Saturday, February 8, 2014

Score One for Awesome Columbia

Reprinting this post on real estate from last year. Look for an update at the end.



Real Estate

Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.

Charlie Brown: What is it you want?

Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate.


I sat across from my daughter in the Nordstrom Cafe yesterday. We chatted over

perfectly seasoned chicken, grilled vegetables, fresh fruit, and peach iced tea. The occasional "ladies who lunch" experience is a treat for us, a mother-daughter splurge. We talked about writing, her upcoming job interview, and the House Hunt.

George and Alice got married in September. They didn't have any immediate plans to buy a house. They rent a spacious condo that meets their present needs. But then two things happened. George got a raise, and the housing market began to shift. Suddenly it looked as though they could afford a house, and that perhaps they had better act before prices went back up.

It's interesting to hear her take on the Columbia housing market. "Well, I know I want to live in Oakland Mills," she said. "The houses we've seen in other villages are smaller, more expensive, and they need so much work. You're paying for the village name, perception. The houses in Oakland Mills are bigger, more affordable, and in many cases the updating has already been done."

This made me smile. I've been saying to folks for quite awhile that you can get the biggest bang for your buck in Oakland Mills. Now my twenty-something daughter was relating her own personal experiences to me, and that's exactly what she was finding.

I read in a comment on Patch the other day that the only people who live in Oakland Mills have no choice or don't know any better. I'd put Alice up against that half-baked notion any day. She grew up in Baltimore City, so she knows a good neighborhood from a bad neighborhood. She has lived here, worked here, patronized businesses here. She's been doing her homework. This is not naivete.

Every week seems to have both good news and bad news for my village. A well-attended forum on education. A hideous violent crime. And this means opportunities for thoughtful people to ask questions and share ideas, while narrow-minded folks spew stereotypes and insults.

Thank heavens I get to sit face-to-face with the next generation of Columbia and hear a fresh point of view on a regular basis.


Update: They found the house they wanted. In Oakland Mills. One of the first things they did was to park their car and see how long it takes to walk to the Village Center. And then to our house.

I just love happy endings.

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