Tracking Pixel

(Disclosure: I am blogging on behalf of Trulia, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Trulia’s.)

When JB and I were house hunting for the first time — back in, what, 2002? — I thought there was a non-trivial chance we’d actually kill each other before we signed the closing papers. We started out with a complete unrealistic set of expectations, and after our poor agent drove around showing us exactly what was available at the price point we wanted (basically ghetto properties surrounded by ravenous wolves or houses that had been soaked in Mystery Urine for a minimum of three decades) we finally made an offer on a house only to rescind the offer when JB got cold feet over the fact that the house didn’t have a garage. Then we made the offer again when we decided that we could build a garage someday. I can’t even remember what happened after that, except eventually we bought the place and moved in, but it sure wasn’t stress-free. I bet the sellers have incredibly fond memories of us.

Fast-forward to 2012, and the second time around wasn’t much easier. We had a hard deadline of when we had to move out of our rental house here in Eugene, and I really really really REALLY didn’t want to move into a second rental. So the clock was ticking as we saw house after house, and struggled with these huge questions of whether or not we wanted to live in the country (JB really did, and I kind of did, but I was also concerned about feeling isolated since I’m home all day, and I wasn’t sure about having to drive 20 minutes to get milk, and JB wasn’t sure about commute times, and on and on it went) and how much, exactly, we could afford.

That last issue was a major challenge. We moved here with the intent of downsizing, but comparing Eugene’s housing market to Seattle made everything pretty confusing. I think we were both somewhat swept away by how much more house you can buy here for even $100K less than what our Bellevue home sold for. We started out with one budget, but after a lot of discussion, we lowered that number by quite a bit. Unfortunately, in the meantime I’d seen one house that I’d fallen painfully in love with, and I had to abandon it altogether — including the idea of finding anything remotely similar — in our new financial reality.

In the midst of all our real estate searching, JB happened to notice that people appeared to be clearing out the house next door to our rental. He approached someone who turned out to be the adult son of the elderly woman who had just moved from the house to an assisted living facility, and through sheer persistency on his part, convinced the guy to let us inside to take a look. I could not have been less interested in seeing what I was certain would be a complete dump, but it turned out that underneath the dated décor and towering piles of crap everywhere, there was a perfectly livable home.

A perfectly livable home at a great price in what we’d come to believe was the ideal neighborhood in Eugene, that is. Large lots, proximity to good schools, convenient location, zero crime rate. People so rarely move out of this loop, someone came knocking the exact afternoon we were viewing the home, ready to make their own offer sight unseen.

It was the right neighborhood, but I was a little hung up on that house I’d seen earlier in the process. I kept thinking about its gorgeous interior: the slate entry, the beautiful gleaming wood-accented office, the immaculately-designed kitchen with high-end appliances. Everything in that house was modern and luxurious and aesthetically pleasing. In comparison, the perfectly livable home was … well, it was livable. It was older and riddled with eyesores and inconveniences: tiny master bath, no laundry room, a carpeted kitchen (!?), weird mismatched cabinetry everywhere.

Also, it was never in show condition. I mean, every room pretty much looked like this:

Hey haven't I seen this living room on Hoarders?

Which is to say, I can fully identify with this:

(Check out the rest of Trulia’s postcards. I’m also quite familiar with Moment #912.)

It was hard to let go of the Beautiful House, you know? But the Livable House came to feel like the right decision. In the end, we bought our house without it ever going on the market, and from the rental we’d landed on through a Craigslist ad, we ended up moving all of fifty feet away (via wheelbarrow, for the most part). It was as though it had been meant to be, all along.

A few months ago I wrote, “When it comes to the lesser-loved parts of my house, I try to think of that Melody Beattie quote: Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” This house will never be the Beautiful House, but it’s our house, beautiful in its own way. And ultimately, it was the smartest choice we could have made. Spending less on a mortgage has given us so much more flexibility to focus on other things that matter to us, like our retirement, the kids’ college savings, vacations, and investments in small home improvement projects here and there (the most recent one being the de-awfulfication of our awful master bathroom).

