There is a couple around our age that moved into a large, beautiful home down the block a few years ago and JB and I spent a lot of time jealously wondering how they afforded such swanky digs. Maybe it was the side heroin-import business, or the internet porn, or her fame in Tijuana as a maestro de pelota de ping-pong . . . we had many theories.

Now they’re moving again, apparently to a bigger, better location — because 2300 square feet is not enough when you’ve got all those smack-smuggling pay-per-view vaginal-table-tennis activities to manage, I’m sure — and when we saw the open house sign yesterday afternoon JB and I decided to stop by. Their agent let us snoop around and I left lustful sluglike eyeball-trails gaze over the formal dining room, gorgeous staircase, gourmet kitchen, and giant windows. Every inch was spotless and nicely decorated, they had actual art on their walls instead of sweet-potato fingerprints, and I swear I wasn’t rifling through their walk-in closet but . . . well, I couldn’t help but notice that their clothes were neatly arranged by color.

Listen, I know you’re not supposed to covet thy neighbor’s goods, but damn.

Anyway, we only did this to be nosy, because god knows we can’t afford such a fancy place, but, well, it turns out we kind of CAN. JB ran some numbers and given the fact that we have a 15-year fixed loan from our remodel and our house value isn’t high enough to get a new combined loan that would drop the monthly payments, we could actually in theory use the equity in our current home to buy a new house at a higher value and pay the same amount per month, maybe even less.

We think our neighbors are asking too much for their home, but it got us thinking about what else is out there for a similar value. And you know, there’s a lot. Housing prices are down right now, even in Seattle’s crazy market, and we could definitely upgrade. Get some more living space, maybe even a view.

There are all kinds of questions, of course, like whether our house would even sell right now, whether we could get a new loan given JB’s brand-new job, and whether or not it’s a good idea to make ANY big financial moves like that at the moment. Also: schools, commutes, the unbelievable ass-pain of showing a house while living in it, and the associated costs of moving. Oh and the probability of ANY place, no matter how amazing, looking trashed within one month of housing two small children.

It’s just interesting to think about, I guess. Also, as long as I’m dreaming, I would like someone to buy me this house IMMEDIATELY.

:::

PS: Oh! I almost forgot: I participated in the Big Climb yesterday, and I posted a bit about it here. To those who sponsored me or sent encouraging words, thank you so much!

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Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

We went through this all the time before we finally settled on the house we’re in. It’s a huge fixer-upper, but we figured that once we’re done fixing it up, it should be nice enough that we wouldn’t have been able to afford it any other way.

Right? I mean, this will one day end and it will be nice, right?

I wish you guys good luck making this decision. It’s a big one!

Janet
Janet
15 years ago

Stairs and toddlers. hmmmm

Harvest
Harvest
15 years ago

hello beautiful. Good lord, those are some gorgeous windows and views. You could practically tan INSIDE your living room – if you weren’t in Seattle.

Tony
15 years ago

Is it me, or in the “dreaming” house does it appear that the designer forgot to put a kitchen in the plans and then had to scramble at the last minute to find find space for it and find cheap cabinets at a yard sale to put in it?

It’s like putting in a half bath in the President’s bedroom at the White House.

Donna
Donna
15 years ago

Can I live there with you? Puhleeeze!

samantha jo campen
15 years ago

How wrong is it that I don’t want you to move because I love your house? I’m USED to your house. It feels COZY there.

And that house you want is fabulous but to me it falls under the ‘a-nice-place-to-visit-but-I-wouldn’t-want-to-live-there’ category. The view IS to die for but it seems to impersonal. Granted that’s all in how it’s decorated, but it’s got a museum-like quality to it. Again, I LIKE YOUR HOUSE NOOOOOOOOW.

Sorry. I’m not big on change so I’ll have to get used to this idea if you decide to move. It would make great blog-writing though–the trials and tribulations :-)

Cari
Cari
15 years ago

We’re trying to sell our house right now and it kind of sucks trying to keep it clean with a toddler, not to mention the crappy market. We are trying to keep our eyes on the prize and think about the great deal we will get once we finally get an offer on our place.
It’s crazy to think about what you might be able to swing with housing prices and interest rates right now, isn’t it?

