Conshohocken (Moving, Again)
We bought a townhouse in Conshohocken, close to the Schuylkill River and the scene in the photo above. 'Conshy' is a hip little town about 10 miles northwest of Philly. I find it to be an interesting place in transition: it was run down, but now it's being redeveloped and gentrified a bit. It's not as happening as say, Manayunk, but it beats many of the boring, hyper-suburban gated community type places that are scattered around central/eastern Montgomery County -- which were the main areas we were looking (for commuting reasons). Conshohocken, at least, feels like a town.
The house we're moving to is our first. It's a relief to finally 'settle down', though it actually wasn't an especially pleasant experience dealing with a series of strange sellers and rather difficult negotiations. We lost one house we liked in a bidding war and walked away from another when the sellers turned out to be insane (we found them on Craigslist; oh well). Through the process, we learned a lot about how the real estate industry works. While it's now pretty easy to find houses on the MLS database system online without an agent's help, agents can still help you out: they can shield you from irrational or dishonest people on the other end of a major business transaction. Also, for first-time buyers, real estate agents can be invaluable in guiding you through a formidable, complicated process: negotiations, contract, inspections, appraisal, mortgage, and settlement. So don't believe all the hype you hear about disappearing Real Estate agents!
We ended up with a house we're happy with, at a price that was actually within our budget. It's on the top of a little hill in West Conshohocken, with nice views of the surrounding Schuylkill River Valley and the town below. It also has a beautiful kitchen and a walk-out basement with built-in shelves and a desk built into the wall -- a perfect workspace for me. It's also close to SEPTA trains as well as a bicycle trail that goes along the river from Valley Forge to Manayunk.
It will take awhile before the internet is set up there, so blogging may be light for a few days. Til then, enjoy the view (or the larger version at Flickr)