We fell in love with our previous home the moment we laid eyes on it. We took one walk through of the inviting kitchen, the easy to maintain backyard with built-in benches and an awning strewn with lights, made an offer and signed the contract on the spot. We were that sure. Granted, we later felt it wasn’t the best fit with the lengthy commute but when we walked into that house the first time? It was a tingly excitement akin to love. And now? Well, we want that special feeling again with the next house but the few homes we’ve seen either I fall in love and immediately want to shop for diamond rings while K is more meh while each house he gets a skip in his step about makes me stare at him wondering who are you? When we finally agree on a house we both adore we inevitably get there to find the ad failed to mention the home was located on a highway, or next to a cow processing plant, or has just a little itty bit of lead paint, you know, things we can’t really work with and I’m secretly beginning to wonder if we’ll end up looking fruitlessly for years in vain never finding a house ever, which would not be good for us, or Bob.
In an effort to fall in love together, we decided to make a list of our must haves and came up with a few: good schools, open floor plan, spacious kitchen, master bathroom, porch or balcony from where we can watch the rain as it falls to the earth [so very important after a lifetime with and eight years without]. We’re flexible about most everything else like garages, house-age, in-town location, and well, maybe that’s the problem. We’re so open to everything we’re finding nothing.
Option One. The area we’re in now has renovated 1920’s bungalows with extensions and add-ons like attic-level master bedrooms which horrified my mother so much she threatened to stay in a hotel while visiting if we were to purchase a property in this neck of the woods [We think she’s bluffing]. I love the charm, the history, and the walkability of the area. People are friendly, they stop and say hello, and there are festivals nearly every other weekend. The schools are among the best in the state. I hate not having a garage, the floor plans since homes in this era are more closed off and I worry about the challenges of caring for an older home. Plus we’d most likely have to go with a small 3/2 with closets slightly larger than shoe boxes. But our neighbors would bake us cookies. And I like cookies.
Option Two. Another area with great schools and a five minute commute consists of entirely 1960’s split-levels and ranches. Most look stunning inside with updated kitchens, hardwoods, etc and the Punjabi land-owner in me does size up the considerable land these homes sit on and imagine the mung beans that could perchance be planted but at issue is that when I drive up to them, I want to cry. K has fallen in love with a number of these ranches but what with the crying on my part, he’s not pushing them too much. Still, they’re good values and good locations so I’m trying to remember that looks aren’t everything.
Option Three. Brand new home built from the ground up. We’ll just have to sell two kidneys apiece to do so in-town. Still, maybe being house-poor but house-happy is a fair trade-off? [And honestly, I do not want a McMansion like this, but brand new homes in-town are the same price of suburban McMansions which is hard to wrap my mind around.]
Option Four. A home in between all of these, built in the 90’s or beyond that are the norm of most American homes but because I know once a house is nearing the ten year mark in these homes everything and I mean everything falls apart like the air conditioning, heating, roof etc I’m not eager to go back to redo all that I just got done in the house I left.
Since we are clearly incapable of settling on anything our new extremely understanding agent is taking us on ten blind dates this Saturday. Let’s hope love finds a way.
Live in any of these types of styles, what do you love or hate about them or wish you could do differently? If you had to buy a house now, knowing all you know, what would you do differently or the same? What are your must haves? Any advice or warnings much appreciated.