...random experiences, observations and thoughts of my daily life as mommy...past journeys and dreams of journeys yet to be taken creating my life story as i go...

Saturday, August 16, 2008


so...no photos of said home to post...just thought i would free associate this process and pros/cons since we are likely to put an offer on a home in the next couple of days.

this weekend we drove by my favorite home in south park (also my favorite neighborhood) and learned that it was in escrow...they were asking 200k more than we hoped to pay for a home so by definition this was a "dream" and not something we should even be driving by twice...oh but allow me to dream for just a quick moment...walking distance to yoga, a coffee shop, deli, several friends in coop, a few blocks from a great park/playground and only a mile away for manuel to commute to work downtown. most of the homes in this neighborhood are much more so in that sense it would be a good investment but really this home didn't have a lot of improvements that needed to be done and we couldn't afford it anyway...so that takes us back to reality...so we were driving through north park on our way to look at some homes in college area...happened to drive by an open house for a 3 bedroom/2 bath spanish style home in an area of north park that i really like...refinished hardwood floors throughout, lots of windows and built-ins, a decent yard, detached garage...again, in a walking neighborhood to several friends, bird park (concerts in the park), shopping, restaurants, etc. was one of my biggest pulls to this area. more diversity, lots of children, good central location near downtown, the beach, balboa park, etc...downsides were only 1 real bath (the second one was a converted closet), not very much storage space, much smaller square footage both in house size and yard than what we last put an offer on, some of the "diversity" was also questionable, not a lot to redo (this being a plus right now but a minus when we want to get more equity out of the house later) and i'm not too impressed with mckinley elementary right down the street...thought we would likely send sea to private school or at least a charter school but walking to a neighborhood public school with several friends living nearby was really growing on me...

so anyway, manuel really liked this house, too, which surprised me since he was ready to rule out north park due to less space for the money. he even talked about being ready to put in an offer...so then we drove into the new area and he wrote down the realtor's number on a house i had ruled out due to "weird yard" "too brady bunch/ugly curb appeal" issues...he said he could get us in to see this house on sunday. we had plans to go to the beach for the day and then celebrate birthdays/our wedding anniversary with friends but decided it was worth checking out.

fast forward to august 3, our fifth wedding anniversary, video camera rolling we entered the home. i didn't have any immediate emotional breakdown like "this is an emergency situation" or breaking in to tears crying like i did for the south park house (built in 1907 but in immaculate condition--craftsman, all hardwood floors, built-ins, etc)… [quick update on the “dream” home…we went inside and were not nearly as impressed…have to give this home a B+ even though it has a lot more character/charm/location etc…]

but somehow this home in the new area felt familiar. Like I used to live in it. Or that I would be looking back on it remembering when we first went in. maybe it is because it is a split level home and looks like the house I grew up in. similar homogeneous neighborhood, too (which has its pros and cons). The yard also reminds me of home…side yard for grass, patio outside of the front room, lots of room for trees and play equipment and a garden (I should mention here the yard is my favorite part of this house…not sure if that is a good thing but it does mean it is the biggest usable lot we have found in central san diego)…

ok so it is several days (couple weeks?) later and I’m just revisiting this topic…so more about what I like about the house in the new area (in no particular order):
∑ It is right around the corner from a highly rated elementary school…so we could literally walk there…the school has a garden, emphasizes music, has art hanging in the windows (ok I imagine many schools have these things so I won’t idealize it too much…)
∑ The huge lot size (11,000?) that is usable…can’t wait to have a garden! And someday a pool! And entertain outdoors…and have the children run around in grass…and ride their trikes on pavement…and water flower beds…
∑ No neighbor to the right and the back neighbor has a large yard with the house set way back behind a lot of landscaping so it feels more private than many locations in central san diego (I expect to get this further east but was surprised to find it here)
∑ Right near the freeway for quick access to the beach, downtown, Coronado, parks, etc. that we go to frequently
∑ Across the freeway from a new charter school I may be interested in (innovative academy?) that would allow me to home school sea a couple of days a week
∑ Nice safe neighborhood we could take walks in and maybe fulfill my ideal of going door to door and meeting my neighbors and having a “community”…also walking distance to a whole foods like market (too expensive for regular shopping I imagine but nice for the occasional splurge)
∑ Lots of windows/sliding doors to the outside…on this note, I specifically like that the bedrooms face east for morning sun and the back of the house faces west for the sunset coming in while we are eating dinner/entertaining…
∑ High ceilings (art deco style home)
∑ Open floor plan (kitchen, dining room, front room and office space all open to each other)
∑ I like that the main “living” area is open and in the center of the house and opens to the yard
∑ Windows all around the dining room with views to the back yard/more light while eating
∑ Nice big kitchen with wood instead of modernized with granite I don’t like
∑ Someday we could add French doors leading out of the bottom bedroom to the yard

Ok I’m ready to list a few of the cons (besides location which I have already addressed):
∑ Only hardwood floors in the main living area (we could add them to the rest of the home but they wouldn’t be the same quality as the ones from older homes)…I still cannot believe I am willing to give this up! This was a “deal breaker” before…I must really love all the other aspects of this home…
∑ Master bedroom isn’t on the same floor as the kid’s rooms…we are all in the same bedroom for now so it is hard to even imagine this one but I hope we don’t look back and wish we had made this a bigger deal! We may end up living in one of the downstairs bedrooms by the kids and eventually make it upstairs to the master? Not sure how we will address this but no signs of either child leaving anytime soon…
∑ Possibly a large tree in back blocks the sunset from coming in (there are renters there now so we can’t check these nuances easily…how can we schedule a viewing at 7 p.m.?)
∑ Ugly side of the home…also like the 70’s style home I grew up in…but I have plans to plant a jacarunda (sp?) tree in the center (to not block too many windows but would remind me of my dad and our home and love the lavender flowers…)

So you can tell that I now really like this house since I am having trouble coming up with cons…I think it is the huge useable lot and lots of light in the home that is selling me the most…

Would love your feedback on any of these points or what do you look for in a home? Enjoy in yours? Wish that you had?

I’m already planting the little morning glory seedlings from sea's coop preschool along “our” fence and mapping out where we will grow the sunflowers…guess we need to have an offer accepted first but for now I can imagine myself living there…

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