Saturday 1st April 2017

House hunting day again today. I love seeing around houses and imagining how my own family would fit – I do this even when I’m just visiting someone’s house, so it’s even more fun when it is actually possible that it could be my house!

It was a reasonably early start to get to Ballarat by 10am, which was the first open house. It’s a pretty easy drive though, and the kids are great in the car now, so it was really quite nice just driving along and listening to music, knitting and talking to Troy. I’m knitting a baby sweater, but I think I should name it the househunting sweater because I suspect the bulk of it is going to be knitted in the car.

We met Benita at the first open house, which was 195 Cuthberts Road, and she and the kids came in to check it out too. The house was lovely- 5 bedrooms, living room, kitchen/dining/living, rumpus room, shed in the backyard, huge kitchen – and was in such good condition it looked almost brand new. It felt like a display home actually. I liked it more than I thought I would – I could totally see that as our house. The rumpus room was more like a bedroom, so if we bought that house we’d use that as a bedroom and then one of the bedrooms as Troy’s office, and still have a lot of living space.

However it is at the very upper end of our price range (actually in that grey area of ‘I don’t know if we can afford this without selling our house first’), and there were a few other negatives to it. It didn’t have much of an outdoor living area, and it’s on the main road that cuts through the Alfredton estates which just means a bit more traffic (there are two primary schools on that road, so school traffic would be a real thing). I don’t know- I think the question about that house is do I like it more than the other houses we have/will look at to justify the higher pricetag? (Well, okay, the actual first question is whether we can afford to make an offer on it at all without selling our house first, but after that!)

We walked around the fence of the primary school, but there was some freezing rain going on at the same time so no one was very enthusiastic about exploring. At least Jericho and Soren have seen it now. There will be plenty of time for them to get to know it a bit better.

We went to Aldi after that, because they finally had their giant picnic blankets in stock again. Benita and Cam have a big one that they got from Aldi, and ever since I saw that we’ve been waiting for them to show up again. With the kids so big now, the six of us don’t really fit on a standard size blanket! So while Troy took all the children to the servo to use the toilet (downside to buying them all a drink of lemonade to have on the drive down) I went with Benita into Aldi and bought the picnic blanket and some hot cross buns for lunch.

It’s funny, I find watching Benita with her children so fascinating. They’re busy and funny and adorable, and it’s all so difficult! I mean, getting them in and out of the car and car seats and into trolleys or into display homes, and then someone will be crying, or someone will want to take their shoes off in the middle of Aldi and refuse to walk with them on, or else someone just takes off and runs away down the street…I just watch her and I laugh, and I wonder how on earth I managed to do the same thing for so many years! It makes me miss it, while at the same time I’m glad I no longer have to do it!

We went and had our hot cross buns at Benita’s house, so I got to admire her new outdoor living area and her beautiful new crocheted blanket and have big discussions about our potential house options. It was good- I think it will be nice to see them a little more often when we move.

The time warp house was open at 1pm and, unlike the first open house where we were the only ones there, this one was packed. There were actually so many people wandering around that it made the house seem smaller than it was because it was so crowded- it was like being at a weird house party with no furniture.

I have to say I was charmed by this house- it was full of quirky little features that really appealed to me. The bubbled glass, the bar, the little hatch from the bar to the kitchen/dining/living, the three bathrooms, the cupboards everywhere, the big laundry, the glassed in little front porch, the tiny folding louvred doors that close off a portion of the bench with a power point so you can hide your toaster and kettle and stuff away…I think I could love that house. However, it would take a bit of work to get it to that point, and do we really want to do that?

It doesn’t have a fifth bedroom, or really any option in the current house layout to create one. At the moment this isn’t a problem, Jericho and Soren share well and can continue to do so, but in the future this could be an issue. It doesn’t have an office space for Troy as it stands, but the dining room could be made into one, or we can install a little studio in the backyard for him to work from, so that’s not insurmountable. It doesn’t have an outdoor living area, which is something that I have been really keen to get. It would be easy enough to create an outdoor living space under the carport that is behind the garage, but it wouldn’t be as convenient as having one directly off the house. The carpet is full on shag, which I hate. Troy and I had shag carpeting in our Frankston flat, and I just think that no matter what you do to it it always feels dirty. I would have to paint all those louvred doors, and just off the top of my head I can count twenty five of them, excluding two saloon doors, two little folding ones in the kitchen, and two hatch doors in the bar. And I hate the bathrooms- all the tile seems in surprisingly good condition, but the bath is tiny and shallow and as a fat person who loves baths it made me a little bit sad!

So there would be a lot of work to do on that house to fix it up the way I want, but the price of it makes all of that actually pretty doable. The question isn’t can we afford to do what we’d want to do, but do we want the trouble of doing it? And if we add the cost of renovations to the purchase cost, are we better off just buying something that already meets our needs?

It may not be an option anyway. The open house was astonishingly well-attended, and there was even one man who seemed to know the agent and was talking about contracts, so perhaps it will be snapped up too quickly for me to make up my mind either way. I guess I’m not the only one who finds that kind of character oddly appealing!

Monday will be our next house hunting day. We have an appointment to see the Scarborough Crescent house at 4.30, and we texted the agent today and asked if we could take a second look at the house on Copeworth Court at the same time, so she’s arranged that for just afterwards. That house really had a lot going for it, and I want to look at it again now that we have something to compare it to. With luck Troy will get to talk to the mortgage broker on Monday as well.

House hunting is both extremely interesting, and extremely stressful- there are so many possibilities, and I really want to get it right.

I think the stress might have been a bit much today though, by the time we were driving home I had such a headache that when we stopped for a snack I bought some panadol and took them in the car. I still felt shitty when we got home so I laid down, and after a little nap I felt better.

We have a Heinze family reunion tomorrow. Have to admit that it’s not exactly high on my list of things I want to do, but it’s important to Troy’s mum that we go so we will. I’ll take my knitting and the kids will have their cousins to play with, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

And in other, unrelated news, I finished my blue granny square crocheted blanket last night! I am SO happy with it- the cotton yarn is beautifully soft and heavy, the blues and grey and white look so pretty, and I’m still so impressed that I managed to find 99 unique patterns for crocheted squares done in rounds to use to make it up!

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