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Marni Jameson column: Here we go again, house hunting

When you live in a house for sale that looks good (my job) and is priced right (the bank's job), it sells. But as a live-in home stager, when you do your job well, you're soon back out on the street.
BY MARNI JAMESON Published: March 26, 2012

I have a day to decide. I rule out the first two, and narrow my choice to the final three.

I run the options by my co-workers, who, whether they like it or not, overhear all my hyperventilating phone calls. I show them pictures.

Soon they're sucked in, and begin placing bets as if watching an episode of HGTV's House Hunters: Will she choose the country club estate on the golf course? The historic charmer on the lake? Or the urban Spanish bungalow?

I wasn't sure. I think out loud — to everyone's dismay — weighing the following:

• Cost of utilities. After facing utility bills that teetered near $600 last year during our warm Florida season, I had my eye on this line item. The large country club home's soaring ceilings, I worried, would cost a lot to cool, which would be very uncool.

• Commute to school and work. Though all three contenders had manageable commutes to work and school, the country club home's was longest, about 30 minutes one way. The urban house was closest, and the lakefront home split the difference, about 20 minutes to both.

• The neighborhood. The lakefront home was close to big stores and decent restaurants. The urban house location was the most happening. The country club house had all the amenities suburbia has to offer — down the road a ways.

• The market. Smart homebuyers favor the house that has a good chance of resale. In my case, I favor the house facing the toughest sell because I potentially won't have to pull up stakes as soon. The urban house, which has the lifestyle I would most like, already had two serious lookers. The country club estate being large and pricey, would likely sit a while. The lakeside home was not only odd but also in foreclosure. Months of paperwork likely stood between it and a closed sale.

And the winner is ... For novelty, convenience, and relative stability — I chose ... the 130-year-old lakefront charmer. It has neither a center island nor a pool, but it oozes charm and the water views are dreamy. I have no idea what I'm going to do about the lack of closets, but when I figure that out, I'll let you know.

Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through