Chris PirilloWe’re house hunting – again. It all started a few years ago, when Ponzi and I were still living in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles). For a while, we seriously considered hopping “over the hill” and honing in on a house near Hollywood. When we headed northward to the Pacific Northwest for the first time together, Southern California seemed far less attractive. We’ve been living in Seattle close to two years now, and we’re getting married on December 9th. Will I be able to carry her over a non-apartmental threshold? Depends. We know what we want – and what we don’t want – in a home.

  • Newer is Better – Classic charm is classy, so long as you don’t mind performing random updates throughout the years. “Home repair” is a given for any building, but I think the various problems we’ve experienced in our current rental house has made us a bit gunshy in wanting to buy a structure that’s more than five years old.
  • Wired for the Future – For once, I’d like to experience life without seeing cords and cables strewn across floorboards. Wireless home connectivity is a given with robust 802.11a/g networking protocols in place, but you just can’t beat gigabit ethernet for local file transfers. Cat5e should be able to handle the higher speeds with little difficulty, but Cat6 would be much nicer.
  • Sound Advice – Ponzi loves having her music with her wherever she goes, but it’s not really pervasive as it could or should be. We’d love to have some kind of centralized sound system that allowed us to control the music we listened to from any room in our home, through built-in speakers, wireless remotes, etc. For this, we’re likely going to find ourselves flipping for more Sonos units and placing them strategically throughout the house.
  • Home Theater – I’ve wanted a projection HDTV for quite some time now, but finding the perfect room for it has not been easy thus far. I’ll likely have to make due with another plasma screen. Home entertainment isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly a lot more affordable than it used to be (compared to prices a year ago). It’ll be nice to stretch into the world of true surround sound, as we only have two front channels and a subwoofer in our living room today.
  • Low Maintanence Lawn – Do you see a green thumb on this geek? Neither do I. We understand the extreme need for “curb appeal,” but we also recognize our home habits. Ponzi and I seldom spend time outside, other than when we take Wicket and Pixie to do their business on the lawn. A larger lot size is nice, but too much greenery could end up causing more headaches for us in the long-run.
  • A Chef’s Kitchen – We’ve seen so many fantastic floor plans in so many fantastic neighborhoods, but one thing Ponzi isn’t keen on doing: redoing a kitchen. She’s been looking for nice appliances, ample space, quality countertops, etc. Since she does all the cooking around here, I guess I have to go with whatever she says. To me, a microwave is more than enough! Of course, I get to do all the cleaning, so some kind of kitchen robot (like Rosie on the Jetsons) would be awesome.
  • Large Garage – While most men would be thrilled to have “shop space,” I never took shop in high school and barely know my way around a hand saw. Awl I want to do is convert part of the unfinished space into a video set of sorts – green screen, hanging lights, room to maneuver, etc. Yeah, I’m going to start producing some video, and I’d just as soon do it in my home than elsewhere – and I’d just as soon not convert a room inside the house. Some kind of tandem garage arrangement would work well.
  • Hardwood Floors – If I had a choice, my entire home would have hardwood floors. I’ve never really found a carpet I absolutely loved, and (to me) fabric is higher-maintanence. Sliding a Swiffer vs. vacuuming? No contest. Both Ponzi and I can agree on one thing: never, ever put carpet in a bathroom! I suppose a good mix between carpet and hardwood would be good for us, although our dogs would likely be more compatible with darker shades.
  • Close to Shopping – I don’t need to be around the corner from a grocery store, but five to ten minutes is reasonable. More than anything, we’d just like to have some shopping options – a solid mix between chain stores and locally-owned shoppes. I’d rather not run across town just to pick up a widget (though traveling a great distance for certain stores may be unavoidable). Still, if the community we find is growing, the commerce will come in time.
  • Local Flavor – We need to go out to eat more – if only because I’m tired of doing the dishes here at home (and I’m avoiding the stack piling up near the kitchen sink right now just to write this report). I don’t mind chain restaurants when I’m traveling, but not when I’m closer to home. Ponzi and I have been known to drive for a half hour to get to good sushi that’s nowhere near our neighborhood – but I’d just as soon have something in my own neck of the woods.

Someone said that we’re finally in a “buyer’s market,” which is good news for us. I’m confident we’ll find something soon – and until we’re both excited about the same place, we’ll just have to keep looking. Could anything be more stressful?!

[tags]home ownership, house, house buying, house hunting, real estate[/tags]