The Perfect Home

Most of us, at some point in our lives, will endure shopping for a home.  I say ‘endure’ because it’s like training for an Olympic event.  Constantly perusing listings on-line and arranging viewings with your realtor only to be disappointed.  We’ve been at it for over a year and I’m mentally preparing myself for another kick at the can.

My Mind Work OutSource: Wikimedia

Not too many people list their homes for sale during the winter months in the ‘Great White North’. Spring will bring fresh green leaves, newly planted gardens and hopefully a whole bunch of new home listings too.  For now, it’s still snowing. It snowed yesterday. It snowed the day before. Well, you get the picture. If not, here’s a little taste of winter from my point of view.

Since we aren’t house shopping in Edmonton at this time of year, why not join me on a little California real estate tour.   While in San Diego, we cycled around to admire the beautiful homes and their landscaping.  I wanted to live in almost every single home and took photo’s of some of my favourites.  I’ve decided that I love: front perimeter fencing, a front porch and the cottage vibe.  All soooooo very cute AND pricey.  Luckily, looking is absolutely free 🙂

A picket fence is charming
A picket fence is charming

What’s fun about looking at real estate on a holiday, is you can go casual.  Just hop on a bike and stop wherever you want, no commitment makes it easy breezy.

Yikes, can't afford this one!
Yikes, can’t afford this one!

Nothing is more welcoming than some lovely landscaping to wander through on your way to a beautiful covered porch.

Porch envy.
Porch envy.

I’ve saved my two favourites for last. This little California doll house has Boomdee written all over it. Just add a faithful friend waiting at the door and I’m in the perfect home.

Dreaming of the day!
Dreaming of the day!

Do you have any tips for house hunting?

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Living the dream with Mr Right and two black rescue cats, Petals & Blossum. Life and Love expresses itself in the many ongoing art projects. Favorite quote "we'll grow kindness in our hearts for all the strangers amoung us, till there are no strangers any more" Singer-Songwriter Patti Griffin.

66 thoughts on “The Perfect Home

  1. I house shop all the time and have little intention of ever moving! LOVE IT! My advice for realz is that if you are going to put an offer on a house you should be so excited you can’t sleep. If you’re not that excited its not the one!

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    1. I think once we finally find it, I’ll be happy not to look for a while. I like that advise, you’re so right. I want to be over-the-moon and I can’t say that’s happened yet. Fingers crossed, should be much more listings soon.

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    1. You know what, I didn’t even notice and honestly Cindy, you’ll probably see many many spelling oops here. In fact I encourage it. HA. These photo’s were taken on our trip to Coronado Island in December. Have you ever been? We just love it so much. Thanks again!

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  2. You did go window shopping in one of the most expensive areas of the United States! Wow! We live farther north in Central California. It’s a different world. The weather is a tiny bit harsher, but compared to Edmonton it’s paradise. It was about 65 today, sunny, white tipped mountains. Couldn’t have been more beautiful. Housing prices in Central California are much lower than on the coast. If you ever want to reconsider CA, think abou the central area 2.5 hours from the coast 40 minutes to the mountains, and not too expensive. My husband’s a realtor, so I get to house hunt plenty!!! 🙂 ML

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    1. Well, it’s a nice thought but we’re just tire kickers. We love San Diego and visit ever other year or so. It’s pricey on the coast in Canada too. We’re hoping to retire on Vancouver Island. It’s a lot milder there in the winter too. Maybe similar to your weather for the most part but they still get the odd snow. Melts fast too. Thanks for the visit.

