We love to look at houses to buy. We’re far (oh so very far) from being in a position to buy a house but I like to know what I’m aiming for. Or what my goals are, I guess. I don’t really like the word goals very much. I think it’s also interesting to know what you want now because that helps you look at what you want over time, to know what of your taste and requirements change and what stays the same.
There are ideal lists (for when you win lotto) and realism lists. We’ve tried to write a realism list, something that would meet all of our requirements for a comfortable, happy life.
Our Goals/Some Background
Our general goals are to both work from home. Neither of us have ever really wanted to have job as our main ‘careers’, though what you do to pay the bills and afford what you want is just one of those things in life that you can’t avoid.
With the plan that we’re going to both be at home most of the time, the last thing we want is to be so close to each other that we can’t get any work done. Which is why we’re looking at a house bigger than most childless couples would. Possibly covered in that last sentence; children are not a factor we’re considering.
The House Itself
- A House. We have a dog, we always like having pets, garden space…and even though suburbs are getting squishier these days, we have no desire to share a wall with a stranger. We’re just not friendly enough people to want to be that close to others!
- Four Bedrooms. The way we figure this is: a bedroom, one study each, and a spare room. Obviously, based on that, a three bedroom house might also suit us, but in general it seems that houses that have four bedrooms are just that bit more spacious overall.
- A Deck. So probably a two story house, though we haven’t 100% decided against single story houses. It would be nice to have a deck on a second story to relax on. Often these days we say “this feels like a deck night” where we wish we could be at home, but outside and high up. Under the deck it would also make a patio for the ground floor/backyard.
- Sliding Glass Doors. This is probably oddly specific. I lived in mostly brick style houses growing up, and I miss the way they all tend to be on ground level with glass doors. It brings the outside in, makes pets happy that they can see you…it’s just something that I feel adds a lot of value to a house. We currently live in an older style house where the back door is really a side door to the carport and we can only see the yard out of windows. It just makes things feel cramped and smaller.
- Pool. Though we live by the ocean and a 24 hour, free, outdoors public pool, we don’t use them much. I’m not a fan of swimming in the ocean in general, plus I dislike being in the sun. The public pool is gorgeous, but very popular and too many people around most of the time. I want a pool more for relaxation than play, so being around a ton of people when all I want is a quiet float or chilled swim kind of leads me to want my own pool. I guess this option is somewhere between the ideal and realistic. Lots of houses do have pools in Australia, so it’s not a huge stretch to look for a house with one.
- Yard. Kind of covered with the fact we want a house and possibly a pool, but a yard. I grew up with 1/4 acre blocks being ‘normal’, so to me, anything less than that is too small. I’m pretty sure when I was young I lived in and/or had up to an acre block in the suburbs. Space is normal to me. I can’t help what feels normal!
- Six Foot Fences. One of the challenging aspects of renting in my area (and budget) is that they’re all older style houses. Which is fine for renting, but they all come with three foot fences, which is just not secure for a dog. So six foot, secure fences are a must for me. Obviously these could be put in after we buy, but it’s one of those things I’d just rather the house came with.
- Tall and/or Pointy Roof. Once again, this is on the ideal and realistic line, bit it comes back to that feeling of space in a house. Especially if you plan to both be at home a lot.
- Carpeted Stairs. If this house is going to be two stories, then it has to have carpeted stairs. This gem was brought to you by my husband, who saw a bunch of sliding down the stairs gifs of the kid and cat variety, then told me to add this to the list.
- Beachside. You’d think this is an ideal want, but it’s a realistic want. I had never lived by the beach until maybe six years ago, when we moved to our current area. And I am never giving up living by the beach! No matter the day I’ve had at work, as soon as I hit the ocean on my drive home, I’m relaxed. I am utterly spoiled in being able to walk to the beach (though with Ben not too mobile often we just drive). I’m unsure if I want to be walking or driving distance to the beach. Driving is probably realistic, while walking is ideal. I remember when I lived in a boring old generic semi-inner-city suburb and would get restless and go for walks at night. The only option you have is to go for walks along road sides. Boring! Here I can walk or drive to kilometers of beach. So very much nicer than a roadside!
- Proximity to Theme Parks. Yep, this is on the list. What can I say? I love theme parks. Love them. Having said that, we haven’t ruled out Melbourne either. But Gold Coast is infinitely more likely of a destination for us. The problem is that it’s very hard to find an area down there that meets our criteria (not that we’ve looked extensively).
- Off Leash Dog Park/Beach. We’re more of a dog park than walk the dog people. It just suits us. I think dogs are happier when they can run free too, rather than staidly walking on a leash. But do you base a decision around these things? Councils can change these pretty much at their whims.
- Public Transport. It would feel strange to move to somewhere with zero public transport options. Our current public transport options aren’t exactly stellar, but they do exist. It’s just a security thing, who knows when you may not be able to drive and need to rely on public transport?
Ha. Well, quite frankly everything is unaffordable to us right now, so we may as well just decide what we want and work for it. I mean, when everything is unaffordable, it also kind of makes the sky the limit. I honestly have no idea how anyone of my age can afford a house. But then again, some people are lucky to have had permanent jobs, whereas I’ve basically only ever had contract jobs. That impacts your long term future a lot.
What do/did you look for in a house? How did you find your balance of ideal & realistic? Where should we move to?