Category: house hunting

Location, Location, Location

Back when Denisa and I were house hunting (over 13 years ago), we had never bought a house before, but we had a few ideas about what we really wanted. Most of those were centered around things like the look of the house and having some property to go with it. The house we ended up choosing was nice in many ways, but one way I wasn’t a big fan of was its location: right on the path to the high school, just a half mile or so away from the main road in the area.

There would be traffic all the time! There would be noise! Light from Wal-Mart in the distance. Lots of things concerned us at the time, but in the end, the price and the other aspects of the house ended up convincing us to turn a blind eye to the location. It wasn’t perfect, but nothing would be, right?

It’s interesting to me, then, to see how in the thirteen years since we bought the house, my perceptions have changed. The house’s location obviously hasn’t, but I now look at that location as one of the biggest assets of the place as opposed to a liability. Yes, we still get traffic in the morning when school is starting and the afternoon when it lets out, but that’s minimal as far as nuisances go.

On the other hand, we’re just a mile away from Wal-Mart and very close to the main road in the area, so we can get around places quite quickly, and our road gets plowed very frequently. We might have to worry about icy roads, but usually it’s a bigger concern about wherever we want to get to, rather than being able to get out of our driveway in the first place. And being so close to the high school and the main road (and the hospital just a mile further) means that when the power goes out, it almost always comes back a few hours later. The longest we’ve had to go without power in the thirteen years we’ve lived here is probably a day. Maybe a bit more once? But nothing that sticks out in my memory. Over that same stretch of time, we’ve had many friends be stuck without power for three days or more, multiple times.

This is in no way meant as a taunt to the people without power right now. We had a snow storm that brought a lot of heavy snow and downed tree limbs on Saturday night, and there are still many people in Maine without power. But every time a storm like that happens, I’m reminded again about how much I thought the location of our house was a problem, and how wrong I really was.

Sometime I guess it’s better to be lucky than smart.

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House Update and Harry Potter

Got back the home inspection report today, and for the most part it was good news. There were some minor problems (electrical, chimney), but nothing that really looked like a deal breaker, though I’ve asked a few people for their opinions on it, and I suppose there might have been something I missed. In any case, it certainly seems all systems are go for the house. One interesting thing that the inspection turned up was that the middle portion of the house probably dates back to about 1830, if you can believe it. It’s still in good shape, though, so that probably tells you how well the house has been holding up.

In other news, I went ahead and got Harry Potter on Saturday, then finished it Sunday. (Total time about 7 hours–it’s a fast read.) I really enjoyed it. As with Rowling’s other books, I thought there were some pacing issues and some clunky prose, but the plot and characters were spot on. A great ending to the series, and highly recommended. (Though I wish some people were less insistent on forcing others to believe Harry Potter is Great Literature . . . It’s fun, it’s entertaining, but it just ain’t Dickens, IMHO.)

Returned

So I’m back now, returned to the land of the internet. We were supposed to have internet at our hotel, but it turned out to be in a different room that we had to traipse over and use and, well, I just didn’t have the time or inclination to exert that much effort just to check my email. The days were busy enough as it is. In all, my wife and I looked at 21 houses in 2 days. 8 the first day and 13 the second. The area has some lovely homes, and some that could really be lovely with a lot of work. Thankfully, there were some in our price range that didn’t require much work. I’m happy to say that we’ve already made an offer on our favorite house and had it accepted. All that’s left now is for the home inspection to be carried out on Friday, and assuming that’s clean (cross your fingers!), then we’ll be all set and good to go. The rental truck’s reserved, I have members of my church who have volunteered to help unload the truck–all that needs to be done is pack up and drive. Very exciting.

Details about the house:
It was built around 1900 and was originally a farmhouse. It comes with 1.44 acres of property, and we have no real neighbors–it’s farms all around. But we’re just five minutes from town, where my work is and church is, and we’re about a mile to grocery shopping, Walmart and the hospital. It has 4 bedrooms and room to expand in the attic and the barn, which also has a two car garage. For those of you who are interested, I’m attaching pictures below the cut.

Here’s a picture of the main house. It’s been vinyl sided, so the upkeep should be easy, and the windows are almost all new, which should help on the heating bills.  The house also has a wood stove, which will also help out with the bills.

Here’s a pic of one of the highlights of the house: an original wooden spiral staircase. Lovely.

The kitchen:

The living room:

And a bedroom:

Anyway, it’s been a hectic weekend, and there are still lots of things to get done in the meantime. (Not to mention my writing, which has really been suffering amidst all this confusion.) If any of you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. It’s nice to be back, but I can’t say I’ll miss the Utah climate all that much. Maine was gorgeous.

House Hunting

My original plan hadn’t been to buy a house right when me moved. However, the place we’re going to live in Maine is rather remote, and there just aren’t that many rentals around–especially ones you can just rent on a month to month basis, avoiding long contracts. So tomorrow my wife and I are going to fly out to Maine ourselves to go house hunting. I have to admit, it’s an interesting experience.

One thing that’s helping a lot is that we were pointed in the direction of a good broker. She’s a member of my church out there, and she’s been very eager to help us and offer advice.  We have about 20 houses lined up to see this weekend, all of them ones we’re interested in. I don’t think if I hadn’t found a good broker I’d still be flying out tomorrow. (Can I just say how great it is to be able to call up your new area’s church leaders and suddenly have a support base clear across the country? Fantastic.)

But even with a good broker, I’m still a tad apprehensive about actually buying something that expensive. That’s a chuck of change, although it’s nowhere near to the prices that some areas charge.  We should be able to get plenty of house for somewhere in the mid-100s. I know some of you out there are now wondering why I’m even complaining about the price–I’m not complaining. I’m just saying I’ve never bought anything that pricey  before.

Still, I’m excited. The area has beautiful old homes (we’re talking over 100 years here), and some nice newer ones. Right now, I’m quite confident we’ll be able to find something in our price range that we’re happy with. Then again, maybe that will change once I’m out there. I don’t know if I’ll have internet access, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to update you on the progress.  I’ll be back late Tuesday, so hopefully I’ll know something by then.

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