My new job would pay for a house hunting trip but it had to be within 90 days of my start date. This trip was one week before the 90 days because this was the last vacation before graduation. I guess this was one hiring perk I would not be able to take advantage of. But since the main point was to check out the area and since L. had never been here before it was nice just to drive around to try to become familiar with the cities in the area.
I had emailed my future boss that we were coming and she had set up a lunch even though I had already met everyone on the team. They all felt it was much more cheerful to have a lunch when someone is arriving instead of when they are leaving. I was just terrified that I would be totally out of my league when I started working so I was asking everyone at least which programming languages I should learn but they wouldn't tell me. We did get their opinions of all the towns they liked and didn't like.
We started out with the idea of seeing all the cities now then working with a real estate agent when we were back in Oregon. The way that we got around everywhere was buying a GPS. We would punch in to drive to a city center or city hall. The GPS would guide us there and I was always surprised to find a little brochure describing the city or calendar of events of something. Once there I could find an open wireless connection and use Google Earth to see a satellite photo of what was around. Yes, technology is very cool, and I learned my way around very fast this way. We just wanted to make sure we would not be living next to high school stands like we currently do and all the noise we currently have to deal with.
Now that were were also looking for "For Sale" signs they started to really pop out at us. It was amazing just how many homes are really for sale in any area. The only problem was that none had the price or info. This meant that we had to deal with real estate agents. We were really just trying to get an idea of how expensive everything was and what neighborhood that bought you into.(Something you can't tell from the picture in the advertisements.) Of course all agents want to show houses so they were no help. We did finally find one agent that just printed out their listings and let us drive around. That is defiantly who we will be coming back to when we come back. We could just punch in a route of homes we could afford and go on our own tour.