House Hunting

Some things I’ve learned while house hunting here in Utah, submitted for your potential benefit:

We grew up in an amazing place. The house is gigantic: a large attic for storage; 5 large bedrooms, including a supersized master bedroom with 2 walkin closets, an alcove, and a bathroom; large dining and living rooms both, a large kitchen and eating area, a huge family room (albeit with light-sucking dark wall paneling), and even a large entry hallway; a full basement (albeit with a low ceiling you (read: I) hit your (my) head on) with an extra crawlspace for storage. The yard is bigger than any non-farm yard I’ve seen: over half an acre with ample room to set up a volleyball court or throw or kick various balls around with the feel of a real field (even if you don’t have quite a football or soccer or baseball field), some trees in the back part (including, for a time, a fort); a basketball hoop in the front on a relatively flat driveway; a front yard bigger than most of the backyards I’ve seen here. We also had a huge tract of woods for most of the time (at least I did, I don’t know about Dan) that we could get lost in all summer (albeit paying the price in poison ivy).

Here in Utah, given our future income, we cannot get anything near what Mom and Dad have in Whippany. And house prices here are fairly reasonable (and mortgage rates are way super low). Our wish list includes: 4 bedrooms upstairs, an unfinished basement, a porch, and a big yard. After three days of some pretty constant searching, I can only find one house that fits all those criteria except the big yard. Getting a big yard is impossible with our money. We’re also concerned about schools for our kids, proximity to BYU, air conditioning, and a whole slew of other things. It is tough to balance out so many desirables. For one thing, the closer you get to Provo, the more houses cost, unless you move to a “bad” neighborhood or get a beat-up house. Even getting a house on the east side of I-15 seems to cost about $20,000 compared to the west side. A lot of new homes are being built in low-lying areas near Utah Lake and cannot have basements. Very few homes seem to have four bedrooms on the same floor (most just have three, period, though others have a fourth bedroom on the main floor or other weirdities). Many new homes are far from the highway and far north and would give me a very long commute. There are a lot of ramblers (on small lots, to boot) and split-levels. And, as I’ve said, they’re all on pretty small lots.

So I guess you could say that, in a nutshell, finding a house is hard. I hope to find something adequate that will serve us well for a time and appreciate in value so we can move on up within a few years. But it’s a scary prospect. Wish me continued luck.

PatrickObservations02/14/04 0 comments

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