The Hunt for the City Lot

So, there have been three lots that have come in (and quickly out) of our lives this summer.

  1. The first lot was in the West 7th neighborhood we were originally targeting. We went to look at it, and it just wasn’t for us. It was across from a school, something was going on with the house next door… It felt like too big of a risk to invest in that spot with the type of house we are trying to build. So we passed. This lot listed at $20k.
  2. The second was on Lexington (a busy road) and was large for a city lot. It was a block from Trader Joes (pro), the rest were cons. Lexington was just too busy, bike path access would require traveling on the busy road first, no walkable restaurants (just Trader Joes and a few restaurants in that parking lot), no sidewalks in front of the house – just wasn’t for us. It sold. This lot listed at $125k if I remember right.
  3. The third lot was on Dale street, one block off of Selby. It was much bigger than a typical city lot and had a very deep, big back yard. But it was on Dale, so it took us a hot second to think about it (that’s a busy road for those that are not MSP-folk). We were planning to go sit at the Muddy Pig patio (which would have basically been our backyard) on a Saturday, watch the traffic & movement of people, talk about fences, and make a decision. Someone bought the lot that Thursday before we had a chance to do our research. This lot listed at $135k.


For those following the journey, we are here.

  • We are questioning our original neighborhood choice. There are other neighborhoods in Saint Paul (Selby/Dale, by Macalester college, Highland Park) that are extremely walkable. I think we realized these neighborhoods are a bit less of a risk to invest in + the walkability is a big deal for us. So we are expanding our search area.
  • We were first shocked that this build would take over two years. We have what Dave calls “a mountain” growing in our bedroom. This is the only place we currently have to literally PILE all of the things that Vivi has outgrown. On top of the longer timeline, we haven’t even started! Finding a lot (i.e. Step 1 in the journey) is more difficult than we could have imagined. Especially when you are trying to buy within the city. Which leads to…
  • We are now considering buying an existing house that is move-in-ready. Oh, the sacrifices you make… One came on the market that we could tolerate in our price range but within the first day, there was a bidding war. So we finally got ourselves a realtor. And we are going through the pre-approval process so that when / if a lot or house comes on we can react within hours. That is where we are.

My feelings about being “here” are mixed. Dave and I both realize that our run of living downtown needs to be over and we are so very sad about that. Dave reminds me that our next house doesn’t need to be “the forever house” and that perspective is helpful. I still will hold out for something that feels right. Hopefully the right place makes itself apparent this fall… If not, we will settle. And that will be depressing.


One thought on “The Hunt for the City Lot

  1. House hunting is the worst. There is no other purchase (especially not such a large one!) that is so definitive of our values/lifestyle. If already-built is the route you end up going, do not stress. You just haven’t seen the right one yet. It will all turn out okay. I swear.


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