So yesterday I actually went and looked at the cute house --- the outside and neighborhood --- and then took a long walk around the neighborhood until it started raining.
Sigh. The pictures of the inside look gorgeous --- a lot of the original vintage trim (check out the art deco black and teal porcelain tiling on the fireplace!) and built-ins still intact, the hardwood floors, and a realtor note that the entire wiring and plumbing systems had been redone since the last time it was sold (nice!) and the back yard is nice and sizeable for this neighborhood. I love the neighborhood, as it is an old working-class neighborhood built in the 20s/30s back when everything was designed to be walkable or busable and on a nice small scale.
But it is also a very transitional neighborhood, to use a word people often employ when talking about living in the multi-million dollar condos in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Two streets over starts the downtown, and one street over all the old historic houses have been repurposed as law and dr offices. This is the first street starting the housing part of the neighborhood, and I wish all the people on the left side, with their beautiful restored houses and nice yards, good luck. The other side of the street has even tinier shacks, worth way less than the left side, according to zillow.
So I walked here and there and all about and was just really sad and regretful on the second or third pass by the house, when I came across a bunch of homeless people on bicycles smoking meth on the corner cattycorner to the house. (Side note: what is it with the homeless users and bicycles in this town? It is all of them. It appears to be A Thing, like how in LA everyone with a serious mental illness must be pushing a loaded-up shopping cart, as if by law. Strange.)
Also sad is how large numbers of the old houses have been torn down and replaced by small to medium apartment buildings from the ugly 60s era when everything was super boxy and ugly. And crowded. I ran into a lot of people outside doing their thing because there is no room inside the apartments, including playing music inside the building so they could hear it outside the building while working on their car etc. Hmm. As I walked back and up through the neighborhood I got further away from the apartment blocks and the streets seemed to be more single-family, owned by the occupants, type places. The houses spread out a bit and had more landscaped yards. The houses looked restored or very well kept, and were a riot of styles --- some craftsmen, some bungalows, some of those pointy gothic revival Tudor guys, some of the "California modern" and Spanish revival stuff from the 20s that I love, and the cars parked in the driveways went up in cost too.
Yes, I'm being totally classist. House-buying is a classist thing, and I'd want neighbors with a similar class outlook as immediate neighbors. Part of this I blame on living where huge gentrification took place and owning a teeny restored old house like these meant that you were a hipster wealthy professional, not a working-class person with no education. That does go against the spirit of these turn-of-the-century neighborhoods, I know.
Thing is, none of the houses in that area of the neighborhood appear to be changing hands. Probably a good thing for the neighborhood, but that might mean sitting around and waiting like 10 years to get a chance to move in.
Anyway, all of this tells me that buying anywhere near the downtown is a minefield and a very delicate matter. But there is a fairly decent house for rent in the area. I have til August or so on my lease, and if anything like that place is open then I'll think about moving and renting there. I have the feeling that I'm gonna want to walk around there extensively, really know every inch of the area and the neighbors before I make any sort of commitment.