As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking for a new house. Though it took me longer than I planned, I finally found one I liked and bought it. I’ll be moving in a few days. It’s just about 10 minutes from my current place.
I mentioned a brief checklist of items that I was looking for in a new house here. Here are the features of the house I ended up wanting and getting:
1. Single level. No upstairs or downstairs. Thank god. This was the biggest feature I wanted. It makes it easier to cool, easier to heat, easier to repair, and easier to live in. I’ve been living in dual-level homes for several decades now and they’ve been driving me crazy.
2. Not too small, but not too big. It’s 1850 square feet, with three bedrooms plus a large office. This is exactly what I wanted. Three rooms + office accounts for me, my daughter who will be living with me for at least another year (and possibly longer; you never know with teenagers), and a possible OLTR who may be moving in with me at some point in the next nine years. I plan on being in this house until I leave the country in 2025, so this house needs to accommodate all possible lifestyle scenarios between now and then. In 2025 I will either sell the house or rent it out; I haven’t decided which yet.
“Not too big” is also important. I’ve lived in homes that were over 2000 or even 3000 square feet. Let me tell you something, they SUCK. They’re a logistical nightmare. When I was younger I fantasized about getting rich and living in a giant, fancy house. I was an idiot. Today, I want a house that’s just big enough to service my lifestyle needs and not one square foot more. 1850 square feet is just big enough for three people to live comfortably when one of them works from home full time.
3. Far from the city core, but not too far. This house is about 30-35 minutes from downtown. Perfect.
4. Quiet, appreciating neighborhood. When looking for a house, I had my real estate agent, who lived his whole life in the area, rank the neighborhood of each house we saw (and we saw a lot) on a scale from 1 to 10 in terms of appreciation over the next 10 years. Since I live in a cheap, white trash part of the region (on purpose), most neighborhoods he ranked at around a 5 or a 6. This neighborhood he ranked a 9. It’s quiet and very clean, with clean, non-trashy neighbors. Definitely an upgrade from where I’ve been living lately.
5. New roof, new gutters, new light fixtures, new ceiling fans, new blinds, new sinks, new toilets, new fence. Very cool.
6. Built on a north-south axis. This was another of my requirements. Homes built this way are much easier to keep cool during the hot summers because the sun isn’t blasting the house all day. (As I write this blog post, it’s 99 degrees outside.)
Here are the features that were not on my list but that are nice bonuses:
1. A multi-camera security system. A welcome bonus, since I was planning on installing something like this in a few years anyway.
2. Hardwood floors throughout. I wanted carpet, but several people convinced me that hardwood floors were better for maintenance and cleanliness. As usual, my mind can be changed as long as the arguments are factual and rational.
3. Very large, beautiful yard, fully fenced in with a new fence throughout. My daughter’s dog is very happy. It has grass, which I hate as I discussed last time, but I may still tear that up later once my schedule calms down. Or it may grow on me (pun intended). We’ll see.
4. Very nice stainless steel kitchen appliances that all come with the house. That means I get a new refrigerator. I’m taking my old one and putting it in the garage so I can stock up on food and go grocery shopping much less often. Time management is awesome.
5. Built in dog doors. I don’t own a dog or cat, but my daughter does, and a future OLTR might (women with no kids usually own dogs).
Here are the things I wanted that were missing:
1. I’m surrounded by neighbors. They’re quiet and clean, but they’re still humans. I was hoping I could get a house adjacent to a houseless forest or field. No such luck. Oh well. At least there’s lots of trees around and I can’t see all of the surrounding houses.
2. The house had no air conditioning. Unacceptable. I had to get the damn thing installed. Worse, even though the home was built in the 1990s, it had the 1960s electric style heat, so there are no vents or ducts. That means I had to get those installed too. That cost me almost $9,000 (fuck me), though I negotiated the price of the house down $7,000, which was pretty good considering we’re in the midst of a very hot seller’s market here.
3. Not on a dead-end street. However, it’s on a very distant side street, way into the forest, so traffic is minimal. Hours can go by without seeing a single car.
4. No view. I really wanted a nice view from my home office. No such luck. Oh well. The good news is that I have 10 x 20 foot office that’s quite large and that will be very fun to design. It’s also going to double as my private home theater room.
If you’re curious about how I’m going to configure the bedrooms, for the moment I’m doing it like this:
– Master bedroom – For sleeping with the big bed.
– 1st bedroom – Fitness room; buying a weight rack and weights and all the cardio equipment is going in there. I’ll never need to go the gym ever again unless I’m travelling.
– 2nd (smaller) bedroom – For daughter.
– Home office – Office / home theater. It has its own bathroom too.
– Living room – Couch, fireplace and music (via Sonos speakers, arrayed throughout the house), no TV. For reading and quiet relaxation.
That’s my most enjoyable part of moving; setting up my new home and office for maximum productivity and comfort. I’ll probably be making some posts here and over at Sublime Your Time about this soon.