We are house-hunting.
To be truthful, I am a Real Estate voyeur. I don’t know if there’s a twelve step programme, but if there isn’t, I don’t want it, because to want to change you first have to acknowledge that there is a problem. It seems a pretty harmless vice to me, given the alternatives.
But now my voyeuring has turned into firm wanting. I can’t bring myself to say needing, because I’m probably a 1%-er. Well, 2%-er anyway, by world standards. And we have a solid house with more space than lots of people in the world. It’s warm, well-insulated and easy to heat by New Zealand standards (admittedly not a high standard…). And we’ve chosen paint and finishings to our taste, and we’ve lived in it for twelve years now, so it has history for us too.
But our children keep getting taller, and having firmer views about privacy, and so, in our over-privileged world, we find ourselves hankering after a second bathroom. Also, our children’s rooms are quite small: things like desks and decent storage won’t fit in them. We looked at extending, but the cost would have meant solid over-capitalising, so we decided to not.
The problem is that I have been a Real Estate voyeur for a long time. And I’ve been an environmental epidemiologist specialising in housing for the most recent 10 years of that. So I have very firm ideas about what we’re looking for.
So far, noone seems to be selling it.
I thought I’d put it out to the universe in the hope that the universe will listen.
First, where it should be, location.
We like Newtown. We’ve lived in Newtown for over 15 years. If I could get what I want in Newtown, I would be very happy.
I would also be happy with Mt Cook, or Mt Victoria, or Te Aro. We’ve looked at places in other areas that in theory we might settle for – Brooklyn, or Hataitai, for example – but just can’t quite talk ourselves into them.
It also can’t be on a busy road, nor near a major arterial route, because noise and air pollution.
Second, but only just second, orientation.
The property MUST be well-oriented for the sun. That means the private outdoor living space and indoor living areas must be oriented to a compass-point somewhere between North-north-east and due West. The kitchen is allowed to be oriented to the East, but not the rest of the living area.
We both have ageing parents, and we’d prefer to age-in-place ourselves when the time comes. That means level access from footpath to the front door. A few steps is OK, but really no more than 4, and it must be possible to make it wheelchair accessible if necessary. That also means that ideally it’s single-story, but if there’s more than one story, there must be a bedroom on the entry level.
The house should have three good-sized bedrooms, two bathrooms (only one needs to have a bath; both must have a shower), a kitchen/dining area and two living areas. One of the living areas should be able to be closed off so that on the rare occasions people come to stay they can sleep in there; and also so that we can have the piano and the television in separate spaces – though that could be achieved in some other way. All up that means that the house is going to be at least 150m2.
The house also needs some outdoor living space with dirt (rather than just a deck, for example).
However, the house doesn’t have to have all these size-related points right now, so long as it’s possible to add them on and the value of the house will carry it.
Um… under NZ$1.2million please!