Sunday, July 08, 2007

Moving Part 4 - House Hunting

When you watch the shows about house hunting it looks really fun. It is fun when you are very casually looking at a neighborhood, crashing someone's open house, or playing around on the web.
It is not fun when you are actually crunching numbers. When you are going over similar ugly house after similar ugly house over and over and over again. How many split level ranches with tiny bathrooms are there in this town!
Then there is the driving. We had some idea what neighborhoods we liked, but driving through them, with the kids, has proven mostly unpleasant and prone to frustrated bouts begin the spouses.
A couple times the kids got in the spirit of house hunting. As we were driving through one neighbor Will and Sophie started asking each other. "What do you think of this house?" "I like it." "Ooh look at this house." " I don't like it." These weren't actually properties we were looking at,just houses on the street we were driving. Still, they are getting something.

There are some cool looking neighborhoods, either too expensive, or the houses are just too old and in need to too much renovation (my ideal amount of renovation is ZERO). There are some very nice houses but mostly miles from civilization, on barren plots of land, on land barely bigger than house itself. We know the kind of neighborhood we don't want (ours), so we need to improve there. My experiences with the doors, cabinets, faucets and the like, make me question and renovations, so it is often strangely heart wrenching to find a good looking house on the web, track it to the location, fall in love with the exterior, walk inside and have all hopes dashed by the tiny dark kitchen with no cabinet space, or the dank master baths with a grimy shower and single sink. I really fell for this eclectic house in the coolest neighborhood. Even after seeing the inside, I was not totally without hope. We'd have to knock out some walls in the kitchen, add cabinets and a pantry. Pull up the carpet and redo the floors. Then the big project, build a bedroom over the garage, with new bathroom, big closets etc... A year long project and another $100K would have done it. It is still in my 'maybe' folder.
I tend to fall in love with either the exterior or interior (or land) and try to make excuses for the rest. Sure it isn't the most attractive neighborhood, but we spend most of our time inside anyways. Or Sure it needs work, but once we do, think of the resale!
My current love is a nice house (no garage, but hey, plenty of parking!) big on a nice piece of land with funky neighbors. We go inside tomorrow and I await the fatal flaw. We shall see.


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