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      1. Actually, we are much hotter here! It gets up into the 110s in the summer. We rarely get to freezing, but some winters we have, such as this one. I’ve been a tire kicker in San Diego, too. My dad used to live there. It was a goal of mine for a while, but now I’m too settled. Vancouver Island would be a lovely place to retire, and I know that is expensive!!! 🙂 Marsha 🙂

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  3. Loved your video and the homes — I thought your neighborhood was pretty too. We lived in CA twice (1990-93 on the central coast, about an hour north of Santa Barbara, and 1999-2004 in the NorCal Republic, about halfway between SFO and Sacramento). I loved NorCal like noplace else — it was even better than Hawaii — and for years we planned to retire there, until we came to love the beautiful, LONG springs and falls here in Virginia — to say nothing of the much lower cost of living and closer proximity to our families, all in the deep South. CA is wonderful but it’s just too costly and getting worse all the time. If I had endless millions I’d have a hard time choosing between Santa Barbara, Carmel, or the Marina neighborhood in SFO — but as it is, the choice is pretty simple :-)!

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    1. We’ve traveled through Virginia and thought it was really beautiful. Our trip was in April. You’ve got the best of two worlds…ocean and mountains. We do love California too and usually stay in Coronado on visits, however, this spring we’ll travel to San Francisco, Napa and San Jose to visit a very special friend. We are looking forward to it so much. There’s a few places in Canada we’d love to visit too but we always seem to be looking to get away from winter, so head south.

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  4. It took us nearly two years to find our home and in the end I truly believe that it found us! We’d been looking every evening and weekend and were losing hope – we only had 7 weeks left on the rental agreement and thought we would have to rent elsewhere. It was a chance conversation that lead us to a viewing and everything seemed to fall in place.
    I love your choice of houses – I would love a covered porch but they’re just not common over here. I may have one when we finally get a new kitchen extension next year!
    Good Luck Boomdee x

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    1. Aw, thanks PJ 🙂 You’ve given me new hope. A new kitchen extension sounds possitively major but won’t that be totally awesome. Gads, you’ll be busy. Hope your weather will co-operate during your project.

      It’s true how things tend to be happenstance, so I hope the stars align for us too. We drove over to an open house today, but didn’t go in. We could tell from the outside, money pit. Tomorrow, we are going to another open house. Or that’s the plan, fingers crossed xok

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  5. Oh, what fun! Wherever we go we can’t help but look at the real estate, too.

    You are so right about house-hunting these days—my favourite part (ha, ha) is driving up to a house you’ve seen online and it is so different from the photos you’ve seen that you and the realtor do a double-take. Or walking through a rather marvellous old foursquare home, only to look at the ceiling in the main floor bath and seeing a three-foot-wide patch of black mold (which explains the smell you noticed twenty seconds ago) fairly boiling along above you. Oh, we have some stories, and we’ve “only” bought two homes!

    I suppose once it’s all done, though, we can sit back and laugh about it. It’s hard not to, really. Besides, my parents & grandparents remind us often about the days of house-hunting BEFORE internet listings—showing up having no idea what you’ll find or how much the realtor beefed up the home’s curb appeal. Once, Mom and Dad went into a ranch in a nice neighborhood to find a motorcycle, half taken apart, parked in the living room. Needless to say, they ended their look at the house right then and there.

    Good luck—I hope your hunting grounds improve as we near spring. House hunting really can be exhausting and frustrating!

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    1. Thanks for the wish of luck…I’ll TAKE it LOL. I can not even imagine how the heck we’d house shop without the internet. I guess we’d just prawl up and down the streets in our car until we saw one we liked. We went to one listing, walked up to the door and walked away…I have no idea how they got the photo’s they had online…LOL Thanks for the motorcycle story, OMG, your parents must have ran out the door.:D

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  6. Aww I loved your video and your winter landscape it is so pretty, if I didn’t get snow myself I would be envious! As for the houses they are beautiful what a great idea to take them on your bike trip. Houses, renting even is such a expensive big thing in ones life everyone is trying to find the best deal with the best quality of home for them,and they can afford, it makes me nervous even when looking at apartments which will be soon!

