June 28, 2008: House Hunting, Day 2

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My morning started nice and early.  I was online and working starting at a quarter until eight and had to keep working for the office until one thirty in the afternoon.  Almost six hours of work first thing in the morning.  Not the way that I pictured that I would be spending my Saturday mornings when I was a child – I probably thought that I would be busy watching cartoons and eating cereal – but it does help to pay the bills and with the house payments coming up soon it all helps.

At one thirty I quickly jumped into the shower and got ready to go.  Dominica and I were out the door at ten till two.  We met out real estate agent in Peekskill, New York at three.  We had several townhouses which Dominica had picked out to look at today.

The first townhouse wasn’t in the best part of town and had no basement.  For us the basement is very important because we need the storage space, the utility space and a place for me to have computer equipment that isn’t sitting in the “middle of the house.”  While we could make due in a house without a basement it is extremely unlikely that we will find a house that is cost effective for us without one.  Basements are cheap compared to a lot of other types of space, like extra bedrooms, and serve our purposes just as well or better, in many cases.  This first place was nothing special and the current owner hadn’t vacated like he was supposed to have done so we had a really awkward situation of being shown around by both the real estate agent and the owner and not being able to discuss anything.  There were even someone sleeping in one of the rooms that we were there to see.  Luckily we weren’t impressed with the place at all so it wasn’t like that swayed us in any way.  It just wasn’t the right place for us.  Not a bad place, just not a good fit for us.

Our next stop was to a townhouse down in Croton-on-Hudson.  That was its address but in reality it was more like Cortlandt – which might be even better.  This place, a three bedroom with a great deck and a tiny basement, was very nice and we were quite impressed.  The area was gorgeous and the neighbourhood seemed really nice too.  We were impressed with everything.  The price is a little higher than we were hoping for but technically within our range.  It even had a garage.  This one is the first definite consideration that we have seen thus far in all of our house hunting.  Our selection process has definitely improved.

Next we saw two, nearly identical, townhouses in Peekskill on the east side of town.  The first was amazing but expensive and really set up for adults without children.  Lots of living space but very little bedroom / bathroom space.  It would be great if we weren’t planning on having kids but it isn’t what we need now.

The next place was much better.  More modern than the townhouse in Croton-on-Hudson and with more space (1850 sq. ft. vs 1800 sq. ft.) in a more sensible design.  It is only a two bedroom but with three and a half baths, which is awesome.  It had a giant basement.  The yard, street and neighbourhood weren’t as nice as in Croton but the structure is much nicer.  It is also slightly cheaper although the Croton townhouse is a better market value making it a safer investment, but we are thrilled to have two places that we are really interested in on just our second day.

We looked at one final place in a different complex. It wasn’t a great place but the price was really good and we wouldn’t be unhappy if it was all that we could get.  Not a top contender but a decent fall back option.  Now that we know what we are looking for almost everything that we are seeing is a consideration and we know even more for next time.  This last place was smaller and not as nice.  The lack of space would be tough but workable.  If possible we will shoot for at least 1800 square feet.

It was almost seven when we got back home to Newark.  Oreo did pretty well with us being gone.  We would have taken him with us today but it was horribly hot – well over ninety degrees with a heat index several degrees warmer.  He would have been cooking in the car the whole time.  It was really uncomfortable being in the houses that we were looking at because almost none of them were air conditioned in any way, which didn’t seem like a good sales tactic to me.   I realize that keeping them cool would be expensive when no one was living there but it seems to me that making potential buyers feel more comfortable in the house would trigger a happier memory of it as well as make them less likely to want to leave as quickly as possible.  It definitely shortened the amount of time that we spent in almost all of the houses.

I ended up doing a bit more work this evening.  Another two hours throughout the night.  In between bits of work Dominica and I watched some more Third Rock from the Sun. Then she went to bed a bit after eleven and I worked for a while until almost one in the morning.

Today is my first day really working with OpenSUSE 11.0 which I finally got installed on my HP dx5150 desktop (AMD Athlon64 3200+ 64Bit processor with 2.5GB of memory) late last night.  I have it installed at home now and at the office in Microsoft VirtualPC 2007 SP1.  The install went pretty well and so far I am liking what I see.  It is not a major upgrade over OpenSUSE 10.3 which I have been using for the past six months but all of the packages are slightly updated and now FireFox 3.0 is included which is a very big deal.  The big, new “toy” in the system is KDE 4.0.4 which I am excited to try.

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