I could never in a million years have predicted how we’d end up where we did, and isn’t that what makes home buying so crazy? It’s the great swirl of unknowns, among the jumble of priorities — pricelocationschoolssizeyard — that must ultimately be arranged in some sort of balance, preferably without losing your goddamned mind along the way. Two years later, I’m so glad I can say that I truly believe it all worked out for the best.

backyard

backyard2

(And maybe most of all, I’m glad it’s over.)

Tell me, did you end up buying your ideal home? Or did you have to make compromises along the way?

Trulia provides homebuyers with information on neighborhoods, schools, crime, local amenities, agents, and financing, all in the name of making the home-buying process a little less crazy-making. Check out Trulia’s entertaining collection of postcards, and share your own memorable home buying moments.

Comments

39 Responses to “Homebuying Moment #872: Chaos, Coveting, and Compromise”

  1. Pete on March 28th, 2014 8:21 am

    Bought a 4 bedroom fixer-upper in Irvine for 157k. 18 years later it’s still a fixer-upper. It was my dream home and my wife’s reoccurring nightmare.

  2. JennB on March 28th, 2014 8:25 am

    We are actually making the hard decision to sell our ideal home, which we have been in for almost 14 years. Of that 14, I have been driving 2 hours a day to my job (round trim) for 8 years, and my husband’s home business has shriveled. He’s portable, I’m the one with the fixed job.

    So it’s time for us to sell our amazing house that is in a great, but completely inconvenient town for us at this time in our life. Know anyone who wants to buy a house in Vermont’s countryside with a bunch of land? Because I’m selling my dream house and want to find someone great to take it over.

  3. Alexa on March 28th, 2014 8:38 am

    This is the year we are planning to buy our first home, something I have been dreaming about for years and years (lamely, I totally just teared up typing that) and I am both giddy and petrified. We have been mulling over our options a LOT, and have pretty much decided we will be doing something similar to what you did–prioritizing location over actual house, and will probably end up buying the smallest/least updated house in the neighborhood, based upon the neighborhoods we are looking at. But we also want this to be the house that we STAY in, with some fixing up later on, so there is still some balancing to be done between location/house niceness. At our price range in those neighborhoods there are basically 3ish houses on the market at any given time that will meet our specifications, so it is not like we will be choosing from among thousands, but the whole choosing and buying a house thing is so BIG and FINAL and GROWN UP that it is giving me heartburn already, and we don’t start looking for a couple of months. I am going to be SO MUCH FUN TO BE AROUND during this process, I can tell!

  4. anonymous on March 28th, 2014 8:39 am

    Bought the house my grandparents built, that I grew up in – 3 generation delight – my grandmother died before I was born. I moved back to take care of my mom – so let’s just say, while my brother is sure I got a steal of a deal – prevailing values at the time much less here than in his part of the world – I will always know that I paid quite dearly for this place in which I now find myself stuck. Mega compromises – and when anyone asks for my advice re: moving to take care of an aging elder, I always stress that the most critical element will be to make sure that one has an exit strategy. Wish I had gained that wisdom from a book instead of from a life. . .

  5. Lisa on March 28th, 2014 9:13 am

    I can relate to this do much. We bought our house in 2007 & at the time we were in this horrible apartment- the apartment was nice, but the landlord’s layabout dog hoarding daughter who lived downstairs was not. I was fed up to the max with landlords & renting. At the time, I was earning a meager freelance income from my photography & design business & so our budget wasn’t much. I had my eye on my town’s second most desirable neighborhood (no way we could afford the first) & gave our patient realtor my very specific wants. We looked at lots of houses, most of which were on the border of Sketchville or were major fix er uppers, and we were getting pretty bummed. Then, like a beacon, the listing for the house we ended up buying came up. It was exactly what we wanted, where we wanted & was by far and away the best house we looked at. We bid on it… and got outbid. I cried, and we went back to the drawing board. Several days later our realtor called with happy news- the people who bid’s credit didn’t check out. I was so happy! We bid again & got the house & it’s been our happy home for seven years & counting. Sometimes things are just meant to be!

