June 12th, 2005

sq. ft. = oops

I just did a quick measurement of my apartment's biggest dimensions. I got about 29 feet side to side (north to south) and 25 feet front to back (west to east), which makes the total square footage around 725. I've been thinking all this time that it's around 600, maybe 625. Oops.

I went to check out "The Pointe at First Hill" this afternoon, a recent condo development over on 10th Avenue near Boren, a few blocks south of Seattle University and Swedish Medical Center. It's fairly close to my current apartment, so it's a good location, still in easy walking distance of all the places I go now. One curious thing about it is that the real estate listings show "1990" under "year built", but in fact they are clearly still finishing construction on the unsold units.

Now that I know what my actual square footage is, I understand why even the larger places that I thought were sort of close to my apartment's size still seemed small. As it is, the largest units there are around 615 sq. ft., and those are mostly sold; the two available ones at 600 sq.ft. are a little over my price range.

This is going to make my search a little tougher, because it's going to be hard to find anything close to this size, close to my price range, close to my current area. I guess I have to decide what's more important, location or size - there'll be some give and take I know, but at some point I'll be deciding on particular places on that basis. In any case, it does look like I have to resign myself to moving into a smaller place, when I'd been hoping that I might get something a little bigger.

My agent sent me some new listings that included one place in my price range with 770 sq. ft., but it's a co-op. That's a problem because my first pre-approved loan won't cover co-ops (and I forgot to ask why, I should get back to them on that); I'm applying for another one from a local credit union, and when I go on Tuesday to submit the application I'll ask about co-ops. Note to Jase, the credit union guy immediately directed me toward a first-time buyer loan program by the state that covers most of the up-front costs and that requires a 5-hour seminar, much like what you're doing in Maine. Funny how the national bank home loan people didn't mention that option...

Anyhow, my search is finally getting under way. Meanwhile, the apartment situation is still uncertain: my upstairs neighbor is moving out, and she told me the landlord wants new tenants to sign a six-month lease, which means he mustn't be intending to do the renovations before next summer. In that case, he might still want to move into my apartment sooner rather than later, so that he can rent out the other 2-bedroom one downstairs that he's been using. On the other hand, my downstairs neighbor is also considering moving out, because of the ongoing building issues (for example, it's not clear whether the landlord will have the building painted since he's put off the renovations) and the likelihood that he's going to raise her rent too. If she moves out, I'd expect that he'd want to keep at least one tenant - me - rather than have to fill the building, and of course if she moves out he can take over her apartment. All I really want is a few months in peace here to complete my condo search, rather than have to deal with moving twice in a short time.
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