Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking for Houses

So way back last August, I wrote about how we need to move. In the intervening months, we have talked and talked and talked some more about moving. Whenever the subject comes up, I want to poke knitting needles in my ears just so I don’t have to listen any more. B set me up to receive e-mail notices every time a house meeting our criteria comes on the market and every time a house that’s already on the market has its price lowered. I get dozens of house-related e-mails each week, which I promptly delete without looking at them. I figure that B will let me know if something good comes up.

Mostly, though, the reason we haven’t moved yet is because we had to get a bunch of ducks in a row in terms of arranging finances and rental properties and such. Two weeks ago we got the first ducked kicked into line, which means that next month we’ll begin the hell of getting our house ready to sell. We’re going to gut our outdated kitchen and put down new flooring in several parts of the house and re-tile our bathroom. Plus we need to work on landscaping outside. I think that we should just repaint everything and sell the house as-is, but B, being the professional Realtor and all, insists that we need to do all the work to get the best possible price for our house.


Because we’re getting ready to go to market in the next six to eight weeks, we went out to look at houses this weekend. First, we started up in Wendi’s neighborhood, which is very nice and has excellent schools. I liked the house we looked at, which had great views and a pool, but B, the professional Realtor, found lots of flaws. So we moved on.

We headed out towards Hamilton Pool, which will mean something to Austinites, and looked at two houses out there. The first I would have moved into in a heartbeat. I liked the way it was laid out, plus it was on an acre of land and had a pool. But B, the professional Realtor, found flaws like drainage issues and wood rot. The second house was pure-d awful. Just awful. I can’t even describe how awful. So we left quickly. It’s a shame, because the lot was huge and it was two blocks from my cousin’s spread.

After that, we headed out to a development in Dripping Springs proper called Bellterra. It’s one of those massive subdivisions with so many houses that it now has its own elementary school. The house we looked at was huge and gorgeous – too huge and gorgeous for my taste. It was 4,000 sq/ft with five bedrooms, a play room and a separate office. It had two staircases and 4.5 baths. If we bought it, I’d spend all my time feeling like I was in someone else’s house, someone much fancier than I am.

From there we headed down to Driftwood, again, Austinites will know where that is, with me protesting the whole way that we were too far south. Then I saw the development B had in mind, and I fell in love with the area. The neighborhood is situated on a hilltop with gorgeous views of the surrounding areas. There’s lots of wild, untouched prairie areas. All the lots are a minimum of one acre, and the houses start at 3,000 sq/ft. We’ll be able to double the size of our house and triple the size of yard for roughly the cost of our house here in town. Most of all, it felt like a real neighborhood. There were people out riding bikes and talking in the street. I’d feel very safe turning the kids loose to explore. We could also have a dog (or two) if we lived out there. The area is technically in Dripping Springs, which has excellent schools. And the Salt Lick is five minutes down the road. Yum.

B was stunned that I liked the area. He said it’s the most surprised he’s been in 14 years of marriage. I don’t know why – I have always said I didn’t want to move to a cookie-cutter development. He’s just astonished that I’d be willing to live somewhere that the neighbors aren’t right next door.

So he’s going to start looking for houses in that area in earnest, and I’m going to reconcile myself to the changes in my lifestyle that moving to the country will bring. First off, while Driftwood SEEMS far away, it takes only 18 minutes to get there from Town Lake, which isn’t that far at all.  But there aren’t any grocery stores immediately close by, so no running out for a gallon of milk or eggs. However, the closest Costco and Target are only ten minutes away. There are other things I’ll miss, though, like being able to walk to the neighborhood school – the kids will have to ride the bus. And it won’t take me eight minutes to get to preschool. But it will take less time to drive Ella to climbing practice twice a week, and it will be an easy drive in for Lily’s ballet classes and Saturday running. And I’ll be in excellent hill running shape from training out there.

There’s a lot to consider and a lot to worry about. And I’m working on remembering the positive aspects of all this every time I start getting worked up. It’s a good thing I’ve already upped my anti-depressants and started therapy, because I’m going to need it all for this whole process. The good news is that we seem to be moving in the right direction, literally and figuratively.


Shelly in Austin said...

I'm in Circle C and I love being south. There is so much growth and development in the area you won't miss much about being central. Driftwood is really nice. The new developments are great and I love that they preserve so much green space. We have friends who live off 1826 and love it. They have been very happy with the schools in Dripping Springs. I'm excited for you!

joanna said...

I'm excited for you and also looking forward to some interesting posts about house hunting/home repair ... a la HOK household fun zone summer craziness. Driftwood is so darn pretty. You'll find the right place.

Susan said...

House buying and sellng and the moving are really mixed things all around. There are so many fun, interesting things and so many stressful things about all the choices and changes. Wishing you the best in the process!

Alexandra said...


You will spend all your time cleaning, it's awful.

I miss our 1800 sq ft house so much.

Wendi said...

Plus they're getting a Drafthouse out there...

Baino said...

Change is always a little scary but if you've found a neighbourhood you like, its a positive start. Good luck with the house hunting . . it would be the actual 'moving' that would have me in a spin!