Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shape of the Dream

I am semi-officially house hunting. I have recently reviewed my credit score and report and happily found it to be in better shape than I had anticipated: nothing there that I didn't expect with just a bit more work to do to get it to the land of "Excellent" interest rates. The only thing to do now was to seriously work on saving up for a down payment and then consider along with my other half and the dog where the best parts of town would be for our family. If only it were that easy.

As the son of a soldier I have lived all over the country and also in Europe through his career and now my own. I've seen popular home styles that run the gamut from Colonials, Cape Cods, Bow Houses, Spanish Colonial to Southwestern Ranch, Georgians, Craftsman, the classic A-Frame to the Midwestern 4-Square and the San Francisco Victorian. When I stumbled across custom built homes around Dallas/Ft. Worth I thought my head would explode! Which one to choose and for what reasons?

I've never owned a home in my life, having always lived in rented apartments, townhomes or condos. I've never had to pay property taxes or for my own maintenance either, surely worth something after decades of zero private equity? Still and all the American dream runs quite strongly through my veins, to own a piece of land and some property that was thoughtfully chosen and cared for over the years to build not only a home to enjoy but a nest egg towards retirement. Out of all the choices in a country of 50 states, 310 million people and 3000 contiguous miles of land to choose from in the Lower 48 alone, where to freakin' start!

My mother used to take us kids to watch new homes being built in the late 60s in Indiana when safety regulations were nothing like they are today and free entertainment was always desirable with three kids in tow. The diggers would come and excavate the basement level which instantly became an earthen playpen for us primary school age kids as we clambered down and marveled at how level the ground was, how deep the earth was and how fun all those perfectly packed dirt clods were! When the wooden frames were erected we would go "upstairs" to try and figure out which rooms were which and what bedrooms we preferred if this were our home. From this training as early as the First Grade I began to stockpile a list of features available in various houses around the world. Could I get them all in my one dream home?

I will call this an irregular series going forward until I finally find and my partner and I sign on the one home I have waited all my life to buy. By "irregular" I mean maybe once a month or so as new events unfold or I feel the desire to share some additional background. I'll share anecdotes of some of my favorite memories related to the apartments and homes I've lived in as well as my adventures in house hunting in the Dallas market, what I'm looking for and whether or not some of the things I've seen in other parts of the country are possible to find here in DFW.

Most of the pictures I post will more than likely come from official brochures as I don't have my own house to show (and wouldn't) nor would I want to invade someone else's privacy by showing their address. Hopefully you'll understand as well as get the idea of what I'm trying to accomplish.

Gotta go!

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