  6. Erin Baebler on March 28th, 2014 9:15 am

    We bought our house almost 12 years ago thinking we’d only be in it for a few years. Now that the kids are both in schools and we are entrenched with our neighbors, I can’t see moving until our daughter is out of high school and she’s only in 1st grade now. I long for a master bath, a fourth bedroom, and a bigger yard but we are right in the heart of Seattle, the house has loads of charm (1926 details), and while it sometimes feels like it could crumble around us, overall, we are happy with our choice.

  7. Chris C. on March 28th, 2014 9:44 am

    Ooof. Home-buying is SO fraught. We bought a house in rural Maine last year . . . while still living in San Francisco. That meant that we really had to compress our visits into just a few days, which I think both helped us and hurt us. It certainly kept me from obsessing and driving past homes again and again. But we also felt a lot of pressure to find something we loved really fast. We really had our hearts set on a house with lots of land land, and ended up having to compromise that for other things that were more important to us: an office for me that could just be my office and nothing else, a space we could fairly easily turn into a painting studio for my partner, decent schools if we do have kids some day (no easy feat in rural Maine!) In the end, I think we ended up in a great house, and the right house for us. Now that we live here, we know that our community is so much better than we would have had in our second choice house. I do still dream some days about the 35 acres and beautiful trout stream that house had, though!

  8. dorrie on March 28th, 2014 9:45 am

    Compromises. You could say that, but who doesn’t make them in life? When the decision was made to move our family from Bothell to Spokane, where my husband was already working, the house hunting was mostly consisted of him looking after work and faxing and emailing me info about his best guesses. I drove over twice for epic weekends of house hunting…ugh, those were rough days. Luckily, like you, we enjoyed the difference of housing markets in our favor. I fell deeply, deliriously in love with this one four square with a huge basement, front porch, good hood, the whole thing. The house had ONE bathroom. oh well, we can always put in another bathroom down the road, right? And then a friend told us about a house that had been on the market for awhile, and that we should check it out. So we did, and it was not love. It was not even like. the whole place smelled, there was carpet everywhere, (what IS that?), and wallpaper and huge curtain/drape combos that obscured half the windows. The kitchen sucked. The price was LOW LOW LOW, and the detached garage and shop was extremely tempting to my husband. Guess which one we bought? 16 years later, and empty nesters, we are remodeling the basement and looking towards down sizing. It’s been a good house. It’s been a great HOME. The bones were there. They have to find you sometimes.
    Sorry about the novel.

  9. Mary on March 28th, 2014 9:48 am

    That price / neighborhood / convenience / quiet-of-country / accessibility of city decision is SUCH a tough one.

    When we moved to Denver from our Mpls apartment, I was dying for LIGHT and SPACE and we found it in our current home. But it was also a 1990’s nightmare – ugly lighting, gold trim, a perfectly working but horrible looking master bathroom (more gold trim! lots of gold). But it’s the perfect size, has an awesome yard, gets tons of sunlight, is near a bike trail, is the safest in Denver city limits.

    Our neighborhood has a way to go walkability-wise, but thankfully we have some basics: cute coffee shop, community center, library and 1 brewpub. I can live with that, despite the horrid strip malls. Need a paycheck advance and a liter of Miller Lite? Go right down the street in either direction!

    Neighborhoods that are in walkable, cute areas are super tiny and waaayyyy more expensive. I just couldn’t do it. I’m praying for a teeny bit of gentrification happening in neighboring ‘hoods to start creeping into ours, and there’s a decent chance that we’re next for that, so yay. And when I hear stories of friends who were literally verbally battling other buyers for properties half the size and twice the price, I know our timing was pretty perfect.

