House hunting

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday marks the first official day of house hunting! Panda and I went to one resale not too far from our current location and then up to a cluster of new developments a bit further away. I think it was the first time he saw a basement, because when we went down he was kind of creeped out (even though it was a nice finished basement!). Californians just don’t get that extra space. The rest of the house kind of reminded me of the UK – tight hallways, small rooms, and steep stairs. The interior was nicely upgraded, but the entire place was hardwood and we prefer carpet in the bedrooms. I did like the giant porch in the backyard, complete with plants to offer shade on a hot day. The neighborhood was nice and quiet and this house was located on a roundabout so it wouldn’t receive high traffic. Still, we were nowhere near as enthusiastic as the other couple viewing the house when we were! Oh, the other down side – there was only one bathroom upstairs for the three rooms and the one downstairs was a half bath. Granted, we don’t need any more than that, but it might be harder to resell. In fact, that interested couple was discussing how they could add another one somewhere.

ranch style condos for sale panoramic

Our favorite building!

Far more interesting to us was the next stop, where there were three builders each building different condos on a shared plot of land. Is that normal? I’ve never seen builders intertwined like that, with everyone in that community sharing the same amenities – a pool, clubhouse, tot lot, etc. Our favorite was the more luxurious ranch-style condos, which are quite unique. The building pictured contains 6 units, each one only one floor. The upper level condos included the extra space over the garages, making them much more spacious. We of course fell in love with the most expensive layout, which would be in our price range if I get a job soon, otherwise it’d be a stretch. We spent a good hour or two exploring these models and chatting with the sales rep about our options.

After all that, we walked down the block to the other two builders’ sales offices and explored their models as well. One had a very strange “2 by 2” plan where they actually stacked two 2-story condos on top of each other, so the upper set would have quite a lot of stairs to climb! That’s also something I’ve never encountered before. I did like being up so high, but dang those stairs would probably get old fast. Dumbwaiter, anyone? Finally, with the third builder we did a quick look-around at their 3-story models. The ground floor had a living room and the 2-car garage (all the others had 1-car garages), the middle floor had the kitchen and other living room, and the top floor had the bedrooms. Very interesting setup that reminded me of some condos I’d seen back in LA.

All in all I found that we prefer a more upscale, luxurious feel to the home, which generally means less cramped. All of these were 3 or 4-bedrooms, which is really more than we need. Ideally we can find a 2-bedroom with nice amenities in the community and a spacious layout. I loved that all of the homes had a ton of windows – sometimes even in closets and garages. That’s totally my style! We got a good idea of what we like and it turns out it’s on the higher end of our price range, so I better get that job soon! We’re off to hunt some more today and check out a few open houses Panda found.

Have you purchased a home before? How long did it take you? Did you use a realtor? Any advice would be helpful! 🙂

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