House Hunters

About a month ago I talked about our upcoming move to California. At the time I mentioned how nervous and excited I am. Now that we've had a little more time to process the news, I have to be honest and tell you that I am more than a little stressed out about it. It's not that I'm not looking forward to it. It's just that there is one big piece of the puzzle that has me more than a little freaked out. Housing!  Where in the world are we going to live?

Before we started looking we sat down together and came up with a little wish list of things we'd love to have. Since we will be renting we know we can't be too picky but these are a few things that would be nice to have:

-storage space
-3 bedrooms/2 baths
-playroom/office area
-somewhat updated kitchen and bathrooms
-safe area
-yard or close access to parks for E
-washer/dryer hookups
-porch or patio for barbecuing and sitting outside
-close to Jesse's work (the closer the better)
-single family home or condo without upstairs/downstairs neighbors
-neighborhood that doesn't feel too crowded
-walking trails/sidewalks easily accessible
-close vicinity to shopping/grocery stores/etc

Since making this list I have been slapped in the face with reality. After searching Craigslist and other rental websites for countless hours, I have learned one big lesson: California is EXPENSIVE! ( If you don't believe me just head over to Craigslist and look for housing in any of the big cities. It's quite the shock for this Texas girl. For the price they charge for a condo you could get a McMansion in Texas!)

If we want all of the things I listed above we will have to pay a pretty penny. And by pretty penny I'm talking way out of our price range. Any of the single family houses that are within the price we want to pay are 25-30 miles from Jesse's work. If they are not far away they look like they are straight up from the 70's. I'm talking wood paneled walls and green shag carpet. (I may be exaggerating just a little bit here but I'm sure you guys get what I'm saying!)

I don't think 25 miles away is too bad but with the traffic it could turn into an hour long commute. I really hate for Jesse to spend that much time in the car. It's just more time that he would be missing out with Emerson. Not to mention gas prices!

We have found several apartments and condos that are reasonably priced and within a few miles of work, but they are usually around 900 square feet.  Just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about: This apartment is $1700 per month and is about 1000 square feet.

It's not that I don't think that we would be fine in a small place.We've done it before and we could do it again. I also know that there are some great complexes out there with tons of amenities. But I just think it's so much harder with a little one- especially if you have loud neighbors. Not to mention all of our stuff. I mean we have enough to probably fill three apartments! We have such a lovely place here with tons of storage space and plenty of room for Emerson to run and play. I'd love for her to have the same thing there.

For the first time ever, we have even entertained the possibility of living in military housing. While it has its own negative aspects, it seems like it may be the best option for getting the most bang for our buck. Many of the houses have yards and garages which would be a huge plus. There are also several communities that are within a few miles of the base so Jesse could be at work in less than 15 minutes. At this point I think we only qualify for a two bedroom (yikes!) but overall they are much bigger than most of the townhouses you can rent in town for the same price.

Right now we are just so torn about choosing the right place for our family. Do we live in a bigger house that is far away and make the long commute? Or do we rent a little apartment so that we can be closer to work? I have been asking myself this question for the last month and I don't feel like I am anywhere closer to making a decision.

I think the hardest part of it all is trying to do this from halfway across the world. In some ways I would love to have a place picked out so that we know exactly where we're going. It would be so nice to have a place to call home as soon as we arrive. It would also take a huge weight off my shoulders to not have to worry about it anymore.

But on the other hand I know that it might be better thing to wait and see a few places in person. It's just about impossible to make a decision after just looking at pictures. I think they only way you can really get a feel for place and neighborhood is by actually being there.

I know in the grand scheme of things that this is not a huge deal but for some reason it's the thing that stresses me out the most. I will be so happy when our {rental} house hunting journey is over!

Brittney Galloway said...

Oh I know how hard the waiting can be! Especially when it is about your house!

Michelle said...

I don't know where exactly you all are looking but my husband is stationed at Pendleton and we live in Oceanside. One thing we did not know before moving here was that a/c is a luxury! Most houses out here do not have a/c, and only one housing community on base does. So if a/c is not listed on a website it's because the house doesn't have it, not because it's a given! Send me an email if I can help you guys in any way!