Mimi All Me
15 years ago

That house is absolutely beautiful… but the cabinets do leave something to be desired.

I’m friends with a couple that I always wonder how it is that they afford what they do at our age. I guess maybe some people have a higher tolerance for debt?

kirida
15 years ago

I love the windows (and the gorgeous view beyond them), but that kitchen looks dated. And I can just see my toddler trying to leap off the metal balcony.

justmouse
15 years ago

i was totally going to congratulate you on your big climb yesterday…but i’m still trying to process the fact that you ran up eleventybillion stairs in 17 minutes. seriously. ya, sorry, that is so beyond the scope of anything i can imagine. starting to wonder if you’re actually some sort of cyborg.

jonniker
15 years ago

I don’t know what the answer is. On the one hand, we can totally afford more than we have, but on the other? Thank GOD we didn’t, because we got stuck in the market, and it’s only because we bought WAY less than we could afford that we’re not drowning in an underwater market. Especially because we moved away from that area and all. Ahem.

Granted, that’s not likely to happen again, especially for you guys and the fancy number-crunching, but I have this weird comfort in buying less than we could have afforded, knowing that when the worst happens (and for us, it did, as we’ll be selling that house in 2020 at this rate, and we bought LOW), we’re more than protected.

Does that make up for the lack of shiny house? I don’t know. I do know that the day that fucker sells will be the best day of my entire life, second only to the birth of my daughter. People think I’m kidding, but OH I AM NOT.

Kristy
15 years ago

That house is great…if you overlook the craptacular track lighting and 1980’s appliances and fixtures.

Why is it…that we always covet what other’s have and rarely covet what we have gained?

Katherine
Katherine
15 years ago

Thoughts from one to tends to be a bit fiscally conservative:
*I take great comfort, especially in this economic climate, in having a house that I could afford on half my current income. I could actually make my mortgage payment on unemployment if I had to. I occasionally lust after something bigger/better, especially given that my bedrooms are so small that the dog can’t even have a bed in my bedroom. But I always come back to “keep it small, don’t overconsume, pay it off, retire early, and when I leave it to travel, a small house will be easier to manage from afar….” Plus I think a small house–a starter or retirement house– maintains its resale value better than bigger, more expensive places.
*I choose to live in a small house partly because I can’t really stomach the idea of one person needing to use/consume the many resources a larger space requires. My values.
*The house you covet is pretty, but doesn’t look very kid-friendly. Does it have any yard? I seem to recall your present house having a nice yard.
*Maybe you should note the things you like about this house and find a pretty piece of property to buy, and then design your dream home that has everything you like. When JB and his pals hit the big time with the new company, you’ll be all ready to build.
*Last but not least: it’s wonderful to admire and desire something, and also know that you don’t have to own it. If you don’t buy the house down the street, make friends with whoever does so you can visit and enjoy it with them!

dani
15 years ago

on that note, i found this over the weekend and almost sent it to you this morning:
http://www.360modern.com/home/
all seattle and surrounding area homes.

Nothing But Bonfires
15 years ago

Do you think if we all paid, like, a hundred bucks for that Amazing Dream House you linked to we could all SHARE IT? Everyone could have one day a year to live there and pretend they were fancy and it was their home. It could be the day your in-laws came over or the day you hosted George Clooney for tea or the day your ex-boyfriend popped by to see how you were living without him. I’d totally be down for it.

Gwen
15 years ago

If it makes you feel better, the perfect decorating scheme and color-coded closets are almost certainly realtor staging. It’s like a mandatory part of selling your house these days.

thejunebug
thejunebug
15 years ago

You could also rent your house. Just don’t be like our landlords and put the house on the market 5 months before the end of the lease, because then your tenants would hate you. Like we do our landlords. Heh.

Heather-in-Australia
Heather-in-Australia
15 years ago

I’m snickering so filthily about “maestro de pelota de ping pong” to make any kind of sensible housing market comment :).

