House-hunting in California

In order to make our relocation to California less stressful, Pixar pays for a house-hunting trip which includes hotel and rental car for up to a week and any other costs including gas and meals (all of which are taxable expenses you must claim as income when filing your taxes this year... just FYI) so, off we went June 19-24th with a fairly small stack of possibilities in hand.

The very first stop we made was to a place called Summerhouse Apartments in Alameda, CA as they are brand new and are just beautiful! We fell in-love with the place immediately upon arriving on Tuesday morning and put down our $99 deposit, knowing we had 72 hours to get it back in the event we found something else ~ David & I really had our hearts set on renting a house rather than living in another ordinary apartment complex.

Anyhow so, after leaving Summerhouse, we toured all over Alameda, Oakland, Piedmont, Lake Merrit, Berkeley and Emeryville finding the same ole thing at each stop: run down Victorian Homes that were small, that may or may not have had true working appliances (we still aren't convinced as once place's oven was so old we weren't even sure it was truly an oven!), that had been sliced into 4-6 "apartments" that all shared a coin laundry room (usually the basement of the house... very scary!), and required first and last month's rent as well as a seperate "security deposit" bringing our move-in costs up to approximately $7,000... talk about a nightmare! After two days of meeting with the owners of these homes, we were just exhausted and had pretty much settled on Summerhouse when I came across a rental ad at the bottom of David's bag ~ It was semi crushed so it was easy for us to miss:

"2bdr 1ba Victorian ~ hardwood floors throughout, large kitchen, all utilities included!!!"

Well, we were intrigued as it was well within our monthly rent budget, all of our utilities would be paid for and it was only a few blocks from Summerhouse so we knew it was in a great area. We called the owners Robert and Annie and set up an appointment to view the house the next afternoon, Thursday and we then agreed that if this house wasn't just a star we would stop our search, sign with Summerhouse and enjoy our remaining two days in California before going home.

OMG... can I even begin to describe what we found when we showed up Thursday afternoon? A star... we had found a star!

Check out this slide show of our new house:

Our "apartment" in this house (the owners live above us) is about a thousand square feet and, as you can see, has hardwood floors than run through the entire home except the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, which makes sense, has a ton of windows, decent closet space and really lovely features of an old Victorian home like the crown molding that surrounds each window and the old style pull-chain toilet... just take our word for it that it is very cute! Ha We are less than five blocks to one of three parks and their 7-mile beach ~ let's hope Emily likes the ocean! :-) Alameda is one of the most prestigeous addresses in all the East Bay and has one of the top three best school systems as well... it's very safe and family-oriented and has the coolest Ferry that takes you into San Francisco for only $6!

Anyhow, we have signed all the papers and are set to move-in on July 7, 2006 and just cannot wait!


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