Thursday, October 7, 2010

Buy a House? Moi?

Yes, I am indeed thinking about buying a house. I have been on and off since I moved to Big D, but am still uncertain whether it is here in the Metroplex where I will buy or, instead, move toward buying or building where I hope to retire. (A long time from now!)

I have always been a renter. When I graduated from college and moved to NYC, it was obvious that renting was the way to go. Barely. Both places I rented there were small and old, walk-ups. Hey, I was in book publishing, right?

Again, I rented all through grad school, in the small midwestern towns where I studied. The best one was the second floor of a frame house in a tiny near-by town. The first floor was a real estate office--closed at night and weekends. These were the first years I lived alone.

Since moving to Big D, I've lived near My U in a series of four different apartments. When I didn't have tenure, there was no way I could afford a house. Now... I am conflicted. Part of me would like to buy a house, especially since values are good here and rates are loooooow. Part of me says, why add hassle to my life, which is what a house brings along: yard hassles, plumbing hassles, decorating hassles, ownership hassles.

For the last couple of months, I have been looking into the house sitchew here in town. I have also been discovering my profile was a looker-buyer. For example, I do not want to live in a condo or townhouse: I actually want a house with a yard. But... a relatively small yard that I plan to transform by xeriscaping it. No grass, no mowing. Check!

Also, I do not want to commute a long way via highway. Ugh--not in this town! Which means neighborhoods that are not too far and where I can get to My U quickly by surface streets.

Three bedrooms and two baths seems a good size: my bedroom, guest bedroom, office. And yes, bath for me and one for guests. And one bath with a tub.

Mature trees that shade the roof... or room for solar panels.

A back screen/enclosed porch... or room to build one.

Good flow, which is something one knows only when seen/felt in a house.

So I am looking at houses online and, once narrowed down, seeing them in person. Mostly for reference. And reading a book on buying your first house...

Alernatively, I am very interested in modular houses, specifically those made by Rocio Romero, fabulously stunning pre-fab houses. I like the LVL series, which is a 3-bedroom, slightly larger house. I LOVE IT. Here's the link:

This would of course require buying a lot, levelling it, and adding plumbing, electrics, and various other things beyond the $42.5K kit and shipping prices (from MO). Right now, this is my dream house.

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