Monday, March 12, 2012

Unicorn Criteria

It's amazing how my unicorn criteria list has changed over the years for a home.  When I purchased my condo in 2003, all I wanted was a fireplace, a separate dinning room and parking.  I yielded on the parking and have grown to regret it.
View from my deck, faces West

I did luck out and get a west facing deck that has some very nice sunsets during the warmer parts of the year.

This is my old list circa August 2010:

Prerequisites: I want a house, not a condo or a townhome, but a bone fide house. I’m partial to Victorians, but warming up to 4-squares. Also, the more recent things like the roof, the windows and the mechanics have been updated the better.

  • Proximity to the Blue Line: I don't like to drive and would prefer to be able to walk to a Blue Line station, preferable within less than a mile. Bonus if there is a Metra Station nearby.
  • Basement: It needs to be tall enough for a 6' 2" fellow to stand upright in it. As long as it provides good storage and can also double as a workshop and workout room, I'm happy. Bonus if it is finished or partially finished and turned into a ManCave or entertainment room.
  • Attic: Bonus if it's finished but if not, one that has potential to be expanded is ideal. I saw a place that had the water pipes run up to the attic already so that creating a dream master bedroom with bathroom, whirlpool and separate shower was a possibility later down the line. My understandings running the pipes up is a big part of the cost so having this already done is a must.
  • Fireplace or at least a spot to put in a fumeless one.
  • Garage: 2 car or more. Carport might be okay but would prefer a place to safely park my car, a future wife's car and our bicycles.
  • Kitchen: updated. I do not want to renovate a kitchen or any other room really.

Now that I've spent more time researching costs and doing my own DIY repairs and working on my mom's crapshack moneypit in Humboldt Park, I have a better understanding of what work I can handle and what work I would need to farm out to professionals.

Given where we are in life and my age, Nightingale and I have come to realize that we don't want to live in a home that always has some section under construction. Therefore, a fixer-upper is probably out of the question.

Today we're looking for a place that is Move-in-Ready (versus Move-in-Condition) and doesn't need any mandatory renovations.  Perhaps if I suddenly win the lottery or decide I have too much money in the bank and decide I want to drop a wall to increase the size of the a room or something.
A carport instead of a garage is unacceptable, though in addition to a garage wouldn't hurt our feelings.  And the basement and attic have to be closer to finished than unfinished.  Honestly, some days I think adding a fireplace would be the limit and even then I'd probably pay someone else to do the entire job instead of jsut connect the gas.

Proximity to the expressways is important and so it walkability.  We want to be able to walk to good restaurants, stores and parks.  In 2010 I wrote that "to get the majority of a wish list it might be necessary sacrifice one or two items." In 2012 and beyond, not so much.

Sunset at night (spring)

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