This is a weekly series documenting a real family's quest to find a home in their beloved California coastal town, Pacifica, CA.
Guys, we might be almost there.
It was seductive: I could see our little white farmhouse with rustic modern decor (the staging made me want to leave everything I own behind and just move in), little goats all around, fresh eggs from our very own chickens for breakfast! Figs from our own trees!
Alas, as you know, people, animals and trees need water, lots of it. And as you probably also know California is no stranger to droughts. The farm house got water from a well that had somewhat spotty production in recent years. It may have been fine—it probably would have been totally fine? But the teensiest concern about water insecurity was too much for us.
And even as I write that I realize that probably eliminates California or really anywhere and we are just specks floating through the universe with an unfortunate water dependency.
Still, we need to live somewhere.
One thing we have going for us is that both my husband and I can work from anywhere, so we’re not bound geographically to any particular city. Enter the “new builds” in Marina, California, a small beach town about 10 minutes from Monterey.
We visited the community this week and damn, those houses are pretty. Granted, the upgrades in the model homes are ridiculous. An actual ballet bar in the little girl’s room? Floor to ceiling tile framing the fireplace, tiled ceilings, outdoor kitchens, and have you ever even heard of a pasta faucet (AKA pot filler)? Oh and don't even look at those beams in the ceiling because they're not an option even if you can affrod them. I had to remind myself we were shopping for the house, not the decorative touches.
Still, the development is a mile and a half to the beach and less than an hour from San Jose where my husband’s office will be if he ever has to go back in person.
There is one property helping us maintain a thread of hope that we might be able to stay in Pacifica. It's the cute house I mentioned last week. Every night last week as I tried to fall asleep, I walked through its rooms in my mind, trying to sort out where everyone’s bedrooms would be and, importantly, where I would put my clothes.
I currently don’t have a closet, just a rack in our bedroom overstuffed with my ever-expanding wardrobe. I'm really hoping for a closet, any closet, in our next home.
The Pacifica house would not give me that. The large owner's bedrorm inexplicably has no closet. And O.K. we’re not passing on it just because of a closet, but it’s also pretty small, and very expensive, and we might have to work until we’re 80 and I’d have to get a full time job to pay for it.
So we decided not to make an offer and it makes my cry a little when I think about it because like I said it was probably our last hope for staying in Pacifica.
Because also, remember that potential off market fixer that we were waiting to find out more about? The owner let us know that if we just give her $1.4 million she won’t put it on the market. We politely declined.
It all seems to be pointing us to Monterey. The drawback with that one (besides it not being in Pacifica) is that we don't know when a house will be available. The first step is getting a loan pre-approved, and then we can get on the list for the location and model we want. The earliest we could move into a new build, they said, is October and that, I'm sure, means November or December.
And then Cotati called! We could have started building in that new development. But we passed because we like the Monterey location better.
Our options have diminished significantly after week six:
- A new build in Monterey County
- A miracle in Pacifica
I have a feeling we will have some difinitive news next week!