Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Looking For Just the Right Place

Wes and I have been looking for a different place to live for the past few weeks. We love the home we have now, but it’s really too much room for us . . . and we really need to cut our expenses back for a while.

Here in BC, housing is very expensive. At first, we were shocked at the prices, but now we’ve gotten used to 4-digit rental prices and try to get as close to just 3 digits as we can!

We began by looking at basement suites, which are common here. Many houses are large, with two stories and a basement. Lots of people turn their full basements into apartments, usually one or two bedrooms, and rent them out to help pay the mortgage. We’ve never lived in a basement suite, although we’ve lived in the upper portion of two houses that have basement suites, including our current house. We found one that we loved, and we applied for it, but the owners choose from all the applicants the tenants that they think will best suit them and their property. Well, that first owner felt that someone else was better suited to their family, so we didn’t get that place. So we looked farther.

We found an apartment over a garage that was just what we needed . . . except that it had no dining area and the living room was tiny. Since we like to have people over quite often, having no dining area was a problem. And our furniture wouldn’t fit in the living room. So we reluctantly told the owner we needed to look elsewhere.

Ditto for the next basement suite: beautiful, clean, good layout, but no dining area and a small living room. And it was a little farther from town than we wanted to be, in a newer housing development. No neighbors and no landscaping. Our yard would have been dirt. In addition to living below that dirt. Just not quite the right feel, added to the other problems.

We looked at a few more basement suites. One was a good size with a great layout, but the house was 40 years old with the original carpet in the living room and master bedroom. Yes, 40-year-old carpet. Orange and purple in the living room; lime green in the bedroom. The owner said it was retro and retro is in right now. Not quite appealing to us, though. I guess we’re just not that into retro.

Next was a basement suite that was kind of dark (it was a basement, after all), and the living room was more like a hall with a fireplace in it. But it had a dining area! It just didn’t have the right feel, although the owners were a nice young couple who were so friendly that I wanted to be friends with them right away! We kept looking, because you can’t base your home on how much you like the owners if you don’t like the space.

We looked at a cute little house that was old, but we liked it a lot. It had lots of character, and we liked the layout. The kitchen was cute, the master bedroom was a good size, and there was a little bonus area where the washer/dryer were located that could be used as a little crafting area. But the price, with the utilities, wasn’t much less than what we’re paying now. No amount of cute was enough incentive to only save a little bit each month.

There was the basement suite in the country with a breathtaking view . . . that was 25 minutes from town! The view alone was almost worth spending all our savings each month on gas! LOL But common sense prevailed and we turned that one down too. I think I’ve watched one too many crime shows. The owner was just a little too funny-acting to suit me. He is probably a fine, wonderful, upstanding man. But there was just some little something about him . . .

This week we finally decided to look at a condo that we’d seen in the ads. Now, I have never considered myself a condo person. I like a porch and a yard, although I rarely sit on the porch or have a garden in the yard. Plus condos are often noisy, with partying on the weekends (that doesn’t work well for a pastor trying to prepare his Sunday sermon!), and they can be small. But this condo is in a concrete building, which means sound doesn’t travel through the walls or floors. The building is a newer one, built in 2007. The unit is 1200 square feet, with almost-new appliances. It’s on the third floor, with a nice sized balcony, so we would get a bit of a mountain view along with our urban view. It even has a large laundry room in the suite, with room for storage and our small freezer. Most of the people in the building own their units, so they’re a little more serious about their homes than the casual renters. There are restrictions on noise between certain hours. And the price is within our budget. There’s also a multi-use room we can use for small church events sometimes. To our surprise, we loved the condo! We filled out an application and hope to hear from them soon.

I’ll let you know what happens. And I may share the journey my heart made from absolute stubbornness to excitement about moving to a new house. I’m still a little tender about it. Sometimes I wonder why God puts up with me . . . or why my husband does, either!

Oh, yeah . . . there’s a Starbucks one block away from that condo . . .

11 comments:

  1. The condo sounds nice, Susan! I'd be interested to read your story of how the Lord brought you contentment about moving and all the details. Is there room for the kids to come back and visit? I don't have to worry about this yet...but I always fear that if we downsize there won't be incentive for all the grandkids to come and visit their granny.

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  2. the condo sounds perfect to me. We are also empty nesters and live in a 4 br house. I would love to downsize but we have so much company that I guess we better not.

    can't wait to hear where you move.

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  3. We do get really attached to our dwellings, don't we? I don't anticipate moving any time soon since we still have one at home and everyone "comes home" to our house when we all get together. I'm sure one day the gatherings will all pass down to one of the kids and we'll need to downsize.

    We've talked about moving closer to where Jim's mom lives and where the church is after Jesse graduates -- we chose to live closer to the school while he is here since that's where we go most frequently. But when school is not a factor it would be more economical to live closer to Grandma and church. It would be hard to give up my little house, though. I do need to keep reminding myself that "this is not my rest" and we seek a different, eternal city.

    I probably would not have considered a condo at first, either, but this one sounds ideal.

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  4. I hope you find just the right place for you!

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  5. Your blog looks so pretty Susan!

    I hope you get the condo, it sounds *perfect* for you. Although I can't imagine carrying groceries up 3 flights of stairs! LOL--You'll get lots of good exercise! (o;

    And I really like retro, but 40 year old carpet is *not* retro, it is a health-hazard! (o:

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  6. Deb ~ The one drawback to downsizing is that there will only room for one person to come and visit. But the upside (at least if we get this condo) is that there is a hotel a block away that has reasonable rates. We also have a couple of families in our church who have basement suites who would welcome any of our children to stay with them. It's not ideal, and I feel the same way you do about having the kids come to visit.

    Rhonda ~ I do dread not having a place for the kids to stay, but they rarely get to come visit, especially not all at once, and that will be even less as they establish lives of their own!

    Barbara ~ I'm really surprised at how interested I am in this condo! We (I) really want to keep a place for the kids to come home to, but at this point it's a matter of what is financially best for the two of us. Hard, but what we face at the time.

    Tammy ~ Thank you! :)

    Michelle ~ There is underground parking and an elevator! LOL So not so hard, but I did realize last night that I would have to lug ALL the groceries at once unless I want to make 2-3 trips down to the parking garage. An elevator is much better than steps, though!

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  7. Will be excited to hear if the condo is exactly what God has planned for you...isn't it excited when He thrills our hearts with something we weren't even expecting - like condo living! (and adds a Starbucks around the corner just for fun!) :)

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  8. Jennifer ~ That's the thing - whether it's the place God has for us. When I go to Starbucks (rarely go - have a gift card that I'm using sparingly!), that's the one I go to. I never dreamed I'd even consider living in that condo building! LOL

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  9. Hey it's been a long time since I've been to your blog. Love the new look!

    I'm so glad you found a condo you liked. I can sorta relate. We are watching our kids leaving for college too and before long, several years, we'll have to look for something smaller and I'm sure it'll be painful for me.
    Anyhow, hope it all works out!

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  10. Aha! An elevator *does* make things easier, doesn't it. That's good. (o:

    If it's the Lord's will I hope it comes through and if it doesn't I'm sure He has something else that will be *just right* for you two.

    And like Deb I am interested in hearing about your heart-journey through all of this.

    Blessings and Hugs!

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  11. Tori ~ It HAS been a long time since I've seen you! I hope all is going well for you. The children grow up so fast, don't they? The pain of having them leave is eased by
    watching them begin their own lives for me. I'm loving that part!

    Michele ~ Yes, the elevator makes things a lot better! LOL I need to get my thoughts together on the heart journey through this thing.

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Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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