Sunday, May 15, 2011

back tracking: house hunting

After my parents arrived home from Ireland, Jacob and I headed to Burlington with high hopes of finding the perfect rental. We decided that renting was the way to go for now. As much as we like to pretend that we are spontaneous, fly by the seat of our pants type people, we are not the kind of couple to commit to a permanent residence, and mortgage with out doing much more research than we could ever hope to get done in a month (let alone a week). We opted to find a rental that would allow us to get to know the area, ward, commute, weather, etc before deciding if we are going to buy. It's much less permanent so there was much less pressure.

Before we left we compiled a list of what we wanted in our ideal place of residence.

1. At least 2 bedrooms
2. An attic or basement
3. Covered parking
4. Good school
5. Lots of windows, with good light
6. Close to work
7. Close to church
9. A good office/work area
10. a good back yard for the girls
11. Close to park/grocery store/gym/bus line
12. Has character.
(sort of in that order).

The girls decided their ideal house would...
1. have stairs
2. have a swing set
3. Be purple or pink (this was Sophie's).

Finding it proved to be much harder. It was a rough week.

Things we learned:
1. Having our kids, and owning our own home have definitely raised changed our priorities in a rental. The only other time we were looking for a place to rent was just before we were married. I was still in school and Jacob had just started working at IBM. The only things on our list that time were that it was on the east side of Tucson, and had a washer and dryer in the apartment. It took us an afternoon to find an apartment.
2. As it turns out the Burlington area has essentially a 0% vacancy rate, so there is not much available to start with.
3. There also isn't a central place to find what's on the market (no mls) and so it's hard to find what is available. We spent a lot of time searching craigslist, local classifieds, realty sites.
4. We had a difficult time getting a hold of people. Most people didn't call us back for 2-3 days. A couple of realtors never called us back. Which was extra aggravating since we were only in town for a week.

Despite the frustrations we did find a place. We ended up with 5 or 6 of our 9 requirements. (The girls ended up with 1 out of 3 of their list). It is a 2 bedroom condo, with a basement, and a one car garage. It's about 5 miles from IBM, and 3 miles from church. It does have several parks close by, and the bus line is close (although the grocery store and gym aren't super close). The upstairs bedrooms have great windows/light, but the main floor doesn't. It doesn't have a great work area, but it'll do. We essentially don't have a back yard (we have a forest instead), but there is a great spot out front for the girls to ride their bikes. The jury's still out on the school. The districts out here have great reputations, but I'm not so sure about Ella's school. We'll just have to see. And you could say the place has character, but unfortunately, not the good kind. Although, with some TLC, a good scrub and our own furniture/pictures, I'll think we'll be fine. On the plus side we did get a little bonus: the land lord really liked us and rented the place to us without making us fill out applications, checking credit, or references.

Here it is. This picture was taken April 4. There was still snow on the ground.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


We have fun pictures and anecdotes from the last month (which I plan on posting soon). It has been quite the adventure getting to Vermont, and we're so happy to be here. Our first impressions of Vermont: it's beautiful, hilly, rainy, unique, friendly, outdoorsy, and laid back. We love it! We are still in the process of settling in. Between the cleaning, unpacking, registering Ella for school, trips to the DMV, work, etc., we've had fun exploring the area.

Yesterday we headed to Montpelier, which is about a 40 minute drive from our house. A local bike shop was having a bike swap. Since Sophie has taken over ownership of Ella's old bike we decided to check it out, and see if we could find a suitable upgrade for Ella. We found a great purple bike for her, and ended up getting a bike for me as well (Happy Mother's day to me).

It was a little project fitting both bikes into our trunk.

Down the street from the bike swap was the first out door market of the season. We wandered around for a while, bought some lunch (yummy Pakistan food, fresh baked artisan rolls, and pain au chocolate), and then played on the lawn of the state capitol building. It was a fantastic way to spend a beautiful spring Saturday.