Someone Buy This House!

I never stop looking at real estate. It’s like a sick, addicting fetish except you don’t get in trouble at work for looking at Trulia. I often find insanely cool places, exceptional deals, or houses with tons of potential. Since I can’t buy houses as easily as I can buy shoes (luckily), I decided to at least write about these places on here.

Someone needs to buy this house! From the looks of it, it’s really amazing and so cheap! 2400+ sq feet, water access, mature landscaping, hot tub, almost 5 acres, sounds too good to be true (and maybe it is)

It’s cute from the outside, built in 1965, it’s got a little bit of a late mid-century vibe that you could play up. There’s great mature landscaping. Looks like there’s a path down to the river. The property looks quite private, which is great if it’s just off of Route 32. Plus there’s a chicken coop and a hot tub!

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The inside isn’t bad at all. The main living space looks nice and open, nice fire place, great floors. It just needs some of the overly plush furniture swapped out for clean modern lines.20151129-residential-1x0fnta-oThis bedroom looks huge! Exposed rafters and skylights give the space some architectural interest, which I’m sure is wasted on the children that get to live here. 20151129-residential-10hpiie-o-2These doors are pretty awesome. Not a big fan of the black and white floor, but you could live with it. The arched window is pretty great too, lots of interesting little details. 20151129-residential-nk3434-oHere’s another ginormous bedroom! This is is the master bedroom (based on the other pics) You could really have a nice master suite here, just have to get rid of all the baby stuff. PS- Kids ruin everything
20151129-residential-1id4v7n-oThe kitchen is definitely lacking, but really isn’t bad. The counter tops look nice, the cabinets and back splash are neutral, the appliances look upgraded, the layout and size are nice. Something just isn’t clicking though. Maybe you could paint the lower cabinets, swap out some light fixtures and make it all work for minimal effort. 20151129-residential-1xdavb-oBest for last! Check out this sun room. In my book, this is drool worthy. That hex floor tile is amazing, the view of the woods and the yard. It’s such a great space, it needs a cow hide rug and a day bed with lots of pillows and I’d live there forever. 20151129-residential-c7uisi-o

For only $200k, this house is either an insane steal and someone needs to buy it immediately, or it’s under a highway and always smells like farts. Someone needs to go check it out!



So, I’ve realized I’m really shitty at blogging consistently. I’ve been meaning to make this post for about 2 months now and haven’t taken the 5 min it takes to actually sit down and write this. 

Here’s a little story:

Once upon a time, just over a year ago, in a crowded restaurant in Koreatown a group of friends was getting slightly drunk out of a watermelon and filling up on pork-stuffed-squid. While going around and everyone updating the group on what’s new in their lives, I showed the group a picture of a house (the first one from this post) I had gone to see the previous weekend. It was my 2nd trip into my house hunting and I was considering making my first offer on a house. As I showed everyone the pictures of the house, the property, the creek in the back yard, I was telling everyone how cheap real estate was upstate, and how for basically the cost of a parking space in the city, you can own your own mini-farm just 2 hours from the city. Apparently this, unknowingly got some gears turning. 

Jumping forward a year, everyone that was at that delicious korean dinner that night, now owns a house in Kingston.


Derek & Lou were the first ones to actually buy and close on a house, and they got this handsome bastard (matching truck not included). It’s a gorgeous, restored historic house, in a great little neighborhood. They were the ones who first landed in Kingston, while I was still searching for a huge plot of land in Sullivan county. Plus, they were the ones who found our amazing real estate agent Darlene, who was like a god-send, and has sold every one of us a house… on our first time out with her… like some kind of Lifetime Movie Network miracle worker. 

ImageSara and Mark had been looking at Kingston for a while, and between Derek and Lou buying a place in Kingston, Sara and Mark looking there and me losing out on 4 places in Sullivan County, I figured it was worth checking out the area. I ended up finding my place before Sara and Mark officially went out looking. They ended up with this photogenic place with a big corner lot in a neighborhood. The place has a few projects and a little remodeling to be done, which is exactly what they were looking for. 


