House Hunters

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Our plea

We didn’t get the Fremont house. And it’s bumming me out. House hunting is just the pits. It’s enough to make me want to buy a house just so I never have to do this again. Not that I can afford a house. Or that owning a house is easy. Really, I would prefer that the perfect apartment show up on my door step with a large bunch of dahlias and a bottle of bourbon. That would be ideal. Killer apartment, please note I’m a Bulleit fan.

The Seattle housing market is nuts. In my “good student” mind it shouldn’t be so challenging for two young women with stable jobs, good rental history, and excellent references to find an apartment. But it is. And people are duking it out over not that nice places! We spent two minutes inside an apartment by SU before knowing it was too cramped, tiny, dirty, dated and oddly laid out for us to live in. And yet, several people had checkbooks out ready to hand insane sums of cash over to the building owner.

As activists, we talk a lot about wage stagnation, gentrification, and people being priced out of the city. While we’re not there quite yet, I’m feeling the pinch. I do know that I’m willing to eat a whole lot of plain brown rice for hardwood floors. I know I need natural light. I could survive without a yard but I need a decent sized kitchen. I’m an extrovert but my home, my personal space, is where the very important work of recharging happens. I need to feel like I can stretch out and make it mine. After several years of sacrificing my space due to finances, relationships, and other goals I want a home with the least amount of compromises possible.

I feel like a big, giant whiner because I demand all these pretty things and then lament that I seemingly can’t afford them. But, oof, I want them. And the hunt, the mad sprint to see it first, the application decision that needs to be made NOW, the waiting, and then the heartbreak of not getting it just wears on you. There is a lovely space out there for us. But damn if it isn’t making us work at it.

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2 thoughts on “House Hunters

  1. Walkability, natural light, architectural interest…I wanted all of that (and had it in multiple residences in Chicago). In the end we had to prioritize walkability above all else, once the reality of Seattle real estate hit home. It’s quite a rude awakening after Chicago, which has a much greater supply of housing and unless you’re in the burbs, most neighborhoods are quite walkable.

    The Seattle Times had an interesting editorial on the impact and the reactions to housing demand that exceeds supply. Obviously basic economic principles tells us to add more housing until demand and supply reach an equilibrium. But, that’s an uphill battle with homeowners in many neighborhoods.

    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/opinionnw/2013/10/23/affordable-housings-nimby-problem-in-seattle/

    • Thanks for the link! I admit, I was skeptical because the Times is usually so bad about transit-oriented development.

      Picking an apartment/house is a complex matrix of overall space, storage, commute time, parking for Kat, overall neighborhood feel (coffee shops, bars, restaurants), and general ability to live car-free. It’s clear to me that a decent segment of people in Seattle are willing to give up their cars wholly or partially and increasing density around centralized transit options is the best way to do that.

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