Desiree said...

Safety for your family is above EVEYTHING but I also would consider how far it is from your husband's work. I never thought much about how much time my husband is away from us until a friend of a friends husband died recently is a car accident. They had a 13 month old daughter. You never know when you will have to say good bye. The time you get to spend together is more precious then you know. It only takes 15 mins for my husband to get to work but if I could cut that down to 5 min just to have those extra 10 mins I would. Good luck with your move. CA is a exciting place to live im sure you will find the perfect place for you and your family. P.S. Ive been following for a while and Emerson is super cute. If only we lived closer we could have a play date. My little girl is Eviee and is 15 months old :) good luck!

Joeylee said...

After living in CA all my life I will agree that it is expensive to live here. We live in an 1100 sq ft house and pay $1495. That's small for us. I hope your able to find something that works for you guys. What part of CA are you moving to again?

Allison said...

I don't know much about the area that you're going, but I do know that a lot of the marines here on base are relocating there. They're all staying in military housing and it looks really, really nice. Gas prices in CA are super expensive ($4.40+) right now and traffic no matter where you are at rush hour is horrible not to mention I'm pretty sure CA drivers are some of the worst. Good luck with your search.

Julie Rogers said...

I live right outside NYC---and debated back and forth about living closer to work and getting a smaller place or longer commute/bigger house with yard. We took the second option because I just needed the yard for my boys---although I wish I could kill my husband's commute. Good luck with the search---it is exhausting but you will be happy with whatever decision you go towards:)


Julie Rogers said...

I live right outside NYC---and debated back and forth about living closer to work and getting a smaller place or longer commute/bigger house with yard. We took the second option because I just needed the yard for my boys---although I wish I could kill my husband's commute. Good luck with the search---it is exhausting but you will be happy with whatever decision you go towards:)


Kate @ Daffodils said...

This is the first time we have lived on post and even though the house is smaller than our one in NC, we have really enjoyed the community aspect. I know all my neighbors, there are always kids for the boys to play with, it is easy to get to the commissary, px, library, parks ect. Everything has the pros and cons, but a big thing for me was not feeling isolated (since it was the first time I wasn't working). GOod luck!

Kate @ Daffodils said...

PS Are you going to Camp P or San Diego? I have a ton of friends that jsut came from both places and can ask where in town they would suggest to look if you would like!

Jenna said...

Ill be praying for ya! It's such a hard decision. And the military makes us do it so often :-/ definitely look into on post housing. It's not ideal but at least you can afford it and will hopefully get a little more for your money that way! Keep us posted :)

Mandy said...

I know I can't speak for CA, but housing may not be the worst thing in the world with how expensive rent is and it would definitely offer a lot of the things you're wanting in a community. I know how hard it is making these decisions and you just want what's best for your family, but no matter what it will ALL work out for the best! It always does!!

Pam said...

SoCal is so expensive! It is beautiful,though. Not sure if you'll be at Miramar or Pendleton, but if you have the opportunity to take a quick trip to check out the area I'd recommend it. I wish we could have spent our time living on Coronado. Super $$ for super small places, but you spend so much time outside anyway!

Beth Ann said...

I would be stressed too! I will be praying that God leads you to the best decision for your family. I think I would go small before long/busy commute. Of course, another factor is if you plan on having another child while there! Our house is 1200 sq feet and we're about to have 2 kids. Not ideal and sometimes I just want to bust out ;) but it has it's perks too- small yard to mow/upkeep, less house to clean, and keeps us from hoarding too much stuff. I know you'll make a great decision and remember, home is wherever you are together. You'll be happy anywhere.

Natalie said...

I hope you find what you are looking for...and yes California is expensive. I know that house hunting would stress me out too!

Lyndsey said...

You are so right that Texas prices can't be beat! Which is why I kind of never want to leave, haha. I can't imagine how stressful that must be so far away, but I know you will find the perfect place for your family! And I hear you on commutes, Will commutes 1-1.5 hours each way and it is TORTURE!

Amber said...

Ive always heard how much more expensive houses are in California but wow thats a big difference.

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