(I am going to avoid the entire: sorry I've been away! bit... cuz I feel like it wastes an entire blog post- instead I'm going to jump right in!)
House hunting is stressful. I know everyone says that, kinda like everyone said wedding planning would be stressful, but I think I was hoping it would be EXCITING. There have been EXCITING moments, but for the most part it's been STRESSFUL.
I have practiced yoga once in the past three weeks :( I know. It's that bad.
Mostly, this isn't as straight forward because both Andrew and I are being a bit picky. Which, considering the moderate budget we have, I don't think we should feel guilty about. We *used* to sit back and make fun of all the house hunters people on HGTV that were ridiculously picky about the houses they viewed ("OMG this kitchen is a COMPLETE gut")...
And now we can no longer point fingers. We have become those people.
One reason that is making this more difficult is that we want to live in a more rural setting. We don't want to be able to see our neighbours. This means a commute into the city. Which means more gas spent (thank goodness my little jelly bean is uber fuel efficient) AND most likely a second car purchase. We were hoping, 7 years ago, that our next car purchase would be 100% electric. I don't know, we had these crazy ideas that by 2010 the world would be filled with frolicking, sunshine and lollipops, electric vehicles and charging stations. We must have been on crack.
Living urban and even a suburban life will suck away all the joy in our souls. Which we definitely do not want to happen. No joy sucking please.
So. Rural living it is. What has been interesting has been dealing with a SUPER suburban realtor. Trying to bring about a paradigm shift in his house hunting thinking has been a process. But we're getting better at communicating more clearly (and less tiptoeing) about what we want.
It's funny how most urban people are AFRAID of wells and septic systems. I had no idea the utter fear and general "nez en l'air" people had towards off the municipal-city systems. Having grown up on well water I can say that they are not scary, nor are they often filled with e-coli, nor are they a TON of extra work, and actually the water is processed and filtered (naturally!) very effectively. Well water tastes fabulous. No really. It does.
And no, you don't need to get your septic tank pumped every so often. The "poo" is often filtered naturally into the ground... just like any other fertilization system.
Ok, back to house hunting. Poo and water rant aside.
Beyond rural living, we also would prefer to not live in a cookie cutter house. I know... we are being difficult. But we don't plan on reselling any time soon. I really love houses that look like cottages (you know, vaulted ceilings, wood, that stuff) or older heritage style homes. BUT we don't have the budget or means to do a fixer upper.
So... you can understand now that we don't have a lot of options that jump out after those (weird) qualifications. If we added our original hopes of environmental qualifications (geothermal, passive solar heating, eco finishes). Embarrassingly, there was actually ONE house that had a whole slew of eco finishes and aspects that we stumbled upon... but within a few days it sold.
If only we could afford to build our own home. (again, this doesn't scare me since this is the norm I grew up with, living rurally most people build their own homes). Le sigh, recent changes in mortgage rules makes it almost impossible for new home buyers to get a building mortgage.
Right now we are thinking the following things:
1. rural and privacy is key
2. no split level houses please (cookie cutter boxes)
3. no massive fixer uppers
4. large windows and something funky would be nice.
5. just like wedding planning and what I hear about pregnancies, everyone has an opinion about what is best for house hunting.
Hopefully the eco-aspects could be added later... right?