Well, we took the afternoon "off", hooked up with the realtor, and looked at five houses.
The first one was really nice. 3br, 2ba, nice family room, wood-burning fireplace in the living room, and a little gas "fireplace" (more like a stove) in the family room. 12,000 sqft lot, BIG garage with a workshop AND a third added-on garage bay at the very rear of the main garage.
Asking price was $289,900, and it had one offer.
Next place my wife fell in love with.
FIVE br, 3ba, fully finished basement ( with two of the fully-conforming bedrooms and 1ba in it), 14,250 sqft lot, but only a one-car attached garage, BUT it has another driveway alongside leading to a nice fenced-off "RV Storage Area", which would have plenty of room for an additional two-car garage/workshop.
$275,000 with three offers, but the owners were more than happy to allow us the run of the place while we looked.
Third place was a "Brady Bunch" tri-level ranch house, but my wife, who'd never been inside a tri-level before, decided she did'nt like AT ALL, so "tri-level" will get added to the "NOT" part of my searches.
It was around $280k.
Next place was kind of a modern style, with vaulted ceilings and lots of wood work, but was fairly small, on a small lot, with no room to really do anything with.
Very nice house, beautifully maintained, wonderful wooded lot with HUGE trees (the whole neighborhood was like this), but just not anything like what we're looking for.
Last place was a "Oh NOOOOOO!" kind of place. 3br, 1ba, dinky one-car garage that appeared to have been a living space at one time, and LINOLEUM FLOORS in two of the bedrooms!
One of the bedrooms had some, uh...."unusual" light fixtures hung from the ceiling, and my step-son busted up and said "GROW ROOM!" as soon as he saw them.
Even the realtor said the place was over priced, and we all had a good chuckle about it.
I had a fairly good idea of what areas I think we'd both be happy in, but my wife is still "learning" these things. She can't read a map to save here life, so when I show her things on Google Earth and Google Maps, she just can't make the connection to the real world.
The first three places were up in the North part of Fort Collins, and the LaPorte area, the area I'd really like, and she pretty much agrees with me now that she's had her "boots on the ground" in those areas. It's close to important services, like a good hospital (we're not getting younger!), a 20~30 minute drive into Fort Collins proper for "Major Shopping Excursions", and yet far enough out that it feels like rural living.
After living in the L.A. area for the last 34 years, I'm sure ready to get back to something like the area I grew up in, and she's pretty tired of the traffic, congestion, and crime, too.
Took a few pix of the area outside Bellvue where the kids are living now, and I'll get those posted tomorrow. I wouldn't mind living there, but my sweet little wife wouldn't like the isolation.