On Wednesday we saw 4 different houses. The last of the 4 seemed to be the closest to what we wanted, and we went home feeling fairly good about renting that house. There were a few drawbacks, however, namely:
* Extremely small back yard (even smaller than we have now) with no landscaping at all
* Kitchen was built to accommodate an island, but the owner chose not to "upgrade" and put the island in, thus leaving a huge open space in the middle of the kitchen with little cabinet space already in existence
* No matter where we would have put the dining room table, it would be been a little trek to and from the kitchen (it would not have fit in the middle of the kitchen, despite the great space where the island should have been!)
* 2-car garage instead of 3-car like we have now
* "Squished" feeling--located in the middle of a street with little to no space between houses
At the same time, we felt that we could live with these things, especially since the house has 5 bedrooms (one of which is downstairs and would probably have ended up being my stamp office) plus a huge loft area that would make a GREAT school room and play area!
Of the 4 houses we looked at, two were close to base and two were about 5-6 miles from our house now (closer to base than we are now). We had thought that perhaps we wouldn't mind living close to base--maybe Ted could even come home for lunch again like he did in Ohio!--but the more we drove around that area of town, the more we felt that we really do prefer to stay close to where we are now. The neighborhoods were nice and new, and the houses certainly had plenty of space, but it was just a feeling we both had--we don't want to move clear across town, even though it would save Ted some commute time. Our church and friends are over here, so we prefer to narrow our options accordingly.
So on Thursday our agent sent us the link to what looked like the Dream House. We got very excited when we read about it, especially since the "price was right." We couldn't wait to see the house, and we got to view it yesterday. It happens to be located in the same neighborhood as the family who hosts our small group Bible study, so it's quite close to where we are now but would put us even closer to church and shave a few miles off Ted's commute each way.
Would you believe...
* 4,000 square feet
* Ranch-style house
* 4 bedrooms, each with their own bathroom (well, two bedrooms share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom)
* Master bedroom is enormous, with a closet and bathroom that we could sub-let! (OK, not really, but they're huge!)
* Built-in office with double doors
* Gi-normous kitchen with beautiful cabinets and appliances
* Corner lot, so LOTS of yard space for the kids to run around in!
* Fire place
* 3-car garage
* Gated community (nice, especially since we just heard about another break-in attempt on our street, just 5 houses down from us)
The ONLY drawback is that the backyard is not landscaped, and the owner has no intention of doing anything with it. It's just gray dust and rocks. I don't think that would stop the kids from enjoying it, but it IS awfully dusty. We might see if we can put in some cheap astro-turf and maybe get a play ground and sand box to put in later when we can afford it. There is a cinder block fence around nearly the whole yard, but the sides have been open for awhile. The owner did agree to complete the fence or else put gates in, as dogs have been pooping in the back yard. I asked our agent to find out if they will clean up the poop for us as well!
So, considering that this house has MORE than enough space (we will even have a guest room when you come to visit! Hint hint!), and considering the neighborhood is beautiful, the location is perfect, and we probably could not find a better deal, we submitted our application fee and paperwork today. The owner is in town and is anxious to get this house leased as soon as possible. It's apparently been available since November.
Assuming all goes well with the application, we hope to begin hauling stuff over June 1. We've had a lot of people offer to help us already, and we're so thankful for that (and will definitely be calling on everyone we know to help us!). We're close enough that as soon as we have the house key, we can begin making trips back and forth. In the meantime, we have stuff to weed through, a garage sale to prepare for, and boxes to round up and begin filling. It's an exciting time but a daunting task--the desert heat is definitely settling in (though I know it will get worse), and we're expecting company Memorial Day weekend and traveling in late June.
Thank you for your prayers! We will keep you posted!