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    1. Thank you for your message Lea, I guess it would be scary getting your first apartment these days. Hopefully you won’t have to pay the whole cost alone. I actually moved into a basements suite when I moved at at 18. It was close to my work and an older couple lived upstairs. That might be a consideration. It’s so nice on Coronado Island, a dream location. Ocean, cute shops, great restaurants too. Lucky folks who call it home. 🙂

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  7. I’m not house hunting ’cause I think I’ve got the perfect one already: Acres of Boreal Forest on the banks of the mighty Winnipeg River. If I was in the market, I’d need an estate of some size with a body of water adjacent. The Mountain Dog in me needs mountains or rocky hills at the very minimum. And I need a place where it snows a lot and doesn’t get too hot. Hey, that sounds a bit like… HOME! BOL
    signed,
    Stella the Great Newfenees and Bookshop Dog (I need a job, too…), via my scribe

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    1. We’re happy to have a place close to Mr B’s work but I’m not sure Condo living is for us just yet. It’s a long story. LOL

      Why don’t you send on up one of those Chinooks you get down there…it’s freezing! O boy -3 C tomorrow 😀

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    1. Well, yep…pretty up there. I think that one Jim stopped at to read the listing was over 3 million. I would prefer one of the little cottage ones, but I would imagine they’re over our budget too…..unless we win a lottery 😉

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    1. oh Italy is wonderful. We didn’t get out to the Coast, but I can only imagine it was breath taking. We did get to Venice…..stunning and beautiful too. Did you post pictures at one time?

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  8. How delightful to hear your sweet voice! Thanks for the snowy tour and for braving the elements to share it with us. Brrrrr…

    My goodness those are lovely homes. The prices are out of this world. I too love the look of covered patios, picket fences and overflowing flower gardens. Lovely.

    I hope this is your year of the house. I enjoyed all your pins on Pinterest.

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    1. I tried the movie option on the camera…that WILL makes it look so darn easy. I need a script writer…LOL. I don’t think I sound like that at all….but I guess I do.

      I think everyone on the island was so darn nice and I love the small town feel of Coronado. So no wonder house prices are shocking there. Probably anywhere in California is out of our budget. I know a home will transpire…doubtful it will be anything much like my ‘Dream Board’ at Pinterest, but it could be someday…..over the rainbow. xoK I’m soooo happy today 😉

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      1. Over the rainbow! Lovely. I’m glad you are having a good day.

        Home prices in Cali are obscene. We bought our house on two incomes and with stock from Mike’s Cisco days. We bought in ’96 at $349,000. Our house would sell today in the $800,000s. To put it in perspective, we have a 6,000 square foot lot (1,800 sq foot home). When my sister bought a huge house on over an acre in Iowa, she paid $195,000. Way more house and more property…but bugs, humidity, snow, sleet and flooding. It’s hard to find it all.

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      2. Location, location, right? What a good investment you have made there. It’s not easy to see equity like that in too many places these days. That’s awesome Alys. I can’t imagine ever losing home equity in California. A new visitor here has had the opposite experience in Nevada, I so feel for her. Homes are overpriced in Alberta because of the economy here, we have the bugs, the cold, the short summers…our prices should be like Iowa if not for the oil and gas…it’s bananas. You might get a very small 1 bedroom condo in an old building here for $195,000…but this is where Jim’s work is, so we must live within our means here….we’d have a great home if we wanted to live in the burbs. But we just don’t think those home will hold their equity as well as a home central, near downtown…so the search continues.

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      3. We were lucky to buy just as the market was heating up. We also were careful to find a place we could afford on one income. We were planning a family, and I wanted to be home to raise them. We’re both good savers and practical, so we didn’t have debt to worry about. Cisco was also very good to Mike in the gravy days. Easy come, easy go!

        Homes in San Jose did lose value. We’ve known more than one family that had to sell homes for less than the mortgage on them. I know a few people now that want to leave the state, but stay put because the house is under water.

        Everything you say makes good sense. I think, too, that as we age, it’s nice to age in place; to live in a home that allows short walks to services, movies, etc. and for Jim, his work. It just makes sense. I hope you find that perfect home. You have the gift of design and the heart of making a home. Whatever and wherever, it will be terrific. xx

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      4. You know what? We are so similar it’s scary. We also are very careful with money and planning. It’s allowed me to leave work early, which I so appreciate. It’s too stressful to be home rich, bank poor….I can’t sleep at night. I didn’t know the bubble affected people in California too, that’s shocking.

