Thursday, October 5, 2006

California Living 101

I am a Midwestern girl, and subsequently have Midwestern sensibilities. That is to say, I think logically, don't believe in buying a purse that costs me more than $30, and think Target is just about the happiest place on Earth. So what happens when you put someone like me smack dab in the middle of Southern California? Well, you learn a few things.

1) Those of you who live outside of CA, and read about CA politics on the Internet or in your local paper probably think, "It's not that wacky. Is it?" Uh, yeah it is. I mean, they elected the Terminator for crying out loud.

2) Everybody smokes crack. It's the only explaination I have come up with to explain the real estate market out here. Look in the L.A. Times and you see cardboard boxes in East L.A. going for $350,000.

The latter has become the issue of the moment. I have hit the official California right of passage. Yes, my apartment building went condo! The management company (let's call them Crack Smokers LLC from here on out), decided to take some very nice apartments, and try to convince suckers that they're condos. Condos with thin walls, too-small AC units, and electrical outlets that have been loose since the day we moved in. Anyway, they're condos now! Buy your lovely 1200 sq. ft., two bedroom unit for (ready for this?) $450,000! Actually that was the original asking price. They then tried to convince us to buy the place for $400,000.

Since The Boyfriend and I are not crack smokers - we declined.

But you'd be amazed how many people are getting roped into these white elephants. Young couples (that would be around my age - 31) with no equity, and no funds to buy a real house. So they think, buying a condo will pave the way. Well it might - assuming the market doesn't bottom out before then (and it's already cooled considerably) and you're stuck with a "condo" that's really a very nice apartment and no one is crazy enough to take it off your hands.

So yeah, we're moving. I should state here that I like to move about as much as getting a kidney removed - but this is an instance where I have no choice. It's either start smoking crack, or move. So we put a deposit down on a new apartment and will be moving by the end of the month. Which means I get to pack up our lives - again (we moved to California 2 years ago back in April and The Boyfriend was already out here so guess who got to do all the packing by herself?). Once again I'm stealing Baker & Taylor boxes from work. Once again, I get to go through our closets and start pitching stuff (this is actually the one benefit to moving really).

I just want to curl up into a little ball and hide from the world until this is all over. Cue violin music here. Want to place any bets on how much reading I actually get done in October?

**Edited** - Snoopy Dance! The Tigers aren't going to get swept! This means my older sister (let's call her the bitch) will get to use the luxury box seats her husband was offered for the Saturday night game in Detroit. I'm green I tells ya! Green!


tvaddictgurl said...

You have my sympathy on the moving thing. I moved into a new apartment over Memorial Day weekend and the living room is still full of boxes. The important stuff, like all the boxes, were immediately unpacked. But all the other stuff, like clothes and dishes, we unpack as we decide we need them.

shayera said...

Oh my God do I know what you are talking about! I hate moving more than anything.
I've lived in a place I generously refer to as "the hovel" for 5 years simply because it's cheap and I detest moving beyond all things.
And I refuse to shell out an arm and a leg for a bitty little box that I'm going to hate.
But every year I say I'm moving.

Amie Stuart said...

I was watching Flip This House and some guy bought an 1100 sq ft house for like 350k and remodelled it and was going to sell it for like 525! I nearly flipped!

Karen Scott said...

When me and my hubby were in Southern CA, we got speaking to this couple who told us that a relatively average house in Newport Beach went for around $2m. That's just silly money.

And you're right, I do think most Californians smoke crack. (g)

Rosie said...

I live in SoCal, albeit in the 'high' desert where prices are more respectable than LA or Orange County. Two years ago we remodeled our house. It was a major remodel, so we borrowed on the equity. I almost fainted when I saw the appraisal. I wouldn't pay that much for this house and...well it's my house! Since then of course the market has gone up even more. Now I couldn't afford to buy my own house.

Now THAT is just crazy stupid!

Tara Marie said...

Wendy, I love my Yankees, but I wouldn't discount your Tigers, they've played good ball this year and my boys played like crap yesterday.

Wendy said...

My POS TiVo didn't record the game for me like it was supposed to!!! ARGHHH! I missed Zumaya throw 103 and strike out 3. I wanted to hear A-Rod get boo-ed! LOL, oh well.

Newport Beach is on the extreme-level of crack-smokers. You're paying for the beach moreso than the hovel you live in. Hey, I love the ocean as much as the next gal - but 1) the homeless problem is 10 times worse down there and 2) I don't have that kind of money. I'm a librarian for cripes sake.

And I read your blog post about your vacation but didn't comment. The homeless problem in this country is such as it is because a former administration decided to "save money" by cutting government funded mental health services. Once again, the brilliance of the American Democratic System at work.

Caro said...

I feel your pain -- I swear the only reason I live in a house in the Valley is because the husband was already living here when we got together. And he has it because his parents bought it as an investment/rental property, then decided they didn't want to be landlords. But this post-WWII ticky-tack is now worth over half a million because it's on a double deep lot. If we flattened this place and rebuilt it, it'd probably go up from there.

Yup, they're smoking crack for these prices.