Terrific Broth

Beijinger in Denver | 北京人在丹佛

Category: Life (Page 1 of 6)

We Got a House!

Remember the list of things we want in our first house?

Well, here she is, our raaaaaannch (use Bush’s voice here):

Ranch house - 1

When listing our must-haves, we were prepared for a house that does NOT grant all our wishes. We are less willing to compromise on the size of the lot, the two-car garage, or the construction quality. But if we have to pay for cheap upgrades that we will tear down soon, or drive 20 minutes longer to the mountains,  that would be OK.

Well, this lady proudly proved us wrong by covering EVERYTHING on our list.

1. She is “small”.

We wanted a place about 1000 sqft with two bedrooms. And the main floor of the ranch house is merely 850 sqft! It consists of two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen and a living room. A perfect “small” house for two.

Ranch House - 5

The reason I put “small” in quote is because the ranch is actually twice as big. It comes with a full basement that is another 850 sqft, a separate apartment of its own. It has a similar layout to the main floor, with living room, bedrooms and a full bath, kinda like a twin sister to the main floor. The only difference is that there is no kitchen, but a laundry/utility room and a third bedroom instead. We intend to keep it separate from our living space for now, until we have a clear vision for how to utilize the space.

2. She can be very open

The layout of the main floor is very simple. You walk into a big living room with a kitchen ahead, and both bedrooms are on the left side. One bedroom facing backyard is smaller and neighboring the full bath, which will be our bedroom. There is already a window looking into the backyard, and we plan to replace it with a french door to the back yard. A cozy but open bedroom it will be.

The other bedroom is much bigger and only separated from the living room with a non weight-bearing wall. We plan to open it to the living area and use it as Slav’s home office. In order to close it when needed, we plan to install a pocket/sliding/french door between this room and the living area.

I know for most people, the first wall coming down should be the one separating kitchen and living room. Not only we are 99% sure that it is weight-bearing, but we also kind of like to have some separation between the most messy room in the house (kitchen) and the should-be most presentable (living room). Our last NC apartment has a partial wall between kitchen area and the living area, with wide doorways on both sides. We liked that it hides kitchen clutter from the view of front door, while providing more wall space for kitchen cabinets and counters.

Kitchen view in the ranch

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Kitchen view in the NC apartment

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Living room view in the ranch

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Living room view in the NC apartment

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3. Big lot. Big yard

The ranch house is sitting on 1/4 acre (10800 sqft). The zoning is considered “Low Residential Density” or R-L, which allows higher fences and more livestock (I am looking at you, chicks!). I know that 1/4 acre is probably not impressive to most of you folks out there, but in Denver, new builds only have 4000 sqft lots, off which the houses usually take a significant bite. The ranch house also sits relatively close to the street compared to new builds, giving us a bigger backyard by comparison.

Ranch house - 2

4. She comes with a two-car garage.

Gotta keep my man happy. Enough said.

Ranch House - 3

Ranch House - 4

5. Walk/bike to every service we need.

We were less willing to pay for the neighborhood to begin with, mainly because that we need to prioritize our budge toward the house itself. But we are lucky (so thankful!) to bank this one too with the ranch house. We will be in a big neighborhood at a corner of a major intersection. Another corner of the intersection is a big park, and the rest two are shopping centers. We are within 15 minutes walking distance (or 5 mins biking distance) to 4 grocery stores, a post office, banks, a pharmacy, and one Chinese restaurant! Fortunately and dangerously, we are also a short walk to Target!

What about the noise level you may ask? We are lucky (again, sooooo thankful) that our house is sitting in exactly the middle of our neighborhood. Lines of houses protect us from main streets on both sides, so we hardly hear the traffic – especially when we are inside. Being on a short street of ten houses, we also have little through traffic.

What makes us most happy about the location, is the 10 mins short ride to I-70. being in the west of Denver, we are an hour to several major ski resorts!

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6. Plenty room for upgrades

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Ranch House  - 10

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As you can see, there is has plenty room for upgrade. This 1964 ranch has not been updated for 20 years. The roof, most windows, and all the appliance will need to be replaced fairly soon, which made her $10K lower than its own appraisal. Neighboring ranches with these updates can sell for $40K~$80K more, giving us plenty of room to make her our own while building up some equity.

It is worth mentioning that even though the house is completely outdated, it is actually the most structurally sound house we have seen. All the issues it has are due to its age. Things like roof, gutter, and appliances do not last forever. But in terms of foundation, walls, roof support, this 1960 ranch stands out as the best maintained. This is exactly what we want – a good bone with ugly fixtures. We have toured another ranch house that we really loved, except it is slowing splitting into halves due to water damage in the foundation (very common in Denver area due to expansive clay).

Overall we cannot be happier with our first home, and we cannot wait to make this classic lady shine. The neighborhood has very good schools (accidental bonus), so the houses here are very sought-after. We believe that she will make a lovely home as well as a fruitful investment.

And the best news? With a decent size of down payment (we saved for the last five years religiously) and thanks for the lower-than-market price, we are able to get a 20-year loan! We are thrilled not to have to get a 30-year burden. The 20-year-old roof and outdated kitchen definitely helped. We cannot help but talking about plans for her and I will catch you up over the next month or so with our plans. The next post on the blog is probably our moving day, which will be early next week! Stay tuned my friends!

Now I will shut up and do my little dance, and let you insert your admiration and congratulatory comments below. 😉

6 Things to Know When You Are Buying in a Seller’s Market.

6 things to know when you are buying in a sell's market

1. It is a full time job.

You will be refreshing ReColorado every 30 minutes and getting emails from your realtor three times a day. Fill your tank with gas because you will be looking at houses EVERY. DAY.

2. It is not just you, but also your contenders.

If you are lucky that investors did not show up with cash offers, be prepared for a bidding war in $5000 increments.

3. Buy “as-is”.

Do a good inspection after your offer is accepted, but be prepared that seller is not gonna pay a dime and fix nothing. You can threaten to walk away, because your objection date is usually after the inspection. But if there were more offeres on the table, the sellers may choose to let you walk.

4. Get you finance ready to go.

Not just the down payment and the closing fees. The inspection should tell you how much cash to set aside for emergencies. Set aside at least $20000 for closing costs and that one appliance that WILL die during the first week you move in.

5. Still, do not compromise.

Buying a house is like choosing a spouse. Know what your heart desires and do not settle. You cannot even just LIKE it. You have to LOVE it. You have to love it so much that you are willing to overpay (but don’t).

6. Be patient.

The right house is there. Yes you are tired and were outbid on your last three houses. But it will come. More clear you know what you want, more solid your financial situation, quicker you will get it. Before that, be patient and have lots of margaritas.

“As I began to love myself” by Charlie Chaplin

This was written by Charlie Chaplin on his 70th birthday. Seems very related to the insights gained through meditation (or live experience in general).

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!*

-via Reddit

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