Sunday, June 5, 2011

On The Hunt

As if we didn't have enough life changing experiences looming in our future, Andi and I started house hunting again. There's a myriad of reasons for why we want / need to move to a new house. Luckily, none of them are urgent so we have time to find the one that fits us best.

We figure this will be house #2 in our purchasing portfolio. The next house we buy won't be the home we retire in, or probably the one our kids graduate high school in. We're looking for a good house with more room than our current digs that can get us through for the next five years.

Our current house - a duplex we own and rent the other half - is perfect in many ways. We absolutely love our neighborhood and all the charm of a house built in the 1900's has to offer. But it's also on a busy street, only has two bedrooms (of which, are both very small with even smaller closets) and only one bathroom (which isn't a big deal until both of us need to use it and then it gets a little awkward). We do have a basement for storage but there's only so many problems that solves. Eventually (like when baby #2 arrives someday), we're going to be out of space.

So we've started the search for a new house that offers all the same character plus a third bedroom, more closet space and a ideally a master suite. If there's anything we know after living in a bedroom the size of a shoe box for the last five years, it's that we're certain a master suite is in our future. Andi's single biggest desire in life is to have his very own side table next to the bed. How sad is that?

The big debate in our house hunting whirlwind is location. Since we're only going to be living there for five years, we don't necessary have to worry about school districts just yet. However, finding a home closer to Andi's work would save him, at minimum, two hours a day in traffic. That's two more hours he could spend at home with our baby and with me. Plus, he might not be so cracked when he comes home from work had he not been sitting in bumper to bumper traffic following a 12 hour work day. However, if we move closer to his work in the Western suburbs, it would be me who'd have to add more commute time to my day. Plus, we'd be living in the suburbs. Nothing wrong with suburb life at all, other than the fact Andi and I love living in the city for all it offers (restaurants, shops, cafes, movie theaters, grocery stores, etc. all within walking distance from our current digs). On the flip side, we can get a lot more house for our dollar in the suburbs (think twice as much!) so there's that factor too.

Is trading in a long commute worth compromising the charm and character of old houses and quaint neighborhoods? We're not sure yet. In the meantime, we're scouting houses in both areas and hoping to stumble into a real gem (a "real gem" - anyone read Lonely Planet travel books before vacations? I think it's funny when they classify must see's as "real gems." Who says that?)

Now for your viewing pleasure, here's some random house hunting photos we've snapped along the way. Since we're shopping for both houses that are move-in ready and also some we'd buy cheap and remodel, we've seen some interesting things in the last few weeks. You're welcome for all these classy shots!

Freak-NASTY basement shower anyone?

This was funny enough to snap a photo of until we realized it was probably for someone who had Alzheimer's. Then we felt horrible. 

This one looks like someone went for milk in 1972 and never came back.
Holy Boogie Nights flash-back 
What a lady at 7 months pregnant looks like after touring 17 million house showings.

1 comment:

  1. I know they're not the same as turn of the century homes, but I think that some of the mid-century homes in the first ring suburbs are really cool. My paternal grandparents lived in Golden Valley and I LOVED their neighborhood. So very "Mad Men". They lived west of Theo Wirth Park and it always seemed like the perfect location because it was such a short zip down 394 to downtown. I can see why you'd be reluctant to give up city living though, especially because of walkability.

    My husband and I live north of Blaine and he works near 494 & 100, so the same sort of commute as Andi. I still have yet to understand WHY he wanted to look for houses so far north when he works so far south.