually.
A final word: I must say that no birds were hurt during the making of this blog post. I did, however, take a shot at one of them!