I love watching shows about finding properties and repairing and decorating homes on HGTV. The newest one that I’ve seen since we arrived back from China is Property Brothers. One brother is a realtor and one brother is a contractor, and they work together to find a “fixer-upper” that is well under a chosen couple’s budget, and they do major remodeling to turn that property into the couple’s dream home. My question is–how do people get onto this show? I would love to meet the Property Brothers! Especially since they’re easy on the eye (wink, wink!), but especially since they could help Justin and me purchase and create our dream home within our budget.
I would really love to land a spot on ANY of the HGTV design shows, but unfortunately, this past week, Justin and I had to do our own “house hunting” without anyone’s help. We were looking for an apartment to rent for nine months to a year (we’re hoping to purchase a home after we make certain that Justin’s job is a good one and we really like the city of Pittsburgh), and we were looking to stay with the $750-$850 range for monthly rent. We also needed to find a place that would let us house The Fonz without making us pay an exorbitant amount of pet rent each month. I saw one apartment that demanded a $300 pet fee (non-refundable) up front, plus $40 of pet rent each month, which adds up to $480 after living there for one year! Maybe that policy makes sense for renters who own a large, unruly dog that will be destroying the place while the owners are gone at work each day, but for a lazy, declawed cat that spends sixteen hours of his day sleeping, that’s ridiculous! We were also hoping to find a place with a reasonable amount of square feet to handle all of our stuff (our last townhome was 1350 square feet, but we weren’t really dreaming THAT big this time), and possibly a screened porch for The Fonz, who enjoys sitting outside and watching the birds and the squirrels.
We toured exactly three places, all in one day (just like the real House Hunters show!), and this is what we found:
An estimated 900 square foot apartment for $650 a month, located on the second floor of a small, four-unit apartment building. Pros: The very low rent, the close proximity to Justin’s work, a free personal storage unit located in the basement. Cons: An older, uglier-looking building, coin washer/dryer in the basement (which means carrying laundry up and down two flights of stairs), lower square footage than any other apartment we’ve ever lived in.
An estimated 1175 square foot three-story townhome for $1100 a month, located in a side-by-side duplex in a residential neighborhood. Pros: Curb appeal (a very cute light blue house with white trim and flowers in the yard), updates on everything inside (hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, “open” living concept with kitchen island, etc.), washer/dryer located inside the unit on the same level as the master bedroom (so no carrying laundry up and down stairs). Cons: WAY outside our agreed-upon budget, plus three stories of living space means walking up and down stairs constantly and a very warm third-story bedroom.
An estimated 1000 square foot two-story townhome for $850 a month, located in a side-by-side duplex in a residential neighborhood. Pros: Large eat-in kitchen, a porch area (though not a screened porch) looking out into a scenic wooded area, a nice neighborhood with a community pool and walking trails. Cons: A longish drive from Justin’s work that would require him to access the highway during rush-hour, and the apartment will not be move-in ready until the weekend, which means several more days of staying at the Motel 6 with the moving van.
So…which property do you think we chose?
Did you figure it out?
Was it Property #1, with the low low rent?
…Property #2, with all of the updates?…
…or Property #3 with the porch and walking trails?
*If you were watching HGTV, this would be the part when they would cut to a commercial break to give you time to mull over the three property choices and a word from their sponsors; however, my blog is not yet being sponsored by any major businesses, so…*
We chose Property #1!
While I was completely in love with Property #2, Justin reminded me that it would be more fiscally responsible for us to stay in an apartment with low low rent for one year so that we can eventually purchase a permanent home that has all of the features that I love about Property #2…which is smart. *Sigh.*And though Property #1 is very small, it does come with the basement storage unit so that we can store the items that don’t fit into our apartment. (And to be honest, since spending a year in China, I’ve unpacked a LOT of things and wondered, “Why do I even have this?” All week I’ve been throwing away things that just a year ago I felt were “indispensable.”) Also, since Justin and I will be sharing one car for a while, it is really great that he will be working close by, and not need to access any highways or major roads to get there. That means that if I want to use the car, I can just drop him off at work in the morning and come back home without having to sit for an hour in traffic both ways. And also, even though the apartment is a little older and a little uglier, now that we’ve moved in and started unpacking all of our nice things, it’s beginning to look a lot prettier in here. J
More to come about our new life in Pittsburgh once we get internet installed in our new apartment! Right now we’re just bumming it at Starbucks when we need to get online.