Yesterday my wife and I saw what sort of new house $1,147,000 will buy in Salem. Also, what $600,000, and $875,000 will buy you.
There were quite a few less expensive houses in the 2016 Salem Tour of Homes, but we zeroed in on several of the spendier ones in the south part of town -- where we live.
Our first stop was Torrey Pines Drive S, near Illahee, where we reverentially entered the million dollar home. I'd never been in this particular part of town. It's filled with new'ish nice houses in what the Tour brochure said is "one of Salem's most exclusive neighborhoods."
I was especially attracted by the large covered deck with an array of outdoor cooking equipment, gas fireplace, and overhead heaters. These kids touring the deck at the same moment as we did seemed equally taken by the deck.
The view from the deck was nice, but Laurel noted that the steep terraced back "yard" had zero grass. Not dog-friendly. So that eliminated the house from her caninecentric consideration. (As did the price, of course.)
After looking at a much less expensive Tour of Homes house in the Illahee area, we headed to an $875,000 home on Rio Vista Way in South Salem's Fairmount Hill neighborhood. Given how settled the neighborhood is, I asked the architect (who was sitting at a table in the garage) if this was a "teardown."
She told me that it was. The people who built the house considered remodeling the 1950's home that was on the lot, but that turned out to be impractical. So they build a new house that fits nicely with the Fairmount Hill vibe.
It was unduly white for our tastes. But we live in a house with lots of wood (walls and ceiling), so that probably explains our reaction. The view to the west from the master bedroom was nice.
The large trees in the neighborhood add a lot to the view of Rio Vista from an east-facing window. This is one reason why we'd be attracted to Salem's older neighborhoods if (or when) us increasingly old folks want to move from our non-easy-care house in rural south Salem.
Next, we took a look at the first completed home (I think it is) in the Fairview Addition development on the old Fairview Training Center property in south Salem. I know Eric Olsen, the developer. He was in the kitchen of the $600,000 house. I heartily congratulated him on the progress he's made with Fairview Addition.
Since Fairview Addition is billed as a "front porch community," naturally I had to take a photo of the front porch. Eric Olsen's homes are constructed with garages in the back that are accessed by an alleyway.
This makes a huge positive difference in the look and feel of a neighborhood. It's a lot more welcoming to approach a house with steps leading up to a front porch, than a house with a mass of asphalt leading to the doors of a three car garage.
What struck me about our Friday evening Tour of Homes excursion was how diverse neighborhoods in Salem are. And we were just in south Salem. East and North Salem have their own very different vibes and characteristics.
People often speak of "Salem" as if it were one unitary city.
But actually there are many Salem's. In one sense, as many as there are individual people in this town, because everybody looks upon Salem from their own unique perspective.