A-hunting we will go, a-hunting we will go Heigh-ho, the derry-o, a-hunting we will go! ~ Thomas Arne “The Beggar’s Opera” 1777
It’s been a long time since I have had to look for a new place to live. Things went at a much slower pace back in the last century, and the methods of searching have changed a great deal.
For instance, when we last moved, if the internet existed back then, it was very rudimentary, and we didn’t have access to it. So to look for a place to live without the assistance of a real estate professional, we would have had to look in the local classified ads, the Greensheet, drive about looking for “For Rent” signs or depend on references from others.
During periods in which the real estate market was slow, one could spend quite a bit of time looking around, and then leisurely make an offer (usually for lower than the listed amount). If the landlord liked you, he or she would rent the place to you with few questions asked.
Now, even though the internet makes things “easier”, it’s a lot more complicated and difficult to find decent places to rent. Because if you live in Houston, TX, when you look online for available rentals, there are LOTS of other people looking at those same places. If you don’t move quickly, you lose out on prime properties. So you jump when you find the perfect place!
But that’s just the beginning. Application forms must be filled out and fees must be paid (by cashier’s check). The landlord will check your credit and quite possibly your criminal record. Likely there will be others who have also applied for your perfect place, and whomever the landlord likes best wins.
It’s not until you hear you’ve been accepted that you can finally breathe a sigh of relief! And then you must quickly send in your deposit to your new landlord (also via cashier’s check).
Shannon and I recently experienced a Houston house hunt, while searching for a new place for her and Kat (plus the giant grand-dog and the small grand-cat) to live. They had a budget and some criteria, mostly that the place be close to downtown, so commuting would be at a minimum. We opted to use a professional realtor, who is an old friend, and honestly, we could not have done it without her.
After looking at a variety of available spaces (freestanding houses, duplexes, condos, apartments) over the course of two days, we were getting a little discouraged, because it just seemed like nothing was quite right. Some would do, but others were totally unacceptable. One that we both like a lot had been snatched up before we even saw it in person.
However, at the end of the second day, we looked at a loft space, created in an old 1929 warehouse, very close to Kat’s office in an up and coming part of Houston (east side of downtown). It is small, but it has character, with all the charm of an old building, plus the benefit of new appliances and fixtures, brick walls, stained cement floors, tall ceilings and generous windows on two sides (it’s a corner unit that overlooks downtown; a great view!).
The building is directly across the street from the BBVA soccer stadium, home of the Dynamo and the Dash. One block north is the new metro rail line which they can jump on and enjoy all the benefits of the downtown night life without driving or worrying about parking. Kat can walk to work if he wants to, and Discovery Green is also within walking distance, for the benefit of my sweet, giant grand-dog.
Bike trails are nearby, and clubs and other interesting spots are popping up as the area becomes less of a warehouse wasteland and more of a community of people who enjoy urban living. I hope Shannon and Kat will fit right in with this community, and I know that I’ll enjoy experiencing it vicariously through them.
Note: Pewperson will return in September.