Monday, May 5, 2008


Well, here is my little rundown of the houses today. Ry had to leave for class after the last house, so we really haven't had time to discuss our "pros" and "cons" to each one. But... here is my take.

House #1: "H"... Repo, and needs lots of cleaning up but would probalby be decent with some wallpaper stripped, floors cleaned, carpet in living room ripped up (wood floor underneath). Bonus... has an apartment built above the garage. With its own entrance... kitchen and bath as well. It needs finishing, but Ry keeps rambling about renting it out to some guy he works with.

  • Huge house, plenty of room for us to grow into (2300sq ft plus 500sq foot apartment).
  • I LOVE the layout.
  • New windows. New siding.
  • Priced PERFECTLY.
  • Wood floors throughout,
  • 4 bedrooms, 2 bath.

  • 2 car garage was converted to one car garage. Where did the other space go? Turned it into a stairway to the apartment upstairs (again, it has its own entrance separate from the main house), and a mudroom from the now-one-car-garage into the main house. We more than likely wouldn't use the apartment... wasted space, IMO. I'd rather have a 2 car garage and no apartment. However its there so whatever.
  • Its not really in a "neighborhood" but it is on a decent street, although not one I'd necessarily have picked out to live on, but it is a decent street- pretty decent houses on the road. Its across the road from a high school. In a school district that I have never really thought of sending my children. Its across town from our "preferred" school... so commute would be bleh... although doable if I was working in the district (we want to send the kids to the school district I currently work in). HOWEVER.... I have a friend who teaches in the district where "H" House is... and he loves it- says the teachers/admin is great.
  • Has hot water heating... meaning... no forced air. No central air. Meaning... lots of window a/c units in a large home. Eww.
House 2: "D"
Typical tri-level with an additional family room built on. We vetoed it because it only had 3 bedrooms and the "basement" is really only a family room and utility room... so no major storage or space to use as a home office.

House 3: "T"
The house I've been stalking... the house I really really wanted to walk into and love. The house where I can see us taking walks in the neighborhood with our kids and waving at our neighbors as they water their lawns.

I love love love the area. LOVE it. I love the idea of the house. But... I just don't know. I have hesitations about it and I think thats a sign. Although I don't want it to be a sign.

  • Love the neighborhood
  • Has 2 car garage with door to back yard... perfect for dogs to enter to "dry off/de-mud"
  • Has full unfinished basement with tall ceilings... perfect for us to make into a family room, laundry room, an office and a 4th bedroom in the future. Plenty of space.
  • Lots of windows, lots of light (newer windows as well)
  • Has central air

  • The house is basically the size our home now (900sq ft) PLUS a dining room and additional bathroom... with a better layout, 2 car garage and full basement. So, lots of extras, but as far as basic, finished living space at move-in... its not that big of a step up (total sq foot is almost 1400)
  • Has wood siding... you know the dark stained "lodge" looking siding? Meaning: maintenance. Or would need to be sided in the near future.
  • Kitchen is small
  • Bedrooms are not that large... third bedroom is as small as the boys' rooms now (9x11) and the other two rooms aren't all that huge.
  • We would have to put money into the basement to make that living space useful for us... and we'd eventually really need that additional living space. Although... Ry swears it wouldn't be THAT much to do.
SOOO.... I'm a bit depressed after our house hunting today. I'm just feeling like we aren't going to find a house in our price range in an "acceptable" neighborhood. I love the "H" house... but its not really in a neighborhood... kind of just on a road. Does that really matter? I mean, do we HAVE to be living in a neighborhood? I guess because growing up I never did... I always lived on a busy road and I just think itd be so fun to be in a neighborhood with other kids and our kids could ride their bikes with their friends.

What is more important... the house and how it fits your family or the area its in?

Or... maybe we just haven't found the right place. But oh lord I feel pressure and like the clock is ticking. Hudson will be here soon... hopefully the inspections and appraisal on our house will be done within the next week, and closing will be around the first of June. GAH!


  1. I love being in a neighborhood- that was really big for me when we were house hunting. I love that we're on a non-busy street and we can take the kids for walks and let them run around in the yard. You've probably seen enough houses to "know" when you walk into the ONE. At least there's alot to choose from right now!

  2. I never gave all that much thought to neighborhood... I mean, I always knew "area" mattered, but not necessarily a neighborhood-y neighborhood. That is until we moved into one. I am thankful every single day that this ended up being the house we picked, as I know that the other finalists on our list didn't have the same neighborhood feel as this one; older families, secluded streets, etc.
    Now I wouldn't trade it for the world. To have friends here, to have people who are looking out for each other and care for each other, their properties as well as their families... it is amazing to me the difference that makes in how we feel about our home.

