Thursday, June 7, 2012

Housing Log

This past week was full of foul weather followed by my daughter catching a cough. As a result, we haven't had a chance to enjoy the outdoors. Hopefully over the long weekend we will take a trip to the interior or Jervis Bay. Either way it gives me a chance to do a blog post on all the moving I've encountered in my life. There are sparse statistics to support that 1 out of every six Americans move a year, putting your lifetime relocation number at 12. Since I've more than doubled that, I've decided to tally a reverse chronological post about each location, size, etc. I consider any dwelling in which you received mail and slept in for over a month to count as occupancy, putting my total at roughly 25. 15 in suburbia, 10 apartments/dorms. Among my top three favorites are all ones that reside on water (big surprise?).  What have I learned from all this moving? That choosing the right neighborhood will make or break an experience over the right dwelling. Size of house really doesn't matter over location and (sometimes) privacy. I hope my children will learn to grow and appreciate this fact as well.

2011-?? Mosman, NSW 2088
  • Estimate$2.3-2.7 million
  • Rent
    Feature: oceanfront
  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 2.5
    Sqft: 1600




Built in the 1930's, this Tudor era home has a terra cotta roof and one original tile bathroom. There is TONS of light in the house, a feature I love and that keeps it naturally warm in winter. No heat or AC, but the pool and view compensate for this. The yard and basement feel like a nice added bonus but access to public transport is tricky. Sitting at the bottom of a steep hill is great for calves, not so great for personal hygiene heading to work. I could also have grown to despise convection ovens.

2010-11 Dunwoody, GA 30338
  • Zestimate®$298,000
  • Rent Zestimate®: $1,800/mo
    Feature: culdesac, private

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 2.5
    Sqft: 2,332




There is nothing incredibly remarkable about this house other than a decent sized yard and location. Built in the 70's, it actually has pretty poor lighting and landscaping. We did our best to tear out vines and cut back the bushes that were terribly overgrown when we arrived. The previous owners also rented this property and lived abroad, so it could use some tlc. The culdesac sits behind a brand new elementary school (bonus) and is far removed from all road noise. The 18+ giant pine trees produce their fair share of yard litter, but I prefer them to no trees. No basement, but friendly neighbors and I love the old Dunwoody neighborhood appeal with its sidewalks and pines. Marta made visiting other parts of Atlanta a breeze.

09 - 10  Marietta GA 30066 
  • Zestimate®$148,600
  • Our Rent: $1,100/mo
    Feature: culdesac, flowers

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 2.0
    Sqft: 1,693




We contemplated purchasing this home when first moving to Atlanta - it would have been the easy thing to do. The biggest deterring factor was the road noise behind the house. The interior and exterior were in mint shape. The lot, however, was not private and was part of a questionable school district. I didn't care for the northern Marietta location, being legions away from Paul's monthly commute to the airport. This ranch style would be perfect for an older retired couple.


09fall Munster Germany 48147


  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $
    Feature: Balcony, modern, view

  • Beds: 4 
    Baths: 2
    Sqft: 1500





After moving so many times, there is something to be said for arriving to a furnished home complete with teapot and fresh towels. Indeed the more I move, the more I think this is how it should be. We were lucky to find such a nice location in Kreuzviertel in spite of having to wait a month to occupy it. The modern German kitchen was my favorite of any house to date, just the right size and so practical. Every chef should have a nice view when cooking! The large plank floors and heated bathrooms were a nice bonus. Not having an elevator to the third floor or a car were two of the more challenging aspects of this move. 


08wntr West Chester, OH 45069
  • Zestimate®$414,800
  • Rent Zestimate®: $400/mo
    Feature: golf course

  • Beds: 5
    Baths: 4.5
    Sqft: 5,088




For six months we lived with my parents while our daughter was born in Cincinnati. It was a huge relief having the extra set of hands, and a great way to share the new parent/grandparent experience. This house is very tall with a full basement and kitchen. It is private on three out of four sides, but overlooks a fairly busy road. To the west it it overlooks hole 17 and a goose pond.  The practicality of occupying something so large doesn't appeal to me, but the schools and golf community aspect do. And who doesn't love having grandma and grandpa around?!

