On househunting (part one of many)

by DaniGirl on August 13, 2010 · 10 comments

in Happy @ home, Life in Ottawa, Life, the Universe and Everything

Those of you who follow me on twitter have already been privy to the angst, but I think I’ve exceeded the satisfaction that 140 characters worth of hand-wringing can afford me.

So, we’ve officially started looking for a new home. Okay, I’ve officially started looking for a new home. Beloved watches the endeavour in the same manner one might watch an inevitable but slow-moving disaster — peeking through splayed fingers, knowing that chaos lies ahead and helpless to avert it yet helpless to look away.

And, obsessive personality that I am, househunting is no longer just a hobby but a vocation that must be lived and breathed every waking (and many sleeping) moment. Once upon a time, just a few short weeks ago, I was content to occasionally peruse the latest listings on Grapevine, to noncommittally browse MLS a few times a month. I even managed to attend an open house or two, without igniting the white-hot nuclear fire of my obsession.

Until last week.

Suddenly, it’s all I can think about. Houses, houses, houses! School zones, property taxes, ensuite baths and finished basements — bring it! Talk to me about it, show me more more more properties, I can’t get enough about HOUSES FOR SALE!

(Don’t you feel bad for poor Beloved? While he is vaguely on board with the idea of us at some point in our lives moving to a different house, I’m quite sure that he does not want to discuss it every hour of the day. Is this a man/woman thing, or just us?)

Truth be told, I’m not even sure why I’m so fixated on buying a house all of a sudden. I love our house, I truly do. I love the location, with a park across the street and the boys’ school within view of my bedroom window. I love the morning sunlight that floods into the four windows in my bedroom like a tsunami each morning. I love the large yard (when I’m not cursing the overgrown garden, that is!) and the new hardwood floors, and just about everything else about it.

Except the kitchen. I loathe the tiny little galley kitchen with its abject lack of counter space and the fact that we can barely fit a table for six in there with no room for company. And I would really like a fourth bedroom, so the boys don’t have to share. If I could somehow think of a reno that would plunk an expanded kitchen and another bedroom onto our existing lovely townhouse, I’d do it — but it’s just not possible.

You know what I really don’t want, though? A monster house. Why are all the newer homes, built since 2000 or so, so friggin’ HUGE? Really, we don’t need a living room AND a family room AND an office AND an eat-in kitchen AND a dining room all on the same floor. I’d be fine with a kitchen big enough for a really big table and no dining room — in fact, we use our current dining room as a play/computer room.

We went to see one this week that I really loved. It was in Old Barrhaven, a neighbourhood I never really considered before but have become quite interested in lately. It was built in 1978, but was all newly decorated and very fresh looking. It had a living room and dining room and a kitchen with space to move but none wasted, and a lovely little sunken family room. It had four bedrooms, and a partially finished basement. It had me at floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and dining room, but kept me enchanted with character and a simple modesty. And when I saw the affordable price, the circle of covetousness was complete.

In the end, though, the thing that so endeared me to it ultimately crossed it off my list — it was so modest that it only had one full bathroom. Try as I might, I simply could not imagine us functioning with five people and only one shower/bath combination — so not going to happen. Sigh.

In the past week, I’ve viewed the MLS listings for four-bedroom homes in Barrhaven so many times that I’ve practically memorized them. This one will take too much work, that one is on a busy road, this one has a truly wretched floor plan (what were they thinking) and that one just doesn’t speak to me. I need more new listings, why aren’t there any new listings, I’ve clicked on the site five times today and there are still no new listings!!

Of course, if I ever actually find a house worthy of buying, we’re farked. Even though I’ve been told that three-bedroom, three-bathroom town houses in Barrhaven are a red-hot commodity right now, I am weak with fear at the thought of the effort required to sell our house. Oh my sweet lord, the fixing and the painting and the de-cluttering and the (whimper) keeping it clean for viewings? Shoot me now. To say nothing of actually packing and moving. Me, who is neurotic with fear over change. Oy.

