When Jon and I moved into our current rented condo last year, our thoughts were to rent the place for up to three years. We had already been renting an apartment for 2 years and thought a larger condo would be a great place to start a family and settle into until we were ready to buy a home.
A couple things happened this year that really started making us rethink the renting situation. First, was our taxes. Tax season really hurt us, being a married couple that's renting with no kids and who both work full-time. We ended up having to pay a lot out of pocket since we don't qualify for many deductions. Our CPA even encouraged us to look into home buying to help us out. Second, while in many ways renting can be easy and it's nice having a good landlord take care of issues, you lose the freedom to really do what you want in your home. Painting or making any types of changes becomes very limited because you don't own the space. As well, even if you did get permission to rip up the carpet and lay down hardwood floors, you aren't investing in your own space and it's almost not worth the costs for a temporary home. Third, the market is slightly going back up and we really want to take advantage of the market while we still can and before things get super pricey! And finally, new little Wallace on the way really motivated us to start thinking about a place we would want to raise a family. While we're not looking for a forever home (although that would be awesome) we are looking for a long term place to make our own, raise a family, and love for many years. I'd also really like a colorful front door, but that's besides the point. ;)
SO, I realize I hardly made a dent in my Project Condo series, but blogging about my slow progress was a great motivator. I really want to continue blogging about our home buying and decorating progress, especially since we are going through home buying for the first time and will have to put together a nursery space pretty quickly!! So, the once named Project Condo series will now be called Project Home. :) To get started, here are a couple of things we've thought about for our new home:
NEW HOME MUST HAVES
* At least three bedrooms with a great game room/media space that can be closed off from the cats.
* Would like 2.5 baths. Don't really need 3 full bathrooms, but at least two full bathrooms would be perfect.
* In a good and safe neighborhood that's kept up nicely, cared for, and somewhat private.
* Large enough to grow into, but not too overwhelming.
* Something built between 1970-current time. We'd like something to improve upon, but not too much of a heavy project fixer-upper. Something with great bones, good electrical wiring, good plumbing, and not prone to flooding.
* Doesn't have a massive yard. We aren't huge yard/gardening people, so we'd like something that is nice, fairly level and easy to maintain.
* Within our budget.
* Good driveway space for visitors. We love hosting friends and having people over and we'd love an easy place for them to park and enjoy our space.
* A lot of natural lighting.
* Located in a good community and not too far away from our families. We know they will want to be really involved in our kids' lives and we'd like to make that commute easier on them.
* While we don't mind living in a neighborhood with an HOA, we'd prefer if they weren't super, super strict.
AWESOME TO HAVE LIST
* Fully finished basement. We'd love a great game room and movie space.
* Hardwood floors, it's so nice to have with allergies and cats!
* Large master shower and closet.
* Laundry/mud room.
* A small office/studio space for Maiedae.
* A great kitchen layout with a good sized pantry.
* Unique qualities like big beautiful windows and wood ceilings.
* Open floor plan with a good flow of the space.
* Sidewalks in the neighborhood. I don't know why, but I've ALWAYS wanted to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks.
* Located near a good grocery store and nice shopping.
I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you! We just started looking at homes with our realtor today so once we get a few more under our belt we'll be sure to share some of the homes we looked at and our thoughts. We are hoping to move along the process fairly quickly and would love to be in our new place no later than November and as early as September so we have enough time before I'm TOO big to get things settled and put the nursery together. :) In the meantime, I think I'll go ahead and get the ball rolling on packing and going through all of our stuff. Here's to finding a great family home!! PS - If you live in the Atlanta area and have any neighborhood recommendations for us, please do share!!
Photo Credit: Home Portrait Illustration by Rebekka Seale.