    Meanwhile, last week I spent a gazillion hours I’ll never get back painting a million horrible honey-oak spindles, and I still have miles of floor boards to go before I can stand them. But painting and replacing light fixtures is about as complicated as it needs to get for the house to look how I want it to.

  10. Jessica on March 28th, 2014 10:24 am

    We bought our decently large, amazing house as a foreclosure. It was… dated, but perfect. We ripped out everything but the kitchen cabinets (solid wood!) and opened walls, changed the exterior siding and replaced a roof and an AC unit and have made it our home. It has a basement (unheard of in our area!) and a large amazing yard and old wonderful trees and an in-ground gunnite pool. And it is in the best neighborhood possible with great schools, a neighborhood swim and tennis club and some of the best friends possible. We have two great boys and are expecting twin girls in August and suddenly this awesome, large house feels… tight and cramped. So we looked and looked and while we can afford to upgrade, we bought this house for such a steal and have only 10 years left on our mortgage that we have decided we are staying put. Financial security and long-term goals (4 kids in college at once! 6 drivers! 4 kids with car insurance/sports/phones/prom/weddings) and our desire to buy a nice camper in the next few years so we can travel with our brood of kids has won out and while we may add on (we can bump over our garage for extra space) if we need it, but if not, we will learn to live together and love each other and while I may pull my hair out with 4 teenagers sharing a bathroom at once, and we will forever play driveway tetris with our cars, someday we will look back and laugh and I will cry when we eventually have to sell this house because this is where it all began.

  11. Shawna on March 28th, 2014 10:42 am

    I built my first home, no compromises required. I got a ridiculous deal on a small, old, ugly, makeshift, teardown house on a large lot in my ideal urban neighbourhood. Then I rented it out for a year while I researched small-home design, did the design, got blueprints drafted, got all the permits and lined up financing and contractors. I demolished, built a semi-detached, severed, and sold the other half, which financed my half enough that I had a manageable mortgage left over.

    It was a ton of work, but I LOVED the whole process and I LOVED my house! I was in my 20s at the time and single. Sadly, I knew it was for the lifestyle I had then and would not be for me if I ended up meeting someone and starting a family, and I was right. My husband and I knew we’d outgrown it when our first was a baby and we were trying for our second. We now live in a bigger house in the suburbs with 4 bedrooms and an in-ground pool. It’s not my cool urban semi, but since we renovated the kitchen and bathrooms it’s perfect for our young family of four.

    Now I just wish my house would come back on the market when the kids move out and we’re ready to downsize and move back downtown again…

  12. Liz on March 28th, 2014 11:19 am

    Bought a weensy little bungalow in a great neighborhood in the fall of 2008, 6 weeks before the new homebuyer tax credit became something you *didn’t* have to pay back. In retrospect, I should have rented for another couple of years; the housing market wasn’t going to rebound quickly, and I could desperately have used more savings. I got schooled a little bit on the sale, because there was a water leak DURING the sale that cause several thousand dollars’ worth of damage that the seller had to fix, so then they didn’t want to fix anything else of the many, many problems as part of the sale. I should have gotten a more rabid realtor. I should have waited. I should have saved more assiduously in the first five years of owning the house. But I love my little house and always have. I just wish I had a bit more money to make it better.

  13. Maggie on March 28th, 2014 11:33 am

    We moved in late 2005, so the housing market in my area was completely insanely expensive and hot. I often say that we missed living in the area with the best elementary school in the city by 1 mile and about $100,000. So we looked at the next best school area. I swear the only reason we managed to get the house we ended up buying was because it was listed between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the listing agent made a mistake on the MLS and said it was 1600 sq ft. On a whim, my husband went by to look at it on his lunch hour and discovered the listing left out 500 sq ft of finished daylight basement that has a playroom, laundry room, guest room, and additional bathroom. He called me approximately one second after looking at it and we made a full price offer about an hour later. Even at that speed, they had an additional offer come in just after ours. I still feel super lucky that they took our offer. It’s not my dream house, the kitchen is dated, and the bathrooms are small, but the school is excellent and the neighborhood, although super suburban, is full of kids and nice people. So, location won out over finish for us then and still does.

