Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

From the cockroach exhibit at the Caldwell Zoo. This photo still gives me the creeps! Also, not what we're looking for in a house, just in case you were wondering.

Now that it's finally starting to sink in that we are, indeed, moving to North Carolina and I am, actually, about to start my long awaited MFA program, I have begun to freak out about finding a place to rent in earnest. Yay for me?

Here is the problem (besides the fact that we are going to just drive on up there and find a place upon our arrival): I am (almost) 29 years old. Nathan is 30. I want to live in a pretty house, on a nice street, far away from raucous college kids but close enough that I can bike to school and walk to the grocery store. But! Despite being of adult age, I am also going to be a full time graduate student making very few dollars. My desire to live comfortably and my plan to follow my starving-artist dream do not exactly jive.

So far, I've stalked Craigslist and clicked through many homes that I would never set foot in, let alone rent. While there have been a few gems, they tend to be further away from the university. It's clear that we're going to have to make some sacrifices and I'm trying to decide which ones are the deal breakers. Here is what my ideal home would have:
  • A house where dogs are welcome. Not an apartment, not a condo, not a duplex. I am tired of having my living space attached to someone else's. And obviously I'm not willing to ditch my dogs in order to expand my options. You know me better than that.
  • A fenced in yard. The bigger, the better. We want room for the dogs to play as well as space to have a garden and maybe even a little chicken coop. 
  • A decent neighborhood. By "nice" I mean a street that I'd feel safe running on early in the mornings and walking my dogs in the evenings. It would be a bonus if our neighbors kept their yards neat and didn't pile garbage on the curb for weeks at a time. (cough*currentneighbors*cough)
  • Within five or six miles from campus. Closer would be better, but this is about as far as I can imagine living without feeling stranded or alienated.
  • At least two bedrooms. Preferably three. I would like a small office and a guest room, but I could also make do with an office/guest room. 
  • Hardwood floors. Because carpet is gross.
Those are the main things I'm looking for and I'm willing to be flexible on some of them. Other things I'd like are a washer and dryer, a mud room or laundry room, a front porch, a back porch, an attached garage (or at least a car port) and a little personality - I'd love a unique place that isn't a mirror image of every other house on the block. If we were planning to buy a house or had more time, I'd probably be able to find something that satisfied most of my desires. But the fact that we'll have two days before we'll have to return our U-Haul, a tight budget, two huge dogs and a temporary lack of employment is going to narrow our options quite a bit.

It's going to be okay. I know that Nathan and I are about to embark on a huge adventure and that no matter what, we'll have each other (and Seamus, and Calvin). We can be happy anywhere.

But I'm still crossing my fingers for a big backyard.

17 comments:

  1. I hope that there is also a dog-friendly beach somewhat close to this ideal house!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh good luck!  I really hope that the rental market there is better than it is in my current location.  It was really hard to find a place that would let us have our dog.  

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think all those things you list are very reasonable! Good luck with home hunting! Maybe you could see if the newspapers in that area have an online classifieds section? Craigslist can turn up some pretty grody stuff.. haha.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There are beaches, and I'm sure there is at least one dog friendly one. I will put that on my list of things to research when work gets boring today. ;)
     

    ReplyDelete
  5. The nice houses don't allow dogs or restrict breeds. The crappy houses don't care either way. I have a feeling we'll end up in a crappy house. Oh, well. At least I'll have my dogs!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I didn't even think of the classifieds! I'm also looking into realtors that rent as well as sell. Yes, Craigslist can help you find a diamond in the rough, but the rough is pretty depressing! 

    ReplyDelete
  7. Our requirements were pretty  much the same as yours... minus the proximity to the university. The one we've found has carpet only on the stairs, and is hardwood floors everywhere else. Thank goodness! I also find carpet to be gross. We found ours on craigslist (got the idea from you to eve look there), and I think we are really excited about it... Chip is anyway, though I haven't seen it! Good luck with your search. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your list pretty much has everything I'd like to look for in a house a while from now. For the moment I'm stuck in carpeted apartments. (Seriously, carpet, WHY??) Good luck finding everything you're looking for!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would SO not be able to do what you're doing. Find a place upon arrival?! You guys are brave. Or I'm a wimp. Probably both. :)  Your ideal home is almost our current home except for the decent neighborhood part. That's a deal breaker. Because even though it's only one thing on the list, it gets old real fast watching crackheads walk up and down the street every day! So be careful where you end up; even if you find a place that meets every other bullet on your list, being in a crappy neighborhood for too long takes a toll on your soul  :-\

    ReplyDelete
  10. Do you remember the place we moved into sight unseen in Nac? It had rats that had been poisoned and were rotting in the walls, snakes in the cabinets, and centipedes!  We survived. 

    Wait. I'm sure yours will be fine. 

    ReplyDelete
  11. You should go on an episode of house hunters.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your house looks perfect and lovely! Glad I could inspire you to search Craigslist. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'd rather find a place before we move, but we just don't have the money to make two trips and we don't know the area well enough to rent sight-unseen. Hopefully it will all work out!

    And I agree with you about the nice neighborhood. I would love to have the worst house on the nicest street! I can improve my home but not my neighbors. 

    ReplyDelete
  14. Is that the place you lived in when I first met you? At the potluck where you made vegan quiche?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yup. That's the place we met. See, amazing things can come from unhappy places. Maybe you'll get a crappy place, but meet someone cool like you! 


    The worst was when the maggots hatched from the rotting rats and the house was swarmed with flies. Oh, the smell! I thought I was going to die in East Texas ... sad and hungry, but I didn't. 

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh, I let me set the record straight: I didn't make the quiche. Zaina made the quiche. I made some cookies or something. I believe Amy brought a salad. ;) 

    ReplyDelete
  17. Of course Amy made a salad! :) I have no idea what I brought. That was before I was into cooking.

    The rest of your Nacogdoches houses were much better! 

    ReplyDelete