Thursday, April 30, 2015

Real Estate Wishes (and Reality Checks)

After months of waiting for an answer, we finally found out about two weeks ago that we were released from military housing when we move to New Jersey at the end of May. It's good news. It's what we wanted. We won't have to live in an apartment on Staten Island. But it's scary good news, because it means the pressure is on to find a place to live before G has to report for work June 8. The hubs has been looking at rental listings online since last fall, and now that it's closer to go time I've been looking, too. But, per usual with this military life, I'm realizing that we are going to have to make a lot of compromises, some sacrifices, in this house hunt. We got what we wanted, in terms of getting out of being forced to live in Sector New York's military housing, but we likely will not get exactly what we want in our next home.

Here's our wish list: 
  • Single-family house, duplex or town home. (We are trying to get away from apartment-style living.) After a year in 750-square-foot apartment, we're hoping for 1,000-square-feet.
  • At least two bedrooms (one for an office) and one bathroom, though two would be preferable.
  • Walkable neighborhood, close to shops, restaurants, bars and parks. Hoboken would be ideal but likely out of our budget, so we're also searching in Jersey City, Weehawken and Union City, as well parts of Brooklyn.
  • A home with a yard, even if it's a small one, for the dogs. This is why apartments and condos don't work.
  • Windows! I don't need a view but I do need natural light. I'm tired having just a couple windows on just one side of the building, another reason we are trying to avoid apartments and condos. 
  • Large, clean (if not updated) kitchen with plenty of counter space and storage. We love to cook and we have a lot of kitchen tools and dining pieces.
  • Large master closet. We're bursting at the seams with our humble walk-in closet now and I still have a box of clothes that I never unpacked when we moved in last June!
  • Plenty of storage. We had to rent a 10x10 storage unit when we moved from our two-bed, two-bath condo in San Diego to our one-bed, one-bath St. Pete apartment. It's an expense we don't want to carry to Jersey. 
As you can see, we have quite the extensive wish list (but not an overly generous budget), which is why I know we are going to have to compromise somewhere along the way. We've already done a lot of searching and found nothing that checks all the boxes, and our favorites get snapped up right away. (That real estate game is fierce!) We even reached out to a New Jersey realtor last week and he basically came back saying, in so many words, that we couldn't afford to live in our preferred areas, even though we've casted a wide net in that regard. (He then proceeded to send us listings upwards of $3,000/month. Safe to say we won't continue using his services.)

While we are not buying our first home, this rental house hunt feels just as important. We moved to St. Petersburg right after we got married, so even though we lived together for a year in G's San Diego condo, Florida was going to be our first married home, the first place we got together. The apartment we are in now was supposed to be temporary, which is why we were OK with just one bedroom and one bathroom. But then we found out we wouldn't be staying in St. Pete for three years after all, so we nixed plans to move into something bigger and better and stayed in our transitional living situation. This move to New Jersey feels like our second chance at that "first married home," since we should (fingers crossed) actually be staying in the Garden State for three years.

Our decision also feels important because, if I get my greatest wish, we will be starting a family soon. The home we decide to rent then is where we will have a baby, our child's first home. Maybe I'm putting too much thought into it, but hey, I'm a (emotional, hormonal) woman. I can't help but think of these things and consider the future. 

As discouraging as house hunting can be, whether you're renting or buying, we'll keep on searching because, well, we need somewhere to live! The hardest part really will be that compromise bit. We probably won't find a place in a hip neighborhood with a yard (it's looking bleak), an updated kitchen and two bathrooms. So G and I are going to have to figure out what our priorities are and what we're willing to sacrificeand hopefully we're on the same page!

Ah, the joys of moving, of marriage, and of military life.

I'll be happy not to have to move again for three years. To stay in one place, for a little while.

(Watercolor New York by Stamen Design 
by Youngna Park via 20x200)

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Blogging tips