House hunting

It’s been so long since I’ve written something on the blog beyond posting pictures and a couple of sentences here and there. Chris and I have had a lot on our minds lately about our future plans, it’s been emotionally draining and I’ve spent my free time watching TV instead of writing. Fall shows started, yay!

The longer I go without writing though, the more daunting the task becomes because we have such a backlog of stories we want to share! Now I probably don’t remember most of them, but I can start with the recent ones of this weekend.

I guess first of all you’re wondering about this “future plans” thing. I know I’ve been all over the map about many things: family vs career, one kid vs two kids, wanting to work for google in the big city of L.A. vs raising Gabby in good ol’ safe SB. I can’t say we have made a decision yet about any of these things, but we did decide to start looking at houses for sale in SB. One of the main reason we wanted to get a jump on that is to evaluate what we can afford here. If within a few months we can’t find anything even remotely decent in our price range in a good school district, then we’ll know for sure that SB might not be possible for us long term. That would make one decision easier.

So this week we sat down with a Wells Fargo mortgage consultant and then again with a different mortgage broker that was recommended by a coworker. I remember reading online that one big mistake first time home buyers make is not shopping around enough for their mortgage. Both candidates told us the same thing, we’re in a good financial position and we were easily pre-approved for a loan way bigger than we want. Go us!

Next we contacted a real estate agent. Kim was actually watching Gabrielle on Friday and Chris and I both took the day off to hang out alone together and relax. In the end though, we ended up spending the afternoon looking at houses with our agent. We went to see houses again yesterday afternoon, with Gabrielle that time (a completely different experience house shopping with a toddler by the way). In two days we saw a total of 10 houses, some real losers, some better.

Ok you guys, what is with this, all the houses in good school district are total dumps and houses in bad school district are really more upscale. What is with that?! I know you’re probably thinking that it’s because we can afford less in a good school district than in a bad school district and that would make sense, except it’s not just the house, it’s the whole neighborhood! Take for example the best elementary school in Goleta, Kellogg. Rated 10/10 in most school review websites and it’s reputation is well known in the community. The neighborhood around Kellogg? 1960s never updated never upgraded termite infested California ranch homes. Wait, wait, I’m just bursting with excitement about living in an overpriced relic.

So you want to know what we’ve seen so far? Lots of wood paneling. And I don’t mean white Pottery Barn style half-wall wood paneling. I mean floor to ceiling, 4 walls, dark stained wood paneling. Yikes!

There was a house with green shaggy carpet.

A house where each garage wall was painted a different color: bright green, bright orange, purple, and fuchsia.

And I’m not sure which of these wins the award for I-can’t-believe-this: the house with an indoor rotisserie BBQ grill dated from the gold rush days or the house with the astro turf. Oh yeah, actual honest to goodness astro turf throughout the yard. Take it all in, ladies. You know how they labeled it? “Drought tolerant landscaping,” I kid you not.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the creepiest house. Call it my 6th sense or my imagination… This house had a lot of brand new updates, new carpet, etc, but the second I stepped in I felt like someone was murdered there or something. I just got a very bad vibe. The house was overpriced anyway, but the agent wanted to stay there and chat about what we liked and didn’t like and I was like “dude we need to leave NOW. I want to get out.” I’m not an irrational person nor do I believe in all that supernatural mumbo jumbo, but that house gave me a serious case of ibby jibbies. Aaaaand now you all think I’m crazy, great.

Anyway, in the end there was one house we really liked. The indoor is pretty good, the outdoor style is great, the yard is perfect (corner lot), and most importantly the location is awesome. The neighborhood is beautiful, clean, good schools, and there’s 2 huge parks a few blocks away. It is out of our desired budget (of course) but our agent pulled up comparable home sales in the area and he thinks the house is overpriced and would be worth a price that’s actually in our comfortable price range. We’re going over there again today to take a better look (again, with a toddler we walked through houses pretty quickly) and most likely we will make a low offer and see what happens. We don’t want to jump into anything since we just started looking, but might as well see what kind of price we can get on it and then decide if it’s worth serious consideration or not. We’re not getting too excited though, I know better than to get attached yet.

Wish us luck!

Note: I just already know someone will tell me that I shouldn’t reject a home based on wall color. Yes, I know green shaggy carpet or atrocious paint are easily replaceable. Trust me, those crimes against home decor were not the houses’ only offense.

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