Sunday, October 23, 2011

house hunters

Lovely friend H bought the house of her dreams last week. So, the fact that I've been surfing MLS non-stop for the past week or so can be squarely blamed on her.

We love where we live now, but ultimately there are restrictions to a renter's life ... no planning big renos, no building equity, no ... well, ownership. We've done little projects here and there, but I have the decorating/organizing/diy itch often, and there's only so much you can do in someone else's casa.

We're surveying our options and counting our pennies, just in preparation for the inevitability. This isn't the first time we've started on this road, but who knows, maybe it'll end differently this time.

So, I put these questions to you, dear readers, and am happily accepting any and all advice in these matters:

1) Detached vs. semi-detached? I admit that I am already very set on this matter, but I will open it to the floor anyway.

2) Fix-er-upper vs. new construction?

3) Oil heat vs. electric heat?

4) Subdivision (0.2 acre) vs. more rural (1+ acres)?

5) What are your top "red flags" when it comes to viewing houses?

Thanks, in advance.


  1. We went with a detached house that was 8 years old, so fairly new. We've got oil heat and a subdivision-size lot. When we first started looking, we were skewing towards a rural, large lot but then we thought of two things: 1. more yard maintenance and 2. needing to worry about things like the well and sewer. Our yard now is still big enough to play catch and plant flowers and shrubs but it's not overwhelming to maintain.

    House hunting can be frustrating but also super fun. Even if you go to see houses you don't end up loving you can have a laugh at the weird crap some people have in their houses!

    BTW, our neighbourhood is kid friendly, quiet, close to schools, and affordable and there are some great houses for sale... :)

  2. Detached. If your neighbor in a semi decides to rent to an undesirable tenant you are in a world of hell with little recourse...I've been there.

    Don't get a fixer unless you own your own handyman or have mucho buck to spend on contractors.

    I much prefer electric heat. No heating fuel is cheap, but electric is cleaner and there is virtually no maintenance cost. I've used electric heat for approx. 35 yrs. You also have better control, for instance...I like it quite warm when I read or watch TV, but like virtually no heat in my bedroom. With doors to close and electric this is easily accomplished.

    That's all the advice I have for this time. :))

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