Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Suburbia, Real Estate and Realtor Rant

Colorful and Alive vs. Brown and Dead?????

Alhumdulillah we've been approved and we're looking for houses now. Trying to stay in my son's school district but that simply may not happen. We haven't found any houses we like! Suburbia in Union Kentucky should really be called "Subversive-to-you"...because everything about it seems like it's trying to stomp out every last ounce anyone has left of individuality, creativity, or soul!

These are all new houses, but I simpy cannot call them "homes". They are cheaply built barns with holes cut in them for windows on a couple of sides (only 2 sides of the houses have windows! I NEED SUNLIGHT!), with a quickly slapped on veneer in front to give you the illusiuon of luxury - the brick or stone you see from the front is actually just a veneer, the sides and back of the houses are all cheap vinyl. It's common to see the vinyl on these homes actually bowing! I've seen it so many times in the last couple of days it's sickening. These are new houses, dang what a rip off! And the sad thing is that folks are paying $200,000 and up to live in these shacks!

All of the houses are shades of grey. Apparently this was intentional. I am assuming the builder and/or the home association decided this because they think it will foster better resale values? However I beg to differ. I understand not allowing boats and campers in the front yard...but mandating that every house be a shade of GREY or BROWN? C'mon! That is pure nonsense. Houses in the most expensive markets in the United States, like around Santa Cruz, CA, are full of colour, inside and out.

They either have a small concentration-camp yard, with no basement, or NO YARD and a "finished basement", (which really isn't a basement).. it's really a first level that is halfway burmed! Now correct me if I sound insane, but isn't a basement supposed to be totally underground on all four sides, with a little bit of the top sticking out with little crawl-through windows?

Another thing we despise about these neighborhoods is that the builders, in their money-making house-building stupor, have clear-cut all of the trees that were there to build these houses as well, so there are literally NO trees...and there is not really any landscaping to speak of.

It seems like people in these neighborhoods don't do any yardwork, it's all hired out to these "lawncare" men who come once a week and quickly mow down everything in their yards once a week in a mad money-making flurry. OMG, when did this happen? Since when was it legitimate for grown men to charge tons of money to do the job of an 11-year old boy, who should do it for five bucks?
Could someone please tell me how this insanity has happened????? And why people are willing to pay $200,000+ for no individuality, creativity or soul?


Darrell said...

I totally agree, developers are into the quantity of houses and not the quality anymore. Some of the Fischer homes in alexandria would sway in stiff breeze.

As far as color, sorry, that's just how it is here in the conservative midwest. People are afraid. People here are afraid to experiment. they hate change and are afraid to be different. If your house stands out in any way, expect at least one of your neighbors to complain. especially if you are in a more expensive neighborhood.

i can't find a kid in my neighborhood who will even do a halfway decent job mowing the grass. they all expect mom and dad to pay for any new toys/clothes/games that they want. there is no more sense of having to work hard for what you want.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

OMG Darrell, my husband just had a revealation! The 40 y/o guys that are now the lawncare men were the last generation of 11 year olds that mowed people's yards!

Dang, what are we all going to do when they retire? There will be nobody left to mow! These generations of brats don't know the first thing about working hard.

Rich said...

When I was a young republican and living in Suburbia, I would have said that tract housing is just an economic issue. Tract housing and planned suburbs got more people into houses they owned. I grew up near Levittown, PA one of the post WWII birth places of the suburbs. I would have said that getting more people into homes is more important than aesthetics.

Now I would tell you that houses look this way because they sell. If average people had enough style for bright houses, their would be bright houses all over America.

I am much more offended by the lack of character when it comes to the inside of houses. I would have a harder time living someplace that had no character inside.

You say I am so luck to live in the bay area, but here the question is why people are willing to pay $600,000+ for no individuality, creativity or soul? $200,000 cannot get you a crappy condo.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

Yeah, Rich it's all gotta be taken in context.

N CA definitely has it's own versions of complete insanity.... and every place, including N KY, has it's amazing beauty too.

I think part of my angst is that I'm still in a bit of reverse culture shock.... and my husband and I don't really have a plan as to what our goals are. We're not really "convicted" about what kind of living space we desire... I guess we both need to sit down and right out our biggest priorities. Then maybe living in the anonymous grey neighborhood could make sense... or not.

Ravin said...

I live in Tempe, AZ, and out here in the Valley it's just as bad, except the same crappy homes and the SAME LANDSCAPING are going up in the middle of the desert. I don't know anyone with a nice lawn who doesn't also have scorpion problems because they are attracted to water.

When we go to buy we'll be looking for a more sensibly constructed older home in an older, HOA-free part of town!

peppylady said...

House are expensive no two ways about it.

So the house are all gray. Could you repaint them a color to your liking or do you have to go in front of local planing board?

My home only have window on the east and west side.

ThatDeborahGirl said...

I don't know how set you are on staying in Northern Kentucky and I know Cincinnati has it's downsides but nothing compares to Cincinnati (real Cincinnati, not the newer subdivisions) for real housing stock. It seems every neighborhood has two sides. Older housing which is gorgeous and newer housing which is the gray and brown blah you described.

Hartwell, Wyoming, older parts of Blue Ash, Hyde Park and yes even Avondale and Bond Hill and Roselawn all have wonderful houses that you would be free to paint any color of the rainbow.

The tricky part of Cincinnati is that the difference between a "good neighborhood" and a "bad neighborhood" can literally be the street you live on. Like I said, I don't know how attached you are to N. KY but you sound like you are more interested in quality older housing stock and nothing tops Cincinnati for that, whatever else may be wrong here.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

WOW! I love this dialogue! Haven't had this many comments in a while:)

Yes, Deb, you are *so right. We've got to keep our heads on straight. Starting to see stars we've looked at so many houses etc.

The original idea was to live in Covedale; we LOVE the half-timbered houses there! Well, then we realized the taxes are sooo much more in OH than in IN or we thought maybe we could stay here in my son's school district...but we hate these new houses as I said. SO; now we're kinda unsure. Gotta step back and reasess I suppose!

Rockin' Hejabi said...

SUPER houses in Hartwell! OMG I never knew about this neighborhood. Now the big question would be what is the school like?

Here I go, on to the State School Reports.....

I was surprised to see that Covedale's schools are rated very highly.

The idea of living in the actual city makes so much sense on one hand, things are within walking distance, etc. I hate suburb sprawl... and we're really not "afraid" of the crime...any real city has crime in areas, good and bad neighborhoods etc... The people around here are so freaking racist it makes me sick. I gave a hint to my parents that we were considering living in the city and the whooping and hollering and carrying on about how unsafe that would be was just outrageous! They're totally out of touch. I used to live in Tampa, where the section 8 housing is literally around the corner from every "nice" neighborhood. You can't escape it there.

Brendan said...

I still think you should check out Pleasant Ridge!

Rockin' Hejabi said...

Ok Brendan, we will!

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