Then there’s my house (keep in mind this is a “before” pic) which is surrounded by woods with a creek in the backyard. It’s the smallest house of the 3 and was definitely a project. I didn’t get my huge piece of land, but found the perfect compromise where I have no neighbors and nothing but woods around me, even if I don’t technically own those woods. In the end, everyone got just what they were individually looking for.

So between the three house holds, we’ve founded #klubkingston which has turned into many boozy dinners and cocktail parties, antiques hunts and tool swapping. It’s crazy what a difference a year can make. And we’re hoping to continue to expand #klubkingston in the future.



Mini Update

I haven’t blogged in a while, had some set backs, missed out on a weekend of work, etc, and basically haven’t had time. This weekend I had my first real guest at the house, my college friend Leyla. This was the first weekend that practically no work was done on the house. It was kinda nice to be able to relax a bit and actually enjoy. 20131112-162302.jpg

The living room is pretty much all set up now. It’s bare-bones, but getting there. 20131112-162637.jpg

We made it down the hill behind the house to Sawkill Creek.20131112-162652.jpg

We got apple-drunk. Local hard cider that I picked up a few weeks back at an orchard in Stone Ridge, which was nice and not sweet and syrupy like other hard ciders. And we also cracked into a bottle of Applejack, that was a house warming gift from some lovely friends. 20131112-162705.jpg

This was the one project we did this weekend. I trash-picked this chair in Brooklyn, brought it upstate and recovered it in a maroon velvet. This is a horrible picture, but the chair actually looks pretty great. 20131112-163116.jpg

This was the first weekend that I had a “real” fire in the fireplace. I need to start stockpiling wood for winter!20131112-164330.jpg

The back yard is filled with bluestone. It’s just waiting to be turned into landscaping. I’m going to spend all spring hauling rocks up a hill by hand. I’m going to be fit-as-fuck.20131112-164344.jpg

The guest bedroom is furnished! (sparsely) but at least it’s functional. 20131112-164407.jpg

More info and updates to come, as soon as I have the time to wrap my brain around another post. Hopefully the next will be better composed.

Ugly House: UPDATE

So…. I’m buying the Ugly House. It’s been a few weeks of inspections, appraisals, lawyers, contracts, financing, begging etc. No one told me buying a house would be so annoying. I now feel like I’m finally at a point where this one won’t fall apart, so I feel safe to say that I’m getting this house and that I can start picking out paint colors and it’s not premature. If all goes well, I should be closing in about 2 weeks.

I’m starting to plan out how to turn the inside of this ugly house into something livable in the short-term and something amazing in the long term all while using the smallest budget possible.

In all actuality, the house isn’t THAT ugly inside. All of the owner’s possessions are what really makes the interior a hideous blur. The other big issue is the horrible carpet throughout the house. Step #1 GET RID OF THE HIDEOUS FUCKING CARPETS

IMG_2612Seriously, those carpets will be gone and in piles in the garage before I spend my first night in the house. I swear to the tiny baby Jesus. According to the homeowner, there’s parquet floors under the living room and plywood sub-floors under the rest of the house. I think this is LIES. When I did the inspection, down in the basement, you can see that there’s wide plank, probably pine, subfloors under the original part of the house. The kitchen and master bedroom are both converted porches, so God only knows what’s under there. The kitchen will be tiled at some point, and if I have to have carpet in the master bedroom, I can live with that, as long as it’s not this awful stuff.

I’m hoping that I can luck out and end up with floors that look something like these, or maybe even better.

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Once that carpet is gone, the living room, bedrooms, hallway, and nook behind the fireplace are all basically blank slates. A little paint and some non-oldlady furniture and it’ll be good to go. There’s no architectural interest to these rooms, so hopefully a nice, old wood floor will do it. Otherwise I might need to add some molding, or wainscoting or something. The kitchen and bathrooms will need to be tackled pretty quickly too, but I think some paint and a few new touches will be a big improvement on those areas too. More on those later.

Being a Real Estate Voyeur

While house hunting, you get to peek inside people’s lives… and people are weirdos. I love going through random homes, and with a small budget, they’re rarely nice, clean, or well decorated. Looking through someone’s stuff brings up all kinds of questions about what kind of freaks live/lived there. Below are some examples of some of the spectacular and horrifying things I’ve seen.