    I'd be tempted, in your situation, to go for the neighboorhoody house. It seems if you don't plan on being there forever, it's as good as time as any (while the kids are young) to be sure that you're in a good neighborhood where kids can easily play outside and it feels so much like a community.

    I wish I could see all these houses with you!! Call me this week!

  3. Decisions Decisions! It really is so Hard! The first house I owned I never had to think about the School District, Neighborhood, area and so on... But, our new house that was the most important part of my decision knowing that we will be there for 20 plus years and that we will have children while living there.

    I, myself the neighborhood makes or breaks the deak for me.

    Good Luck on your house hunt! I know that you will find the perfect house it may just take looking at several in the process.

  4. I love being in a neighborhood. It makes being a mom a lot easier- the kids have so much to do now that they are older and can go play and just take off with their friends.

    It is hard to house shop for a family. You have so much to consider and the school district is always a big concern for us too.

    Although, if the house that is not in a neighborhood has a large can always find fun stuff to do with a lot of space. I grew up on ranches and farms- without neighbors and was happy, but we had the animals and a lot of space to play.

    I watch too much HGTV. LOL. "House Hunters"...keep looking, I bet you will find your jewel! :O)

  5. Try to take a little more time if possible, I realize time isn't all on your side right now. We love our house, but both Kevin & I grew up in neighborhoods (obviously I had GREAT neighbors, alot of time hanging @ the Bz's w/Lori) Our home is on a busy road in a school district we would have chose, but looking back,would have preferred a neighborhood. There are no kids for our children to play with close by, all the neighbors are older, no where to ride their bikes, the roads too busy, etc. Not saying that would/could be the case where you are looking, but you could get more variety in a neighborhood setting & it may be more worth while to just look a bit longer? Plus, you want to go into this with the right feeling, no hesitations. You will know when you find the right one :)

  6. house hunting is always a little bit depressing, i think. i felt like we were always getting less of a house than we thought we'd be able to... if that makes sense... and it feels like even if you LOVE the place there is still always something about it that has to give.

    i totally understand the dilemma of house/neighborhood... i grew up in a close-knit neighborhood with a lot of kids to play with and friends for my parents to socialize with as well. my husband grew up on a rural street. when we were house shopping we looked at both types, but the house we loved ended up being outside the city limits on 5 acres. trust me, i STILL have moments where i really wish my kids would have that neighborhood that i had growing up, but, i know they won't know the difference - like tom for example, he is thrilled to be back out where he grew up and have so much space. and really - you can buy for the neighborhood but there's really no telling how that will turn out, especially over 5-10 more years - people could move in and out, things can change. and how can you really know until you move in anyway - unless you already know the neighbors. i mean, you can't really sit and give interviews to everyone on your possible street (although, that would be nice :). so i guess i would make sure you really love the house, regardless of where it's at.

    good luck! i'm excited for you...

  7. We are having this same dilemma right now. We have a small-ish house in a great neighborhood right now with great school districts not to mention about 15 kids Renee's age in two blocks. We looked to upgrade a few months ago and we just couldn't find a neighborhood that appealed to us like ours does. So we decided that we are going either add on to ours in a year or wait for the "perfect" house to hit the market and then jump on it. I know you can't really wait (hehe) but have you considered adding on to the smaller one in the nice neighborhood in a few years? If that's an option you could do that and if you decide you don't love the house you could always move?Good Luck!

  8. Have you checked out house "H" during a school day and before and after? A friend of mine lived a block away from a high school with an open lunch and had kids (and their trash) all over her yard. She even caught a couple having sex in her yard in the middle of the day. Just thought I would throw this out there since you mentioned the house being near a high school.

  9. I was going to say the high school would be a little concerning to me too... a friend here lives near a high school and they say if they knew how annoying it would be before they moved there, they would have steered clear of that neighborhood. The kids drive by too fast, lots of noise... games and noise on the field till late...
    Not sure if your one house is "behind" the high school, or on the road to drive into the high school, but you might want to think that aspect through too. I normally think school neighborhoods are good neighborhoods, but high schools?... not so much.

  10. Sounds like your commenters are leaving some good points. The highschool comments are cracking me up! I'd definitely look into that a little more!!
    I'm not sure on your market, so, I may be saying this all wrong but.... Can you go in and low-ball on a bigger house in the right neighborhood? What does your realtor think about the prices? Then maybe you can get the right size house in the right neighborhood at the right price.
    I know you don't have a whole lot of time to be looking and low-balling, etc. But, have you found one awesome house in a perfect neighborhood that was out of budget (well, not $100K over!)? How much do you think you could negotiate? How desperate are people to sell?
    This is the year to "steal" some properties:)
    Best of luck! I hope you can get it ALL!

  11. it's a hard thing! i hope you can get as close to "perfect" for your famliy as possible. you also learn a lot after you move in that you couldn't possibly know or take into account beforehand. good luck nicole!