Wednesday, August 28, 2013

House hunting

If you haven't heard already, we've been house-hunting for a while.

It hasn't been easy because we were working with very strict parameters:
- location - we didn't want to leave our current city
- at last X bedrooms
- at least 2.5 bathrooms - a half bathroom is a powder room, it has a toilet and a sink but no tub or shower.
- attached garage for at least 1 car - detached garages are common in older houses in our area
- open layout for the living areas
- good-sized kitchen with plenty of cabinets - we count 23 full sized cabinet doors in our kitchen plus a couple more small ones and 4 drawers. We figured that we needed something that comes close else we'd have a hard time finding storage for our kitchen stuff.
- cooking range has to be gas and not electric - this is hubby's requirement
- bedroom locations - at least 3 should be on the same level
- a good-sized backyard - big enough for Swe-cha to play in but small enough so hubby doesn't have a hard time mowing the grass.
- direction the house faces in - We're not supposed to get a north-facing house according to my mom
- enough closets

And these were the nice to haves:
- built ins (who doesn't like built-in shelves ?)
- covered patio or covered bbq area in the yard
- backyard that has a shady spot in the afternoon

To top it all off, we were also working within a limited budget.

And so, several months after I first made a call to the realtor, we are under contract*.

There are still a few items that we need to work out with the sellers and in fact, the entire process has made us feel like we're on a roller coaster. We would be on cloud nine one day and be planning our move and then the next day, we'd find ourselves consoling each other that it's okay if we lose this house, we don't need it anyway. I've been wanting to pack since our offer got accepted in July but I haven't started yet because it's been a month since that day and we're still going back and forth with additional stipulations.

I've been writing draft after draft about our house-hunting activities and chronicled most of the houses that we've seen. Obviously, they never made it to the final stages and never got published because, until now, there wasn't really anything to tell.

And *that*, my readers, is what's been keeping us extremely busy these days. While we're waiting to find out how this house purchase is going to pan out (will the sellers agree to our stipulations ?)... we've started getting the condo ready for sale. We won't put it up on the market until after we move but now is a good time to start getting the little things done - fix dripping faucets, window screens, fresh coat of paint, update the few remaining light switches and wall plugs that I didn't get to during the great DIY streak in April 2009 when we updated our powder room, painted the living room, fixed the wall behind our stove and updated electrical switches and plugs. We stopped when we found out we were expecting because elders told us that we weren't supposed to touch the house while we were pregnant and afterwards, taking care of a child doesn't really leave one much time to DIY stuff around the house. We still look back on that month of completed projects with fondness, I tell ya.

It would be good if we enjoyed our handywork before we leave.


* The different stages of buying a house are:
- making an offer - this is when you find a property that you like and make an offer
- attorney review - this is when the sellers accept your offer and attorneys from both sides (if you are working with one) sort out the sales contract
- under contract - this is when a final contract is signed and several things happen (see below). The contract can then be re-negotiated based on the results of these activities.
--- inspections and tests
--- appraisals
- closing day - this is when both parties complete the sale, the sellers get paid and the buyer becomes cash-strapped again. =)

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