A Suburban Girls Southern Diary: Part Two – House Hunting

When I posted Part One of ASGSD, Gina at My Own Brand of Crazy suggested I do a whole House Hunters show just like on HGTV.  You have to know how much I heart House Hunters.  At night unless one of four shows is on, the tv is tuned to HGTV.

So Gina, today’s post is for you.

First let me introduce you to my Realtor God with a Blackberry.  His name is Mike.  He rocks.  When I say He Rocks, I really, really mean it.  You want to know anything about N Ky? He’s your man.  You want a handyman, a banker, an insurance agent, a school supervisor, a good place to eat, a good place to shop (hello! GAP Clearance warehouse – $.49 jeans!); you don’t even have to ask.  He tells you.  I think we easily put 300 miles on his car in the two days (and I mean from 9 am to 6 pm for two solid days) that we were with him.  He knows everyone (and I do mean everyone).  And everyone knows Mike.  If you ever find yourself moving outside Cincinnati let me know.  I’ll hook you up with My Mike.

One of the greatest things other than actually showing us houses was that he asked us questions.  Important, probing questions that helped identify what we actually wanted.  Even when we didn’t know what we wanted.  Oh yes, he’s just that good. 

Here are the top three houses we’ve identified as clear winners.  See if you can pick the one we made an offer on (and hopefully the one will be lugging all our crap stuff into.  I can’t wait to see a moving truck tackle the driveway.)

Aslhouse1

House Choice Number One. 4 bed, 3 bath home with open concept kitchen and family room and one room finished basement.  Sloping backyard (or as they call it, Kentucky Flat).  Three car tandem garage (CP’s most favorite part). Downsides: sloping yard isn’t really useable for the kids and price is high.  Good: One year old, beautifully painted and would need no work.

fringeHouse2

House Choice Number Two: 4 bed, 4 baths with formal living and dining rooms plus a seperate study.  Granite kitchen with gourmet island (my favorite part), 3 car turned garage (CP’s favorite part), huge family room and kitchen with a fully finished basement with media room built ins.  Downsides: It’s a lot of space, more than we need and there are two flag lots behind the house (meaning a driveway alongside this one with two houses built in back whose front yards would face the backyard) so privacy is very limited.  Resell (cause let’s be realistic) would be harder.  Good: Gourmet kitchen, very nicely decorated with designer paint and touches, beautiful neighborhood, largest house and lot we’ve seen.

EasyHouse3

House Choice Number Three: 4 bed, 3 bath on a cul-de-sac street in a new development. 3 years old with large open concept family room/kitchen across the rear of the house.  Good size bedrooms, large finished basement, open catwalk upstairs and wonderful master suite.  Fenced level yard backing to wooded space/field with a large patio.  Downsides: One house on the street is still under construction so there will be noise and the road that runs near the back of the street will be widening to three lanes in the next two years.  Good: Very open floorplan with lots of space and light, great kitchen with upgraded stainless steel appliances, nice dark hardwood floor and very nice level yard.  Curb appeal a bonus.

Can you guess which house we picked?  Vote in the comments. I’ll tell you tomorrow what we picked.

The one thing I can say about Kentucky as a negative (as witnessed while waiting for my delayed flight back home to Philly) is the attitude of some people about East Coasters.  I was listening to the gate attendant talking with two people (who were from Philly) discussing the “terribly rude people” in that “dirty city”.  I wanted to jump up from the floor and set them straight in a very friendly, un-rude way.  I didn’t but it did make me wonder what perception people will have of us when we move.  I didn’t see a lot ethnic groups represented (though Toyota has a large facility in the area so some Japanese business men and women have a presence).  That will be a bit of a challange to find Chinese New Year celebrations for Chick’s heritage.

Do you live in a culturally diverse area?  Have you moved to a new place and found your welcome wagon a little less than welcoming?  How did you deal with it?

A Suburban Girls Southern Diary: Part One

In case anyone is interested in some…interesting reading.  I’m featured over at SciFi Dad’s blog today – Tales From the Dad Side.  Feel free to click and please make sure to defend my reputation.  I have no doubt he’s bound to say something….I’m off on a whirlwind thirty home tour.  Thus I am unable to stop by myself and tell it like it really is. 

I’ve decided to take an honest look at life in Kentucky and my first impressions.  So far, I’m incredibly impressed.  The people have been unbelievably friendly.  So friendly that at first I didn’t know how to react.  For instance take the picture below as an example.  When we reached our room at the hotel tonight (upgraded to a suite for free by the Guest Relations Queen CP met during his stay here last week), I found this and a note addressed to me welcoming me to the Holiday Inn.

Nice, n’est pas?


We were also greeted (by name no less) as we walked into the lobby by the hotel’s general manager.  Nice.
One of the amazing things about being here besides the friendly people and the general air of being in a place that is warm and inviting, was a sense of being…home.  It is not unlike where I grew up with rolling hills and open spaces.  It’s the polar opposite of where we live now – a noisy, crowded, congested suburban sprawl.  It’s refreshing and slightly hard to believe.  In this half day I’ve already realized that moving here will be someting of an alternate reality.  We’ve driven through neighborhoods very much gawk worthy on the way to homes that are still very-much-out-of-the-price-range, except they aren’t.  It’s a bit unsettling to know that the houses our realtor (who knows very well what we’ve been pre-approved for in a mortgage) is showing us some of these homes.  The fairy tale princess image comes into my mind and I wonder if I also get fairy mice to do the cleaning. 
Thus far we’ve seen a lot of cherry cabinets and quartz kitchens and hardwood floors and imposing brick fronts and a step-down master bedroom and my all-time favorite, the traditional Southern front porch.  And we’ve only been inside four homes so far.  I’m already completely lost on which house is which with still an entire day with the realtor to go.
After making the rounds driving the communities we stopped for some chili (brown chili, eh, nothing like my tomato based chili so I’m sticking with homemade) and headed out to drive through another neighborhood.  Of course we found even more to like that weren’t even on the realtor list of things we are going to see tomorrow.
The choices are daunting.
In the end I am very excited to be here and this is maybe part of the reason why.  We went to an Irish pub for dinner (bangers and mash, not extactly like the real Bangers and Mash of Ireland, which I’ve eaten in Ireland, but a close second – Claddagh Pub for those in the area).  As we headed down to Cincinnati to find the restaurant we came across a view of the city.  When we reached the restaurant we found it along the Ohio river and I captured this view of the city with my phone.
This is grainy and dark but the view itself through my eyes was amazing.  Despite all my jokes, those previous and those forthcoming about this Southern State, I think I’m going to easily find myself calling it home.
And it’s only day one.
Stay tuned for A Suburban Girls Southern Diary: Part Two…