Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our House Hunt, Pt. 2

Hi Bloggy Friends,

I hope you had a nice weekend. We spent the majority of ours checking out the new neighborhood we may soon be calling home. It isn't exactly the first choice we had in mind, or even the second, but after we decided to extend our borders it wasn't long before it hit our radar.....

(cue fuzzy fade out)

When we made the decision to look outside of our original comfort zone we headed to the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. This area is bordered by the prestigious Rittenhouse Square district, and roughly extends north from South Street to Washington Avenue and west from Broad Street to Grays Ferry. Named after the hospital that is situated within its borders, Graduate Hospital has recently seen a development boom as renovators have rehabbed homes to accommodate an influx of hip, young professionals. While you definitely get more bang for your buck here, the area can be hit or miss. The nicer parts are located further west, which, unfortunately, are not serviced by reliable means of public transportation. To be near the subway line, we would need to narrow our search to the eastern regions, which haven't enjoyed as much updating since the market flopped. We liked several of the homes we saw in Graduate Hospital, but in the end we decided against buying here.

During our casual-looking period, we brushed up on our knowledge of the real estate market through a contingent of helpful real estate agents. While they were held up in open houses, we were able to confront them with a list of queries we needed answers to. We learned about things like seller's assist, the mortgage process and what secret things to look for when viewing a home. We also learned that the housing market in Philadelphia wasn't suffering as much as other cities across the country. There was a slight decline, but for the most part the market here stayed relatively steady. While it was awfully nice of the agents to offer their knowledge so freely, it started to become apparent that they had an ulterior motive - the chance to represent us. For most of the summer, however, it was too early for us to choose a realtor. We knew that would be an important process, but through it all we had someone in mind that we had met before it all began, Mr. Jim Bitting.

Alan met Jim while checking out a loft space down the street from our current apartment. Jim was overwhelmingly helpful from the get-go, making Alan feel comfortable through his friendly, trustworthy approach. We also liked the fact that Jim was a gay man. We had made a decision early on that we wanted to use a gay realtor, because we like to patronize those in our community, and we felt confident that a gay individual would lead us to the areas that were most accepting of our lifestyle. We met several gay realtors throughout the summer; we even met one who's name was Josh Allen. How's that for a coincidence? Though there were many to choose from, Jim still felt like the best option. He seemed like someone we could rely on, and he had years of experience under his belt as an agent for Philadelphia's leading realty company, Prudential Fox and Roach. When the time came for us to make a decision, we immediately shot him an email to see if he was available. He responded soon after not only to say that he was free, but to suggest we consider looking in a hot new area of Philadelphia we had never considered, Passyunk Square.

To be continued.....

I hope you guys have a great night. I'll chat with you soon.

Love, Josh

Here are some homes we looked at in the Graduate Hospital area:

2138 Kater - We thought this house was beautiful, but there were two red flags - it was at the top of our price range, and it was too far from public transportation. The walk to the train would take at least thirty minutes, which would be treacherous in rainy/snowy weather. A gay couple owned it, though. We wish them the best.

2032 Saint Albans - For the most part, Saint Albans is a beautiful street, but once again too far from public transportation once you were at 20th street. It wasn't hard to pass on this house, though. It was bland.

2217 Pemberton - This house was cute(ish), but still wasn't located close to the train. It also only had one bathroom, which, Jude convinced us later in the process, just wouldn't do.


Bill Fogle said...

You are a tease! Oh man, so you guys decided on a place right downtown? WOW! Well, you didn't say that though ...

I always loved Pine Street around, well, I dunno (checks map), say 7th or 8th Street. Those old places on Spruce and Pine were so gorgeous (outside, at least).

Good Lord! $340 K!!! Gary and I certainly couldn't look in that price range back in our day, though he says our lean-to is now valued at $500 (do those estimates really have any meaning?). The more I learn about you two, the more impressed I am by how you handle things. When I was 30 I guess I would have walked the half hour to the subway. But you two are hangin' tough and determined!!! Two baths or else!!! Good advice, actually. When I was young I accepted anything as it came to me. I admire you for thinking through what you want and then sticking with your plans and ideas.

Please, reveal in Part 3! I can't take it! (My guest room needs to have its own bathroom. Thanks. And none of those black ants with wings ... those mud jobbers ... )

Rick Watson said...

I love the big back yard on St Albans. Where is Passyunk? It sounds like a lot those little towns up in there like Manayunk!

Yes, 2 bath is a must and close to transportation is another must.

Rick Watson said...

Girl, I've seen some cute loft apartments in Passyunk with bedroom DOORS to keep the babies out! I'm sure lots of these have outdoor doggy park walking areas!

Girl! Did y'all get a Passyunk Loft????

Rick Watson said...

house hunt, final part 3 !!!!!!!!!!!

give it to us!!!!!! we want it NOW!!!! stop holding out!!!!

Casey said...

I'm going to patiently wait for the big reveal when you're ready. Even though I'm really anxious to hear.

As someone with one bathroom (only accessible through our bedroom--as you well know), it is ideal to have 2. It's not a problem for us, but it sucks when you have company. We're anxious to add-on, but it happenin' anytime soon unless we hit the lottery.

Jeffrey said...

Realtors do Open Houses for two reasons. 1) They want to meet YOU. 2) The Seller thinks this will help. Back to #1.