House stalking becomes a trend
One of my sisters lives in the Saint Francis Woods area of San
Francisco. She and her husband bought an adorable house, and
planned to live there forever. But my sister had her eye on another
house, one right around the corner. It wasn’t much to look at,
being a massive stucco box. But
…it had a double lot. That meant it had a huge backyard, and
extremely rare commodity in the urban fabric of The City. Every
time she drove past it, she thought in the back of her mind,

If that ever comes on the market


House stalking becomes a trend

One of my sisters lives in the Saint Francis Woods area of San Francisco. She and her husband bought an adorable house, and planned to live there forever. But my sister had her eye on another house, one right around the corner. It wasn’t much to look at, being a massive stucco box. But…it had a double lot. That meant it had a huge backyard, and extremely rare commodity in the urban fabric of The City. Every time she drove past it, she thought in the back of her mind, “If that ever comes on the market…”

I didn’t know it at the time, but she was house stalking.

Have you ever been a house stalker? Has some house ever taken your fancy and taken you into the world of “What If?” Apparently, it’s a relatively benign pastime gaining popularity. I was surfing the Archinect Web site, www.archinect.com, which is a site devoted to bringing information from all materials and disciplines together to make architecture more connected.

Anyway, I stumbled on their link to an article from the New York Times from July 26 which discussed house stalking at length and it got me thinking. (Can’t you smell the wood burning?)

The first house I stalked was around the corner from my childhood home in the Baywood section of San Mateo. It was owned by a local contractor. The first huge pull for me is that it was a HUGE property to my suburban-bred eyes and if you stood by the fence at the dead end of the street, a horse or two was sure to make an appearance, nuzzling the pocket of my Catholic school sailor suit looking for the past-prime apples I would often bring. Later, I learned that they were polo ponies.

The area has long since been developed into a large housing tract known as…SURPRISE…Polo Estates. When I hit my teens I became friends with the grandson who lived there with his family, and got to see the house first hand. It wasn’t as cool as the one my imagination had created.

The second house I stalked was a home designed by Bernard Maybeck. He was a famous architect in California during the Arts and Crafts movement. Being an architectural student at University of California, Berkeley, it was no wonder I fell in love with this one. Walk past, drool. Walk past, drool. Repeat until graduation. Check it out yourself at http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Chick_House.html.

My all-time favorite house has got to be Hearst Castle. I have been there several times, and think I’ve taken all the permutations of the tours. It is such an amazing edifice designed by Julia Morgan, the first woman architect to graduate from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. If I am ever Queen I will own this house.

However, I dwell in the past. Apparently the trendy house to stalk these days is Bill Gates’ home at Lake Washington. Valued at more than $125 million (Yeah, but who else could buy it?) it has more than 50,000 square feet of living space. The yearly taxes are reportedly $990,000. But it has a huge pool with a faux fossil bottom so I’m sure it’s all worth it. No wonder he and Melinda have a successful marriage. They could go days without running into one another.

Home stalking is easier now than it was in earlier days. The use of the Internet allows one access to records, pictures and more information about any house than you’d ever want to know. Have you checked out www.zillow.com? This Web site will give you a picture and value for any address you type in. Don’t count on the accuracy, however.

Stalking houses can provide you with insights into what you want in your dream house. And sometimes you even get to see them come true. My sister ended up moving into that big stucco box about 5 years after she began visualizing it. They have remodeled the ugly exterior into a lovely home, and they’ve been there about 20 years now, enjoying that big backyard whenever it isn’t foggy. (That makes a total of about 19 times so far…)

But what you dream, you unconsciously begin to work towards. Never underestimate the power of your aspirations! You might not get exactly the house you wanted, but you might find elements of each of the homes in the one your eventually purchase.

Now is a fabulous time to purchase a home. There is lots of inventory in every price range. You’re bound to find one that makes your heart say, “Home.” For investors the climate is similarly advantageous, whether you’re looking for a move-in model or a contractor’s special. Homes that are attractively priced and staged continue to be sold.

If there’s a house on the market you’ve always had a secret yen to own, don’t be afraid to dream. As Robert H. Schuller – minister, entrepreneur and author – said, “High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.”

Call your Realtor today to see what possibilities exist for you. And be kind to your Realtor!

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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