07fall Guilderland NY 12084
  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $815/mo
    Feature: golf course view 

  • Beds: 1
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 900




Of all the places we have lived, this one has to be among my least favorite. Pregnancy hormones aside, the 2am fighting neighbors made it hard to sleep. We sublet from an Indian couple who left a nice thick curry above the kitchen stove. That took a good three days of bleach to clean out. Snow is also tons of fun in winter, but not so much when your digging your car out for work at 6am at six months pregnant. There was a library very close by and a community gym/pool, but I wouldn't consider Guilderland as one of my personal favorite communities.


07wtr Serria Barcelona Spain 08017
  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $
    Feature: bakery, public transport

  • Beds: 3
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 1100




Viva Catalunya! We shared this tiny flat with a friend while Paul finished business school and I finally got to have a gap year seeing Europe. There was little to no sunlight, but the galley kitchen and large bathroom were updated. We were poor poor college students with no TV, car, or responsibilities. We took public transport everywhere, to every corner of Barcelona and beyond. This apartment served its need well with just the right amount of space. I would not consider living there now with kids due to lack of yard and sunlight.

05-07  Ann Arbor, MI 48104


  • Estimate$
  • Our Rent: $750/mo
    Feature: 

  • Beds: 1
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 500




This tiny little house just off Packard street is subdivided into four apartments with adjacent garage parking. It still gets a decent amount of road noise, but is far enough off campus to avoid party crowds. The location is ideal for Michigan football games, and I grew very fond of the south side of A2. Sidewalks, trees, fall foliage (pictured above from my Zell Laurie office), and tailgates. The apartment got plenty of light, but had no updates. The bedroom was big enough for a queen bed and that's it. The nearby shops were not so great, so I regularly drove a few extra miles for groceries. We could bike to work and school, even in the winter. Overall the great neighborhood compensated for a dwelling to small to host any company.

05smr Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
  • Zestimate®$265,700
  • Our Rent
    Est. Mortgage: 

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 3.0
    Sqft: 1,376




For a brief transitional period in time I boarded with Paul and his roomates in Wappinger Falls. This home had 3 bedrooms on the top level, and one in the basement that the owner used. The vaulted ceilings and long wooded driveway was a nice feature. The owner was very practical and cleared just enough land around the home to keep trees from posing a menace to the structure. I grew to love the Hannafords nearby and winding commute through Wappinger Falls. Another ranch style home just the right size for a family of four in a nice location.


03-05 Carmel NY 10512
  • Zestimate®$273,000
  • Our Rent: $600/mo
    Feature: Waterfront

  • Beds: 3
    Baths: 2.0
    Sqft: 1,428





This house was actually an old barn converted by a doctor living in the ajacent property. It sits on lake Carmel, though the waterfront is technically public land. The zen style garden in the back was just as big a selling point to me, though at this stage in my life I would look into building a garage. Parking was tight with two renters, but privacy was good. Lake Carmel isn't the cleanest, as everyone is on septic systems instead of public water. Each floor had a room which allowed everyone to spread out nicely. The top two rooms had a nice view of the lake which we put a tiny sailboat and kayak on. The size of this house felt just right for me, though the layout is not ideal for a family.

