It was another pointless afternoon of Open Housing and I've decided to share my confusing, non-linear, nonsensical, possibly idiotic Thoughts On Finding Our New Place To Live. What else is a blog for if not to bore your readers to death with talk of square footage and updated bathrooms!
We are not looking to actively buy a house right this second. That's not to say that if we found The House, we would not move heaven and earth to make it ours. It's just that I am beginning to understand that The House probably doesn't exist, and we are now in the position of figuring out the next best option. Which is incredibly confusing.
First I should say that The House does too exist, we just can't afford it. Not even with all the price drops. It used to be a Galaxy away from our price range, now it's more like a Solar System. And my best way of describing The House is: a completely gutted and overhauled early 1900s Seattle craftsman, in one of a handful of neighborhoods that are close to our church, close to our friends, close to a handful of schools I'm told are half decent, within walking distance of libraries and parks and coffee shops, and - here's the kicker - with four bedrooms. ALAS. The House exists, but not in our price range. The price range buys us a NOT totally remodeled house, but we are not Fixer Uppers and lack the funds to hire contractors, buy a new Ikea kitchen, finish the basement, etc. The price range gets us a two bedroom house with a finished basement or a den or a teeny tiny third bedroom, but I'm terrified of buying a house that will feel too small six months after we move in. And the price range gets us a ginormous house WAY FAR AWAY, which, despite my growing love of browsing floor plans, I am not ready to do either.
So we are looking at the options. We are looking everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE. Holla West Seattle! Shoreline! Seward Park! Places I originally vetoed, but now think: but maybe it could work? We looked at new construction far away but near a main artery. We looked at old old old and in the middle of town. We looked at houses in parts of town we've only seen on maps. The research we're doing now isn't pointless, if only to cement the fact that we're not going to get it all, and we'll have to figure out what the deal breakers are.
Today, for example, we saw two old houses, the kind that I love. The style, the charm, the character, the porches and trim and hardwoods and SIGH, ADORABLE. Except that MAN are those suckers creaky and dusty and the built in drawers stick and the bathrooms are cramped and there's wood paneling in unfortunate places and the basement ceilings are low and that fourth bedroom is only a sorry excuse for a fourth bedroom. So today I feel like, unless prices drop considerably lower, we are not going to swing the Old Seattle Craftsman I love so much. Today I feel like Space and Not Fixing Anything Up are much bigger priorities.
But then we also saw an affordable, brand new gigando house. Not necessarily in the suburbs and actually a decent ways away from the city, but in a neighborhood that was SO subdivisiony and not within walking distance of anything fun and I couldn't see us doing that either. Not right now.
Somewhere in the middle is a mid-century house in one of my not-as-favorite neighborhoods. It's got the space, the yard, the close to the city. It's within walking distance of some things, but not anything really awesome, and the neighborhood isn't very cute and the house itself is kind of ugly and yeah it's at a price where we could spend a little more to update some things, but it'd still be The House I Don't Particularly Love. And because I'm not in any rush and I don't have to settle, I'm not willing to go there. Not yet.
So I don't know. It's so hard to figure out what we want. All these realtors see us traipse into their houses and then want to know who we're working with and what we're looking for and the answers to those questions are 1) not you and 2) WE HAVE NO IDEA. We are researching researching researching. That's all.
Sometimes all I want is four bedrooms upstairs with an office for Phillip and a formal dining room and a breakfast nook and a huge backyard and a fancy bathroom and a play area and an excellent school district and those days I totally don't care about the stupid city, who wants to live in the CITY, who wants a Thai restaurant on the corner?!
Sometimes all I want is to live in Such and Such Neighborhood and have kids who know the bus system and walk to the Catholic school because the public school is so terrible and go on dates with my husband to the Thai restaurant on the corner and decide how to finish the ancient basement and enjoy my peekaboo view of downtown and those days I cannot imagine driving more than two minutes to get to a grocery store or a half hour to visit a friend.
Sometimes I look at school ratings online and panic, because the public schools don't seem so awesome and Catholic schools seem too expensive when we're also paying a city-house mortgage and we HAVE to move out. Sometimes I think that's what's obviously best for our kids, so what am I even doing entertaining living in The School District Everyone Knows Is Rotten?
Sometimes I think about how our priest says they have yet to turn away anyone who can't pay for school and there are ways to work around it and I'd like to send them to Catholic school no matter WHAT, I mean if we're talking IDEALLY, and everyone has nice things to say about nearly ALL the Catholic schools and maybe it's NOT the worst thing to stay in the city.
Then I think about holidays and I want the huge house again. No wait, I want the huge house in the great neighborhood and yes we'll have to update the kitchen and the plumbing, but we'll be there FOREVER so we can wait on that and it'll be WORTH it and ---
OMG MAKE IT STOP. This is getting ridiculous. I have to go to a volleyball game. Pray for my knees. BYE.