Buying a house is about one thing only, location, i.e. location, location, location. The problem being that the houses we want aren't where we want them or priced like they are where we don't want them. That is why shopping for a house sucks.
My family and I currently live in a modest bungalow in the old part of the suburbs. While I joke that the house is falling apart, it is actually quite sturdy. In fact, my wife and I (with some help) almost have our house just the way we want it. As our family grows, however, we envision our wants changing.
The problem started when I bought the house. I was single and planned on only using the first floor. I had met my future wife only three weeks before I put in an offer on the house but not less than a month after taking possession, we were engaged. It quickly dawned on both of us that I had made a huge mistake; I had bought a house just for me when we should have been buying a house together.
Now we are at a cross-roads. We know we want a larger home for our growing family, but we do not want to bust our budgets paying for it. We want to live a child friendly area. We want a historic home with four bedrooms, original woodwork, built-ins, a 2 car garage, full insulation, a large kitchen, a wrap around porch, and space for a home office. Hence, we are picky.
It is easy to be picky. My wife and I agree that most new homes have crappy floor plans. In new homes, the bedrooms are too close to the living rooms, the master suite is too far from the childrens' rooms, there are too many bathrooms (which get expensive at $10,000 each), and the whole open floor plan means more noise and confusion. Older homes are usually renovated into disasters; split into apartments, garages converted into living spaces, tiny kitchens, and no real repairs. Worse yet, trying to find open land to build on without entering into a restrictive covenant.
This last weekend my wife and I found a
gorgeous old four square. It is located across from a park in a quiet little town a mere 15 minutes from my office. No restrictive covenants, no bad renovations, and a great floor plan. The pictures speak for themselves. We have toured a dozen or so homes and reviewed hundreds (if not thousands) of listings. This is a bona fide find.
The location in a small town not only results in a lower price, it also means less danger. This type of historic home abounds in the big city, but the sorry bastards/gentrification minded heroes who live in the city's historic neighborhoods suffered three shootings over the last weekend. I doubt this little town has ever had a shooting. If we ever move to such a bastion of serenity, I might even forgo my plan to implant little guy with a satellite tracking system.
When I was in third grade, my dream house had a helicopter pad on the roof, a submarine bay, machine gun nests, and its own video game arcade. Cost was not an issue then but it sure the heck is now. My wife ran some numbers on the historic small town home. We could buy it, but there wouldn't much money left for anything else. So we put practicality over the dream and decided to forgo this one of kind beauty.
Our house search did not end in bust. We now know what type of house we want, and we know that a house like it will be available again (with another round of exhaustive searching). It is nice to have a concrete goal to work towards. Maybe we'll be ready next year. Maybe sooner, maybe longer. Until then, we will keep saving and keep dreaming.