When the Not Boyfriend and I decided that it is (almost) time to take our relationship further and that we’d like to move in together (eventually), the first thing we did is list out all the things we’d hope to find in a home for the three of us — the minimalist bachelor guy, the clutter magnet-shoe hoarder lady and my son, collector of buckets and buckets and bins of small plastic thingies. Because we want to stay together once we share an address, we decided space was most important. I added a yard, he hoped for a dining room big enough to hold a large table and many friends on Sunday nights.
Then I did something really radical when it comes to hunting for somewhat-reasonable, pretty spacious, earth-accessible real estate: I decided it needed to be close to my son’s school. Preferably, walkable.
That shrunk our hunt for a new home down to about six to eight city blocks. That inflated our monthly rent or mortgage budget by a thousand dollars. That has made our real estate agents nuts and Craigslist our nemesis.
We’ve considered buying, but are now opting to rent, and in the process, have seen dozens and dozens of apartments, condos, duplex-down units, houses, places with “vintage charm” and those with high-end, super-new finishes. We’ve walked through homes that have not been worked on since the mid-60s and had to put our imaginations to work in units that were stripped down to the studs (but ready to rent tomorrow!). We’ve considered smaller places that would require us to rent a storage unit and larger places with full basements for stress-free storage. We’ve seen a house with a library, a penthouse with a private roof deck, and a middle-floor unit with an elevator that opened right into the living room, like something out of Silver Spoons.
We’ve also high-tailed it out of a home where doors were mysteriously locked and which housed a huge bucket of wild-bird seed blocked the front door. There have been places that were mehhh, a few that have been ohhh, and one that smelled a lot like R. Kelly’s sheets might smell like.
During this exhaustive search, we keep ending up standing in the middle of the perfect (PERFECT!) place for the three of us that stands in the center of a neighborhood that’s too far or too iffy, or holding applications for homes that are OK (just OK) exactly on the block where we want to be.
Forget the rent-or-buy back-and-forth. More than the yard or the office or the storage or the budget, we’ve debated: House vs. Neighborhood.
Here, the crowd-sourced responses to the age-old real-estate debate on where to move. Where do you stand on the right place vs. the right place?