Long Distance Home Searching

Miles may have temporarily separated the hubs and I, but we're actually speaking more now than we did when he was here! Part of the talks have been both of us trying to describe sites and locations to each other - me from what I see online, and for Jeff from what he's actually seeing out there. This past weekend, I put technology to the test and used it to sync & link us up to tour some areas and see some homes - prior to setting appointments with a Realtor. I've made a binder of properties to check out, and even found a "Arizona Neighborhood" site to search areas by Zip Code or developments by name. It's been a great source to narrow down what is a Rental vs. what is For Sale.




Saturday, I plotted out a Google map of 12 locations to go see, and emailed the map, the list of locations with notes (ex: Fireplace - wood floors - kitchen needs and update) the square feet, price and coordinating links to the listings. Jeff was able to print it out and call me from location one. I had tabbed the listings in separate windows, along with having the Google map up on my computer, so I was able to see what Jeff what seeing, and what he couldn't see inside, I could. On Google maps, I was even able to zoom in to ground level, drag a figure icon to the street, and take a 360 spin in front of wherever Jeff was located. Jeff snapped a few phone pics and even chatted with a few friendly people in some of the neighborhoods - although ONE was a little "too" friendly... While we were on the phone, she came walking across the street and asked, "Wanna come over and see the inside of my house?" - HA! I don't THINK so lady.... (remember: I AM Cubanita!)

WAY too big for us, but still beautiful none-the-less!

Lovely light from a western sunset...


Jeff would get back in his truck (which we had shipped over there about a week ago and he got it Saturday) and he'd head to the next destination - with my guidance - saying things like you're approaching a CVS on the left and a Walgreens on the right, cross the intersection of Arizona Avenue, or call out streets within neighborhoods. I'd face in the direction he was driving to be able to let him know to turn left or right. We laughed a lot, and have narrowed down our list of property possibilities and locations. Next Monday I'll be flying out there, and we'll meet with a Realtor with our condensed list to go see, plus our "must haves" or wish list.




 One architectural detail I'd really like to take advantage of having and be able to use is a fireplace. During the holidays in years past, I've had a video playing on the TV of the Yule Log at Christmas. It would be nice to have a real one and enjoy some chilly desert nights. Lots of the homes come with pools, which would be a bonus, especially since we won't be near a beach anymore. This year, Arizona experienced 184 consecutive days of triple digit temperatures, so I think we'd use this to cool off. Some places have the 3 bedrooms we need, but also a den, family room / dining space and a formal living room - all which seem to be too big for just us, an office and a guest space. We're not looking for a McMansion by ANY means (and crazy who-ever would), just equal the square footage we live in now would be great (1600 -1800).



Finding the balance of architectural character, a fireplace, no carpet and updated kitchen appliance (at least) has been challenging to find. A space may have one, but not the other - Almost all, but missing two most important must haves. Oak may have been nice back in the 80's or the 90's, but I can't do it. It's too warm and dated of a wood. Hopefully we can negotiate me painting or refinishing cabinets, and all the renter needs to do is pay for the supplies and a counter top. Even a stain to make them darker could work for an easy update. Floors in rentals have been a challenge too. They are too "patchy" - they don't flow. Here's a few examples of what we've been finding, looking at, and are scheduling to go see next week...

Lovely open space, but this space is missing the better part of our wish list...

Lovely and seemingly spacious MBR, so we've added it to our refined list of "Go See" with a Realtor (next week)

Most homes we've seen for rent are painted sandy beige, so this was interesting to spot done in grey...

Probably one of the better kitchen finishes AND layout seen online. It's important to us that the sink faces out into the home - Not a wall. Not a window. Also like the breakfast bar - an important part of our lifestyle.

Kitchen feels to far away from the living space - TV and people...

Does have an easy kitchen to update, but the floor is too dated, sink facing window...

This one has curb appeal, space, fireplace, and even wood floors...
So it's at the TOP of the list to go see with a Realtor next week...

The inside was a former model home, so it has a few extras - like built ins, dark wood floors, and the fireplace - but it comes at a higher price. And what is rent? paying for someone elses mortgage, so we'd really rather not pay a high rent so we can save again to buy sometime later...

This other place I found on line and Jeff saw had a great fireplace wall.... but that's all....

The sf was less than what we have, oak cabinets, sink facing out window, and carpet. If the carpet is Berber and new - no problem - we're renting - I can deal with that, but we're seeing a lot of low pile

Dated kitchen - but I can see it being updated by removing uppers on window wall, replace with open shelves. Add a microwave above stove, update stove (at least in black to match  with dishwasher) paint or stain cabinets, add hardware, and update counters - either with Granite Transformations, concrete, or Ikea butcher block... But that's a mighty large over-haul for a renter...

And in the some homes, the bathroom also needs an update: Change out light fixture, paint brass shower stahl in oil rubbed bronze, update faucets to ORB, and stain cabinets chocolate. For the mirror, just add a frame around it.

Too small and made to look even smaller by not having a continuous floor covering...

What's with the tile pads at the doors??? Just tile through-out in a common area (or wood floor) because it's easier to maintain and keep clean from traffic.

Again - akward carpet patch - just run the wood throughout...

SMH... Why did builders do this to the floors??

Again - carpet patch. This space would look amazing with wood floors...

I have been learning about ways to build-out temporary mantel extensions or covers to update some features. Lowe's has some really nice light fixtures I spotted at reasonable prices as well. No major renos can be done in a rental, but paint, lighting, hardware can be done. And if owner agrees, so can painting / staining cabinets, so I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Updated counters spotted over on Pinterest.
Simple Ikea Butcher block stained darker with white cabinets... and a simple mirrored back splash can add depth and glam to a smaller kitchen...

This would be ideal - LOVE the look of a stacked stone fireplace by Jamie California at RockTheFireplace.com

It would be great to add to some rustic details to our modern & collected style. Now wish us luck on finding it to rent! :) We're looking into renting for two reasons: New area we need to learn before buying into and secondly... Since we're having to short sell our town home to relocate for Jeff's job, I don't think we'll qualify to buy something now. And along with me updating sites with current projects, I'm also updating my resume to hopefully get work out in our new location. In the meantime, my inspirational pins continue... Stop by on Pinterest to see more inspirations for Arizona and even Kitchen style inspiration...




Thanks for stopping by!






4 comments:

  1. Good find. I agree the house is too big but hard to resist because it's too beautiful. If you have the money then this is a good buy.

    J. Harp
    writer @ Murano Chandeliers

    ReplyDelete
  2. So interesting. Always love an open house! Stan

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Lynda, Thank You for featuring one of my fireplaces.
    The one that says, "This would be ideal - LOVE the look of a stacked stone fireplace". For more classic Rock fireplaces go to www.RockTheFireplace.com

    Thanks again, Jaime California

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your idea of searching home separately is a good one. This way, both of you can look into different houses. The only drawback is that you can’t tell if the other one will like the house that you like, and vice versa. Anyway, I hope the process went smoothly and everything went according to plan. Avril Copperfield @ Churchill Mortgage

    ReplyDelete

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