How to Search for a New House

03.21.2006 | 3:49 pm

So, our house went on the market last Saturday, with a nice little open house at 1:00pm. I can’t tell you what it was like, because we got as far away from it as possible. Evidently, having the owners skulk around watching over everyone’s shoulders and looking for signs of interest isn’t the best way to make people feel comfortable.

Who knew?

Anyway, our clever strategy of having one of maybe three houses in this price range in this town with a lawn and lotsa trees seems to have paid off. We got a good offer before the end of the day and are now doing the dance of house selling. It’s a very complicated dance which I will not detail in this blog for two reasons:

  • It’s very complicated.
  • It’s very boring.

Let’s Go Shopping

So now we’re officially in the market to buy a house. My wife is being kind of silly about the things she wants. For example, she’d like to have a house that’s near good schools. She’d like to have a house that has enough bedrooms for all the children. She’d like to have a house that has room to store all the junk we’ve collected in nearly 19 years of marriage (just did the math; it wasn’t as easy as you might expect, because it required me remembering what year we got married). She’d like to have a house that’s reasonably close to things like grocery stores.


I, on the other hand, am much more pragmatic. Here is what I am looking for in our new house:

  • Room for my stuff: I want a three car garage. I have this dream for the third car part: in the back is a workbench where I keep my tools. Then, in front of that, I have a bike rack—just like the kind you see in public places. That bike rack is full of my bikes. I don’t have to hang them up to get them out of the way of anything, because standing there right in the middle of the floor is right where they belong. Along the wall will be rows of shelves with room for all my helmets, camelbaks, tubes, lube, shoes, bike clothes, gel, and other stuff. This third car garage will be my favorite part of the house.
  • Commute distance and topography: I’d like the house to be between 15 and 20 miles from my job. Ideally, my house will be at the top of a long hill—I’m thinking a multiple-mile climb here—so I can start the day with a nice downhill, and end the day with an intense climb. Yes, such places do in fact exist in the area I’m looking at.
  • Location: I want my house to be close to—or better yet, on—one of my favorite mountain bike rides. It can be on Hog’s Hollow, or it can be on Grove, or it can be on Frank, or it can be on Hope. I admit to having a preference that it be on either Hog’s Hollow or Grove, since I’ve already lived near Frank once, and wouldn’t mind a change.
  • Location: I want my house to be close to the Alpine Loop, so I can hop on my bike and do what I consider the greatest road ride in the world whenever I feel like it.
  • Location: Actually, I don’t have anything to go in this third “location” bullet. But I created it anyway, in order to do the “location, location, location” joke. Wasn’t it funny?

This Friday, my wife and I are flying out to Utah to spend a weekend looking at houses. It’ll be fun to watch the real estate agent try to resolve my reasonable wants with my wife’s crazy-headed notions.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 4:14 pm

    can live with ‘em
    pass the beer nuts.
    or not.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 4:33 pm

    Be carefull of what you wish for, you just might get it.
    But probably not, you are married.
    Hope you like shopping.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 4:41 pm

    grabbing . . . left . . . eye . . . stop . . . spurting blood.
    or, in the future, simply refer to it as "the hog." thank you for your attention to this matter.
    hey, sounds like you want to buy my house. come on, we’ll skootch over. sunderlage just put earnest money on one you could hit a five iron to from the other one you just missed out on. see? there’s room for everyone on the hog.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 4:55 pm

    I’ve lived at the location you refer to for over 3 years now.  It is, in fact, the best place to live in the world.  2 intense climbs each about 4-5 miles in length.  One on the north side and the other on south side.  And access to the "Hog" in about 2 minutes from your 3rd car garage.
    I’ll even throw in a fruit basket as a house warming gift.
    Rick S

  5. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 5:13 pm

    Hate to throw reality into your dream location, but 15 miles south from Midvale puts you, uh, just about to the State Pen in Bluffdale.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 5:16 pm

    OHHHHH I see now.  So dug is the one that built all those houses up there!

  7. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 5:53 pm

    So you guys like to ride the hog, eh ? Find a new name for that area, please. I don’t think we need another Brokeback Mountain Bike saga here. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. But I’m just saying….. Back to work, Boz.

  8. Comment by Kelly | 03.21.2006 | 8:22 pm

    Have I been out of the loop that long? So long that I didn’t know you were moving? To UTAH? Whoa. Best of luck to you during this fun (fun?) time of house hunting. You wife – geez, what demands. How did she ever marry you, eh?

    I’m pushing bikemike OFF his bike as I leave. Then I’m throwing some beer nuts at his head. You know, in a playful womanly kind of way.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 8:28 pm

    Hey there!

