Friday, December 15, 2006

A "Practical" House Hunt?

We got the list of properties we'll be looking at tomorrow from our realtor. Five, but we already knocked one off of the list because it was in the slums and without a garage, so Four. During lunch today, we picked up MickyDs and drove past the other addresses.

I absolutely fell in love with one, and it's not the one with the climbing tree.

It doesn't look like much from the front, but from the alley... The Back Yard! It's broken up into two parts. One area is obviously for children. There's some lawn and a swing set, and it's right off the back deck. The other section is behind the two-car garage, and it looks like it's a garden in the summer time. Both sections are completely fenced off, and the fences facing the alley are covered with mature grape vines.

I really wanted a fenced-in back yard so I don't have to freak out as much about leaving the kids unattended while I run in to pee, and having a separate garden area is fantastic. Another dream of mine.

I looked at that yard and I could already see my growing family playing and working. Ben and his little sib were climbing all over the swing set, and Chester was hauling lumber into the garage. I was puttering in my garden.

Okay. I haven't seen the inside of the house yet. But it's the biggest house on our list, and because of its age (106) and its location (not terrific, not horrible), it's about 8 thousand less than the climbing tree house that has half the number of bedrooms.

It felt really "good." My mom reminded me this morning that I'm a sensitive creature. She related the oft-told story of when I was a toddler. She had to run into a bar where my dad was tossing back a few after work to ask him something. She took me in with her. It wasn't rowdy or crowded or smoky, but it didn't feel "good" to me, and I started screaming my head off. All that bad energy. (No offense, Dana. I know all bars aren't bad).

The downside to this house, besides being on a busy, one-way street, is its age. We'll have to see how recently the plumbing, furnace and electric were updated. I'm hoping I have favor with God and everything is in good working order. Another downside about its location isn't really a downside, but a thing we'll have to live with. It's one house away from our big Athletic Park here in town. That means that it's going to be really busy and loud in the neighborhood when games are being played. But right now, we live about three blocks from our fairgrounds/park area, and we have to live with that chaos when the fair comes to town. We also live four houses down from the train tracks, and that's something to get used to as well. In my mind's eye, though, I think I might actually enjoy the sound of the cheering in the evenings. And I can always take the kids over there for hotdogs.

One of the other houses on our list for tomorrow isn't awful, but it's no Back Yard house (4BR). We call it the Awesome Garage house (3BR). It has newer siding and a newer roof, not much yard, not fenced in. It's almost on the corner of an even busier one-way street, though, and it's right behind a night club. That alone would knock it off my list. I don't think I could ever be comfortable in a place where less then a hundred feet away, people are getting trashed and hyper and then driving home in the middle of the night and early morning. But Chester wants to see it, so we'll go. Maybe the inside will steal my heart.

The other two houses on the list are the Climbing Tree house (2BR) and the Ugly Blue house (2BR).

I'm still hung up on the Back Yard house. It's big enough that we won't have to move out of it in five years as our kids get older. Can you tell I'm infatuated?

Chester says I'm focusing on the emotional side of home-buying, and he's focusing on the practical side of house-buying. I'm okay with that, somebody has to pay attention to the details and resale value, but I hope he develops an emotional bond to whatever house we buy as well.

I've rented five apartments since I graduated high school. Each one, circumstances drew me to it, and it was the only one I saw. For two of them, I didn't even see the inside before I signed the lease. It's called Renting by Intuition, and it didn't serve me badly. I've loved all of my apartments in different ways, for different reasons. I made each one into a "home" and not just a college student's crash pad.

This analytical, practical, logical, necessary attitude towards a mortgage and buying a house kind of puts a damper on my psychic eye.