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Thread: Quirks about housing and real estate in your city

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
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    Quirks about housing and real estate in your city

    ... aside from outrageously high or low prices, that is.

    After watching one too many shows on HGTV, especially those where first time homebuyers are taken through various new houses to see what edifices they want to find themselves hopelessly in debt for, I think I realized why Buffalo was never featured on any of the channel's shows. Houses in the Buffalo area usually have hopelessly outdated kitchens, even in high end neighborhoods and suburbs. While kitchens in tiny Denver shacks and little Toronto semis have granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, here's a selection of what can be found in relatively pricey houses in the Buffalo area. I didn't have to look very hard; almost nothing has what could be called a modern kitchen.

    Some examples:


    Kitchen of the same house:


    Kitchen of the same house:


    Kitchen of the same house:


    Kitchen of the same house:

    Looking through many listings, I couldn't find any modern kitchens in any house, except for the most recent new builds. Even then, there was no granite, no stainless appliances.

    Every city seems to have a certain quirk when it comes to the housing there; the basement toilets of Pittsburgh and Denver, the doors leading from a bathroom to the backyard in Orlando, the half-basements in some parts of Cleveland. What's the quirk in your neck of the woods?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    That's funny, I didn't find the kitchens in the first or second homes to be outdated at all. Well, maybe not the current trend, but certainly good enough for me (I like the red and white cabinets and I think we have the same dishwasher...). Maybe if I was retired, well off and bored I might change it up, but that looks pretty par for the course for around here. New Mexico doesn't exactly have its finger on the pulse of the nation, either, though...

    As for housing peculiarities around here, I guess the biggest would be that there are virtually no basements (let alone basement toilets) in New Mexico. They exist in a handful of older homes, but at some point builders from the east realized that it was unnecessary in terms of controlling heaving through the winter, so they stopped. My house was built in 1907 and has no basement. I only know one person with a basement in their home and even that only extends across half of the home.

    An interesting exception to this is an approximately 6 X 6 foot hole dug underneath a house after original construction to squirrel away a hot water heater. I've visited a few when house shopping and couldn't stop thinking of Silence of the Lambs as I leaned to me wife and whispered "it rubs the lotion on its body..."

    We of course have tons of Pueblo style housing - flat roofs with no overhangs, stucco - if you can build it, you can plaster it with cement, and casement windows - you can practically see the heat rushing out of the home. In general, housing tends to be a lot smaller than back east. When we were considering a move to Pittsburgh, we drooled over the expanse of houses. Most didn't even list square footage, just number of bedrooms, as if to say "trust me, its big enough...". Our current home is a "lite" 1400sf and it fells like a mansion compared to our previous home that was under 1000sf. With 2 kids, it was a little tight to say the least. And I was a little crazy...

    I was also just in Seattle where I have family and their homes tend to be on the smaller side as well. I found it curious, especially in light of high housing prices. I also noticed that people there go to great lengths to take advantage of every ounce of usable space - daylighted basements, bumped up attics, etc.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve

    water water everywhere

    Wet basements. Everywhere.

    Don't ask your realtor to find you a house with a dry basement - they don't exist. All basement heating and plumbing appliances are set on blocks at least 3 inches off the floor.

    Some homeowners eventually put in sump pumps. Many just keep the local volunteer fire department on speed dial for pump-outs in case of rain or snowmelt events.

    Some get more creative and just carve channels in the basement floors (concrete or dirt) for the water to flow in one side and out the other. Really.

  4. #4
    Jun 2007
    Oklahoma City
    No basements... anywhere. (Which is really odd with the threats of tornadoes and whatnot in Central-North Texas).

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break
    Realtors don't like to mention the word but I'll say it.....radon! That delightful radioactive element is present here locally in higher concentrations than most places. Locals don't bat an eye when buying a house that tests high, but folks coming in from, say, California or Mississippi sometimes freak when find this out.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    Hmmm..... the only reason I can think of for the bathrooms to the back yard is in the event the homeowner builds a pool, then the bathroom becomes the very common "pool bath"; instant access to a bathroom so pool-users don't have to traipse wet thru the house. Our house has a door from the pool area to the short hall leading to the half bath.

    No basements here. Although I've heard there are a few in Tallahassee, where there is a little bit of elevation.

    Most older homes are built of concrete block which is generally good during hurricanes, unless the roof hasn't been retrofitted with hurricane clips.

    And of course, we don't have furnaces, we have heat pumps.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    ..... Our house has a door from the pool area to the short hall leading to the half bath....
    And the last time that door was used was by me before you moved in and blockaded it with the cat litter boxes. Now I have to sashay thru the French doors to the half-bath.

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