Sunday, 8 August 2010

House-hunting

We're house-hunting in Houston. Yay!

I'm sure you're already thinking - huge 5/6 bedroom house with jacuzzi and spa, loads of space in the back, summer weather almost all year round and a huge Olympic style pool in the back.

Wait a second. Not so fast. There's a lot to be considered before we move into the huge space. And this I have found to my own heartache!

Moving to a new location is always a challenging experience. Even if it is one where you have visited frequently and feel that you know it like the back of your hand.

I had my dreams about Houston. 'I was going to get to Houston and get myself a nice big house with everything I want, for a mere fraction of the cost here in UK. After all, that's Texas right, everything is BIG???'

Silly me. I only forgot to ask myself the following questions, before I started dreaming....
- How much will it cost?
- How much can I afford?
- Buy or rent?
- How close to the city centre do I want to be?
- How close to the city centre can I afford to be?
- How much of a commute will I be doing on the school run?
- Do I really need the pool or would I prefer the space in the backyard?
- What is the neighbourhood like?
- Who are my neighbours?

Of all the questions, I think the most pressing question is picking the right neighbourhood. Location. Location. Location.

Houston is full of stunning and inviting neighbourhoods, each offering a different approach to community living. A lot of construction work is still going on across the city, providing future home-owners with lots of choice and variety. Most houses in these neighbourhoods are beautiful architectural masterpieces with perfectly mowed lawns and pristine landscaping.

And this is just the exterior! Wait until you enter the homes and then you get taken on a wild journey of exquisite internal design with excellent and tasteful finishing.

You can now see how complex the decision gets. How do you pick a 'good' neighbourhood, if all the houses look perfect? How do you decide?

I have relied a lot on the internet, local area journals and word of mouth. And it has been helpful. Research your area, ask friends and colleagues, read up about it and most importantly, go with your gut feel.

I'm still searching, by the way, 'cos my gut ain't feeling anything yet......

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