Thoughtful Thursday: Real Estate
October 14, 2010
There are so many ways we can go with the rentals in the new city:
View or no view
Closer commute or cool neighborhood
More square footage or less expensive
More upscale or less expensive
Suburban (have a yard but have to drive everywhere) or in-town (no yard but can walk to parks, restaurants, shopping, etc.)
There are so many combinations of possibilities — for example, in-town plus yard but smaller vs. in-town with no yard but bigger vs. less expensive plus yard plus bigger but not in-town. It’s hard to know what to value most, and how monetize the different benefits. Is it worth an extra $800 a month to be able to walk to everything? No, not that much. What if there’s an incredible view? Maybe. What if I can’t get a job right away? Uh…
Strangely, in a city of several million people, we seem to have honed in quickly on a 10-block radius, even before we’re officially looking. We seem to value being close to everything in the cool neighborhood. We’ll trade square footage and splendor for lower rent (and anyway, we can’t afford a huge beautiful house in that neighborhood). I think we might be willing to spend a lot more for the breathtaking view. We are still considering bigger suburban houses that are substantially cheaper, but view plus funky walkable neighborhood may be too much to resist.
Our priorities in the new house are quite contrary to where we live now: preposterously short commute, view of trees but nothing specific like a lake or mountain, close to nothing, huge glorious house, much more expensive than is sensible. In previous homes we’ve ranged from decent to arduous commutes, somewhat interesting to blah neighborhoods, dinky to spacious, slightly cruddy to upscale, sub-suburban to urban. Each had its charm, but if the new place is as good as I’m imagining, it may be the first place that I don’t want to leave.
What criteria matter most to you when you choose a place to live? Do you try to live within your means, or are you willing to spend more for a better quality of life (however you define that)?