... to having one of these!
I'm sure you're asking, "Hey, weren't you looking for a house?" and yes, we still are. Today, we checked out several of the ones D and I screened from the list he saw two weeks ago (remember the Valentine's Day viewing marathon?). And we have prospects. Real, honest-to-goodness potential places with price points we're willing to consider, with some negotiation.
The next month could be very, very interesting.
But what about the kitty? Well, we promised ourselves that when we finally got a house, we would get a cat, and now that we may actually have a home in our near future, I can almost feel its little paws kneading my lap. In fact, we're hoping to adopt two cats at the same time so they'll have companionship when we're not home (which will certainly be the case for a good part of the day since D and I hope for both of us to have jobs after I finish this degree).
So the details. Without giving actual identifying information away, of course:
The first place we saw today was one D really liked because of the detailing in the molding (baseboards, crown, bordering the doors and windows, etc.). Most of the places that were built in this area lack molding in some if not all of these spots. So D was quite taken with the quality of the construction and the materials used. I agreed that it was nicely done, but the kitchen had some problems -- a glass-topped electric stove (troublesome for cooking because the heat isn't well maintained) with poor ventilation and no way to install a fume hood without going through some serious renovations. The family room also needed a built-in bookcase to be knocked out in order for us to be able to put our couches and TV in a formation that makes sense (not blocking main pathways, doors, etc.). The master suite was fine, as were the numerous other bedrooms, but overall, the layout didn't feel right to me. "This isn't home," I said as we headed to our next location.
The second place had fewer bedrooms (one less) but had a lovely kitchen. The master bathroom needed to have its carpet replaced by tile, which also led us to think about other improvements we might prefer in that space -- redoing the shower, perhaps. The entire home smelled a bit diapery too, but that's because the family living there has two very young children not yet toilet-trained. I imagine that'll go away (not like pet odors). All in all, a nice space laid out in a way that flowed well. Even the office attached to the master bedroom didn't seem odd (even though it sounds a little unusual). The space is separated by French doors that we can put curtains over -- it could become a nice library nook, I think.
The third place is kind of fuzzy to me, which is not the best sign -- if you can't picture yourself in the space, it's probably not "home" either. This one is located on a nice cul-de-sac where our kids would eventually be able to play, and the back of the house opens onto an enclosed yard as well. Good kitchen, decent master bedroom, despite some slightly odd window placement. What feels weird in the layout, though, is the living room and family room. They're side by side, with a large picture hole cut into the wall between them. This means there's an openness to the space (good) but the areas are in some ways required to coordinate visually (limiting). I kind of imagine my living room being more formal than the family room, so to solve this problem, I'd probably just use the family room for sitting and turn the living room into a library (line the area with bookshelves and maybe one smaller sofa?). Blocking up the hole would make the two spaces feel tight, so that's not really an ideal fix. Anyway, because of this, it feels like I'm trying to force my lifestyle to fit the home, which is not what I want.
The fourth place is a townhome. It is new construction, and the floor plan makes incredibly good use of space. But I'm having a hard time picturing children in it. The main floor is great for entertaining -- the kitchen is open to the living and dining areas, which are fluid. But where would kids be able to play while D and I are cooking? Not feasibly around the good furniture. There is a small office on the main floor behind the kitchen, which could be used as a playroom, but it's small, and I imagine it would be confining for any active kid. There's a bedroom in the basement of the townhome that could be used, but again, it's not where kids can be supervised when they're young. There's no good place for them to play outdoors either as the community will have traffic going in and out of it (no lawns or yards adjacent to the property). So, as I said to D, the place is a phenomenal retreat for us, but it would delay when I'd want to have children. I'd want to put it off until we were ready to buy our next house.
The fifth place we saw is also new construction, but it's priced higher than the range we'd been looking in -- D just likes the builder. The home we're considering there is larger than anything else we've looked at, so the price is justified, but we'll still have to see how much it can be talked down. The house's layout is also a bit busy -- living, kitchen, and dining open to each other in ways that are a little disorienting as you're walking through the space. As D put it after we left, "You need to feel grounded wherever you are in the house." We both certainly had moments of "What space am I occupying and where should I be going next?" as we were touring.
The last place under consideration isn't one we saw today. It's in a great neighborhood but is a bit smaller than the other places we've been looking at. We'd have to buy some sort of butcher block to add counter space to the kitchen. Other than that, no real complaints. This home has been on the market for a very long time now, though, which makes us wonder if there's something we don't know about it.
Our next step is to meet with our realtor when I come back for spring break and come up with our strategy for putting in bids. I think we'll pursue House No. 2, then Nos. 6, 3 and 5 (in that order). In the meantime, we need to get a loan preapproval letter, which D is shopping around for. I'm in disbelief that we may actually have a home before I come back from Little U. on the Prairie. What a dream that would be! Oh, let the housing gods be with us.
Time for dinner now. D is trying a new recipe for chicken stew, and he insisted that I should blog so he could do the cooking as a treat. Whatever's on the stove smells delicious ...
13 hours ago