Thursday, June 19, 2014

Searching for Oktober Studio II

Last year I got notice my rent would increase by $400.00 or more. I made a decision to finish out lease and move Oktober Studio.  I decided that I no longer wanted to rent that I didn't want to run the risk of living in a place where I had no security on what I had to pay to keep it. I went through so much emotion about my apartment. I have now been there for 15 years and I love it. I loved it from the first time I ever walked into it so many years ago.  I watched Logan Square go from a sparse area to a hot mess.  

Finally after months of tears & packing and seeing my beloved hood get infested with X. I made my peace with leaving and now I cannot wait to leave.  As a potential buyer I now started the process of getting finances together.  I had bad and low credit.  The mortgage people suggested I get a credit card in hopes of getting my credit score up.  This was a dreaded thought. I had 8 credit cards when I was 18 years old and I didn't want to have them again. After a couple credit card rejections I finally got one with low balance and started spending.  As an artist, sometimes we have excessive tendencies. I do with money and I was nervous about having the card; so far it's been ok and I've been keeping up and not over spending. Finally after 9 months I got pre-approved to buy. It wasn't for much, but I began my search for Oktober Studio II.

I want a space that has enough room for me to live and paint and exhibit.  I want to be on the first floor, with outdoor space and it needs to be larger than 1200sqft. So far I've looked at 15 places+ in person and over 100 online. Some places in person were scary. One had the basement where and the ceiling was falling down. At one place I opened the door to the basement and saw the staircase down and closed the door. I was not about to go down that rabbit hole.  There were some great unique items too that I saw on my home search. There was a house that looked just like a life size doll house. Another property had wonderful arched doorways. There was a house that had an actual white picket fence and a koi pond, but the basement had a strange hump. Chicago is an old city and some houses where 100 years old or a little older. These houses are historical and the wood molding was original and the foundations original, but cracked. 

There was another home that had a roof that had shingles they no longer make. My dream home leaned to one side and the basement flooded as tall as me. After noting the flooding of my dream home, I let it go, crossed it off the list. My second choice seemed to have it all space, location, outdoor space, but I lost it in a bidding war. 

The other thing you notice while looking at property is the way people live.  I saw a 3 flat and one of the apartments there had room with a religious statue and nothing else. I guess that was where they prayed.  Another place must have had 7 people living in it.

As a buyer you have to look at furnaces, roofs, water spots, windows, and the foundation. It is a long process. I haven't really felt the feeling of "this is it" as I did when I first found my apartment. Sometimes I walk into a home and feel nothing. I keep waiting for the "this is it" feeling. I decided to let the money take me to where my next studio would be. I have been trying not to have any lean towards any one neighborhood.  Although, if I had to choose Jefferson Park is my first choice and second is Hermosa.  I have been looking at houses, condos two flats and mixed use. 

I did learn that mixed use is off the list unless I can find one zoned residential instead of commercial. It is a long process to get a commercial loan and you need a lot of money to put down.  

Home searching makes one really see what you want.  I know I do not want a place where the kitchen and living room are in the same room.  I don't like the idea of cooking in my living room.  I know now that I want outdoor space. You start to learn what you can and cannot live without.  I can live without a dishwasher, washer and dryer and A/C.  I've never had those things so they are not on a priority list.  What are on the list are space, 3 bedrooms, formal dining room, outdoor space, and first floor. There are 7 sets of staircases in my life every day. My knees will not last and I want to eliminate some staircases. What I'll settle for (because you don't get everything) not my dream neighborhood, a condo, two bedrooms. Although I believe and have faith that the right place will come.  Fate will step in and lead me to -this must be the place- this is it!