House hunting is going well. Today I revisited my top two choices from yesterday, and drove to Winter Park, FL to look at a townhome.
My top choice is this home:
A brief description of the floor plan: left and right of the open entryway are the dining room and living room. Behind the entry hallway, the kitchen, breakfast nook, and den are open to each other. The master bedroom is off the breakfast nook, while the two bedrooms are off a hallway leading past the dining room and utility room, which leads to the garage. The master bedroom and den open onto the screened patio where the pool is. The home has a few ceiling fans, and a combination of tile and carpet floors.
I've noticed several themes in the newer (1995 and more recent) construction here: high ceilings (10 or 12 feet tall), and shelves above closets. The shelves are formed by the gap between the height of the closet and the ceiling. This particular home had a row of stuffed animals sitting on such a shelf, in the kid's room! Also, it is common to see walls that don't reach the ceiling, creating an air gap, but only between common rooms (dining room to living room and/or den to kitchen). I surmise this is to promote air circulation and help cool things down.
This home matches what I want the best of all the homes I've seen: close to work, new/recent construction, screened pool area, right price range, plus many intangibles in real estate such as decent floor plan and general appearance. It is also in a gated community, Woodbridge Lakes.
The rage here in central Florida is gated communities. Half of the subdivisions, especially newer ones, are gated, for whatever reason. This of course means belonging to a homeowner's association and paying dues for shared maintenance items. For example, since the road isn't publically accessible, the HOA is responsible for upkeep. In addition it means having some rules and covenenants to follow, but they don't look too onerous.
I called up a local mortgage broker to start that process up. Even if I decide not to put an offer on this home I'll need to have my loan paperwork in order.