    I have a question for you regarding keeping your bikes outside (and in a garage).

    For the longest time I have thought that keeping a bike anywhere close
    to the outdoors, where humidity and moisture can get to it, is totally
    voodoo. I’ve seen a few bikes go completely to the wayside because of

    Is keeping it in a garage any better? Would yours be climate
    controlled? Closed most of the time? Just curious, because keeping it
    inside is starting to get cramped.


  10. Comment by mhywan | 03.21.2006 | 8:43 pm

    See, my ideal location would be slightly different: instead of 15 to 20 miles from work, it should be closer: say 8-15 miles.  It should have a short route that I can go home quickly on, and a nice long route (20-30 miles) that I can take as an option.  Oh it has to be lighted too so I can ride in winter as well as summer.  Instead of a homestretch of multi-mile climb, the climb just needs to be available on the long route option.  I think that might give you more options.happy house hunting.

  11. Comment by Zed | 03.21.2006 | 8:52 pm

    Surely (Surly?) your wife can understand the importance of having great cycling routes nearby. That way you can pick flowers for her and stuff them in your Camelbak on the way home. Could it be any better, really? In Utah?

  12. Comment by jim | 03.21.2006 | 8:52 pm

    House hunting is perhaps the most fun and most horrible experience combined.  At least you have the advantage of knowing the area and the market.  Good luck.

  13. Comment by Unknown | 03.21.2006 | 8:55 pm

    …it’ll be a test of your agent to find a house that’ll meld to both your needs….and mark wan makes asolutely too much sense to listen to. i think he took the blogosphere smarts for the day and left the rest of us bare.

    in actuality, i think you both have points and should mutually get what you want without having to compromise on too much. aside from that bit about each kid having his/her own room. that’s just plain spoiled.

    meanwhile, we seek a house in a better part of LA where we don’t have to sell our dogs to the circus, sell our cars, bikes and computers to afford. and a bedroom for just the two of us would be really nice.

  14. Comment by Jsun | 03.21.2006 | 9:31 pm

    Congrats on the sale
    Here is a link to a site that you may find helpful, or at least if you are curious what your friends’ houses are worth this may give you an idea.  The price is based on the tax value so the #s aren’t always correct (last year the county over-valued my house 200k, if it were only true).

  15. Comment by Unknown | 03.22.2006 | 4:10 am

    They sound like reasonable requests to me…
    Good luck,

  16. Comment by Azriel | 03.22.2006 | 9:38 am

    WOMEN! Go figure! Can’t understand them…. Sometimes they are simply unreasonable….Personally I would preffer a three bed bedroom… so that the wife can join the bike and me…

  17. Comment by Unknown | 03.23.2006 | 12:56 am

    Moving to Utah, eh? I’ve been here almost 20 years and it sometimes still seems damn weird. Catch Big Love on HBO….

    Don’t know where your job is located, but if it is anywhere near downtown SLC, areas along the East Bench might fill the bill (Olympus Cove, Canyon Cove neighborhoods). Fairly upscale, great views of the city, and a nice little climb up to home. Or a brutal long climb depending on how far up the hill you choose to live.

  18. Comment by Unknown | 03.23.2006 | 1:05 pm

    You forgot to mention about being close to a good bike shop also!

  19. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 03.23.2006 | 4:49 pm

    True…..I have to say, my idea of a perfect house would have a 24 hour bike shop with a service department on duty 24 hrs on the premises and a great bike trail starting at my back door, and a bar that serves great old dark beer and smokey, peaty tasting single malt scotch on premise! I would also include a milk bar and bottled water and juice bar for those friends of mine that are of the LDS persuasion as well as a Tiger Milk and Clif Bar dispenser! Does that sound like a great house for a cyclist?

  20. Comment by Unknown | 03.29.2006 | 2:38 am

    I had the perfect cycling house.  I could roll out my front door and do either a) a40 mile loop that started with a thrilling one mile screaming descent, followed by long, mostly deserted sparsely populated  miles on the King County Interurban Trail and finishing with a chest and leg burning climb up the same hill I started on, or a different 40 mile loop with lots of hills but more traffic.  Bummer of it was "she whose name shall not be spoken" said "bike" like it was a four letter word and I could never really let loose and enjoy.  The irony of the situation is I got rid of the house (and the nag) and have a part time job in a really cool bike shop, but a lack of time, health issues and general frustration have all combined to take away the spark.  I do enjoy reading Fat Cyclist’s blg though as I get a bit of a vicarious thrill from it.      


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