New house!

It’s official: The Search is OVER!!

New house!
This is the only picture we have right now... meet our new home!

Yup, you heard me. Johnathan and I are no longer searching for apartments. WE FOUND ONE!!!

John told me when we started this process that most people look at eight to ten places before finding the right one. We thought number four was it. Then I thought number six was it. But really, it was number nine. Go figure.

Our future new little place (it’s ours as of May 1st) is a whole house! It has three small bedrooms with closets, a private fenced-in backyard, a renovated kitchen and bathroom, new windows, nine-foot ceilings with fabulous original trim around the windows and doors, a full finished basement, lots of cupboard space, enough space to squeeze in four cars (Hey, we each have winter and summer cars. Don’t judge us. Or maybe judge Johnathan. He has two summer cars and a motorcycle on the road. And a couple more vehicles in a barn waiting to be restored, and… you get it.), and character!

When I posted my Adventures in Apartment-Hunting post last week, we had been recently disappointed with the loss of number four. Then I got excited about number six, but Johnathan knew there was something better out there. He kept up the vigorous Kijiji (and Padmapper.com, thanks, Michelle!) search, having me call places to make appointments for when he was done his work day.

John had to pull off the road to call me after he went through what will be our new place. This from a man who was already on his way to my house, and who doesn’t like to make phone calls. This was an excited man.

He’s also a considerate man: instead of telling them he’d take it on the spot, he told them he had to make sure I’d like it, too, and that he would bring me with him first thing the next morning. True to his word, we were there at 9:00. AM. On a Saturday morning. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive from my place to our new place. Plus shower time. ::yawn::

new house, other side
Imagine this with our vehicles and without the canopy over the door...

But it was totally worth it. That man also has good taste. It has everything we need. Well, except a dishwasher. But we WILL find some way around that, or I don’t know Johnathan at all!

The only thing that matters now is that we know where we’re going to land. Our patience and hard work have paid off, and we are no longer slaves to Kijiji!

PS: It’s in London. We’re moving to London. Not sure how I overlooked that fact when I first posted this. Oops!

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Adventures in Apartment-Hunting

search tools
The implements of our search.

Johnathan and I have been actively looking for a place to live in London for two weeks now. Honestly, house/apartment-hunting could be a part-time job!

Each day, we spend a couple of hours, together and apart, searching Kijiji for new or updated ads offering places for rent. We have made many phone calls and sent many emails and spent a lot of time driving around looking for “For Rent” signs.

Being the people of discriminating taste that we are, we have a pretty well-defined idea of what we’re looking for:

  • Preferably an apartment in a house or duplex, not an “apartment building”, pretty definitely not a high-rise. They’re not “homey” enough.
  • Parking for at least two cars, if not three. We each have old cars that we’d like to have on the road in the summer. One set of vintage wheels apiece, plus one car for longer distances equals three cars. We know that’s a lot for renters to ask, but there it is.
  • A dishwasher. I have lived without one for most of my life, and as much as I hate doing dishes, I can live with it more easily than John can. To save our sanity, a dishwasher is pretty high up on our list.
  • It has to be located so that John can easily get out of the city to work (his work is about 20 minutes past the outskirts of the far southeast corner of the city). That means we’re not looking at anything that’s not in the southeast, regardless of whether it would be awesome. Driving more than 30 minutes to work and to school is about as much as we’re willing to do. Ideally, I would be able to catch a bus to school, which adds another location dimension to our search.
  • We have a limit to how much we are willing to pay, even if a place is freaking amazing. We both have school debt, after all, and we don’t want to be renters forever. AKA we want to save money. But we want to live in a nice place. These desires don’t always mesh.
  • At least two bedrooms. Some people can live in studio lofts or one-bedroom places and not lose their sanity or their patience with each other, but we are not those people. Plus, I want an office that I can hide all of my schoolwork and creative junk in.
  • Character preferred. This goes back to our issue with the apartment buildings: they tend to be pretty “cookie-cutter”, without imagination or individuality. This is not a requirement, but it is a preference for sure. You know you would love to live in a place that didn’t look like every other place you’ve ever lived!
  • Laundry. For more than four years now, I have had to take my laundry to a different town to wash! For whatever dumb reason, my apartment doesn’t have laundry facilities, and the crossroads I live in is so tiny it doesn’t even have a gas station or convenience store, let alone a laundrymat (WordPress is telling me that spelling is wrong, but “laundromat” doesn’t seem quite right, either). I would love to be able to wash my clothes from the inside of my own house! But again, it’s not a deal breaker for me.
  • Access to outside space. (This list is getting long, right?) We would really love to be able to sit outside on summer evenings, to barbecue, perhaps to plant a thing or two. Things that are not always possible in apartment buildings.
  • Landlords that aren’t idiots. Very simple.

If you got through that list, you’re a true fan. Either that or very curious.

It is one thing to have a well-formed idea of what you’re looking for, and another thing entirely to actually find it.

So far, we have been through six places, and tonight we add another. Three of them were absolute crap: stale smoke filling the hallways, stained carpets, holes in the walls, sketchy neighbourhoods, the reek of cat pee, shoddy renovations, or a lack of renovations… You get the picture. Blech. These ones were places that we looked at on Kijiji and looked nice enough to view in person. Be warned: don’t believe everything you see on Kijiji! Sometimes pictures lie.

apartment-hunting
We can identify...

 

Three have been nice. One was really cool, but much smaller than we thought. So small that a queen-size bed would not make it up the stairs to the bedroom. So small that the lovely spiral staircase was barely wide enough for our hips. Eek.

Another was a house in the perfect area, with the perfect amount of space and storage, a yard, parking, a dishwasher, renovated kitchen and bathroom, nice landlord… perfect! After making a decidedly intense effort to see the place and fill out the application in record time, and make sure the landlord knew of our interest, he gave it to someone else. Major letdown (and all you HIMYM fans saluted the worthy officer Letdown).

The other night, we saw a place that came close: lots of storage, 2 bedrooms, renovated bathroom and bedrooms, gas fireplace, new floors, parking for 2 cars, friendly landlords… but not a renovated kitchen. No dishwasher. No good outdoor space.

And still, we continue the search. We’re practically Kijiji experts now. We know how to refine our searches. We know what Kijiji needs to do to improve its service (the ability to search by location!!). We can skim the list of ads and know which ones to click on and which ones to avoid (anything with “students!” in it).

I can’t wait until we are done the hunt: it’s exhausting, and gets fairly discouraging at times!

I have to believe that the perfect place is out there, and we only have to find it. I hope that happens soon.