Searching for Home Sweet Home…

We have never bought a house as an “investment” with plans to “upgrade” a few years down the road or “downsize” when the kids have grown. We have tried to find homes where we could see ourselves living for the long haul; and yet, we have moved house, state, and even country, more times than the average American family. Quite frankly, we’re getting sick and tired of moving.

With our current move to Duluth, we were going to take our time and find a place to rent for a year before buying a house. That plan is falling through at the moment. With such a large college student presence in proportion to non-student population, we have to compete with renters who are willing to live in 4 bedroom/1 bathroom houses with 70s-era kitchens, and no off-street parking. Ack! And, as anyone with a teenager in the house knows, 1 bathroom can get old really fast. 🙂  In addition, if we did rent a place, we would definitely have to move. Again.

We are now living in a furnished house with a month-to-month contract that is slowly and steadily getting on my nerves. I want my kitchen tools out of storage (or at least my spice rack) and to have a real desk again. The current office is not the most ergonomically friendly or private, with my computer sitting in the built-in cabinet in the dining room. However, it does afford us the luxury of time to really search for a home – something we did not have with the last 2 houses we bought.

This go-round will be our 5th home to buy together. The current routine is that I usually look at the homes with our broker and those deemed worthy get put on the “Visit With Bob” list. The basic requirement is that I have some sort of emotional draw to the house, there must be a useable kitchen (no tiny freezer-meal kitchens for me), and of course I have to have a private office space. We also want off street parking spaces (at least 3, preferably some of that garaged), more than 1 bathroom, a deck for grilling and entertaining…and the list goes on. Bob’s basic requirement is that it does not come with an extensive and expensive repair list.

So far, I have had 3 houses on the Visit With Bob list. I was really into the first 2 houses until Bob went through them and pointed out all the blemishes that my rose-colored glasses filtered out. My position is then to take those fabulous spectacles off and see the house from his perspective, and either cross the house off the list or present my case against his. So far, they’ve been crossed off. Visit #2 on the third house is tomorrow. It has the beautiful wood work and original maple floors that I find so charming, a fantastic modern kitchen, and a suitable office space overlooking the deck and garage in the back yard. There are some issues (which are to be expected from homes built in the early 20th century), so if the repairs and improvements outweigh the charm, we will continue searching. I may be going nuts with the roller coaster ride (and taking the broker along with me), but it’s worth it if we end up with our sweetest home ever.

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