Dancing in the Rain

by Cait

Today on my lunch break I read through the archives of  a blogger who lives in my city. As I read, I found myself becoming increasingly jealous of all the things her house is in walking distance to, and the pretty views in her neighborhood. I spent a few minutes anxious about getting on with renovations to our house, and almost wishing we had bought in her neighborhood instead. Despite that, I continued reading. I was reminded that being in walking distance to restaurants and an overpriced coffee shop does not spare you from unexpected plumbing disasters, illness, or the bad things that happen when trees decide to fall over/drop their limbs. Also, your driveway is not automatically paved in gold, and the Lollypop Gild doesn’t dance & sing songs upon your arrival.

Probably.

After work I came home and was greeted with an overwhelming feeling of  “oh yeah, that’s why we bought in this neighborhood”. Our house is in biking distance to its own overpriced coffee shop, Publix, my parents, and the houses of two couples we hang out with. We love our neighbors, and we’re closer to Lowe’s & the elementary school our possiblefutrurekids will attend. And have I ever mentioned that on Friday nights in the fall you can hear two high school bands from our (unfinished) back patio? (You can hear church bells playing Christmas carols in the winter, too.) Tonight while taking the dogs out I took a moment to dance like an idiot in the rain to the drum line.

The experience reminded me of the things we listed for our realtor when were just starting to look for a house.

Musts:

  • 3 bed, 2 bath
  • 1200 square feet (or slightly larger)
  • Wood floors
  • Fireplace
  • Near my parents
  • Closer to Robert’s parents (we were 45 minutes away before)
  • Good schools
  • Older home with some updates
  • Move-in ready

Would be nice:

  • Fenced-in (or easily fenced-in) backyard
  • Garage or carport (this was actually a must for Robert, but we decided the house was otherwise too good to pass up)

I might be forgetting a few things, but that was the gist of our list. And we got almost every single one. Two rooms had carpet (and still have, but we did buy reclaimed wood for them from our local ReStore), we didn’t get a garage (though there was a shed, that we’ve since upgraded), and two sides of the backyard needed fencing. Also? We our house has one more bedroom and 650 more square feet than what we figured we’d end up with.

Did anyone else make a list of wants when house hunting? (I assume that’s pretty standard, but maybe I’m wrong?) What do you love about your neighborhood?

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10 Comments to “Dancing in the Rain”

  1. I love that I’m walking distance to Lake Ontario. I love that I live on a tree-lined street. I love that this is the house that my hubby grew up in. I love that we have a big enough yard for our dog to run circles in. I love that we can sleep with our windows open and not hear a peep, even though we are surrounded by neighbours. Ahhh…..it’s nice to be able to call a house home.

  2. Those are good things to remind yourself why you bought the house you did and to love it.

    I had a list too (3+ bedrooms, 1.5 baths, porch/sunroom, fireplace, hardwood, certain neighbourhood, yard for kdis, driveway.) I was only sort of looking to buy due to my job and expected relocation … I didn’t look at a lot that I might have liked. And because I may have to leave any time, a big factor was price. I didn’t want to invest a lot into downpayment, I wanted a house that I could possibly rent out later, a low price for lower taxes (we live in a VERY HIGH taxed county) BUT it had to be move in-condition / LIVABLE. It is not the “forever” house. I only looked at two, in fact I put an offer in on the first house, but they didn’t accept. And then a month or so later I found this house and it had all the stuff on the primary list and all the stuff on the other list. It may have had a couple things I didn’t want too (shared driveway, walk out basement), but that was ok.

    Love: around the corner from the organic food store, walking distance to the kids school, walking distance to my work; a village feel to the inner city neighbourhood, established friends

    • Thanks for the comment, Sara! I’m enjoying reading what everyone loves about their neighborhood, and what they were looking for when they bought :)

  3. Great post. We had a lengthy list too and found mostly everything we wanted in our house. I can’t help but think about how different our list will be when we’re looking for our next house, which will probably be the house we spend the rest of our lives in.

    • Thanks Susanna! I’m glad you found almost everything you wanted in a house! I think a comparison between what you wanted in a first house and a second house would be fun, whenever the time comes.

  4. I love that we’re in a house that has everything we want and that we can afford it! Our area is so expensive to live in that cost was the biggest hurdle, lol. Still, despite the expense, I am very happy with our house even though it’s taking us forever to get it where I want it to be. I feel like it’s perfect for our little family :)

  5. On paper our list seemed pretty reasonable – 3 bedrooms, 1+ bathroom, 1200+ square feet, extra storage, vintage home, nice yard, under $700,000. We looked at over 100 houses that matched those requirements on paper, but every home had something not quite right about it. One house that we loved was next door to a 60s style apartment building filled with college students. Another house that we liked got snatched up before we could get our act together to put in an offer. One of the houses that was described as having a great backyard was covered in astro turf. We learned that descriptions are totally subjective, especially where the world “remodeled” is concerned. We looked all over Oakland, in just about every neighborhood that wasn’t completely run down. At one point broke out a map and started circling the “nice” areas and the “oh no way” neighborhoods, and yet we still couldn’t find anything and we’re not really all that picky. There were just a lot of really weird or badly rehabbed houses out there asking an exorbitant amount of money. After putting in an offer that met all of our requirements – except on price – and losing out to another couple we had just a handful of weeks to find a place to move before we had to be out of our loft. We started going to 25 open houses a weekend. It was nuts. And then I saw a listing for an absolutely lovely house that still retained a lot of its historic charm and didn’t look to be too jacked up by previous owners. It was right in the middle of a part of town we’d X’d off the weekend before. We drove by anyway and the street was really great with a lot of homes that were well-cared for and a mix of different types of neighbors. The house was in need of some TLC (because the owner was insane) but nothing that was too overwhelming (or so we thought). We fell in love with it. Technically, it only met a handful of our requirements but it ended up being a house that is perfect for our needs, regardless of what the written description states. The only things I still struggle with is the terrible back yard (we’ve made the front yard as pretty as it can get without hiring a professional) and the location. There’s that old adage “location, location, location” and there are days when I really wish we’d at least paid attention to that requirement. But all in all, I really love our house.

    • Thanks for the comment, casacaudill! (Also- wow, houses are expensive in your area!) It’s so interesting to hear about others’ experiences. Glad you found a house that is perfect for you!

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