Sunday, March 30

Finding a cookie-cutter (home)

The past two weeks, I've been visiting my dad on spring break. My dad lives in Chapel Hill, which is a University town. There are a lot of smart people around, a lot of college kids, and a lot of expensive real estate.

Until recently, that last one didn't matter too much. But my dad's consulting business, vulnerable to the whims of the market, has been suffering for the past two years. Worse, most of his business contacts are retiring or getting laid off.

I feel bad for him. He's been applying to jobs for a year now and nothing has worked out. No one wants to hire someone who's going to retire in a couple years. And in this economy, nobody wants to hire anybody period. He's used up all his savings, declared bankruptcy , and is preparing to hear the big ol' F-word: "foreclosure."

Luckily, he's got my stepmom, and she's got a job. It doesn't pay a hell of a lot, but she can buy groceries and gas, and her credit is good.

This Saturday, they thought it would be "fun" to go looking at housing developments they're thinking of moving to. The more affordable ones. Unfortunately, that means moving out of Chapel Hill and into what my stepmom refers to as "hick." We spent four hours driving around the smallest little towns and then turning into housing developments that looked exactly the same. All the homes looked the same, with a tiny backyard and no sidewalks, the earth so freshly scraped that you could still see its reddish coloring under what would soon be well-manicured imported lawns.

I asked them why they wanted me to come, why they want my input. They keep telling me that my opinion is important. But from what I've seen it won't make a difference. They'll just be moving from a more expensive cookie-cutter house to a cheaper cookie-cutter house built next to another cookie-cutter development surrounding a town that will soon get a Wal-Mart. I want to tell them this, but they're so passionate debating the minutiae (Dad doesn't like the criss-cross windows, my stepmom on the lookout for landscaping details); I can see they really care.

And who am I to talk, anyway? After all, I'm about to start looking for somewhere cheap to live in New York City.

19 comments:

The Ambiguous Blob said...

That, my dear bitch, is an oxymoron. Cheap and New York don't belong in the same sentence together at all ever.
Also, I'm not a fan of suburbia either. It scares the shit out of me.

Ginormous Man Boobs said...

I hate the cookie cutter stuff...I dig originality way too much.

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Lola said...

Helping family (or friends for that matter) search for digs is a thankless chore. And besides, it's guaranteed to get you roped into helping them move their junk! I vote for visiting a nunnery that weekend!! In the meantime, please join in the fun at:

http://lolaology.blogspot.com/2008/04/not-all-who-wander-are-lost.html

- Lola

Holly said...

You're exactly right when you say that because of the economy, no one wants to hire someone--period. I have a job, full-time working from home in my own business, but my boyfriend--a pro-musician with a band that is doing very poorly that he will soon be quitting--is having a very difficult time finding a full-time job in any field whatsoever. It's been taxing on him and on me because he feels that he needs to be working as well as me in order to function normally. It's been a hard time and from what I've been reading about dilemmas people are having, it's a hell of a hard time for just about everyone out there.

Good luck on finding somewhere cheap to live in New York City, you're definitely going to need it!

Big Momma Pimpalishisness said...

See, it really depends on whether it's gingerbread cookie or sugar cookie. Because I'd only want to live in a gingerbread cookie cutter house in the winter, but sugar cookie would be okay all year round.

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Bittersweet Confusion said...

My best suggestion for you (being a NYer myself) is to let go of the dream of living in Manhattan. Anything affordable is a closet. The other boroughs are nice in certain areas... Be prepared to pay about 1300-1600 a month for a studio in the trendy areas though (like Astoria, Queens and/or Park Slope, Brooklyn. I lucked out at $900 for my studio in Long Island City (20 mins from midtown). It's pretty much a living room and a full eat in kitchen but for one person it's great. I will be giving it up real soon so if you're looking to move in the next 1-2 months... I can hook you up with my landlord... =)

QueenBitch said...

Where have you been woman?? Did you find a place? and good god who is that manboobs guy lol..

Moe Wanchuk said...

Just hook up with some stupid rich guy. Then just tell him he's cute and hung like a ring bologny and you'll never have to worry about money again!

That'll be $20 for the advice, I'm saving up for some gas....thx

paisana said...

Wow. Good luck in NYC, but it totally bites to see your parents have to make those kinds of decisions.

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Anonymous said...

Hello. My wife and I bought our house about 6 months ago. It was a foreclosure and we were able to get a great deal on it. We also took advantage of the 8K tax credit so that definitely helped. We did an extensive remodeling job and now I want to refinance to cut the term to a 20 or 15 year loan. Does anyone know any good sites for mortgage information? Thanks!

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