October 27, 2016

On the Fence

Snuck a picture of the new fence going up from inside the house.

We finally decided to replace a large section of our backyard fence. Of the eight posts originally holding it up, only one was still connected to the ground. The fence stood mainly thanks to the twenty year old rose bushes that grew up around it. Shortly after we moved in we noticed it was leaning just so slightly that the gate wouldn’t close. As time went on it began to list more and more. Fences are surprisingly expensive. All total the fence will be our second most expensive repair.

In retrospect it should have been obvious the fence was failing. During our home inspection the inspectors made sure to emphasize their company did not inspect fences, and they could recommend someone who did. That should have been a major clue.

I’ve been thinking lately about all those other houses we put offers on, and whether or not we would have done things differently.

Most of the houses we put offers on only one of us saw before hand. Domingo would go with our real estate agent during his lunch break since we wanted to buy close to his work. He’d watch the kids and I’d go on the weekend. Most homes didn’t stay on the market beyond the initial weekend, so we’d skype in the other one to facilitate quick decisions. The house we won was one that I saw first. Domingo first stepped foot on the property during our inspections.

I like to joke that it wasn’t the house I would have bid on in a normal market. I wasn’t keen on the layout and the kitchen is not my style, but it had the right number of bedrooms and (by sheer luck) there was only one other interested buyer. I knew Domingo would like it. Although the yard wasn’t big, the location made it feel more separate from the neighbors than the typical California bay area home. Domingo enjoys his privacy. Since then the layout has grown on me. I do enjoy making our house my own. It has nice large walls for me to fill with my favorite photos of my favorite subjects.

As I’m sitting here in the family room, listening to the hammering of the new fence posts, I find myself once again opening up zillow and redfin. The home with the spiral staircase and second fireplace in the dinning room that I loved? Risen in value by 2.3%. The gorgeous ex-model home that wasn’t at all what we were looking for, and yet we still fell in love with it? Risen in value by 3.5%. The one that was decorated exactly as I would want my own dream home but accepted an offer before we got a chance to see it? Risen in value by 5%. Our home? Risen in value by 25%. That’s not a mistake, nor is a period missing.

That’s especially not bad considering the HVAC system and fence, and all other work only comes out to 2.7% of the purchase price. (It’ll be higher once we re-carpet and paint, of course.)

I don’t know how accurate those other home values are. I’m inclined to trust Redfin’s estimate of our property. Our neighbor a few doors down from us sold his home at the beginning of the month. It’s smaller than ours, both in terms of bedrooms and square footage, although I think the upgrades were more recent and look newer. The asking price (also the sale price) was significantly more than we paid for our home just a year and a half prior. The difference between their sold price, and redfin’s estimate of our home could easily reflect an additional bedroom.

I am amazed sometimes how things work out.

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