03smr New York NY 10017
  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $
    Feature: Manhattan 

  • Beds: 1
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 200


As I checked out of the Radison on Lexington Ave for the last time, I gaped at the $15,000 hotel bill. "What kind of company can afford such an atrocious overhead?" I thought. Little did I know so much of my future life would be living in similar fashion, hotel room style. It is also worth noting you do not receive your Radison points unless you check out and back in every 10 days. Doh! Being in NYC at 23 I felt pretty cocky - like I had arrived and made it in life. I remember going to coach and buying the most expensive hat in the store the first week I was there. Summer of 2003 was also the famous power grid failure. I was in the basement of the Deuche Bank building, configuring a bunch of towers when the lights went out. We all scrambled outside, over cockroaches to the street level. My parents phoned me right away, a little freaked out. Did I mention I was on the 26th floor? With no elevator and no way out of the city there was only one thing to do, have a street party. A Jewish restaurant put their wares (beer, food) onto the street for pedestrians. At first I thought it very generous, but I could tell they were nervous about looting. How would you stop it without electricity? As the Rabbi bound his wrists and chanted over and over nervously to himself, three IBMers and I thanked him for the alcohol and made our way to time square to check out the action. One man carried a sign, "This is only my first day in America" My first exposure to big city living was exciting and surreal. 


02-03 Fishkill NY 12524


  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $1800/mo
    Feature: Pool, gym

  • Beds: 3
    Baths: 2
    Sqft: 1300







01-02 Duhme Hall West Lafayette IN 47906 
  • Estimate$
  • Rent: FREE (counselor)
    Feature: Privacy, no roomies 

  • Beds: 1
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 100



01summer Fishkill NY 12524


  • Zestimate®$470,300
  • Rent Zestimate®: $600
    Feature: Pond, hiking, private

  • Beds: 6
    Baths: 3.0
    Sqft: 2,640






00-01 West Lafayette, IN 47906 
  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $
    Feature: Sorority life 

  • Beds:1 
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 1500



00smr  Hudson OH 44236
  • Zestimate®$423,100
  • Rent Zestimate®: $2,578/mo
    Feature: Horse farm, pond

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 4.0
    Sqft: 4,004




99-00 Hillenbrand Hall, West Lafayette, IN 47906 
  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $
    Feature: Private bath 

  • Beds: 1
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 400



99smr Hudson OH 44236
  • Zestimate®$156,100
  • Rent Zestimate®: $1,392/mo
    Feature: 

  • Beds: 3
    Baths: 2.0
    Sqft: 1,366











98-99 Earhart Hall, West Lafayette IN 47906 

  • Estimate$
  • Rent: $
    Feature: Enginerds!

  • Beds: 1
    Baths: 1
    Sqft: 200



94-98 Dublin OH 43017 


  • Zestimate®$407,900
  • Rent Zestimate®: $2,749/mo
    Feature: Finished basement

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 3.5
    Sqft: 3,205






92-94 Novi, MI 48374 


  • Zestimate®$389,100
  • Rent Zestimate®: $3,043/mo
    Feature: garden, double bay win

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 3.5
    Sqft: 3,075





92smr Sturgis, MI 49099
  • Zestimate®$469,400
  • Rent Zestimate®: $1,511/mo
    Feature: Waterfront

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 2.5
    Sqft: 3000?



90-92 Lima OH 45805 


  • Zestimate®$220,400
  • Rent Zestimate®: $1,831/mo
    Feature: Finished basement

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 2.5
    Sqft: 2,840





87-90  Northville, MI 48167


  • Zestimate®$294,200
  • Rent Zestimate®: $2,228/mo
    Feature: School playground

  • Beds: 4
    Baths: 2.5
    Sqft: 2,242






80-87 Canton, MI 48187 
  • Zestimate®$129,000
  • Rent Zestimate®: $1,409/mo
    Feature: 

  • Beds: 3
    Baths: 2.0
    Sqft: 1,488




Honorable Mentions: 1008 23rd street, south bend IN 46615
  • Zestimate®$69,400
  • Rent Zestimate®: $715/mo
    Feature: Grape vines, alleys
  • Beds: 3
    Baths: 1.5
    Sqft: 1,536





Honorable Mentions: Grandma's house

  • Zestimate®$104,800
  • Rent Zestimate®: $961/mo
    Feature: Grandparents
  • Beds: 3
    Baths: 1.5
    Sqft: 1,719

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