House-hunting in Minnesota

The weekend before last we headed up to Minneapolis to start our house hunt.  We've been working with a real estate agent for awhile, and he's been sending us listings based off of our requests, so we were able to narrow it down a bit, but I forgot how EXHAUSTING this whole process can be.

I only worked 2 days the week prior (Labor Day and my birthday), but they were JAM PACKED.   And we were also scrambling around  trying to get the house all pretty for an open house that our real-estate agent was planning for the Sunday while we were away.  Joacim was crazy busy too, so we didn't get to pack until late the night before we left, which always makes me nervous.  I think it actually worked in our favor this time, though.  I seriously only brought enough to wear...no extras.  And we each had one carry-on bag....by far our best packing/travel experience.

We got to the airport pretty early because we saw on the news the night before that there was some sort of terrorist plan, so we thought that security would be a nightmare, but it was actually quite easy.  I'm thinking the one bag and a cute 3-year old helped :)

Izzy was SUPER excited..Ii don't think she stopped talking all morning...at home, in the car...at the airport.
She had a million questions, and I was quite frankly THRILLED when I handed her iPhone over she'd quiet down :)
It was a beautiful day above the clouds...
And when we arrived in Minneapolis (20 minutes early, mind you!), THIS was our car.  I swear this thing was a former mobster/mafia car...check out the New Jersey license plate!  You could fit a body in this trunk!
And it didn't have doors..it had wings...which is why we had to park where there weren't any cars because we couldn't get the doors open otherwise.  :)  But it sure was comfy...Izzy kept wondering if this was our new car...lemme tell ya...it's not easy to explain the concept of "rental car" to a 3-year old.
First stop after the airport:  Ikea.  We were hungry and we wanted meatballs.  And sadly, I ate every single scrap on this plate.  
With our bellies full, we headed off to the real estate agent's office and began the hunt.  I have no idea how many homes we saw that day.  And I'm embarrassed to see some of the houses that I selected as favorites...one of them was truly awful.  It was a ranch home (the only one I've seen), and the pictures looked A MILLION times better than the real thing.  It was truly awful.  We did see some nicer homes that were already built, but when our realtor took us to a builder, I knew that's where we'd end up.  When you can build the home of your dreams for the same price as a home that needs some work, it's kind of a no-brainer.  Now, of course, this goes against my wanting to reduce/reuse/recycle, but I also gotta live here for awhile, and I want nice.  Sadly, I didn't take a single photo the rest of this day.  I was beyond tired...had a colitis flare-up, and was just thinking about sleeping by the end of the day.  And at Izzy's age, no trip is complete without a trip to the hotel pool.  Again...no photos there, but you can imagine the smile on her face.

We had a little time to process things in the morning.  Our agent had some plans with his family in the morning, so we decided to head out to Woodbury to see a model of one of the homes that we liked.  Here's Izzy hanging out on the front porch before the model opened.  

She had so much fun looking at houses.  She was truly incredible when you consider how many times she was in and out of the car seat.  I think I'd be a complete crab-ass, but she was awesome!  She especially loved all of the stairs, which is a good thing because there aren't any homes without them up there!  All-in-all, it was a very productive day.  And to end the evening, we had a lovely dinner at Lola's Lakehouse, which is the wonderful restaurant right on Lake Waconia in Waconia.  The food is INCREDIBLE!  I ate there when I was in Minnesota this past April, and I found it to be great then too!  When we got there, we assumed the wait would be hours (based off of all of the cars in the parking lot and up and down the street)...but nope,  10 minutes.  I could REALLY get used to THIS!!!  :)  Here's a photo from the outside eating area at Lola's.   Stunning sunset, wouldn't you say?
By Sunday, we had narrowed the houses down to 3 possibilities, and we spent Sunday driving to those and checking them out.  But first, we headed out to Carver Park Reserve, which is this HUGE park area around where we'll be living.  This is a WONDERFUL area, with a great nature center, plenty of trails and wide open spaces.  There was a playground too, so we spent some time letting Izzy play for awhile.  Here she is playing on one of the flowers at the playground.
These wildflowers are EVERYWHERE..not just in the park...it's beautiful there!
The rest of the day was spent driving around the area...getting familiar with it.  On Monday, we took our time checking out of the hotel and did some more driving.  We were able to visit a daycare near where we're going to live that was GREAT!  We'll visit more during our next trip, but if we don't find another one, this will be where she goes.  It feels much better knowing there are places that can compare to what she has now.  I understand that home day-care providers are very popular, and while that's a good option, it's just not one that I'm completely comfortable with.  We also went to the Swedish American Institute in Minneapolis, but it was being renovated and wouldn't open again until November.  Crappy luck on our part, but I'm excited to visit it in the future, as it's located in an amazing building!

We got back to the airport ridiculously early because we just plain ran out of things to do.  Luckily, there are plenty of long, moving walkways for Izzy to ride, so that helped.
We were excited to get home.
And it was another beautiful flight...

That's the full moon.
So...what did we decide to do, you ask?  Well, it looks as though we're planning on building.  We haven't finalized things yet, but I'm very excited about it!  The location is great and the house will be beautiful.  There's a park very close by, and we'll have a basement!!!

I'm hoping everything works out...the whole relocation process is a bit tricky, but hopefully we've researched enough that we're well prepared.  I'd show info about the house, but I don't want to jinx anything/get my hopes up too high until the papers are signed.

And, by the way, our open house was a bust.  Not too surprising given the market, 1st Colts game and rain. We're going to try again September 25th.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!


RobMonroe said...

Fingers crossed, of course.

House hunting is lots of stress, but also lots of fun. We did some apartment shopping with Abby a year ago and we were so happy with how great she did with the in-and-out thing.

Lacy Park said...

I actually love house hunting. I hate selling. Good luck to you!

Sarah said...

Hooray! It's so awesome to hear how excited you guys are about the whole moving/relocation thing (dispite the stress). And I'm (quite obviously) with you - after living through all the remodeling, when it's time to move, ya kinda just want to step into something that you KNOW is what you want/how you want it. Yay for building!
Good luck!!