How the other half lives
It was the difference between having $200,000 to spend on a house, and having five times that much.
In the latest episode, a young couple had moved to close-in Northwest Portland from Washington, D.C. a short time earlier. They bought and fixed up a nice Victorian, which they flipped for a handsome profit indeed. (I could be way wrong, but this may be the place.) The idea was that they were going to take their Portland bucks and move back out of town. But then they decided to stay, and with the closing getting ever closer, they had only about a month to find another house.
A tough situation, but since they had a budget of $800,000 to $1 million, it could have been much worse.
As usual, on the show they cruised around with a realtor and narrowed the choices down to three houses, this time all in the Westover Heights area. This is up in the West Hills, where you must remember to keep your pinky in the air as you're sipping your pinot. The husband talked for a while about the beauty of walking to work or to the groovy NW 23rd scene from their current house, but it was hard to see that being quite so convenient from the new 'hood they were checking out. There was definitely some elevation gain there.
The first two houses were grand old Portland things, built around 1913. They both had great views, with the first having a better layout and better yard. (These guys had two puggy dogs who needed some room to yipe around in.) Its only drawback was the kitchen, which was not the spacious modern oasis that the wife wanted. Having endured a blowout of the home they just sold, a kitchen tearout was not something they wanted to deal with again for quite a while.
The second house had some funky rooms, and a couple of bathrooms that were a bit scary, and so it didn't impress them.
But the third house really showed how far Portland had fallen. New construction. Some kind of hotsy totsy hardwood floor, but you just knew there was particle board lurking under every surface. Massive modern kitchen -- the wife was deliriously happy with it -- and grand room, but then a dinky dining room, stuffy little bedrooms, and a small yard that was dominated by a pointless, giant waterfall that promised to make nothing but noise and expense until it fell apart (probably in a couple of years). Adding to the faux-ness of the whole thing was a fake fireplace that appeared to be a display screen playing a video of a fire -- shades of the Yule log on TV, only with no other channels. You saw the realtor with the remote in his hand. Hideous.
The couple chose the first house, and did a few cosmetic things to help the kitchen. At the end of the show, they were seen enjoying their view after they both had driven home from work, and then entertaining friends. Nobody in the picture looked much more than 30.
You often hear Portlanders wonder, "Who are these people who can move in here and afford these places?" Well, here they were. I came in a little late, but nowhere did I hear a peep about where they got their dough.
They were just kids. It must be nice.