  14. Jessica V. on March 28th, 2014 12:07 pm

    We bought our house at the top of the market in 2005 (dummies) and it was the first and only house we looked at (double dummies); however it was so cute from the front that we overlooked all the work that needed to be done and just took the plunge. We anticipated being here for a few years and then buying in a better neighborhood/renting this house. HAAA!! Eight years later, we are still here – but we’ve done so much to the house to make it ours that it really doesn’t bother me. To be sure, we could use more space – but we have a giant garage to store stuff, a huge yard for the kids to play in and are close to everything we need (including my family). Eventually we’ll move – but I’m ok with where we are right now too. It’s home – even if we are completely underwater (lalala – fingers in my ears) and the place isn’t perfect – we are happy here.

  15. sooboo on March 28th, 2014 12:08 pm

    We looked for a year at the end of the housing boom and got outbid by contractors on every piece of crap we put an offer on. After the crash we bought a small house in an up and coming neighborhood. It had been a rental that had been abused by criminal types. About two weeks of living in the house, there was a murder down the street and the Department of Homeland Security knocked on our door looking for the former occupants of our home. Six years later, the neighborhood was listed as #2 in the country. The house was and is really cute and cool but still needs work and we are doing it slowly. I’m glad we are homeowners of this home, but it certainly did come with some nail biting moments where we wondered if we were doing the right thing.

  16. Eric's Mommy on March 28th, 2014 12:48 pm

    We bought our house too fast, it was supposed to be a starter home. We have been here for 13 years and hate it but are in no position to buy another house :(

  17. Em on March 28th, 2014 12:50 pm

    We bought our first single family home last June. We were moving from another state and the market in our new city was bouncing back (of course!) so finding a place was stressful. To add to my stress, we moved in with my in laws temporarily. Not fun. We found a place, but sometimes I wonder if we would have bought so soon if we hadn’t been with my in laws. I do love our neighborhood, though, and while it’s not perfect, our house feels like home.

  18. jen on March 28th, 2014 1:08 pm

    first house in 2003 was a 1970’s split level in the ‘burbs. We updated everything and in 2007 turned it into a rental while we moved into a new construction my husband had built. The house was amazing, great privacy and space…but it just wasn’t where we knew we’d be long term. In 2011, we sold that house and moved 2.5 hours West, into a small mountain town where we bought a 1922 bungalow half the size. Spent the last 3 years renovating it (and blogging about those renovations) and can say with 99% certainty that this is our last home. there are things I wish it had (master bathroom), but the location cannot be beat and we bought at the low point in the market so even with all our updates, our payment is lower than the last place. Low enough that I can quit my job and raise our daughter. Our neighbors are awesome and we love the convenience of semi-urban living.

  19. Amanda on March 28th, 2014 1:52 pm

    I’ll see your carpet in the kitchen and match you two carpeted BATHROOMS. In a house that was built in the 60’s. That’s approximately ONE BILLION YEARS of stranger pee building up before we even got to it. We tore the floor out of the kitchen and relaid super industrial strength vinyl stuff when my son started crawling, and tore the carpet out of the bathrooms when he started potty training. Fast forward 2 years, and we’ve JUST NOW replaced the floor in the main bath upstairs (with pennies. Thank you/fuck you, Pinterest) and I’ve decided I don’t care enough about the one in the basement to ever do anything about the exposed cement there. Because at least it isn’t MFing carpet.

    I’d have killed for a 100 year-old home with hardwood and high ceilings and 8-inch tall baseboards, but given the issues our current home had and how hard we’ve had to work to make it ours, I think the work involved with a super old one might have literally killed me.

