Mrs. Geek and I decided to supplement our deliberations about when and where to buy real estate by seeing a few available properties in our neighborhood yesterday. It was a fine day, and, we saw three properties that were interesting based on size and location. We also looked at a fourth was just around the corner from our apartment, just for the heck of it. Like our apartment, that last property is close to a major highway offramp, and unacceptable to us because of the traffic noise.
It's been a few years since I last did real estate shopping of any kind. The last time was to find an apartment to rent. I find the process of looking to rent and looking to buy to be similar. In both cases, you have to persuade someone of your fitness to have living space -- a landlord or manager when you rent, a bank and an owner when you buy. There is also a laundry list of things I find myself looking for in both cases. At the top of the list is the ability to visualize my possessions in the dwelling. After that, I like to eyeball the kitchen, especially the appliances and the range hood (I absolutely want a range hood that vents outdoors in the next place I live.) Then I try to get a sense of whether or not I like the layout of the place. In the case of the house, I was also looking for adequate garage and yard space.
Of the first three houses we looked at, we liked the third house best. The first house had an unusual split-level design with a family room downstairs behind the garage and was probably the least well-maintained of any of the houses. The second place was reportedly gutted to the studs and re-designed with a modern, "open" floor plan that did not suit the house, in my opinion. The third house had a kitchen that was a little short on counter and cabinet space and did not have a dining room large enough to accommodate all of Mrs. Geek's family at the holiday dinner table, but was otherwise quite pleasant.
Now knowing that we can probably find a house we both like, we must find the financing for such a purchase. That seems like a difficult process, with few short cuts that don't involve guns, ski masks, and armored cars. Maybe I should just stand by the highway with a sign that says "Will trade kidney for downpayment!" Naaah, that wouldn't work.
on 2005-05-02 at 3:14 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond