Three months ago, I asked whether it was time to buy a vacation/retirement place?. Today, I wake up in Newport, Rhode Island, the historic New England town my wife and I have targeted for that very purpose. Yesterday, we looked at a dozen homes... and in a couple of hours we will look at a dozen more.
Turns out that looking at homes with a serious intent to buy, is a lot more work than I imagined. It's kind of like baseball, 90% is mental, the other half is physical (see famous quotes by Berra, Yogi) . I learned as much in one day as I had learned in a long, long time. I couldn't begin to tell you all the homes we looked at. Since being able to rent it is going to be an initial requirement, we are looking at many times of homes, not just ones geared to suit our needs. We've been looking at homes old and new, some as small as 1500 square feet and some as large as 3600.
The most eye-opening experience has been looking at the homes that are over a hundred years old. I was always told that from a legal real estate perspective, if a room doesn't have a closet it isn't considered a bedroom. Yesterday, my wife and I learned that was not entirely true. It depends largely where you live. When I asked about why some of the bedrooms were able to be called bedrooms without closets, I got a simple answer: The clothes hanger wasn't invented until 1903. I didn't really anticipate that I've had to learn about electric systems (fuses vs. circuit breakers), and sump pumps in the basements. Most visions of a finished basement went out the window pretty quickly. The rooms were not designed for modern furniture or convenience. A number of kitchens were too small to support a dishwasher for example. That's probably less of a surprise after reading about lack of closets, isn't it?
In addition to looking at a number of houses today, we are going to have to call USAA and get our pre-approval. We'll be shopping for mortgage rates. Lastly, we have to figure out how to do all this from California when we move. I anticipate this to be the easy part, but that's often when the best plans fall apart.
Completely Unrelated News 1 - The new military hotel that we are staying at decided that they would renovate the room next to ours at 8 AM. When I talked to the manager, the explanation was that most people were gone by 8AM for class. Seems like a poor assumption to make. We still haven't fully adjusted from our west coast time so it feels closer to 5 AM than 8 AM. They said they'd give us another hour, which was not so generous of them. I suppose it was probably too much for them to have mentioned the construction and asked us beforehand. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but when I rent a hotel room, I expect to be able to sleep in it at any and all hours.
For those who read my last post, this is a different military hotel than the one we stayed at over the weekend that had notified us there would be no electricity for 13 hours of the day.
Completely Unrelated News 2 - I'll be having a Rex Manning Day - in anticipation of what HP/Palm's great smartphone, tablet, netbook, webOS announcements will bring. Let's hope it doesn't go as poorly as the original Rex Manning Day went. I'm optimistic, as most indications seem to be that HP/Palm is releasing a device with hardware on par with what the iPad 2 is reported to be - same resolution, high speed CPU, and front facing camera.
9 Responses to “Buying a Vacation/Retirement Home (Part 1 of ?)”
Next: Shopping for a Home is Exhausting (and Personal Finance Links)