Nothing to do but keep on renting
Tahoe-funky. That’s the term I use to describe the houses I have looked at to buy.
There are places where the refrigerator is not in the kitchen. It’s around the corner. And this had to be done intentionally since a special outlet is needed for a fridge.
There are houses built 6 inches from a massive pine tree — that surely is not in my best interest.
There was a duplex where I would have had to walk outside, downstairs, around the back and into a bizarre little room to access the laundry. A trip to the laundromat in the winter would have seemed more logical.
There was the place with a 5-foot-by-5-foot room that was just off the bathroom. It wasn’t even possible to use it for storage because it then led to a 4-foot-by-12-foot room that might have worked as an office.
I have looked at places that were crappy apartments turned into crappy condos. They remind me of some of the things I lived in as a poor college student.
I can live with the 1970s green and mustard counter tops and appliances. I can handle shag carpet. I can handle tiny rooms that will mean living the life of a minimalist.
What I cannot handle is the asking price for some of these eyesores. I regret that exactly a year ago I found the house that would have been perfect for me and didn’t buy it.
I wasn’t living here, I didn’t have a job here and buying a place in South Lake Tahoe while I worked in San Francisco didn’t seem financially responsible.
It was a two-bedroom, one-bath house with attached one-car garage on a good-sized lot with a decent 6-foot fence out back. It had less than 800 square feet. The asking price for this house on Helen Avenue was $169,999. I gasped. How could a shoe box cost so much?
I put in a low bid. They countered. I got scared with the idea of owning a home where I didn’t yet have a job — nor was this one even available.
When I moved here in August, that same house would sell for $220,000, according to my agent. I refuse to let him tell me what it would go for today.
I know I am not going to get my dream home. But it has gotten so bad that my sole criteria is that I would not be ashamed to have my parents visit me. That seems pretty pathetic.
The South Shore has priced me out of the market. A single, middle-class person should be able to buy a home anywhere. It should not take two incomes.
Supply and demand always drives a market. I understand this reality.
I am not looking for sympathy. I look around my office and see that I am not alone in what at least for now is an unattainable goal of having that American Dream — to own my home.
I could buy something in the Carson Valley, but that defeats my whole goal of returning to Tahoe. Working here is not enough for me. I want to live in Tahoe. If I want to live in a desert, I’ll go back to Vegas or to Arizona.
For now I will just keep paying someone else’s mortgage and letting them have the American Dream and then some, since this is their second home.
— Kathryn Reed is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She may be reached at (530) 541-3880, ext. 251 or via e-mail at
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