Saturday, April 10, 2010

in which we can't make up our minds

So, yesterday we visited an apartment for sale. The building itself is about 50 years old and most of the occupants are owners, so that's a good thing. I don't think either one of us are super enthused about moving into an apartment complex, especially Stéphane, who grew up in a huge apartment block and swore he'd never move back. This is hardly apartment block sized, but the idea of having neighbors above us and below us, especially with a little one that likes to do the flamenco, we are a bit hesitant.

I'm hoping if I type this out a little it will make things clearer:

The price is certainly interesting, and we would be able use less of our savings as a down payment (and keeping a little aside for starting a business, perhaps?). However, we'd forgotten about the charges for the upkeep of the apartment complex, all the grass, and the shared gas payments, so we wouldn't save *as much* per month as we hoped.

Even though it's only slightly bigger than our current home, it is much better organized. The bathroom is tiny but has a real bathtub (Fry has been taking his baths in a plastic tub, thanks to our tiny shower stall). The kitchen is small, but we can possibly invest in a better kitchen set up (maybe a built in counter with a stove, etc) and make better use of that space, plus the door can keep little people out when the oven's on. To make up for the tiny bathroom, there's a "cellier" next to the kitchen, where we think we could put the dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer, plus with some shelving we could have a small pantry. There is more closet space than we've got here, without a doubt, plus a private storage space in the basement, where we could easily store stuff we don't need, plus maybe a bike or two, and there's a space to put the stroller, which will open up a lot of space that we can't have here.

The former (current?) owners have closed off part of the salon and made a third tiny bedroom, which suits us fine, as that would be our office/guest room. Obviously, there's no private garden, but there's a huge space behind the apartment complex, but I certainly didn't see anyone hanging out on the grass, so that would be a drag to have all that space and not be able to play on it. There's also the fact that some of the electricity needs to be redone, so for us that means we'd want to ask a smaller price.

So there we are. Right now we are leaning towards making an offer, but setting a strict limit and not going one euro above it. We told the agent that we'd have an answer to him by Tuesday one way or another, so we've got a couple of days to make our decision.

Other than that, we're enjoying Stéphane's spring break. We had a nice evening out with his colleagues while Fry spent the night at Mémère's house (we'll definitely be doing that again soon, ah FREEDOM!!), we've done a little local sightseeing, we're going to visit family this afternoon and we're hoping to hook up with some friends next week. My allergies are starting to bother me and Fry's got some weird bacterial infection but otherwise we're doing really well.


Sherri said...

Hi Vivi,

Sorry about the rollercoaster ride! :( My honest counsel: Compromise comes with buying a house inside a budget, but don't compromise too much. If you don't "see" yourselves in the place, it probably won't make you all that happy in the long run. The right place will come along.

The Bold Soul said...

Don't know if this will help, but before we found the apartment we'll be renting, we saw one for sale that had AMAZING space with loads of potential. The price was low enough that we would be able to afford to update and upgrade and get rid of the "old lady" smell from the recently deceased owner. Against it was the location (too near peripherique and not so safe at night) and the fact that the area and building had zero "charm". What caused us to decide AGAINST it was this: Georges said we would have to plan to live there a bare minimum of 5 years in order to ensure that it would be profitable when we would want to sell it... and really we were only looking for this next place for about 2 years (we want to be in a better area when the Little Guy goes to middle school & high school, and THIS neighborhood doesn't have such great upper-level schools). And when I realized we'd need to live there THAT long, I realized I didn't like it enough, let alone LOVE it, to make that kind of investment of time and money and then have to stay there that long.

So maybe one of the questions you need to consider is: how long would we intend to stay here, and if it's really a "temporary" move (say, less than 5 years) then are we crazy enough about it to buy it?

If the answer is no, I'd say hold out for a place you like better. Don't try to rationalize the negatives or even Steph's personal feelings about "apartment block living". Hold out and wait; something better will come along.