Well, not fully a grown up, but almost there.
I've been in Philly now for 6 years! I can't believe it. It's almost as long as I lived at home in NJ before leaving for college (that was 7 years). I almost left after the first 2 years here when my fellowship ended and I couldn't find anything in town. Obviously, I found something here and have loved the city ever since.
I wanted to start looking to buy something 4 years ago, but my brother and others told me to wait, that the bubble hadn't burst yet and it was going to. Now that the bubble has burst and prices have gone down a bit (as well as the $8,000 credit for 1st-time buyers) I am ready to throw my hat into the ring!
I found a realtor, thanks to Lisa, and we went to see our 1st 2 places today. They were both in center city -- 1 in Wash Sq West and the other in Rittenhouse.
The one in Rittenhouse (21st & Spruce) had the most gorgeous living room (thought I took a picture, but I guess not) on the first floor, with high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors and huge windows. However, the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen were all downstairs in what used to be the basement. I will say, the windows downstairs were large and let in some light, but b/c they were right on the street, I'd have to keep them covered up all the time for privacy. Plus, the bedrooms were tiny. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling it. So cross that one off my list.
The 2nd house we looked at was at Cater and Lombard.
View Larger Map
It was a trinity w/ a little add-on for the kitchen. For those of you not from Philly, trinities are 3-floor houses that are usually something like 12x12 or 15x15. They are basically 3 rooms stacked on top of each other. The stairs are a bit narrow and steep (like spiral stairs but not as bad in my opinion). The living room is on the first floor, the den/office/2nd bedroom is on the 2nd floor w/ the bathroom (tiny), and the master is on the top floor. The master was interesting in that they opened up the ceiling to pitched roof and made a tray/loft of sorts. It's a great way to add in more storage to such a small place. The kitchen was off the living and actually a nice size w/ full-size appliances. The sink was small, but that would just keep you from leaving dishes in there and not putting them in the dishwasher. Out back was a cute little narrow patio. The house is on a cute little cobblestone side street. It was one of those places where it was cute, but it's not one that I "must have" just yet. I'll just keep it in the back burner. Oh, and it had a nice basement w/ a full-size w/d. Definite plus!
Of course, with any Center City plus, parking will have to be on the street. I've been so spoiled parking my car in an assigned spot in a garage. When it snows, I don't have to worry about shoveling. At least my car is 10 years old so I won't mind keeping it out in the elements.
Tomorrow, I'm scheduled to look at close to 15 more places. These will all be in Fairmount and will be bigger than what I looked at today. Wish me luck!