“Our house is a very very very fine house.” (If you are older than 40 (50?), you may recognize this oldie. Every time I see the words “Our House,” I think of that song!) But I am digressing already…
For the last several months (and several other times over the last several years!), we have gone house hunting. Our current home is a cute, blue frame house my husband bought when he was single and 24. (He is now, ahem, almost 50. In less than a week, in fact.) It’s not an impressive house, but it’s full of years of memories.
Our house is small by today’s (and even yesterday’s) standards, but what it lacks in square footage on the inside, it makes it up on the outside. We LOVE our backyard, with a capital LOVE. It’s between 1/2 and 3/4 of an acre, with woods and a creek behind, (woods that are home to otters, coyotes (true–we saw the pups, and yes, even a rare snake.) It’s our haven, really, where a morning cup of coffee on the deck is our natural anti-anxiety med. We finally got a pool, (after years of saying “when we move, we’ll get a pool.” We figured if we kept saying that, we may never get a pool.)
We’ve enjoyed our yard and our lack of a mortgage over the last several years, so we’ve waited to move on, and now are searching pretty aggressively to make a modest move up. We’d love to entertain, and short of knocking down walls, that’s not easily done here (at least not inside!)
This past weekend, we toured several open houses (again—-as we have been doing all summer.) It’s been so difficult for us to choose a house–so many trade offs, so many compromises. We like to live debt free, or close to it, and a big mortgage doesn’t quite fit that lifestyle. We have, though, learned a LOT about house hunting.
What we’ve learned:
- It’s important to go with your gut feeling when it comes to location. We spent the summer needlessly viewing homes that were really not where we wanted to live, even though they were great neighborhoods, figuring that expanding our search would help us find one quicker. We found quite a few nice houses that were just too far away from “home.”
- There will ALWAYS be a compromise, unless you are building a brand new house. Decide which things are most important to you – open floor plan, nice yard backing to trees, walk in closets, updated kitchen, 3 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms – you will not get them all.
- Don’t drink too much coffee before you leave for a Sunday afternoon open house outing. (This I know from experience. Enough said.)
- Horizontal cracks in the foundation are BAD.
We’ve learned more than that of course. (But this is starting to get a tad depressing, given our lack of success so far!) We do still have some house hunting season left, and I’m even starting to enjoy it…a little.