You know what gets my goat? That tuition isn’t tax deductible in Montana. Nevermind that we’ve been funneling well over half our income into the state coffers via the university system. Americorps education awards are taxable income, so we are literally paying money to the state on money that is 100% going to the state. I mean really? Really?
Granted, by the time we get the Federal refund and pay state taxes, we still come out a grand total of $10 ahead. But regardless, I’m ready to be done with shelling out cash to school. Because (not to jinx anything two weeks before my defense), graduation bells are right around the corner.
Which means we are moving on up, away from our beloved Missoula, into a brighter and better future. Literally brighter – even though we are moving just an hour and a half away, our new town gets way more sunlight than Missoula’s bowl shape allows. Although I am pretty sad to leave, after all, this is the only place in Montana I’ve ever called home, I am looking forward to a fresh start.
And most of all, a new apartment.
Our place is small. It’s nice, it’s cheap, and it works, but it is small. It’s the perfect size for the two of us, but I would love something bigger. Not because there is going to be three of us any time soon, but because I love having people over. I’m no entertainer; I’m not even much of a people person, but to me, a home should be open. One of my absolute favorite memories of college was our Thursday night potlucks my roommate and I hosted post-graduation. I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and unexpectedly found myself in Williamsburg for the summer with a few other misfits. We hosted potlucks for anyone who cared to come – the guy from my speech class, good friends from freshman year, a friend’s fiance who had just moved to town, underclassmen doing research – you name it.
It was an absolute blast. And I miss it. Our 512 sq feet have hosted more guests than you would have expect, but it would still be wonderful to have things like a guest room. Or a dinner table.
A dinner table that you don’t have to drag to the middle of the living room if you want to sit three people around it, anyway.
This longing for a new place has led to a lot of House Hunters watching. While I’m trying to keep the envy, jealousy, and materialism in check, it makes me want MORE. BETTER. NEW. But you don’t get dream homes when you’re 25. And so I can live without open concepts, granite countertops, clawfoot tubs, hardwood floors. But just for the fun of it, here’s our list of things we are going to look for in a new place. No idea if this comes off as too demanding, but I feel it’s reasonable.
* Small house, apartment, or (most preferably) a town house/duplex
* 2-3 bedrooms - I would love to have a guest room! We technically have 2 bedrooms now, but one is being used as an office which we won’t need when we aren’t students.
* Dishwasher – I haven’t had one 3 out of the past 4 years. I want one. NOW.
* Not out of town – We only have one car and have no desire to buy another, so something within biking/busing range is essential!
Negotiables we still feel strongly about
These are things that we really want, but could compromise on if need be.
* Washer/dryer - This is more or less a criteria, BUT I would consider an apartment that has coin-op in the same building. Laundromats are out of the question.
* Pet friendly - We want to keep the options open.
* Budget – There’s a little wiggle room here. The rule of thumb I hear is that no more than 30% of your income should go to housing costs. We’re going to apply that rule to one of our incomes, which I think will be plenty for this area.
* Close to one job (probably John’s) - The issue here is that I don’t have a job yet, so there’s no sense in planning a place around where I will work. However, if I get a job where I’ve been applying, we’ll work across the street from each other. And if that’s the case, we’ll carpool so it won’t really matter if we’re super close or not.
In a perfect (yet still somewhat realistic) world
* No wood panelling – Each of the three places I’ve lived in the past four years have had it. I’m sick of it.
* Two bathrooms – The whole “peeing all the time” thing I have going on can be difficult when there are two of you attempting to use the same 3 x 7 ft room.
* Yard – Even if we don’t get a dog, having a yard would be lovely.
* Paintable – My folks got cable when I was 12, so I have been watching HGTV for 13 years and have been dying to paint a place ever since. I know most rentals don’t let you paint, so if/when we ever buy a house I’m going ALL Sherman-Williams on that place. Beware.
* Fireplace – A real wood burning one. So cozy.
* Bathroom without pedestal sink – Hate trying to balance the soap on the edge of the counter and it falling off constantly.
* Garage – Really one I don’t really care about or even plan on looking for, but if we’re talking a perfect world, hey why not?
So what would your dream place look like right now?