Got a New House

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been looking for a new house. Though it took me longer than I planned, I finally found one I liked and bought it. I’ll be moving in a few days. It’s just about 10 minutes from my current place.

I mentioned a brief checklist of items that I was looking for in a new house here. Here are the features of the house I ended up wanting and getting:

1. Single level. No upstairs or downstairs. Thank god. This was the biggest feature I wanted. It makes it easier to cool, easier to heat, easier to repair, and easier to live in. I’ve been living in dual-level homes for several decades now and they’ve been driving me crazy.

2. Not too small, but not too big. It’s 1850 square feet, with three bedrooms plus a large office. This is exactly what I wanted. Three rooms + office accounts for me, my daughter who will be living with me for at least another year (and possibly longer; you never know with teenagers), and a possible OLTR who may be moving in with me at some point in the next nine years. I plan on being in this house until I leave the country in 2025, so this house needs to accommodate all possible lifestyle scenarios between now and then. In 2025 I will either sell the house or rent it out; I haven’t decided which yet.

“Not too big” is also important. I’ve lived in homes that were over 2000 or even 3000 square feet. Let me tell you something, they SUCK. They’re a logistical nightmare. When I was younger I fantasized about getting rich and living in a giant, fancy house. I was an idiot. Today, I want a house that’s just big enough to service my lifestyle needs and not one square foot more. 1850 square feet is just big enough for three people to live comfortably when one of them works from home full time.

3. Far from the city core, but not too far. This house is about 30-35 minutes from downtown. Perfect.

4. Quiet, appreciating neighborhood. When looking for a house, I had my real estate agent, who lived his whole life in the area, rank the neighborhood of each house we saw (and we saw a lot) on a scale from 1 to 10 in terms of appreciation over the next 10 years. Since I live in a cheap, white trash part of the region (on purpose), most neighborhoods he ranked at around a 5 or a 6. This neighborhood he ranked a 9. It’s quiet and very clean, with clean, non-trashy neighbors. Definitely an upgrade from where I’ve been living lately.

5. New roof, new gutters, new light fixtures, new ceiling fans, new blinds, new sinks, new toilets, new fence. Very cool.

6. Built on a north-south axis. This was another of my requirements. Homes built this way are much easier to keep cool during the hot summers because the sun isn’t blasting the house all day. (As I write this blog post, it’s 99 degrees outside.)

Here are the features that were not on my list but that are nice bonuses:

1. A multi-camera security system. A welcome bonus, since I was planning on installing something like this in a few years anyway.

2. Hardwood floors throughout. I wanted carpet, but several people convinced me that hardwood floors were better for maintenance and cleanliness. As usual, my mind can be changed as long as the arguments are factual and rational.

3. Very large, beautiful yard, fully fenced in with a new fence throughout. My daughter’s dog is very happy. It has grass, which I hate as I discussed last time, but I may still tear that up later once my schedule calms down. Or it may grow on me (pun intended). We’ll see.

4. Very nice stainless steel kitchen appliances that all come with the house. That means I get a new refrigerator. I’m taking my old one and putting it in the garage so I can stock up on food and go grocery shopping much less often. Time management is awesome.

5. Built in dog doors. I don’t own a dog or cat, but my daughter does, and a future OLTR might (women with no kids usually own dogs).

Here are the things I wanted that were missing:

1. I’m surrounded by neighbors. They’re quiet and clean, but they’re still humans. I was hoping I could get a house adjacent to a houseless forest or field. No such luck. Oh well. At least there’s lots of trees around and I can’t see all of the surrounding houses.

2. The house had no air conditioning. Unacceptable. I had to get the damn thing installed. Worse, even though the home was built in the 1990s, it had the 1960s electric style heat, so there are no vents or ducts. That means I had to get those installed too. That cost me almost $9,000 (fuck me), though I negotiated the price of the house down $7,000, which was pretty good considering we’re in the midst of a very hot seller’s market here.

3. Not on a dead-end street. However, it’s on a very distant side street, way into the forest, so traffic is minimal. Hours can go by without seeing a single car.

4. No view. I really wanted a nice view from my home office. No such luck. Oh well. The good news is that I have 10 x 20 foot office that’s quite large and that will be very fun to design. It’s also going to double as my private home theater room.

If you’re curious about how I’m going to configure the bedrooms, for the moment I’m doing it like this:

– Master bedroom – For sleeping with the big bed.

– 1st bedroom – Fitness room; buying a weight rack and weights and all the cardio equipment is going in there. I’ll never need to go the gym ever again unless I’m travelling.

– 2nd (smaller) bedroom – For daughter.

– Home office – Office / home theater. It has its own bathroom too.

– Living room – Couch, fireplace and music (via Sonos speakers, arrayed throughout the house), no TV. For reading and quiet relaxation.

