The field trip to Philly was very helpful for us. We looked at three different areas and it was sort of calming to get a sense of imagining our life there. Obviously nothing got settled yesterday as we are still very much in the absorbing stage of things in terms of location and financial reality, but like I said it was helpful.

Something that is interesting is how very different an apartment can be in increments of $200.

A. The first place we saw was an apartment in an ok part of town but still technically in The City. It was above a business and the store owner owned the apartment. The apartment was obviously an office building very recently so it was a quirky lay out.

B. The second place was in the suburbs- a specific suburb that I totally fell in love with as we were driving around. It was sort of creaky and unusual, but could work.

C. The third place we saw was in the same suburb. It had every item we could put on a wish list.

And the difference in price between A and B is $150. The difference in price between B and C is $150. Which makes the difference between place A and place C $300. Which might as well be a million bucks at this point.

It’s a tricky little brain thing to sort of be ok with the price of place B. It would be at the top of our budget. But then look at place C and think, “but we could have EVERYTHING for just $150 more!” So hard, but this is why budgets exist. And why I make lists.

And since I am dragging you guys on this apartment quest you can romp through the lists with me. Get ready for the pros and cons.

Place A:
Pro:                                                    Con:
3 bedrooms                                      odd layout of bedrooms
hardwood floors                              loud stairs
1/2 mile to bus                                 commute could be 45 min+
walking distance to library            very loud street
in affordable range                         no place to park car
landlord on site                               landlord on site
bustling neighborhood                  no outdoor space or park nearby
washer/dryer included                  would need LOTS of childproofing (wires all over)

Place B:
Pro:                                                     Con:
Great neighborhood                        bit of yard to maintain
street parking/ garage                    small-ish kitchen
sunroom                                            laundry is in basement with stairs of doom
large dining room                            would need to drive Mom to train/bus/trolley
washer/dryer included                   no real yard space
3 bedrooms                                       top of affordable range
allowed to paint “W room”            would need to purchase window a/c units
basement for storage
very bright
hardwood floors
walking distance to park
top of affordable range
ceiling fans in many rooms

Place C:
Pro:                                                       Con:
4 bedrooms                                         not sure if owners would approve dog
1 1/2 baths                                          out of our price range
finished basement
working fireplace
hardwood floors
street parking + garage
huge dining room
eat in kitchen
huge kitchen
washer/dryer included
all new appliances
central air
great bedroom layout
beautiful street
1 block from train station
fenced in backyard

So as you can imagine it was pretty brutal to see a place that was pinch worthy perfect and have it be beyond our reach. And the realtor that was working with us in this suburb is super sweet and absolutely gets our life situation, but at the same time…she couldn’t stop herself from showing us this family utopia.

We can only hope that other such suburbs exist and other such houses exist and exist within our budget. Option B is still an option, but I worry about rushing. Don’t get me wrong there is a massive part of me that just wishes I had the lump sum due so we could be done with searching and settle in a bit and start this next chapter. But that just isn’t going to happen right now- time to be pragmatic about that.

We’ll head back up next weekend to check out more neighborhoods and more options.

In the meantime there are safety nets that are in place and I am incredibly thankful for that. Mother has a place to sleep when her job starts. I am pretty sure W and I have a place we can hunker down. It’s going to be JUST FINE. But oh this need for it all to be done is huge. But have you heard? My Mother has a job!

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