  20. OR Suz on March 28th, 2014 3:03 pm

    We moved into a sight unseen West Eugene rental from Seattle proper 5-08 before buying for the first time in rural Lane County 2 years later.
    The process was miserable as is this dump of a ‘neighborhood.’
    I’d like nothing more than to plop my quirky home (which still needs *so* much work) and marvelous yard (with a creek!) into a more cosmopolitan locale.
    Being an impossibility, I’m making the best of it. (I hear ya with the isolation.)
    By suggestion, I’ve been blogging about it this year, which would answer your short question in a very long way.
    This was a particularly bad day out here: (but thankfully, there are good ones for balance.)
    http://chezstanminn.blogspot.com/2014/03/robbed.html

  21. telegirl on March 28th, 2014 3:10 pm

    When we moved from a major city to a smaller, but still “big” city, I was upset. I didn’t like the new city at all and never had. The houses here in our price range were stupid; old and in need of too much work, too small for our family of four (and two dogs), in less-desirable areas or on busier roads… the list went on. When our realtor found another place, we went to look at it. I hated it. It was split-level and built in the 70’s and I remember walking up the stairs and saying under my breath, “De-pressing!!” I was used to living in newer homes in cooler cities but we had just gone through a bankruptcy (thank you, economy) and we didn’t have a lot of choices. Not to mention my husband had just landed a really great job in this city after finally getting his degree. So, he ran to the real estate agent’s and made an offer. I was freaking out, because to me? The WHOLE THING was a compromise. Turns out, it was the best thing in the world for us. We are back on our feet. We live in a neighborhood that is very established and used to be the “it” neighborhood back in the day. In my opinion, it still is. We have great schools. Great neighbors. And, I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. So, yes. Compromise, compromise, compromise. But it can still end up to be a good thing even if it doesn’t seem so at first.

  22. Meg on March 28th, 2014 3:32 pm

    My husband and I really wanted a house, but in Southern California our budget basically put us in a shack in gang territory (wolves, etc.). We ended up looking at a place we hadn’t planned on viewing, an unrenovated 1950’s condo in a mid-size building, between two other appointments. I was prepared not to be impressed, but my husband found me transfixed at the big living-room window. The building’s at the top of a hill, and less than a mile away, across rooftops and palm trees, is the Pacific Ocean. It was a deal-maker; I still like to sit by that window and watch the light change on the water. The vintage bubble-gum-pink bathroom remains … special.

  23. Taryn on March 28th, 2014 5:46 pm

    Bought my first house in 2006 when my budget was VERY small and the market was way up. I was so ready to be out of my apartment, and around me close friends were all getting married. I think I was ready for something big to happen for me too. I don’t regret it, it was and still is a very cute little 1930’s era bungalow style house that had been completely updated, located next to a textile mill that had been in operation since the early 1900s. It had an awesome kitchen with abundant maple cabinets. The downside- it was in a “mostly safe” yet slummy neighborhood which I fondly refer to as The White Trash Ghetto. Pretty sure my neighbors were making meth or at least dealing drugs out of their house, other renters across the way were selling drugs in the street, the one directly across from me I found out was on the sex offender registry. The factory shut down due to the slump in the economy about 3 years into my residency and then sat vacant for a number of years before someone bought it for chump change and began tearing it down–very very slowly. BUT it’s not as bad as it sounds, despite all that I was never broken into, stolen from, or bothered. I think I was known as the crazy “stay off my lawn” cat lady. I walked my hood daily down to the city park that had ballfields, a fishing pier and boat put-in & public tennis club. lol. BUT I knew I needed to leave because it was supposed to be my starter home and it was never ever going to increase in value more than it was worth at that time. After a year on the market, it finally sold and I moved last summer about THREE MILES to the “right side of the tracks” (literally–there are railroad tracks) to an AWESOME house! I love it! It is a 60’s rancher with hardwoods and a big yard and nice neighbors. It needs some fixing up (kitchen is awful 80s blue, bathroom still has original formica green counter–also they made the hall coat closet into a “water closet” which I plan to keep b/c it’s quaint). But it feels like home. Not sure how long I’ll be here but I could definitely stay a very long time!

