Our lease runs out at the end of January, and we're thinking about moving to a bigger place.
In the four years we've been here (yeah, we just crossed the four year mark the other day) we've often thought about trying to buy as well. We go through these phases where we really feel like buying, then we run the numbers and run screaming back to the warm bosom of renting.
A couple of months ago we had the most serious foray into buying. We'd just checked out the models for Mondrian and we really liked the floorplan for Bleu, and found the price to be the least breathtaking of anything we'd looked at in the Bay Area.
I got as far as talking to mortgage brokers and running the numbers, and the things that killed it for us were the property taxes and homeowners association fees. The monthly repayments would have been doable, but it'd have really been a ball and chain. We're over here to see the country as much as anything else, and if the mortgage is going to be a significant impedance on our ability to travel, then there isn't really any point in doing it.
So we sadly passed up on Mondrian.
The three bedroom townhouses in our current complex are going for around the $2500 a month mark, which is a pretty serious jump on what we're paying now for our two bedroom one, so Sarah's been scouring Craigslist for anything better.
She found a 2 bedroom plus loft condo being rented privately in Mountain View, which we took at look at on Wednesday. The immediately downsides are it's older (the kitchen and bathroom are really a bit dated) and has no data cabling (this is something I've really loved about our current place) and no microwave oven included. The upsides are it's significantly bigger (about 500 square feet larger), the kitchen has heaps of cupboards, it has a washer and dryer, a lock-up garage, a small, fairly private yard (the rent includes a gardener), and it has what looks like a communal garden bed (the thing that really caught my eye were the compost bins).
So I think overall, as long as we can live with the kitchen and bathroom, it's going to be an improvement on where we are now. The windows are all double glazed, so it should be fairly well insulated. It's got a gas furnace and gas hot water, and I think the landlord pays for the water, so I think the utilities would at best come out the same as what we're paying here.
We've decided to put an application in for it and see what happens. The landlord is living overseas, so we're dealing with a real estate agent for the letting. Apparently we'd be paying the rent via PayPal or something. He's got a home warranty arrangement for maintenance, which sounds like it'll be pretty good.
Meanwhile, Sarah was scouring Redfin and found a house nearby that is for sale (a short sale), which is pretty reasonably priced. We've called up a real estate agent, and we're taking a look at it tomorrow, just because we can.