Sunday, November 18, 2007

House Hunting 101 - Part I

Hey all,

I've gone through the process of selling/buying a house before. It's not fun. Moving is not new to me. This is the first time however, I'll be doing it on my own. The thought of moving two kids, two pets and a houseful of 'stuff', is a bit frightening ... but this is one of those times that I'm simply living by the mantra, 'what doesn't kill me will make me stronger', and with all the boxes I've been packing and dragging around the house lately, I'll be physically stronger as well :-)

The other night, I sat back and thought about the whole moving experience.

Some people move from their parents house in with a sig other and that's their one and only apt/house period. My grandparents (dad's family) lived in the one house. It was passed down to my uncle who lived there with his family, later sold to my dad and will me mine one day. I don't ever expect to live there, but my father made me promise him to 'keep it in the family' if ever I didn't want it. Who knows, I may end up there eventually. It could be the perfect place for retirement ... when the time comes.

Others move all over the world, regularly. One friend I went to school with has moved several times with her husband and son, and is currently in India. Although it can sometimes be a a bit of a culture shock ;-) she has lived so many experiences I could only dream of, and some I'd never even imagine thinking of ... like
giant spiders, and huge snakes But overall, a REALLY cool way to live :-)

My life isn't as dramatic lol, but when I really thought about it, I've moved 14 times since I left mom and dad's to go to University.Into a dorm, then into my first apartment with a roommate, then on to another apartment with an additional roommate, then another apt with a guy as a roommate ... that one was interesting lol, we're still friends :-) Then the ex and I moved into an apt together, then 3 more before we built our house. Then 4 more places out here in the community where I live now. This will be my 15Th move. Yeah ... been there ... done that ... packed the boxes :-)

So with the For Sale sign officially on the front lawn, I decided to look at a couple of houses this weekend. I don't plan on putting any conditional offers on anything, I just have my eye on a couple that I would consider if mine sold within the right time frame.

So house hunting I went.

Not that it was a long hunt lol. There are only two in the area. Well actually three I wanted to see, but one of them has foundation issues. The back end of the house is sinking to the tune of $15000. So that one was out. Although I was really disappointed, it was like an old farmhouse, wrap-around veranda, 4 bedrooms, pool. I really wanted to see that one :-( But apparently it's a ''money pit' ... my Realtor told me to stay away from it lol.

So I went to see two houses yesterday. One is an old, (33) chalet style heritage cedar home, the other one is new (3) two story saltbox. One is 'modern' , one is ... not :-) One is completely in 'move in' condition, the other ... I'd want a few changes made first. Nothing too serious, just a few slight modifications to make it more 'kid friendly'.

Man, this is a hard decision. I'm going to check out the home listing website tomorrow, but so far, if nothing else comes on the market in this area when the time comes, it''s between these two. They're so different. I've been looking at both and trying to picture our furniture in it. The rec-room gets smaller in the newer one when I think of the furniture and toys :-) The bedrooms in neither house are big enough for ALOT of toys so what's left after purging will have to be contained to the rec-room lol. The the older home has an in-law suite in the basement with kitchen. I like the bathroom and extra bedroom, but not a fridge and stove in the basement. And upstairs, I don't like where the washer/dryer hookup is, on the other side of the kitchen and would rather have a 'kids coat/boot area' there. So if I changed that kitchen in the basement into a laundry room, which really wouldn't be that hard because it's taking out things like the fridge and stove ... I can put tons of shelves in their spaces instead for toys, keep the counter-top and cupboards for storage, and put the washer and dryer where the sink is now, cause the plumbing is already there. There's really alot more 'room' in the older house. No, it's not as new, and has it's original windows lol, (forgot to ask about the roof) but it's more 'functional' I think for us. Lot size is actually a bit bigger at the newer house, but nicer at the older one. Electric heat in both, but the three heat sources at the older one would give me a few alternate heat sources.

Then of course there are the other pros and cons that come to mind. We have a 'if you live within 2.4km of the school, you pay for your kids to stay at school during lunch' program. The newer house is within 2.4 km. At the newer house, we would no longer members of the summer day-camp program. Still have access to the beach, but not the program. The older house, being cedar and all, has the huge downside of spiders... and that's a big down side for an arachnophobic like me :-) it would require lots of wall vacuuming lol. But it also has the huge up side of being a style of house that I love.

Sigh. Such a hard choice. And I've only just started lol. I've got to get mine sold first!

Here's to good house selling karma this week! Now that I have a clean, ready for showing house, I'm going to give my brain a rest, grab a bag of chips and finish watching Freaky Friday on the Family channel :-)

Have a good week all!


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