That’s my most enjoyable part of moving; setting up my new home and office for maximum productivity and comfort. I’ll probably be making some posts here and over at Sublime Your Time about this soon.

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  • Fraser Orr
    Posted at 05:16 pm, 9th June 2016

    Curious to know why you want to keep it small. Obviously the more house you have the more maintenance, but a bigger house gives you spaces to do other things that are harder with limited space — having a party, for example.

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 05:22 pm, 9th June 2016

    I don’t have parties. And the house is plenty big enough for small get-togethers.

    There’s nothing I will ever want to do where I will think, “Darn, too bad this house isn’t big enough!” A 3 bedroom house (plus an office) is plenty big enough for me to do everything I’ll ever want with a house.

  • 2ravens
    Posted at 06:59 pm, 9th June 2016

    Congratulations on finding something so close to what you wanted. I would recommend looking into a Roomba for your floors. They really are a miracle of new technology. Also, Powerblocks for you exercise room. I’ve had mine 10+ years with daily use and they still look like new.. Mine (with add-ons) go up to 130lbs each. More than I’ll ever need. All in about 3 sq ft of space.

  • A Man
    Posted at 08:52 pm, 9th June 2016

    The house sounds great. It’s nice having all the rooms on one level, but what do you have against having a basement? I love having the extra storage.

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 12:28 am, 10th June 2016

    I would recommend looking into a Roomba for your floors.

    Yeah, I looked into it. They’re cool but even the cheapest, weakest ones cost over $300. I already own a vacuum cleaner and my daughter and/or a future OLTR know how to use it.

    Once those Roombas drop in price I’ll definitely get one. For now I’ll use the manual labor of others. Much less expensive.

    Also, Powerblocks for you exercise room.

    Already have them. Had them for about 15 years. Still work great. They’re awesome; I agree.

    I’m also getting a rack though, for barbell exercises, which is more of that I’m doing now (3×5)

    It’s nice having all the rooms on one level, but what do you have against having a basement?

    1. I hate stairs.

    2. I hate having constant odd temperature differentials between floors.

    I love having the extra storage.

    I live as minimalist a lifestyle as possible, so my goal is to not need any storage in the first place. It’s a goal I hit quite a while ago. My entire two-car garage is virtually empty, as is the rest of my house. It’s great.

  • noob
    Posted at 08:39 pm, 11th June 2016

    I assume you bring over your current women in your life to your house for ‘minimum 3 times a week sex’.

    How do you manage that when your daughter is living in the same house full time?

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 10:21 pm, 11th June 2016

    Ask me woman questions over at the other blog. They’re too off-topic here.

  • Alejandro
    Posted at 10:28 am, 12th June 2016

    Don’t you get afraid that somebody may break in when you live on the ground floor?

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 11:56 am, 12th June 2016

    I live in the suburbs, not the city. Everyone lives on the ground floor out here, with virtually zero crime.

  • Redwolfe
    Posted at 09:49 pm, 14th June 2016

    Congrats on the new house!

    I just moved to the Pacific NW, and am visiting Portland for a weekend soon. Any recommendations on what a new visitor should see/do while in the city?

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 10:56 pm, 14th June 2016

    Voodoo Doughnut, for the novelty of it. The most beautiful thing we have here is the Columbia Gorge, though that requires a little driving to get to. It’s one of the greatest sights in the world.

  • Redwolfe
    Posted at 04:13 pm, 15th June 2016

    Awesome, thanks. I’m planning to do both.

  • Gluteus_Maximus
    Posted at 06:28 pm, 15th June 2016

    What do you think about sustainable living? Although I do love the rain, one of the reasons I’m hesitant on moving to PNW myself is the amount of sunshine. Battery technology is improving enough to the point of being able to store enough solar power to last throughout the evening. Going off grid is very possible now, in a matter of years it’s going to much easier. I’m sure though with the rain levels in PNW, there should be some way to easily recycle the rain or some shit like that. And then growing your own food, maybe have some chickens for eggs. (Of course firearms as well just in case.) Sustainability to last through any prolonged crises, especially if you get stuck here unexpectedly and can’t fly or sail to any other country.

    Your thoughts?

  • Caleb Jones
    Posted at 10:05 am, 16th June 2016

    What do you think about sustainable living?

    I absolutely cannot wait until it becomes cheaply viable for the average person. I love the landship idea, for example.

    Have your house powered by solar and batteries, have your water come from the rain, have your waste water nourish your garden that you eat from, have your house insulated by used tires buried in the walls, I think it’s all fantastic and can’t wait to do it…when it becomes viable for the average, everyday person (in terms of both cost and work) which it currently is not. But when it gets there, I’ll be first in line.

    Maybe my new house in Asia/S. America in 2025 will be an off-the-grid landship or similar. Who knows? I’m all over it.

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