        Thank you for all your great input on this Alys and that nice compliment too ❤ k

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      5. 🙂

        We are similar is so many ways. It’s been so much fun as each new thing unfolds. We should start a log. 😉

        Yes, the bubble burst big time for many people here. Really rough. I agree, home rich and house poor is for the birds.

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      6. It’s changed so much. Rentals here now are through the roof after four years of a dying real estate market. I read last week it averages $1,600 a month to rent a two bedroom, one bath apartment or condo! Crazy!

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      7. Where do the kids who just moved out of home go these days? Renting in Edmonton has always been very pricey because of the economy. in 1982 I was renting a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment for $575/m, most decent rentals here are 1,500 – 1,800/m and that’s if you are lucky to find a decent one. We know the home owner here, so we got very lucky.

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      8. I paid a similar rent in 1992: $600 a month for a 500 sq ft apartment. But…and this was huge, I got to have two cats and they didn’t raise my rent for the entire five years I lived there. I was so grateful.

        I’m glad you have a nice deal at the condo. You two are dream renters, so I’m sure it’s a sweet deal for your friend, too. Did you go to the open house today?

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      9. Thanks Alys, we are glad Kevin was able to have us here and I know he also appreciates that we treat it like it was our own. You were pretty lucky to be able to have your kitties. That’s probably why I had to pay more, I had Dillin but there are ‘no pet’ rules in probably 80 % of rentals here. I don’t really blame the owners, people can be bad about controlling damage.

        We did go to the open house. Unfortunately the house had no alley, very very unusual in Central Edmonton. But it backed directly to another neighbour…very very untidy. Since we’ve had a really messy neighbour at the lake for 25 years, we don’t want to go there again. The home itself did have a very good floor plan but the colours were really not me. The adventure continues…HA Thanks for asking xoK

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      10. Sorry to hear. I remember looking before buying this house. There was always a deal breaker that you didn’t anticipate till you got there. An untidy neighbor would drive you nuts. No sense in that right off the bat.

        One thought I had that maybe you’ve already thought of. Sometimes realtors leave notes or flyers saying they have a buyer looking for real estate on your street/in your neighborhood and if you are planning to sell in the near future, please get in touch. Right now you’re limited to what’s on the market, but if you knew what might be coming available, you could act on that. Perhaps putting your name in with a handful of reputable realtors that know your area and your asking price. Just a thought.

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      11. Good plan. I’m going to mention that to Jim. The guy at the open house asked US if we had a house to sell in the area as he had other people looking. The guy who sold our house is not familiar enough with Edmonton….I’d like to incorporate someone new.

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    1. LOL, Bowie would be right! Those furry little toes would not like it here….you’d have to buy two Duvets at least. Oprah was in town two nights ago and went on and on about the weather…yeeesh Oprah…it was only -28 C with the windchill.

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    1. LOL, you and us both. It is the most divine little community and clearly living there makes people happy. Everyone we meet there is so polite and friendly. I’ll hook you up when I hit the big one 😀

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    1. Hi and thanks for stopping in! So I would guess you’re also in the market? Luckily, we are able to take our time since we are renting from a friend who’s happy to have good renters, but it’s hard not having our stuff. Half of it’s in storage, half of it’s in the basement here. Good luck with it all and thanks for commenting!

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      1. We sit in a unique position that I am calling ‘equity-limbo.’ My current house is valued at 1/3 of what I owe on it and the banks are playing a game of roulette in dealing with us on short-selling/getting rid of it. Long story short, we are looking for something else and haven’t found it, partially because we are stuck in a money pit that we can’t get out of legally. In the meantime, we shop and consider our options carefully. 🙂

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      2. O snap, I’m so sorry to hear that is happening to you. They are talking about a bubble burst here but while they’ve softened ever so slightly in two years, house prices are still crazy here…who knows what to do. I can’t imagine how disappointing it all is, hope they’ll be some recovery coming your way. x

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      3. I figure it will all work out in the end. It is pretty frustrating to be a part of though … and, just in case you were wondering, all of the media hype, etc about mortgage programs/whatever is baloney. It’s all just set up for the banks to get more money, write offs and the like. Not one consumer benefit. Phooey.

