- Is this a starter home? Or do we plan to be there longterm?
- Given the shoddiness of today's market, we figured we could get a lot of house for a pretty reasonable price. It made more sense to us to invest in something that we could grow into, even if it seemed like too much house for now.
- What kinds of things do we need to have nearby?
- Trader Joe's
- Maybe a park
- In that order of priority :)
- What features are absolutely necessary in our home?
- Hard wood floors on at least the main level - Chelsea sheds quite a bit
- Big kitchen - not necessarily a pretty kitchen, but with room for upgrades eventually if it wasn't pretty
man cavebasement - We're Floridians, so the novelty of a basement was really exciting (if we dig that deep, we hit the ocean)
- Lots of natural light
- What features are nice to have in our home?
- A nice deck
- A fenced-in yard
- Kitchen appliances included - one less thing to buy!
- An alarm system
- What features do we not want in our home?
- A pool - too much to maintain!
- A busy street
- An upgraded kitchen - I saw so many kitchens online with fancy granite countertops that weren't really my style. I didn't want to pay for someone else's upgrades unless it was exactly what I would have chosen.
- Do we want a house that's move-in ready? Or do we want to fix it up in our style?
- I'd love to say that I wanted a fixer-upper (because I'm a big fan of Young House Love), but given the limited amount of money we had to start with, we decided that we only wanted to fix cosmetic things. A coat of paint and a new carpet is very different from a roof that needs immediate replacement.
- Somewhat location specific: Do we want a smaller house inside Atlanta's city limits for convenience? Or do we want to go out in the suburbs for more house?
- This was an interesting part of our house hunting journey. Initially, I desperately wanted to stay in Atlanta. I was so opposed to OTP, or Outside the Perimeter.
You see that little ring around Atlanta? That's I-285, or "The Perimeter." Anything inside is known as ITP, and everything outside is OTP. The further OTP, the cheaper the land for the most part.
Most intowners are a bit snobby towards those who live further out. I'm sad to admit that I was among these judgmental urbanites. Atlanta is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city filled with diverse cultures and interesting intellectuals; the only OTP experience I'd had was quite the opposite. When I was in PT school, I had an internship east of Atlanta. My clinical instructor insisted that we play Christian rock music in our gym, and this made one Muslim patient of mine rather uncomfortable. It was at this same internship that I was told, "Don't tell the other therapists that you live with your boyfriend. It may make them look at you differently." (That boyfriend eventually became my husband, mind you.) I half expected Kevin Bacon to jump out and teach everyone how to dance.
On another internship, this time in Atlanta, I had a patient who was from northwest Georgia. He had acquired a spinal cord injury, and had paraplegia as a result. When I asked him what his functional goals for physical therapy were, he told me that he wanted to be able to transfer from his wheelchair to a deer stand. I had to google that term.
It's kind of like how New Yorkers look at New Jersey. It has the reputation of the ugly stepsister, but some parts of New Jersey are absolutely gorgeous. The same goes for Atlantan suburbs. Our research led us to the suburb of Marietta, and we fell in love.
Marietta had history, the arts, plenty of green space, and it was close enough to I-75 that I could still drive to Inman Park for dinner. We also learned that the school districts were pretty good, and that there were a lot of younger families living there. It seemed like a really good fit for us.
It was hard for me to give up my dream of owning a beautiful Craftsman inside the perimeter, but once we saw how much more house we would get OTP, it was a no brainer. Moving to the suburbs was the right decision for us, especially as we look towards the future.
How did you decide where to live?