Life, House

House Hunting

So as many of you know, Ryan and I are hoping to buy a house sometime this year – maybe around Summer depending how taxes go. We looked at 2 sets of new homes in Dublin this past weekend and in doing so, forced me to think what it is I really want. We both have decided that Pleasant Hill is not for us – it’s flat-out boring although it’s close to San Francisco. Once Olivia gets older, I would like to take her to SF for farmer’s market Saturday morning, to the zoo, museums, picnics at the beach and right now, all this is roughly 20-30min away. If we move to the Tri-Valley, we’ll be tacking on another 20min. I’m torn because I like the comfort in knowing with a new house, most things are in working condition – you typically get more storage, bigger kitchens, newer pipes, insulation but most new houses are ‘cookie cutters’ and that’s so blah. I love the architecture of older homes but they come with their fair share of issues – as we’ve learned living in a 60 year old house! Neither myself or Ryan are the fixer-upper sort but there is something exciting and cute about older homes – they have so much more character. So hence my dilemna.

Now that I’m staying home full time, I’ve become very conscious of the fact that I’m now a suburban housewife. Yeesh – I kinda hate that term and the stigma revolving around it. I understand suburbia is probably the best place to raise a family – low crime, better schools, being able to ride your bike in the street but it can be so boring and I want this child to be somewhat cultured. I can’t imagine living in a big city either with a child – I can’t even imagine trying to manuever a stroller on muni. What is the happy medium? Ryan and I are still very young folks and the idea of setting up camp in suburbia for the rest of our lives is a little depressing. Right now our main activities for the day are going to Target and the mall. Obviously every other mother has the same idea because when I go to either of these places during the week, I enter the stroller parade. I used to roll my eyes at these women thinking is there anything else they can do and now I have a little understanding. I’m going to fight though with every instinct in my body to not succumb to this. Strip malls and chain food restaurants – this can’t be life as I know it???

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8 Comments

  • Reply Ryan January 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I’m not crazy about the idea of living in "Chain-Land" either but like any major decision there are trade offs – both good and bad. I think the key is to figure that this first home we buy will likely not be the last so it’s doesn’t have to be viewed as "FOREVER" but I know what you mean.

    I’d love to hear other’s perspectives if they would be inclined to share their views.

  • Reply Traci Jacobs January 7, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Hi Jen,

    We met briefly one day at E-LOAN when you brought Madeline to the office when she was a puppy……First off, congratulations to you and Ryan on your lovely little girl, Olivia ~ she is a cutie!

    I wanted to give my opinion on new homes versus older ones. I have lived in two brand new homes (both in Tracy) and really liked them, until we moved to San Ramon 3 years ago and moved into a 1970’s home that had been totally remodeled and we have also done a lot of the non-sexy expensive upgrades – HA! I LOVE the idea of older architecture and the newness of granite, etc in the kitchen. So that would be my two cents on that, which brings me to another point – Since E-LOAN is folding, my last day with them is this Friday, January 9th and my husband and I are going to relocate out of State, so our house is going up for sale is this crazy market! I know you said Summer was your target, but thought I’d let you know…..

    We live off of Pine Valley – the older part of San Ramon (near great schools too – an elementary, middle and high school all within walking distance). Our house also sits on Iron Horse Trail (the one for riding bikes, running, walking, etc.) so no back neighbors! It’s not a huge house, but it is one story: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and has a nice BIG kitchen! We don’t have kids, only two bullies (Mia & Mario) and Jeremy has a home office like Ryan would need and it has an exit door to the "doggie yard", which has been ideal for us.

    So there ya go – If you are interested at all, just get in touch with me via email. If not, no worries I thought I would put it out there ~ We are ready to escape California!!!

    Take good care – Good luck with parenthood and finding a good balance in life! I know what you mean about Target – I went there during the day today and all I saw were stay at home Mom’s and retired folks (no offense! =)

    Please send my best to Ryan too – I’m so glad to see that his business is a success, that is so awesome!

    Best,
    TJ

  • Reply Jen January 7, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Hi Traci,

    Thanks for the offer but we’re looking for at least 4 bedrooms – we have 3 now and it’s just not enough between the office and O’s bedroom. That’s another thing I’ve discovered about older homes – they don’t have alot of bedrooms and you’re lucky if you can find 2 bathrooms!
    Good luck with your move – I hear ya about escaping California!

  • Reply Ryan January 7, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Perhaps the answer is not the Bay Area? I hear Portland is beautiful…

  • Reply Tim January 8, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    I hear there are some good deals to be had around the country:

  • Reply Jen January 9, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Oh yea because I’ve always dreamed of living in Flint Michigan.

  • Reply Tim January 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    What about that cozy 1-bed, 1 bath house built in 1923 in Birmingham Ala? I mean sure, it’s suffered some fire damage and the listing states the "rooms are hard to distinguish", but it’s only $1900!

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