F. tells us not to despair, jump back into the search. I meet her on a Thursday night at a house that has just come on the market in Albany. Another 20s era place, neglected landscaping. The living room and dining room make me giddy - someone has clearly taken a great deal of time and trouble to restore the woodwork to pristine condition. The dining room built-in makes me swoon. The front bedrooms are a bit small, the front bathroom is archaic, but livable.
The kitchen is something entirely different. There's a stain on the ceiling the size of Florida, bulging ominously - I'm pretty sure Craig T. Nelson pulled his wife and kid through it on a gooey rope. The cabinets look like painted plywood, and a big, eager dog clearly tried to dig his way out of the kitchen door - through several layers of linoleum and down to the subfloor.
The listing says a new master suite, and we find it on the other side of the kitchen, tacked onto the back of the house, clearly a do-it-yourself project. The baseboard is just 1X4 nailed to the sheetrock (and you can see every sheet of the sheetrock, since they didn't tape or mud). They measured wrong, so the baseboard extends into the doorways by about an inch on each side. The tile floor in the badly laid out bathroom convinces me that no one owned a level.
Outside was even worse. Two decks, both rotting and patched with plywood. The garage with "parking for one car," has actually been turned into an illegal in-law. I'm guessing it's illegal because the bathroom only has a sink and a toilet and a pipe sticking out the floor where the shower should be. Sure, you could park here, but you'd have to tear out the closet that's been built in front of the door. The crowning touch? We walk to the sideyard, and the chimney is falling off the house. I can literally see daylight between the brick of the chimney and the stucco of the house.
Asking price: $485K. We laugh and laugh, and then go home.