  24. velocibadgergirl on March 28th, 2014 6:54 pm

    Man, I love that postcard. Our house has awful, awful wallpaper and had a ratty old chair and an ugly lamp in the living room when we first saw it.

    And oh, househunting. We looked at 30 houses and they just kept getting worse the longer we looked. Then we stumbled on our house and wanted it pretty much as soon as we saw it. It wasn’t the most lovely house or the biggest or the most updated, but it was big enough and in a neighborhood we never ever thought we’d be able to afford.

  25. Thursday on March 29th, 2014 2:44 am

    We moved from England to a small European country nearly 3 years ago and rent. Absolutely no chance of buying a dream home here given the average property price is EUR450k (approx USD618k).

  26. Jennifer on March 29th, 2014 5:52 am

    This is the first sponsored post I’ve willingly read and really enjoyed. You are a gifted writer and one of my favorite Internet people.

  27. Jennifer on March 30th, 2014 7:16 pm

    I think there’s always compromises – our house was the first one we looked at (in a random open-house one rainy weekend that we didn’t have anything better to do), but we disqualified it for several reasons… too far a walk from town, no view of the water (in a neighborhood where everyone else has a water view), weird living room/kitchen layout. But after looking at another 20 houses they also had issues and we came back to this one and it has been a good house for us. I still wish for a water view, but if I climb to the top of the roof I can see the water! So there’s that.

  28. Maggie on March 31st, 2014 6:31 am

    Interesting that you posted this because we are closing on our new house today! THe story is long and sordid including making 2 separate offers on the same house. Also, thinking the house we are moving from would be our forever home (never say never). Can’t relate on the price thing because this house taps us out and it is basically the cheapest thing in the desired location, so we will be living like it is 1981 for a while. Tough when we are coming from new construction that was basically exactly how we wanted it. Ultimately, schools and a bigger lot made us decide to make the move. Dreading the actual moving part, but in the end I believe it is the right decision.

  29. June on March 31st, 2014 9:11 am

    We sold our house in 2012 to a couple who made an OK offer, got cold feet and rescinded a few days later, and then came around with another slightly better offer a month-ish later. It was very annoying at the time, but they turned out to be nice people (if indecisive), and I was just glad to have a buyer.

    The other reasonable offer we received for the house turned out to be not-so-reasonable because it was contingent on the sale of another house… with said house not even being on the market at the time! Crazy! Who does that?

  30. Karl on March 31st, 2014 5:30 pm

    I bought a “cream puff” for myself 32 years ago. A nice little 2 bedroom ranch. By closing time, I had met my wife, and there were going to be 3 of us. We put an addition on pretty much right away, finished the basement 7 or 8 years later, and raised 4 kids in it. There were a lot of little things to complain about with the house, but nothing earth-shaking. After the last kid moved out we gutted and redid the “kid’s bathroom”, the original one, and 5 years ago knocked out a wall and completely redid the kitchen. It’s a gem now.

    We would go looking for a new larger place every now and then, but could never really justify it. Yes, we were a bit cramped, but the kids got to go traveling (Europe and all), and that was MUCH better than having a grand entryway or stainless steel appliances (WTF?).

    I’d do it more or less the same way if I had it to do over.

  31. Anu on March 31st, 2014 6:40 pm

    Ah, the words I could write about this. We live right outside of NYC and we started our search where I originally used to live, in Manhattan. Then in Astoria where my husband and I lived together. Then Brooklyn. Then we threw our hands in the air and said “we’re moving to Jersey.” Except by the time we had a full 20 to 30% down for a home, Hoboken had gone through the roof. So move up on the hills (the Palisades) moving from Weehawken to Union City to the Heights. The housing market was so bad here over the summer that we’d drive over from Astoria clutching listings only to find them in contract. We got our home totally by accident-it fell out of contract the day before we came in for our VERY LAST set of viewings. It’s unbelievable. 3 beds/3 baths and views of Manhattan and way way below what we were willing to pay. Homes here aren’t “cheap,” but there are little secret neighborhoods here and there around Manhattan that people can buy into. Overall I’d say our experience house hunting in the area was a pretty good one.