The Brady bunch basement.

photo 4

HUGE cat glamour portrait
photo 1 100 years of wall paperphoto 2 A little friend in his natural environmentphoto 5Metallic flamingo wallpaper bathroom. The ceiling was wallpapered 3There were 50+ dead things in this small cabin, as well as the weapons used to kill them.


And let’s not forget the bug-zapper in the living room from the last post. Seriously, who are these people?? I have so many questions! Are they genius and it’s all a joke, or are they insane? Is this the home of a serial killer and the bodies of 10 women are buried in the crawl space? Would that give me some sort of tax discount? Have they never heard of staging their homes? I swear that I could become a home flipper in upstate NY just by painting and staging a home. I’m sure that most buyers can’t see past a poorly taxidermied coyote to see a home’s potential. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these trash piles and turn it into something great.

The Ugliest House

House hunting this weekend was great. Ulster County is like 1000X prettier and classier than Sullivan County (suck it Sullivan County, you broke-down whore!) But with my budget, I fall more into the broke-down-whore category than the classy (especially after those last two sentences)

I did meet and fall in love with the UGLIEST house there ever was…. that might be an exaggeration, but it was pretty bad. The pics below prove my point. Yes, that’s a bug zapper…. in the living room*


*there were no bugs anywhere to be seen


Okay, okay, that gold sculpture in the corner is kinda fabulous, but look at that carpet. ImageSo, the inside looks pretty bad. Honestly it’s mostly because an 80 year old little jewish woman that my Dad was hitting on lives there and she has the most hideous possessions known to man, and that really sullied the spectacular vista that was this house.

But, I am Richard Gere, and I think I could Pretty Woman the shit out of this place. It’s got great property, great location, Sawkill Creek is behind the house (and how bad-ass is the name SawKill) and frankly, the house is adorable. Plus there’s a brick two car garage that’s just waiting to be converted to something awesome.

ImageImageSo, let’s see if this one works out, or ends in frustration and heartbreak.

House Hunt- the back story

This blog was originally created, in part, to showcase my hunt for a weekend/investment house in upstate NY. Every time I’ve gone on a house-hunting trip with my realtor I’ve said I was going to do a blog post about the houses I see, the pros and cons, etc…… it’s never once happened. This blog has been around for a year now with only a measly, but well written (Thanks Tony!) post about delicious kale chips.

After MONTHS of searching, falling in love, making offers, having my heart broken, I’m finally making a post about the search. The price range that I’m looking in is low, so the houses are either in bad condition to the point where I can’t get a conventional mortgage (which I need), or the competition is fierce and I’m outbid. I’ve been looking in Sullivan County so-far, and have looked at around 20 homes in person and countless more online.

Here are the places that I fell in love with, tried to buy, and that didn’t work out for one reason or another.

This one was the first. It was out of my price range, but I low-balled it and the seller accepted! I thought my dreams came true. The night before my home inspection, I got a call from my broker saying someone out-bid me by $20k. I was already at my max, and lost out.


3 bed, 1.5 Bath, 10 Acres with a creek in the backyard

This one was listed on a Saturday, I put a full price offer on it on Monday, on Thursday the seller accepted a full price cash offer over mine.


2 bed, 1 bath, 1 acre

Look at that view! FML


Cute home, super cheap. It needed lots of work but the price, location and privacy were all amazing. Seller refused my full price offer and would only take cash.


2 bed, 1 bath, 12 acres

This one was a huge old farmhouse. The inside was ugly but had potential. In the end some drama with an underground oil tank that took this off the table.


5 bedrooms, 2 bath, 4 acres

So that’s the back-story. 8+ Months of hunting and offering and nothing working out. I know it’s a difficult process, especially when your budget is small, but it’s been hard to not be discouraged. This weekend, I’m switching gears and looking in Ulster County. Ulster is more expensive, with smaller homes and properties in my price range, but I’d be closer to friends and the towns are much nicer. It’s all about compromise I suppose! More on the Ulster County hunt coming soon!….. If I ever post here again.