House Hunters International, continued

posted in: House hunting | 5

So, we think we may have found THE house. Gulp.

We haven’t pulled the trigger yet because we still have questions and a couple of concerns (ok, mostly me with concerns) but as soon as we walked in yesterday, it was love.

But I’ll back up, because playing House Hunters can be fun. We had appointments for five houses today, one of which I was absolutely dying to see based on pictures I’d seen online. I was super disappointed, then, when we arrived and found out that we wouldn’t be able to see that one until next week. Instead, he replaced it with a different house he I guess thought we should consider, which we hit up first.

House One: I knew the second we walked in that we wouldn’t be considering this one. The front door swings open into the “kitchen” — a wall with a couple cabinets, a stove, etc. I can’t imagine how anyone could have thought this was a good set up? Anyway, it was too small for us anyway and — hilariously — it also contained stairs of death (though a bit less death-y than the last ones lol). The bathrooms were nice, and there was a very nice community pool, but that was about it. And it didn’t even have four real bedrooms.

house1

House Two: Chris really liked this one, actually. It had four bedrooms, they were willing to install a main floor kitchen in a perfect area and the grounds outside were lovely. It even had a large garage, which was a big selling point for Chris. It was clean and open and pretty.

house2
This is where the kitchen would go

However, it was just too small. Four is the minimum number of bedrooms we want with our two kids (and any future ones …) and guests expected to come frequently. Four could work theoretically if we had one guest room, one bedroom for Chris and I and if the kids could share a bedroom some day if we had another kid. I don’t generally think large bedrooms are all that important (and frequently make fun of people on House Hunters for this obsession) but these bedrooms were so small that there was no way two beds could have fit in them. There was also no place for our computer desk and book shelves, and no place for our dining room table. Chris thought these obstacles might possibly be overcome, but I did not. But it didn’t matter because …

House Three: Cue chorus of angels as we walked into this house. Heck, on the drive up to it even. We were worried at first because we got all excited driving through a nice little town, thinking about how nice it would be to be closer to town. I was originally hoping to find a home that was walkable into a town, but as we’ve been looking I haven’t really found anything that looks promising in this department because a) we are looking for larger houses, not apartments and b) in the areas we’ve been so far, sidewalks aren’t really a thing. At least, not in a way that would make things walkable.

But I digress. Anyway, we got excited about an area being walkable but then turned down this road for a while and realized that wouldn’t be the case:

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So, we immediately got worried that we were going to some house in the middle of nowhere. I should also mention that this house did not have any pictures posted on the website we were searching; in fact, we almost didn’t put it on our list at all because the only details available were the town and the number of beds and bathrooms. In the end, we popped it on the very end of the list because you are only allowed to list six at a time and we had one more space. I’m SO GLAD we did.

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It’s in the middle of a vineyard, guys. Like, on three sides around it there are grapes. There is a view of Mount Etna on one side, and of the sea on the other (though it was too hazy to tell yesterday). The owners claim that on a clear day you can see to the mainland!

viagrande

So, we walked it and it was just beautiful on the inside. Very, very charming. I didn’t take nearly enough pictures (which has definitely annoyed Chris) because I was just too excited). There are three levels: on the main is a sitting room, bathroom and three nice-sized bedrooms. On the lower level is the kitchen (this seems to be a thing here, so I am just over it lol), a living room/dining room area and another room currently being used as another office or sitting room. Upstairs are three more bedrooms and another nice, updated bathroom.

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Like most of the houses we’ve seen, it has beautiful balconies that you can reach from just about every room. It also has this nice big area where I imagine setting up our patio table.

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House Four: So just to wrap things up, we did see a fourth house that I actually liked second best. It was two stories and had a nice open concept kitchen/living/dining area and four large bedrooms upstairs. It was also in a complex and was located a bit closer to base than house three. I thought it was significantly more functional than House Two, but it was less pretty (ugly tiles instead of pretty marble floors, for example). However, it was basically a nonissue because we were still too star-struck by House Three to even consider it. Neither of us even took a picture.

We were going to see a House Five, but ended up bailing at the housing counselor’s suggestion. It was a townhouse (which we weren’t wild about anyway) and he said that the person only wanted to rent it furnished, which isn’t an option for us given our stuff is hopefully making its way across the Atlantic as we speak.

So, as you can probably guess we are leaning heavily toward House Three. I’m not without concerns on this house, all of them related to the location. It is further away than we wanted to be (probably about 50 minutes from base), which will mean a longer commute for Chris immediately and a longer commute for Owen in a couple of years when he goes to kindergarten. It isn’t in a complex like others we’ve seen, and part of me wonders if our kids will miss out on having neighbors close by to play with. I also worry that we should wait and see the other house that I liked next week.

That said … we are leaning towards going for it, if we can get a few questions answered. Chris insists that the drive is about as long as it was in Bloomington, and he doesn’t mind. There is a bus that Owen will be able to take to school, or Chris could potentially drop him off on his way to work. And we can always have play dates with friends. Our housing counselor also has us very concerned that if we don’t go for it, we may miss out.

I still like the four-story house that we looked at with a realtor last week, and it is a fair bit closer to base than the vineyard house. However, we’ve since been warned off that picking a house that isn’t already pre-approved by the housing department is a recipe for long delays and the chance of things falling through. So, we probably don’t want to mess with that.

Anyway, I’ll keep you all posted on what we decide! Cross your fingers for us.

5 Responses

  1. Can’t wait for the exciting conclusion of this episode!!

  2. Me too Kasey! I enjoy all the news!

  3. Amy Raisor

    Looking forward to the decision.

  4. House 3 sounds really neat in the middle of wineyard. How far to school? Keep in mind he is little and will be very tired after a long day at school and then a long trip home before homework starts. That also means more long trips back and forth for school activites and for playdates. We are 15-20 mins from our school and while I love our school very much sometimes I wish we attended one of the schools closer to us (there are 4 closer to us then the one we go to). Just something to keep in mind besides Chris’ long commute. Good luck on your house hunt.

    • That’s actually one of our biggest concerns, since he will most likely be attending kindy on base in a few years (40/45 mins). There will be a bus he can take, or Chris might drop him off. If he picks up Italian in the next couple years at his Italian preschool we could send him to local kindy, but that doesn’t seem like something we’d probably do. Unfortunately the only way to get him a commute of less than a half hour probably would be to live in base housing (ick) or to find something in the town closest by (not a lot available so far and we don’t love this town). Blerg!

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