All I can think of is how a few years ago now, my brother-in-law’s best mate went to Thailand & sent my b-i-l a ping pong ball from one of his nights out at a club there. The enclosed card read, “Yes. It HAS been where you think”, bwahahahaaaaaa!! :)

kalisa
15 years ago

You know, we could afford more than we have, too, but maybe that’s why people are losing their homes right & left and we’re comfortably safe in our 3-bedroom.

I don’t know your neighbors, but there’s a good chance they’re moving DOWN and just don’t want to admit it.

MRW
MRW
15 years ago

I know what you are saying. Awhile back we realized that if we refinanced at a lower rate, we could take out enough to redo our kitchen and make it a lovely entertainer’s dream blah blah. After mulling and fretting and thinking about it, we decided not to pull the trigger. We are just doing a straight refi to lower our payments because this way I could afford the mortgage on my salary alone if necessary (my husband is in commercial banking). A beautiful kitchen would have been nice, but it still would have been covered in all of the crap we manage to spread all over our current kitchen because unfortunately a kitchen remodel doesn’t seem to come with a family personality remodel as well ;-)

vague
15 years ago

God, that dream house is gorgeous. I am going to be inserting that into my rich-and-fabulous fantasies posthaste.

Christy
Christy
15 years ago

The windows and great view in the dream house might actually draw your eyes upward, meaning visitors would be less likely to notice toys scattered all over the floor. Yes! We also live in the Seattle area and would love to find a house with a bit more room, but selling our current house seems like a lot of work.

Leslie
15 years ago

Oh the whole should we move thing/should we stay put thing just makes me head hurt. We would of course like to upgrade too because there’s going to be a serious problem when our boys get bigger and start stomping their size 13 feet around our little place. Ugh.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

Oh how I wish we could buy a bigger house, ours is soooooo small.

Tina
Tina
15 years ago

My first thought: Helllo, lovah! I’ll take that house too.

My second thought: Who the hell is dumb enough to suggest a bedroom with a private entrance for a teenager? Over my dead body.

mnerva
mnerva
15 years ago

Most likely I am biased, but I think your kitchen kicks the crap out of the dream house’s kitchen. And the carpeting in the master bath? Wrong, just wrong. And was that bar hanging in the master bath an open closet? Ick. The views are breathtaking though, I must admit.

Lisa V
15 years ago

LOVE that house, and the people that are whining about the kitchen? Get over it. It’s beautiful and open to the rest of the house.

If your neighbors afford that through genital ping pong, well then it pays a lot more than it used to. :)

angie
angie
15 years ago

We have a happy accident arriving in September, to add to the other two, so we decided to sell our house and upgrade. Living in a house with two small children while suffering through first trimester ick has almost brought me to my knees. What is worse, however, is having the offer we accepted on this hosue last week terminated one day after we put an offer on our dream house. And that news was imparted to us during the same phone call from our realtor this afternoon. Can you say double whammy?

Wait, don’t these things happen in threes? Crap.

Melissa
Melissa
15 years ago

Tough decision but it might not hurt to contact a real estate agent and see what they think. Could they sell your place quickly? How much? etc. I so, so, so hate showing my home and open houses….plus, dear god, packing and moving with children – but it might be worth it if you will be more comfortable in a new place where you can build more equity. I have no knowledge about your area but we have a tremendous amount of building going on in our town. We couldn’t sell our home if we wanted to right now. There are too many other brand new tricked out places to choose from. But if you can manage it, it really does seem to be a buyers market. Either way – it’s fun to dream about it.

nancy
15 years ago

I’m up for Holly’s idea.

oh an
color coordinated closets mmmm.

But realizing that if someone color coordinated my closet it would be like
blackblackblackblackblackblackblackblackblack, grey, khaki, brown, and about 5 randomly assorted colored shirts that I practically never wear. The black just beckons, and it makes the 2nd trimester belly look cute not gargantuan.

Jennifer
Jennifer
15 years ago

How can that “dream house” be only $750K with that kind of view in Seattle?? Or did I miss a decimal point somewhere, shouldn’t that be a couple million? With that view and all the decks and the woodsy lot… damn woman, go for it!!

