Friday, March 7, 2014

House Hunting: I'm Just Looking Edition

Since J's company has shown significant growth since the beginning of 2014, we have started talking about what we might want in a house. We aren't at a point where we are ready to call up a real estate agent, but I like to get an idea of what his expectations are and also what my hometown has to offer. I love to pull up websites like trulia and zillow just to see what the insides of houses look like (Melinda shares this hobby). I also like looking at all the available houses to gauge J's opinions. He isn't the best at describing what he likes and dislikes, but he can usually form an opinion when given a picture.

Of course, J and I have totally different opinions on the ideal first house. My family is in the construction industry so remodeling is just part of normal life. J, on the other hand, would much rather just be able to move into a house without having to tear down any walls. No fun, I tell you. However, after much discussion and showing him what our small area has to offer, he is warming up to the concept of fixing up.

One of the reasons why I know we will end up with a house that needs work is because I despise 1990s and early 2000s houses. They lack character and I need a home with character. Good news is that my town used to be a big deal back in the 1920s and so we have a TON of houses from that era. J loves the idea of a 20's house now because the ceilings are almost always high, and at 6'4" that is important to him. The houses tend to be smaller, as well, because they were typically vacation homes. Less square footage means less air conditioning in the summer, which means lower electricity bills - also valued by J.

Right now we are living in a tiny apartment, which has taught me the importance of storage space. I have lots of stuff and keep accumulating more. Basically, I need a whole room just for my wardrobe. That room could also contain my many thrift store purchases if necessary, but storing my clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories is a huge deal. And J would love to have space for a workshop.

J and I put together a list of things that our first house needs to have, qualities that would be nice to have and a few things that are not necessary. Once we officially start looking at houses, we will reference back to our list and probably modify a bit. Until then, we will just admire while we take walks or drive around town.

Need to have

- 3 bedrooms - The master bedroom does not have to be huge as long as it has space for our california king size bed and two night stands without feeling cramped. We need a guest room for when family and friends come to visit. And the third room would be for my closet. J is tired of looking at all my stuff.

- 2 full bathrooms - We currently have one bathroom which is only accessible through our bedroom. Two full bathrooms would be ideal without adding too much to the household chores. J insists that we don't have a pedestal sink in the master bathroom.

- High ceilings - J and I love the 10 foot ceilings in our apartment and would hate to go back to 8 feet. Also, my bed has a canopy and I would hate to not be able to use it. Right now we don't have it up because there is a ceiling fan in the way, but I don't have a problem removing those in my own home.

- Good kitchen - My current kitchen can hold a lot. It is too small for both J and I to cook comfortably together but it is perfect for just one person cooking. While we would love more space, we really just need the next kitchen to be at least as good as this one. That means having enough storage space for all my dishes and other kitchen things along with a pantry.

- Parking for two - Right now we only have one car, but J will be getting a car eventually. This means we need to have easy access parking for two vehicles.

- Storage space - I hate living with my vacuum. My tiny apartment does not have a closet to store it so the thing just hangs out wherever I leave it. You don't really think about vacuum space until you don't have it, but it is really important! I need my home to have somewhere to keep those things that are necessary for every day life, but still not something you want to stare at.

- Contemporary wiring - Since we have so many old houses around the area, you have to be careful about the wiring before purchasing. My parents house had the original silk covered electrical wires when they bought the house. It is an expensive fix, so I would only make an exception to this requirement if we were getting a ridiculously good deal on the house. 

- Air conditioning - We need it in Florida, but some houses still rely on window units. No thanks. But as for the wiring, I would make an exception if the price was really really good.

- Windows - Windows are very important to J and I agree. We don't want a dark home.

- Grill space - J loves grilling and I love not cooking, so we need space in the yard for a grill.

Nice to have

- Butler's pantry - After I explained the concept to J, he decided he needs a butler's pantry in his life. However, it is not necessary but would be a fun perk.

- Gas stove with six burners - I love cooking on gas stoves. My mom has one and our Las Vegas apartment did too. J wants six burners. At the very least, we would be excited to have the gas hook up already installed.

- Parking for more - I have a big family that comes over for lunch almost every third Sunday. While street parking is legal in my town, it would be great to have extra space in the driveway for all those vehicles.

- Formal dining space - J cares nothing about this, but I love tables. I could buy another table if I had a formal dining space.

Not needed

- Big yard - J isn't thrilled about mowing and I'm not a gardener. We don't really want a large yard at this point. 

- Second story - We don't care one way or the other if we have a second story

- Formal living room - I don't need a formal living room. It is more important that I can host my giant family in the space without being too split up.

- Good paint choices - It is so silly when people on House Hunters complain about the paint colors. Paint is such an easy fix!

I know we will be adding to this list and altering it, but it is a great start. Once Melinda gets into town (this weekend!) we will drive around and admire some more. Can't wait!