Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Figuring out where to live

Things are much better than they were a few weeks ago.  Something about not having anyone die, have a stroke, not being sick, and actually sleeping well may be the cause for my outlook being a bit brighter.  I'm a pretty tough person, but the combination of at least 6 very stressful things absolutely kicked my ass.

We looked at 22 (!!!!) houses last Friday, from 9:30 to 5 PM.  It was a marathon day and by the end our heads were swimming.  I grew up in a southern suburb of the Denver Metro area.  Work is on the far south end of Denver (I-25 and C-470).  So as a result, I'm basically moving back to where I grew up.    Not quite sure how I feel about that - part of me feels like I'm settling, but part of me likes that we're moving somewhere (mostly) familiar.  Also, the south suburbs seem to have more organized athletic activities (Masters Swimming, mainly).  We could live in the "cool" part of Denver and then I'd have a long work commute and likely a long commute to work out.  Or we could live in suburban hell with a short commute to work and activities, then drive once a week into town to do something fun.  We're going with the latter and hopefully that will work out.

We're shopping in Littleton, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, and Parker.  I grew up in Littleton/Centennial.  We now live in Highlands Ranch.  Parker was, when I was growing up, basically Kansas.  To my Houston friends, Parker is basically Katy.  Now its a newer community and you can buy more house for your money.... that is if you are willing to live in Parker.

Our wish list is that we'd like a 3 car garage (so Will can have a project car), wood floors, master bedroom on the main floor, decent yard, big kitchen.  Yeah, pretty specific and I'm pretty sure we won't find everything we want one house.

So out of 22 houses, we found 3 strong candidates.  Because we've been watching too much HGTV, I'm going to set this up like House Hunters...

#1: Big yard but a long commute:  This house is in West Littleton and is I guess a traditional style house.  Living room, newly re-done kitchen, 1/2 bath, family room (with fireplace), and a study on the 1st floor, 3 bedrooms on the top floor, master bath connected to the master bedroom, and an unfinished basement.  Yard is the largest of the three, 0.22 acres. Finished sq feet is 2250, with an add'l 920 unfinished in the basement.  Can't remember if this one has AC or not... if it doesn't this could be a deal breaker.  Also, this commute could be ugly - its 17 miles with pretty bad highway traffic.

#2: Awesome floor plan but only 3 bedrooms:  This is in Highlands Ranch and is really close to the pool I swam at.  This house felt more like "us" - really open.  The kitchen is also awesome.  Its got a huge deck (which needs repair - the railing is SCARY) and the yard is a decent size with a space for a garden.  Problems are that the windows are old, the 2 sliding glass doors need replacing, and it only has 3 bedrooms.  Not sure why we need 4 bedrooms, but that seems to be what we're looking at lately.

#3: Perfect... but in Parker:  This house is AMAZING.  3 car garage, new wood floors on the main level, huge (new) kitchen.  The master bedroom has a sitting area with a FIREPLACE. The master bath is newly re-done with a jacuzzi tub and a waterfall faucet.  This has 3 bedrooms (all upstairs) and a study on the main level (which neither of us remember seeing).  Unfinished basement and a tiny-ish yard (0.18 acre) and its a corner lot, which is good and bad.  Good means we only have 2 neighbors, bad because that's a whole lot of sidewalk for Will to shovel! Also, this house is 9 miles to work.  This house is on paper the best one, but I have to wrap my head around living in Kansas... I mean Parker.

Parker: Kitchen and Living Room
Parker: master bedroom fireplace (!!)

I really don't know which one we'll choose.  We had dinner at the Parker microbrewery on Friday (5 min from the house!) and it was really fun.  We even won a $10 gift card by winning their trivia contest.  I did the pretend drive commute yesterday.  There was ZERO traffic... but it was also spring break.  I rode my bike out there on Saturday (to get to know the area).  This was BAD because the winds were horrible and I nearly got blown off my bike numerous times.  So much that I called Will for a rescue pick-up.  I'm also going to swim with the Parker Masters team on Friday, so I can get that figured out. 

What's ridiculously silly is that both of us feel that the Parker house is "too nice" for us.  This is honestly the nicest place we've seen and we're not used to it.  Its almost like we feel like we don't deserve nice stuff.  Which is so amazingly dumb -we work hard for our money and of course we deserve nice stuff.

I did a pretend commute from the West Littleton house today, and it really wasn't that bad - 30 min.  This area is more estabilshed (it has trees) and is closer to the mountains.  This house also felt more like us.  But it only has a 2 car garage......

Honestly, the idea of having a fireplace in my bedroom sounds amazing.  I can see myself snugged in a comfy chair by the fire, reading all day long.  I just don't know if I can see myself in Parker.

And of course, Will found 3 more houses (2 of which have good sized yards and are ranches, so no stairs!).  We're looking at those on Friday, which could help, or it could add to the confusion.

No comments: