The system I use when choosing a new residence


This morning—because the sky is clear and I have nothing better to do—I let the dog take me for six miles. For two hours, we meandered through the streets of Corvallis. We sniffed the sewer, barked at the squirrel, and had a happy old time in every way.

If I allow her, Tully will spend several hours a day sniffing the sewers around the city.

As we walked, we thought about how lucky I and Jin were when we decided to move here. Our choice is well thought out, of course, but it is still a gamble. Sometimes research and experience are inconsistent. In this case, they have.

Why we like Corvallis

Four months later, Corvallis seemed very suitable for us. We like this place very much, for example:

  • The city center is still full of vitality and integrity. This summer, King and I spent three months exploring dozens of towns in western Oregon and Washington. We gave up many strong candidates because their city center was either decayed (usually because a highway was built a few miles away), or worse, it was divided in two by a busy highway.There Yes A highway that passes through the center of Corvallis, but with reasonable traffic management for pedestrian passages. The highway is fifteen minutes away. Therefore, the central business core seems to be booming.
  • This city is very suitable for cycling. Portland is known as the top bicycle city in the United States, but Corvallis is actually the best bicycle town in Oregon. (Portland has one Cycling performance A total of 82; Corvallis has a bicycle score of 84. ) Bikers here like to complain that things might be better (which is always correct), but the reality is that the bike lanes are plentiful and wide, and cars seem to respect cyclists, and many residents choose to commute by bike.
  • Corvallis is more suitable for walking. In 2017, when I moved from a walkable riverside apartment to a rural house in a hilly suburb, long-term readers blamed me. I like to walk. I think about it when it’s inconvenient to walk.Well, walking in Corvallis is Very Simple. The city is relatively flat. The sidewalk is well maintained. As I mentioned, the city center is great, but the community is designed to make walking and running errands relatively easy. My favorite feature?The city has intentionally merge “Active Tourist Corridor” Entering the community: short paths cut between properties to connect streets, parks, etc.
  • The city is surrounded by endless hiking trails. In fact, there are too many paths, and I can’t find a website that lists all the paths. (here has My most frequent trail. This is Another set of trails I have been exploring With Jeff, Happy philosopher.) Now the weather is cold and wet, and my time in the forest has decreased, but when the sun returns to this place, my dog ​​and I will walk in the wood almost every day.
  • This city likes to read. Considering that Corvallis is a university town, I think this is not surprising. Oregon State University is the largest employer in the city (27.6% of all jobs in the area). This has some interesting side effects, one of which is books books books.Residents like public libraries, but they also support three Local bookstore. the best, have 144 Free small library Scattered throughout the city. (After I finish writing this article, I will order my own Free small library Kit so that I can add #145. )
  • The restaurant was better than we expected. It’s no secret that Jin and I like to eat out. Portland has a great restaurant scene, and we will be spoiled for easy access to delicious food. We are worried that Corvallis will disappoint us in this regard. Although there is no doubt that our options are much more limited, we can still find a few places that we like. (At the top of our list is a Cascade BBQ, There are delicious food and delicious beer. )

We have many more passions for Corvallis: transportation (or lack of transportation), people, parks, wildlife, culture, etc. In addition, for balance, there is a small town of similar size (Albany) only 20 minutes away from the hotel-and that small town offers something that Corvallis doesn’t have (Costco, etc.). It can be said that when we chose to move here, we felt that we made the right choice.

My house grading system

During the dog walk this morning, I also recalled the scoring system I developed when I was looking for a house last summer. I originally planned to write a GRS blog post about this in July, but then I was distracted by the actual process of buying a house.

This is how my system works.

When evaluating potential houses, I divided them into five categories: region/city, community, property, structure, and “other factors.” These categories are very subjective. And, in fact, your personal preferences may change over time. (I definitely have one!) I use letter grades to rate each category: A, B, C, D, or F.

  • First, it is the area and/or city where the house is located. Kim and I like to believe that we can live anywhere—we may be—but there is no doubt that we prefer some places over others. Portland once got an A from me. Now I rate it as B- or C+. Cities like Orlando or Houston got F from me. I know many people like these places, but I hate them. Corvallis scored A.
  • Secondly, it is the community where the house is located. I am always amazed at how my personal experience of living somewhere is influenced by the culture of the neighborhood. This is something that is difficult to determine when buying a house. It depends on many factors (these factors vary from person to person). For me, the top neighborhoods are safe, walkable and quiet. The community we chose in Corvallis is rated B+. It would be better if you were closer to more companies.
  • Next, is the property where the house is located-the physical site. Not everyone cares about what kind of property they own, but Jin and I care. We like to spend time with our beasts outdoors. In addition, we all like to do some gardening. When looking for a house, we excluded a few places because the yard is too small and/or not suitable for our needs. Our current yard is not perfect—too many deer and too much shade behind—but it is good. I will give it a solid B+.
  • Fourth, the house itself. Is the structure suitable for our needs? The house we bought recently looks great. In terms of functionality, my only real complaint is that the kitchen layout is very stylish and the living room is too large and uncomfortable. The house itself is large (especially for two people!), which may prove to be a problem in the future, but now we like to have separate spaces for everything. The house gets an A-.
  • Finally, there are “other factors” that can affect the desirability of the house. This includes inspection reports, prices, the existence (or non-existence) of HOA, etc. The house has been well inspected (we have not found any problems so far), but it does seem to be expensive because the current real estate market has swelled. Due to the price we paid, I will give this category a B+.

Once I have rated all five categories of potential property, I will convert the letter grade to a standard GPA. As far as our current housing is concerned, the average of the five levels (A, B+, B+, A-, B+) is A-/B+ (3.52 gpa). good.

With this system, it is difficult to find the perfect 4.00 house. In fact, in the five months we have been observing the market, we have not seen one. Of course, part of the reason is the price. When the house price is high, it is difficult to get an A in the “other factors” category. Even so, we rarely see houses in cities, neighborhoods, properties, and House. This leads me to believe that the “perfect home” does not exist.

Just to play football, I decided to rate every house I owned in the past. These results are based on my life experience in each place, rather than the impressions and expectations before the purchase.

Classify the houses I own

Soon after we got married, Chris and I bought our first house. This is a sturdy small ranch house, well located in my hometown. Our second home, where she still lives, is a century-old farmhouse in a combative community.

After the divorce, I bought a riverside apartment.That place is excellent Except for expensive HOA and lack of pet yard. The country house that King Kong and I sold has a great yard, almost enough to redeem this place. almost.

Our Corvallis home is still in its infancy, but so far we all like it. As we work hard to upgrade our houses and yards, the next two years will be important.

Final thoughts

When I used this rating system to guide our searches this summer, Kim and I found it useful to adopt a “top-down” approach. In other words, we start from the overall situation, and then gradually refine, until we find a house we like.

So, for example, we drove to dozens of different cities in the first three months of the house purchase process. Our goal is to find a place where we really and really want to live.By ruthlessly eliminating choices, we can if only Consider those towns that have earned an A or A- rating.

Once we chose Corvallis, we spent two weekends here, during which we just drove around and felt different neighborhoods. We want to figure out which parts of the town suit us.

Choosing the right community can be difficult. To really know where in a city you should live, you need to spend time there. In fact, this fact caused a big debate between me and Kim. I am interested in the neighborhood south of the high school near the city center, but she is worried that it will be crowded with noisy college students. We can never get a clear answer about the characteristics of the community, so we ultimately excluded it as an option. (After four months here, I still don’t know what that neighborhood is like!)

Once we have selected some communities, we only start to look at the available properties.

I know this may seem silly to some of you, but this nerd way of buying a house really helped me. Combined with my spreadsheet full of facts and figures, the scoring attribute helps me maintain the correct point of view.

In the end, we are satisfied with the choices we made. Jin is worried that we paid too much for this house (but I think she ignored the fact that we are selling existing houses in the same high market), and I want us to be closer to the business. However, other than that, I think we made a good choice.

One thing is certain: Corvallis is almost an ideal place for us and our beast family. I hope we can stay here for a long time-maybe forever.


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