I’m afraid to post this and almost afraid to write it, but we’ve sent in a deposit for a place in paradise. How did we do on our priorities?
1. I will be able to get enough sleep at night– no thin walls, no cigarette smoke. (Also non-crazy landlord, but how does one screen for that?)
We ended up with half of a duplex that has a staircase separating the two parts, so it’s more like a townhouse. There’s an empty lot with trees on one side and a house on the other side. It’s also on a busy street, but I think I can handle traffic noise. The landlord seems laid back and our friends know the tenants who are moving out (who are moving out because they bought their own place).
2. At least 2br.
3. In unit laundry. Dishwasher. Reasonable appliances (though we can always buy cheap ones).
Laundry is in the garage. Dishwasher in the kitchen. The other appliances seem reasonable, though my in-laws have their stove and it’s not my favorite. (It’s that electric kind with the glass top so it’s easy to clean, but not that much fun to cook with.)
4. In a decent to good school district and DC1 can stay grade-skipped (or they want to test before keeping the skip– I’m fine with that too).
The elementary school will allow DC2 to go into 5th grade. It’s a 9 star school with a good mix of demographics and SES and not 100% white or wealthy. Languages are optional and expensive after school ($500) and I don’t think they offer band or anything like that (update: there is a musical instrument option offered through the school from a local non-profit), but we’ll see once we’re allowed to actually register.
5. We can keep at least our main kitty, little kitty.
6. A reasonable commute to: Sabbatical Uni, DC1’s school, DC2’s preschool, given that we will only have one car.
7 min walk to DC2’s preschool. It’s an hour and some round-trip if DH walks to drop both kids off, according to google. There are some other options, including having DC2 bike hirself, or walking to the closer school and taking the bus ($700) to the assigned school, but we’ll figure that out. For me it’s about a 30 min bike-ride or a 40 min drive (20 min without traffic…) or a 40 min bus drive (20 min without traffic).
7. Walkable neighborhood that includes a playground.
The playground is across the street.
8. Allows us to take Nice kitty
9. 3 br
Bzzt. Only 2br. :(
10. Walking distance to a library
Yes! 7 min walk.
11. Walking distance to shops
Yes! Like, right around the corner distance.
12. Excellent schools (as opposed to decent)
9 star is pretty good.
13. Driveway or garage space, not just street parking.
One car garage and driveway.
14. Out door play area such as yard.
Bzzt! There’s basically a dog run. But hey, there’s a park across the street.
Bzzt! I hear Ikea is cheap. Once we have this lease thing figured out we will ask if the current tenants want to sell us any of their stuff. Figuring out how to get other stuff over there is, of course, a bit of a nightmare problem we’re still trying to figure out. (Like, we have to take the piano, but what about mattresses?)
16. More than 1000 sq ft.
1200sq ft. We had an apartment in grad school that size at the very end (using the money we’d saved being RAs for two years) and it seemed enormous. It will probably be less enormous with two kids.
17. Nice appliances.
18. Nice extras (countertops etc.)
19. Fruit or nut trees.
20. A price considerably lower than 5K/mo.
This place was listed for 4K/mo. I don’t know what our friend out there told them, but she sweet talked the landlord into thinking we’re so amazing she should cut an additional $100 off the rent. Also some additional utilities are included in the rent because it’s a duplex. So instead of paying close to 5K, we’ll be paying just under 4K/mo. That means I’m feeling a bit more relaxed about money, especially with a month of summer salary also happening. If our house rents out, we’ll be able to make our savings goals!
And as an added benefit, since our friend did such a great job talking us up, if this all goes through, DH won’t have to spend a week of his vacation time apartment-hunting. So he can spend it doing moving stuff instead. :)