Abode hunting….a new sport

Looking back at our time in Illinois, I believe we were spoiled to have lived in only two homes over the course of 29 years. Moving last September to the rental duplex in Batavia  and now trying to find our next rental in Denver, it is becoming more of a reality that it just isn’t as much fun as house hunting when you want to own a home.

Rentals.com and MyNewPlace.com have been helpful websites. When we were at the car wash the other day getting our mini-van washed, we picked up two booklets on apartments for rent. Another technique that we used on Saturday and then for 6.5 hours today, was to just drive up and down one street after another looking for “For Rent” signs, which all seem to be red signs with white letters for the most part. Craigslist has also been helpful.

Over the weekend, we synthesized our lists and priorities so that we have more of a focus. We’ve decided that it makes good sense for us at this point to rent something within the University of Denver (DU) neighborhood, so roughly a mile from campus. Steve doesn’t register for classes until new student orientation the first week of September. We want to make it easy for him to get to and from campus should he have classes at various times of the day or evening. Biking and walking are the preferred methods so that we do not have to rely on a vehicle. With the light rail system and bus routes within an easy walk, it would make those attractive commuting options for me as I look for employment down the road. We could also jump on them for a 15 minute ride to Downtown Denver for Colorado Rockies games, theater productions, etc.

For now, we have two options at this point in the hunt. Option#1 has 3 bedrooms, a finished basement with a fireplace, a 2 car detached garage, and a covered patio that is attached to the detached garage. Good sized master & guest rooms. Office space. Utility room. Plaster walls are a drawback since they don’t want anything hung on the walls. There is a good backyard space for bocce ball or ladder ball, but the flowerbeds are actually weed-beds. Give us a lawn mower and we’ll gladly mow the lawn, but all of those weeds? Please? We weren’t planning on the type of flower gardening that we once enjoyed.

Option#2 was built in 1892 with many updates over the past few years. It’s a charming, 1.5 story Victorian. It has a small footprint: 24′ X 24 ‘. The yard: 25 ‘ wide X 75’ wide deep. 2 car detached garage with a finished loft studio above garage. Ladder to a teeny-tiny loft in the house. Washer & dryer in the main bathroom on the 2nd level. Beautiful Mexican tile floor, cherry & glass cabinets, and Viking gas range are in the kitchen. The postage stamp size front yard would take less than 5 minutes to mow. Vines, ground cover, a dying apple tree, and flagstone patio make up the backyard.  Our furniture could be challenged. The landlord claims that the queen-sized box springs would fit through the upstairs windows since they won’t go up the narrow, winding staircase. A few blocks from the Pearl Street shops, coffee-houses, and restaurants. Pricier than option #1.

We did have a bit of a reality check today around mile #60 in our labyrinth-drive of the neighborhoods (or so it seemed), we located a beautiful house, which looked like fairly new construction. It was on one of the many blocks within a mile of the University where small older 2-3 bedroom ranch homes seem more like little “hiccups” squeezed in between the newer homes that loom next door to them. It seems that one by one these small homes are being purchased, torn down, and a larger home built on the property. Naively, we called on that beautiful house since it sported a “For Rent” sign. Within the hour, we received a reply from the agent. Are you seated for the news folks? The home was renting for $4,900 per month!! “Egads and little fishes” (as my Mom used to say when she was aghast). Staggering? Yes. Affordable? No. We’ve been looking at places that are in the range of $1350-1695 per month and having a fit over those prices.

Ah yes, abode hunting. It is a fun sport. We will hope that sometime this week, the place which we’ll call “Home” will become more evident. Any suggestions? Please pass them along.



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