So if you know of anyone who is selling my dream home in my price range and who wants to buy my current home sight-unseen with my assurances that it’s a really lovely place? Let me know, please.

Until then, got a househunting story to share? I’m looking for something to occupy my attention in between clicking refresh on the real estate websites.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Judy August 13, 2010 at 11:04 am

We did the sell the townhouse and buy a new house thing earlier this year.

Lots of work.

Knowing our limits.

Oh… and since we sold our townhouse in less than 24 hours, 5 weeks of hotel living with a toddler!

2 Marianne August 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm

This is a slow time of year for real estate, so don’t worry if you don’t see much choice in what you’re looking for. More homes will come on the market as the fall approaches. Also, since you already have a home and nothing forcing you into moving on a particular time line (eg — you’re not relocating to another city for a new job) you can afford to wait until you find a house you love.

3 Jen August 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I think you should expand your search area… and move to embrun! The commute is great, I’ve never met friendlier neighbours, and there are no fast food temptations, lol

I’m with you on being house obsessed. I’m one of those freaks that actually likes moving – the stress of selling your house, finding a new one, coordinating occupancy dates, sorting, purging and packing… I find it all very exciting πŸ™‚ Mind you, we’re in our forever house right now – dh reminds me that we will be “dying in this house”, (and he’s right!) so now I live vicariously through others πŸ™‚

You’re making me want to go search mls right now… for fun!

4 freemommiestuff August 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

http://bit.ly/4EQ38v On househunting (part one of many): Those of you who follow me on twitter… http://bit.ly/9opiGT http://bit.ly/5bAgvn

5 Carly August 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I don’t know if I should tell you that we spent three years doing little other than looking for a new home. Our poor agent took us from Ashton to Navan and everything in between. We had only some idea of where we even wanted to live thanks to family and a current home in Orleans, but jobs in Nepean.

We finally settled on a brand new home . . . have you looked at those? There are some decent floor plans out there, but some compromises/downsides compared to resale homes. We’re 3.5 months into our new place and just getting sod sometime next week/week after.

You can read about our adventures on my blog . . . search for the “The House Bob is Building” posts. Like Judy we listed and sold our townhome in short order (48 hours to get it all signed and sealed) and got it ready for sale by taking a week off work to fix, clean, organize, store and stage it.

Happily I love, Love, LOVE the new place and the new neighbours (we’re only 5 minutes away from our old place) and yet even still, I’m tempted to browse Grapevine and MLS from time to time. Just for fun, you know?!?

Good luck!!!

6 chichimama August 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Do you want the happy story or the ugly one :-)??? Regardless, we spent 3 years looking for our current house, and will never move again. So it was worth it, I think (but ask me that again after our renovation…)

Good luck to you, can’t wait to read all about it!!!

7 mrsgryphon August 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority, but I like moving. I love the purge that happens when you have to pack up all your stuff, I love the reorganizing and finding new homes for your favourite things in the new house! We’ve moved 6 times in the last 13 years, and have been in this house for 2 years. I’m starting to get the “time to move” itch already!

Good luck, and enjoy the process!

8 Jennifer Jager August 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

amazing how similar the process is re home #renovation vs moving ie"slow-moving disaster" yep! http://bit.ly/co4Gcb /tx @danigirl

9 Heather Cook August 15, 2010 at 12:31 am

The first time I walked into our future house I rejected it right away… we did a cursory walk through and we left. I called it That 70’s House because that was the last time it had been updated.

But it kept nagging me. Perfect location. One family had owned it. Impeccably maintained….

We ended up buying it and the home inspector shook our hands saying it was the best home he’d looked at all year. It was in perfect condition. Yes my fridge (with ‘icebox’), stove and oven are all from the 60’s but I love it πŸ™‚ And the location is what really makes it awesome.

Just remember, location is the one thing you can’t ever change…

10 Elli D. August 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Haha, I know so many women who are just like this when looking for a new place. Men usually hate it but it simply is better to know all the possibilities in order to make a good choice. I mean, it will be your new place where you will stay for who knows how long, it has to be chosen carefully enough. So good luck!

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