Say what you will about Janesville — and I’ve said plenty, mostly unflattering (“Chainsville,” anyone?) — this city of 65,000ish half an hour from Fort Atkinson does boast one pretty big draw: cheap gas.
We’re not talking two or three cents cheaper, either. Gas prices in Janesville are always dramatically lower than anywhere else in the Madison area. By a solid 30-40 cents a gallon. Case in point: currently, a gallon of gas in Janesville is $2.99. In Fort, we are paying $3.39. And it’s not like Janesville is littered with Big Willy’s Discount Fuel & Smokes stations; they’re the same Kwik Trips and Casey’s we frequent.
Curious why there’s such a large discrepancy, I asked Dr. Google. He advised me that Janesville’s proximity to gas distribution pipelines near the Wisconsin-Illinois border results in cheaper fuel costs. Janesville is 17 miles from the IL border, but that’s a mere 20 miles closer than we are. Which means the price of gas drops two cents every mile you get closer to Illinois. Then again, by that logic, Madison gas stations should be charging $3.75/gallon…yet the cost there is exactly the same as here.
Something isn’t adding up. Not that I’m complaining too much; since I work in Janesville, it’s easy enough for me to fill up there and save a few bucks.
Now that we’re in the market for a house, every little bit adds up, you know?
Hey, in case you hadn’t heard, we’re officially in the market for a house now.
I mean, I guess we have been, ever since Tara landed her new jobs. But today, we actually signed a contract with a realtor and saw our first showing. Justin’s his name, and get this — it’s yet another instance of blogging shaping my life. Years ago, I met Jess through WordPress. She was this cool chick who lived in an exotic land of cheese, beer, and badgers. Then, she and her hubby Joe wandered through Rapid City in 2019, and we met in person. Fast-forward to this past August, the very day I got my job offer from TobacCo and Tara and I submitted letters of resignation to our prospective employers. Jess and Joe were back in town, so we got together for drinks and to share the good news that we’d soon be fellow Sconnies.
Two things we learned that day: Jess was actually born right here in Fort Atkinson, and her brother’s a realtor in Madison. Seemed as good a place to start as any, so I reached out to him last weekend, and voila! He’s now our agent. Nice to finally get those wheels in motion (though, this being traditionally the slowest time of the year for real estate, and interest rates not exactly buyer- or seller-friendly, those wheels ain’t exactly rolling down the highway just yet).
And the house we looked at today? While it checked a lot of boxes, it also had its share of issues. Tell me there’s a house that doesn’t have both pluses and minuses and I’ll call you a fat-faced liar. We’d had our eye on it when it first hit the market 39 days ago, but it wasn’t until the owners dropped the price $20K yesterday that we leapt.
- Pros: Great location, good-sized yard with garden beds, fireplaces in the living room/basement, three-season porch, beautiful parquet floors and hardwood, large garage with built-in storage.
- Cons: Janky electrical work, non-GFC outlets upstairs, possible water damage in a few areas, 24-year-old A/C unit that will need replacing soon, potentially hazardous dryer vent. Plus, it’s big. 4 BR, 2.5 BA, 2,665 sq. ft. That’s a lot more home than we need for just the two of us (though certainly not a deal-breaker).
The house also has a boiler instead of a furnace, which itself has pros and cons. Boilers are more energy-efficient, produce radiant heat, and are great for allergy sufferers (like Tara). On the other hand, they’re more expensive to replace/repair, and the separate ductwork for the A/C unit (with a single ceiling-mounted vent in each room) probably won’t provide sufficient cooling.
So, it’s 99% likely we won’t pursue this one. There’s no need to jump at the first house we see; even with limited inventory, we’re both sure at some point that perfect home will pop up on our radar. And Justin will help us land it.
Either way, these are exciting times!