Also since you live close to Microsoft I’m sure your house would sell, perhaps chit-chat with a familiar local realtor and find out whether things are moving or not?

clarabella
clarabella
15 years ago

The windows in that house are OBSCENE, but carpet in the bathroom?!? Deal breaker.

mixette
mixette
15 years ago

Hmmm…I like the Sundry Dream House a whole bunch.

Lots of cool young couples are trading up to get a bigger place for kids, a yard, schools, etc. and putting killer places like this on the market:

http://tinyurl.com/dbb8n4

I am so seriously tempted.

sooboo
sooboo
15 years ago

Nice house but I think the baseboards are a tad too thick for my taste. Just kidding. Actually I was thinking about how much you get for 749k up where you are. It’s a lot of money, to be sure. In L.A., in a decent area, that house would still be a mil, even in the current market. And, there are no views like that in L.A. You are pretty lucky to live where you live.

TUWABVB
15 years ago

I wasn’t interested in the gorgeous views or the breathtaking atrium or the grand staircase. What did it for me? The pull-out chopping board where the current owners store bread. I’m sold!

katie
katie
15 years ago

the house is nice. BUT.THE.KITCHEN. i hate when houses are so expensive, but have the ORIGINAL kitchen. that is the most expensive room to remodel. so you would have to consider that too. a little paint here and there and baby gates, the other stuff can be fixed. but $50k for a remodel? yikes.

Liz
Liz
15 years ago

Is that house for real only 750K? What the F am I still doing in Manhattan? Wait, I’ll answer that–hoping that if the real estate market implodes enough, we might get a 2-bedroom condo for under a million. NORTHWEST, I AM COMING.

Kate
15 years ago

Liz – That was EXACTLY my reaction.

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

The renovations you have done to your home must have increased its value. On the other hand, the economy has tanked the inflated value of homes caused by corrupt finance, so you might want hang on to the gem you have until its value appreciates a little more. Then again, if you can get a dream home for less than the inflated price it would have been a year ago, go for it and barter away.

-R-
-R-
15 years ago

I don’t care what anyone else says. The dream house has a STAIR ATRIUM. OK, it’s just a skylight above the stair case, but how awesome is that?!

Sarah
15 years ago

Dude! I drove by this house just the other day and collected the flyer! It is pretty, to be sure, but it is not a kid-friendly place. Crap schools, no nearby parks to speak of, no yard, etc. Also, every third house on that street (and it’s a long one!) is for sale, which strikes me as more than a little weird. I spend a lot of time cruising around different cities/towns/neighborhoods with a napping Elliott in the car and that many for sale signs wigged me out.

Michael T.
Michael T.
15 years ago

Yeah, sorry, but I have to chime in on the “dream house” hate. Just not my particular style, really. Plus, keeping stark-white walls, enormous windows, and seemingly-untouched-by-actual-human-feet carpet clean with two pets and two kids just SCREAMS mental breakdown.

Besides, the entire house looks like a cardboard box from the outside. PASS.

Oh, and 1978 called the house; it wants its decor back.

Kristi
15 years ago

Thing 1: That Dream House is an AWESOME deal – seriously. Even with the needed kitchen and bath updates! I wonder how much it would cost/yr to clean those windows?!?

Thing 2: Bigger is not always better. Did that 2 years ago and while I love our current house, I still think fondly (and monetarily) of Old, Small House.

Sundry
15 years ago

Man, I LOVE the outside. BOX = GORGEOUS. PASS GO! Or, DO NOT PASS — uh, whatever. Shut up.

Also, I’m not sure if I’ve made this clear, but I’m not actually buying the Dream House. So . . . you know, there’s that.

(Sarah: crap schools? Because the local high school to that house: http://tinyurl.com/cbaddb scored way the hell better than our local Bellevue school did. But maybe I don’t know what you mean by “crap”.)

Blythe
15 years ago

I love checking out houses that I’ll never live in. It’s fun to dream. I find the more I see the clearer my ideas about what I want for myself become.

(And, for some people, it’s apparently fun to critique real estate. Yikes!)

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

Nice house, killer view.

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

When my wife was looking for a better house what we found is that even if the payment is the same our taxes would more than triple to almost $600 a month. That is a killer.