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  9. Oddly, I just sent a note to the realtor that has been sending me listings of homes I could possibly afford. I’m throwing in the towel. They either back up to industrial areas or the are on a busy main road. Like you, I may wait till spring and look again. I couldn’t begin to afford to live in California but the picket fence and front porch are just my style. That’s what I’m looking for if it doesn’t have the freeway in the back yard. It took two years to sell our home in Arizona so I’m just going to relax for now. Loved seeing the pictures. Think I’ll pop one or two on my pinterest page. 🙂

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    1. I totally know where you’re coming from Marlene. You begin to wonder if it will ever happen. We most likely will wait for spring too. I could almost be a realtor in Edmonton now, I know the listings off by heart. I’m seeing a whole bunch of ‘new listings’ that are ACTUALLY homes we rejected last year. There are a few that come up every year and yet unsold…you know there’s a problem there. Yet we looked at one last year in a desirable neighbourhood, it was such a mess. Cracked ceilings, wet basement and the price was so high. We thought “ya right, good luck pal”…guess what? It sold the next week…..I guess there’s a buyer for every home. Good luck in the spring, I’ll be rooting for you! 🙂

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    1. Absolutely true Laurie. It’s a must. My husband watches ‘Make It Right’ (I think that’s what it’s called). A guy goes thru houses with his crew and fixes stuff that you couldn’t see when you were sold the house…..it’s frightening. I can’t even watch that show.

      Thank goodness you were able to avoid a mess. Luckily an ex-boyfriend is certified and does this now for a living, I know he’d look after us and be very thorough. An inspection is a small investment and a necessity for sure!!! Thank you for sharing your experience, I love that tip!

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  10. I’ve never been house hunting for myself, but I’ve tagged along with friends. And I’m strangely addicted to looking at house plans online… One thing I always look for is the distance from the dining room to the kitchen. Like, if you’re carrying food from one room to the other, how far do you have to walk? Also, what is the distance from where you’d park to go into the house to where you’d unload your groceries?

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    1. Thanks for those tips Anne, they’re good things to remember. Our old house had an attached garage, so we got really spoilt. Unfortunately, most lots in the central area o- our city do not accommodate front drives and actually have back lanes. Most likely if we buy central, I’ll have to bring things from a garage behind the house…dang….maybe a breeze-way would be nice?

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  11. I loved all the houses you picked out, as they would be something I would look at too! The picket fences do add a lot of character to a home. We might add a little fence in front of our sidewalk this year. What I would love right now, is a deck in our backyard. You could really have a nice huge craft room in a new home!

    GUESS WHAT? The house next to us is for sale! You interested? We could be neighbors! (Man, I would love that!)

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    1. I had a feeling we’d like the same type of home Val. A big deck is so nice for entertaining. We sure enjoyed ours out at the lake. The next one I build will be from recycled product…or engineered. I fancy the idea of no maintenance. We were at the lake for 25 years and I sanded and re-stained our old deck at least once every 3 years.

      LOL, we need to move but that would be so so far away from work….hahaha. Thanks for the sweet compliment. We could talk gardening and cooking over the fence! Hope you end up with nice neighbours!! Maybe she’ll be a crafter too 🙂

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  12. Window shopping when you’re not in the market for a house is great fun but depressing when you are! You sure do have good taste in houses 😉 We trust to fate when it comes to finding the house you want. Good luck.

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    1. All these homes are on Coronado Island, California. It’s like a little time capsule of 1950. I just love it here. We couldn’t even afford the smallest cottage here but it’s fun to get ideas and dream. Thank you for your wish, we need some luck.

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Talk nerdy to me………..

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