It’s looking like we’re going to be in Los Angeles for a while, so Steve and I have decided to go house hunting. On one hand, it’s exhilarating. I’m going to start building equity in something. I can paint walls whatever color I choose (picture above is Benjamin Moore “revere pewter,”described as the best paint color ever). I can have as many pets as I want (though probably not if Steve has something to say about it). The current rule is “no more pets than people.”
On the other, it’s completely terrifying. This will be the single largest purchase I have ever made (and grad school wasn’t cheap). What if it becomes a money pit? What if the market crashes? What if we want to move and can’t sell it? See? Terrifying.
It doesn’t help that the Los Angeles housing market is insanely expensive. And I say that as someone who grew up in New York City. In many ways the markets are similar. You can’t get anything halfway decent for under half a million dollars. And even at that price point, the stuff is questionable. Within our price range, we were presented with the following options: town homes in central locations, or single family homes a bit further away from all the action. We also had third option: a piece of crap fixer, but I’m not willing to gut an entire house.
Steve and I have both spent our lives living on top of our neighbors. We both grew up in New York where anything over 400 square feet is considered roomy and spacious. Part of the reason why we left is for space. So we could breathe, plant a garden, and let our dogs roam around off leash and not have to worry about smelling the cooking from the neighbors next door or the vibrations from the bar downstairs.
Even our neighbors here, though a bit more spaced out are questionable. When I knocked on the door to introduce myself to the woman downstairs from us, she proceeded to spend 40 minutes telling me all the ways that I (and my dogs) could die in LA. From crime rates, to hawks, to coyotes, according to crazy lady downstairs, there’s not a second that goes by here that I’m not in imminent danger. Surprisingly this woman is in her 40s, not her 70s. I wonder if she’s completely shocked every time she sees that I’m still alive.
Steve and I have decided that we want to be homeowners enough that we are willing to live a bit out-of-the-way (which also somewhat takes care of the insane neighbor issue). We reason that since we’re home most of the time, we really want to love our space and create a tranquil oasis that’s not too far for the cool stuff that LA has to offer. I plan on growing vegetables, possibly keeping chickens, and living an easier life. You have to drive everywhere in LA anyway, so whats another 5-10 minutes. The downside of the third metric? While having balance, life still gets expensive.
We put in an offer on a place the other night. It doesn’t mean the sellers will take it, or even counter but I have that excited/terrified feeling that I get when I’m about to embark on something big.
So here’s hoping I’ll become a homeowner this year. And if this home isn’t the one, hopefully the next one is meant to be. I mean, I already have my paint colors picked out.
image via the nest