Friday, July 22, 2016

House Hunting in Fort Collins

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.


  1. I hope you find what you are looking for. I know how exhausting it is to have to find just the right place.

    1. Yep. My wife wants something that's "95% Turn Key". She doesn't want to move into a new place and have to do the carpet/paint/roof/furnace/water heater routine!

      She's looking forward to doing some minor things, but the big stuff has to be good-to-go before we sign.

      NO house with "Good Bones" that need everything else will even be allowed on our "Let's look at this one" list....

  2. Finding the right place is important. I know that there's always a compromise no matter what, but don't compromise on THE GARAGE!!!

    1. Shop area is a MUST, and she's with me 100% on it.

      I've already budgeted $25k to build something, which my daughter-in-law's father tells me will get me a NICE garage/shop.

      He should know, as that's what he does.

  3. Bellevue/LaPorte is a nice area. HWY 287 is a two lane bottle neck that will be "under construction" for years to come. Not necessarily a deal breaker but something to keep in mind.

    1. Yeah, 287 has been like that for the last three years. Looks like they're making good progress on it, but growing up in the Midwest, I fully understand how construction projects like that come to a screeching halt in the winter time!

      I mapped out a different way to go to get up there that eliminates going through Fort Collins, and bypasses most of the work on the 287.

      I head out of town to the West on Horsetooth, and then head North on some of the other roads.

      Saves about 20 minutes.

  4. I'm with LL. Don't compromise on your shop space. You'll have to figure where antennas go, and all that stuff, but I can't tell you how much my shop (addition) means to me.

    Also, Well Seasoned Fool brings up an important point, and local knowledge is critical. Around here, there's a stretch of interstate that is ALWAYS under construction. They seem to go from one end to the other and then start over. I'd avoid that like the plague.

    1. GOTTA have a shop, and the wife is in 100% support mode on that!

      She wants the "Radio Room" OUT of the house (she considers it "clutter", and she HATES "clutter"!), and I need a place to work on my project car and keep all my tools, drill press, grinder, vise, etc.

      If an existing garage meets my space requirements, we have no problem getting it well insulated, and running a gas line for a heater.

      If the existing garage doesn't meet my space requirements, then the property MUST have enough room and access to plant another building on it.

      So far, two of the five we looked at either had a good garage, or had enough space to plant one.

  5. Looking is exciting and tiring, exhilarating and frustrating all at the same time. If it's a competitive market, get a bid in early, with a clause to get out if something with less competition becomes available. But sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck!

    1. Oh, yeah!

      Between running around all day at 5000' elevation, and then a big dinner with the kids (our treat), my wife and I were pretty wiped out when we got back to the hotel!

  6. Hope you find just what you're looking for. Best of luck to you with your search.

  7. Given what I'm seeing in the news about housing prices, the ones you're mentioning seem quite reasonable. Good thing you aren't looking in Denver / Boulder.

    Downside is, no nearby battleships.

    Upside is, CO is a great place to work SOTA, if that's something you want to try.

    1. I wouldn't want to live in the Denver Metro area! I've had more than enough "Big City" living for two lifetimes.

  8. Ah yes, the 'fun' of house hunting...

    1. So far it'd been relatively painless.

      I'm expecting the "Major Hurt" to start occurring when we start packing to move......

  9. You will find that house, just keep pushing forward. When you find a house that has an offer, don't give up, put your offer in too. The house that was your wife's dream house with three offers, go for it anyway. Present a full price offer to the home owner and then mention that any repairs needed as a result of the home inspect will be on you.


Keep it civil, please....

OK, Beans and Rev Paul.....Here She Is!

 Delivered this morning by a nice young gentleman who used a pallet jack to place it exactly where I wanted it. Open the lid, and..... Very ...