  32. Amy on April 1st, 2014 5:11 pm

    we bought our dream home in our dream neighborhood. It took use over a year to find it but it was so worth it. My Husband had an hour commute for the year we were looking. Bless him! Now if we could get rid of the koi pond in the back yard things would be perfect.

  33. Angela on April 1st, 2014 5:57 pm

    Just accepted the counter-offer on the first house we viewed over a year ago. The couple who ended up buying it is moving because of a work transfer. I was super-excited but suspicious (what’s wrong with it?) when the listing showed up in my email. I really liked the house when we first saw it, but again, it was the first house we looked at. Now, a year into the search (we live in northern CA), after viewing so many dumpy houses, this house is my dream home. Funny how one’s perspective changes! Oh, and the market has gone up considerably in one year; we are going to pay about $35k more than it sold for last year.

  34. Kelly on April 2nd, 2014 6:32 am

    Compromises for sure. We had such a crazy-long list of wants, we had to just prioritize which ones were really needs and which ones were wishes we could live without. We got most of our list in the house we bought at New Year’s.

  35. Kami on April 3rd, 2014 10:40 pm

    We bought 10 years ago (loved the lay out, size, & location) knowing we were going into this with a lot of renovations. Low & behold I discovered my husband was cheating a week after moving in. I got the house in the divorce along with a huge mortgage lol & I can finally say it’s pretty much finished & I really do love it. It’s amazing what a pissed off woman can accomplish.
    I had it sided first…. a beautiful moss green trimmed out in khaki, gutted the main bath & put in ceramic tile with a granite sink, tiled the kitchen, had carpet removed in living room & replaced with dark hardwood, replaced all trim through out from skinny orange to thick white, replaced all interior doors from orange-ish hollow ones to 6 panel white with bronze hardware, painted every room and new carpet in all bedrooms, fenced in the yard had a pool installed & so much more. I was determined to make it my kid’s “home” & they still love it. I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it, but what a ride it has been.

  36. Ashley on April 7th, 2014 10:00 pm

    I hope you moderate these comments, I don’t want to get banned. I’ve followed you for a long time, we both have kiddos the same age (ish.. mine are girls 8 and 5, almost six) I am a work from home mother like you, and while it isn’t my child that is ill- I am trying to get word out for my best friend. It isn’t about the monetary donations, just to have prayers and/or good thoughts going to this barely 3 year old little boy just diagnosed with cancer. I said I hoped you moderated comments, because I don’t want to seem like a spammer. But I hope you see it, and even though I haven’t commented without being annonoymous (always nice, promise :) ) I hope you can send some good vibes to this little boy and his family that doesn’t deserve this heartache. Thank you, Linda. Keep writing good and honest columns, you make all of us other mothers breathe a sigh of relief that NONE of us are perfect, and it’s good to hear THAT IS OKAY! Thank you <3
    http://www.gofundme.com/harperbeatscancer

  37. Annie on April 9th, 2014 3:40 pm

    My grandparents bought me a run down townhouse in a meh neighborhood as a wedding present seven years ago. While they meant well, the townhouse has been the bane of my existence since we moved in. We deal with obnoxious neighbors, no parking at all for guests, a recurring sinkhole in our parking lot that already once swallowed the front half of my neighbor’s car and had to be lifted out by a crane and ridiculous high living costs because of the fact that our city is part of Miami, FL. Aside from those issues, our house has been a shit hole since we moved in and we are just now remodeling the bathrooms, and possibly the kitchen after years of financial woes. My husband and I are finally in a better place and are planning on saving up to buy a house far, far away from here. My parents are moving to a small, rural town about 10 hours away and we will be following them in a few years.

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