After months of searching online, and debating our criteria (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, outside space, since you ask) we were all fired up for the actual househunt.
So we hit the ground running: we hadn't even been in the country 24 hours before we viewed our first potential home.
Described as a 'Tree Section Gem', it was in fact a rather small, dark, tatty old house. It certainly is in the highly sought after 'Tree Section', but 'gem', it aint. After that we viewed a dishwasher-free home a block from the beach. And a bonkers salmon-pink house where the kitchen and the dining room were on different floors. And a couple of very practical but totally soulless townhomes. We saw some bigger houses in Redondo but decided it wasn't the right vibe for us. And a couple of larger homes which were just the wrong side (i.e. East) of Route 1 for us.
It's starting to sound like I'm picky, doesn't it? In fact, TLOML has told me I am just that. But it's not all nitpicking.
In addition to all those flawed properties, there are a couple we really like. One is a small, but perfectly formed beach cottage, 3 blocks from the beach. Despite that it doesn't meet my '2 bathrooms and a little yard' criteria, it's so darn cute, and so very near the beach, that I would definitely compromise. And the moment TLOML heard the surf, from the front doorstep, he was ready to move in.
The other place is on the most wholesome street I've ever seen. Kids climbing trees, white picket fences, and all that stuff. It has a yard, too. And two bathrooms. It has a jolly yellow door and olive and lemon trees (you'd think I'd have learnt my lesson with the fruit trees, wouldn't you?). But it lacks the ocean breeze.
On reflection, I think Malibu really ruined us for life. We have been saying 'We really don't need to be right on the beach' for a while now. And we've been saying 'Let's rent a place with enough space for us to really settle into, so we don't outgrow it before we're ready to move.' And yet, here we are, seduced into a tiny cottage by the ocean breeze.
When it comes down to it, though, the little house with the yellow door is probably a better long term option. There's space there for Lady P to learn to ride a bike and for me to grow vegetables, and for TLOML to grow his business. Fingers crossed we get the place, because I am fully smitten.
Though if it doesn't work out, and we end up squishing into the little cottage by the beach, I think that would work out too.