Saturday, February 17, 2007

The hunt begins

I've started seriously looking at places to buy now. The average price of the condos I'm looking at is $300,000, which is game show money, not real money. It's too large of a sum of money for me to think of it as money. Instead, it's just some number associated with the place, kind of like its MLS (Multiple Listing Service) number.

Some of the things I'm looking at in a condo:
  • Under $350,000. Holy crap, why would someone give me $350,000? This one actually narrows down the list of places available a lot.
  • A heat pump or at least forced air heating. A heat pump would provide me with air conditioning during the summer. Growing up in Nebraska, air conditioning is no longer an optional creature comfort; it's as essential as drinking water. A place with central heating could be converted to also provide air conditioning. A place with baseboard heating is a lost cause; baseboard heating automatically disqualifies the place.
  • Reasonably close to Microsoft. I don't want to have to buy a car, and I'd really rather not take the bus. Unfortunately, there are very few options near Microsoft at the moment. I may end up getting a place in Kirkland or Yarrow Point, WA, and taking a bus, though I loathe the idea. I hate commutes.

There used to be a lot more things there, but those three criteria are already strict enough that they don't even yield a dozen places as it is. I kept lowering standard after standard until I reached the above list. Next week I'll be talking to banks and touring places, taking notes and pictures. Very soon after that, I'll have to pick one. This is crazy.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's really going to be hard to find a place with those requirements. They are just specific enough that its going eliminate a lot of places.

I think of these three things, you need to order them in importance. If the communte is really something you don't want to do - then you might have to give a little on the price and the baseboard heating. If the money cap is most important...well, than you are going to be looking for places outside of Redmond.

As for the commute issue - here is my advice. If you do find a place that catches your fancy outside of Segway range check to see what the bus route from that area is going to be like. See how often the bus leaves and how many transfers you will need to make to get into work. Or see if there is a co-worker, friend, or other Microsoft employee whom you might be able to car pool with. At least Microsoft gives its employees free bus passes, so that the price of taking the bus is not an issue.

My personal experience with the bus system out here has been really positive. It can be a pain, since it is slower than driving, but at least they have a wide coverage area.

Best of luck to you and I know I am very interested in how your hunt goes!

Travis said...

Those are my top three.

Whether or not the place can have air conditioning is the top requirement. I won't be happy with any place without A/C or the ability to upgrade to A/C. The price cap is not an absolute requirement, but much more than that and a place will be out of the question. The one I can "give" on the most is the location, because as you've noted, bus service out here is pretty good, and as much as I hate the idea, I could also get a car.