Sunday, August 4, 2013

House Hunters in Tucson

I've lived in an apartment for the last seven years (and for Robb it's been eight), so after reviewing our finances (woot for being debt free) and the crazy low interest rates, we decided to buy a house (and the prospect of really settling down before baby girl comes was a huge motivator too).

So we packed up our bags, left Colby boy with family (Jordan and Em for day 1 and Brett and Megan for days 2-4), and hopped on a high speed train from Provo to SLC. This was my first time leaving Colby for more than a 12 hour shift and it. was. hard...I probably would've broken down and cried, but we almost missed our train and the necessary sprinting was a good distraction.
I love the train. We sat on the top level and enjoyed views usually hidden to us when on the freeway (like the Jordan River). Our flight was almost unremarkable, until we boarded. The pilot announced there was a large amount of paperwork that needed doing before we could take off. I thought he was joking, but we sat there for an hour (Robb and I passed the time by playing Sudoku). We arrived in Phoenix fifteen minutes after our connecting flight was scheduled to leave, only to discover it was delayed. We ran from one end of the airport to the other, Robb with all the luggage, and me trying hustle my pregnant self along. We arrived, puffing, at the correct terminal, saw our plane, and begged the attendant to let us in. She refused. I guess once the plane is disconnected from the terminal the flight is considered on time, regardless of when the plane actually gets we sat and stared at our plane for a good 20 minutes before it took off. Our new flight left ninety minutes later. 
:: Day 1:Tucson is hot and MUCH greener than I expected. We found our hotel (clean and cheap with a somewhat sketchy elevator) and met, Tad, our real estate agent. In an hour he explained the finer points of buying a home, defined a bunch of unfamiliar terminology, and set the game plan for the next few days. This left the evening free, but in our exhausted state all we wanted was a light dinner (our airport pizza was very heavy) and bed.
So we went to Safeway and got breakfast essentials, snacks, and the dinner we desired. Eating salad without forks was entertaining (thankfully there were plastic cups in our room to put it in) and made the whole night feel a bit like camping out.

:: Day 2: We saw 13 houses in the Tucson suburb, Sahuarita, and left with two serious contenders: the European house and the Compass house. Tad encouraged us to give nicknames to the houses we liked most and then only focus on the top three. In the European house we met the owners (who needed to be present by request of their tenants) and the entire time we were there, she kept apologizing for the mess saying over and over (in regards to their tenants), "they're European" and "they live very differently than we do" and the Compass house simply had a tile compass in the kitchen...a little weird, but not a deal breaker.
Tad took us to lunch at the little place called Michah's and I fell in love with their green tamales.

Then we went to visit our friends, the Caltons, for the evening. We left that night well fed, reassured about life in Arizona, and excited to be near such a wonderful family again.

:: Day 3: We visited 4 houses in the city of Vale (only one was a contender) and then revisited our two favorites from the day before. Deep down we both knew which house we wanted, but a casual comment from Robb about squeezing four or five kids into a three bedroom house made me rethink our housing search and it took another hour before I felt comfortable enough to proceed. That evening we put in an offer for the European house
The whole process was much longer and required more paperwork than I expected (HGTV gave me unrealistic expectations).
That night we visited Lindy's on 4th for dinner. The food was decent (I had mac and cheese on my hamburger while Robb's was covered in an egg and tator tots), but on the whole the place was a little too edgy/crude for us and we probably won't go back.

:: Day 4: We gave them until 1:00 to respond to our offer and had nothing to do until then. So we went to El Guero Canelo for their legendary Sonoran Dogs.
And then to San Xavier for a tour of their gorgeous monastery, nicknamed the White Dove (we missed the actual tour by ten minutes, so we'll have to come back someday), when we heard the good news: offer accepted!
The house won't actually close until September 10th since there are still tenants living there, so it's back to Utah for another three weeks before this move becomes permanent.

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