House Hunting AdventuresNovember 8, 2010
Today I’m going to tackle a topic that departs from my normal blogging repertoire: house hunting. As some of you already know, I’m going to be moving to Maryland soon. Sigh…right when I was just starting to get used to Jersey.
Anyway, buying a house is probably the biggest decision my husband and I’ve faced together since getting married, and while I’m pretty excited about the prospects, I’ve been getting plenty stressed out too. I knew from the start that it was going to have its challenges, but over the weeks we’ve brainstormed, made our lists and differentiated our wants versus needs. We’ve decided to tackle this on our own, at least for now. So armed with Google Maps and a printout of listings, we drove down today and did some recon around the neighborhoods.
We’ve all heard the real estate saying “Location, location, location.” We’ve made it our first priority, but not being familiar with the area was our biggest obstacle, so we did our research ahead of time and marked down places close to shopping centers and other public amenities while still being close to work. We even took a look at the different neighborhood statistics to get a sense of the safety in the area or how densely populated it is, etc. The purpose of today’s scouting was to see these places for ourselves, but it also taught us a lot about our own individual preferences.
Even the smallest factors can make a difference. Our first stop was a more rustic neighborhood, which we reached via a narrow road through the trees. My husband started reminiscing about his childhood and going on about how he grew up in an area much like this, while I put my foot down and said NO WOODS. I have no stomach for the bugs nor driving in the dark under the shadows of the thick canopy and if that makes me sound like a snooty urbanite, then a snooty urbanite be I. I also told my husband that I didn’t want some coyote making off with our dog, the way one had made off with his mother’s.
Another house we checked out was in a neighborhood on top of a nice sloping hill, which we liked. But the houses were built really close together, which was a minus for my husband because in his words, “Who the hell wants a neighbor like two feet away from you?” Then there were the houses where every neighbor down the road had two or three cars parked in the street even though they had two-car garages with a double-wide driveways. To be honest, I didn’t even notice. Unfortunately though, it’s a pet peeve of his that drives him completely bonkers since in his view it makes the whole street feel like one big parking lot.
It was amazing to see how quickly our list of several dozen houses dwindled down to only about a handful. Tomorrow, we’ll be visiting a few. Not sure if we’ll be making any offers this trip, but hey, you never know. If the perfect home presents itself, we’ll definitely be thinking about it. For a big decision like this, my only concern now is keeping my emotions in check, as they do have a pesky tendency to take over.