Monday, March 9, 2009

Running around, completely paralyzed

Fair warning, I'm back on the house buying/selling thing. Yes, I'm completely neurotic.

Here's the thing: I feel like this is such a huge decision that we're completely paralyzed with the fear of making the wrong choice. I mean, it was a big decision when we bought our first house, but we knew it was a starter house...that we'd be looking to move in 5 or so years (it's been 7 years). We were okay with making some trade-offs, like having less closet space than we'd like, or living on a busier road than we would have preferred. We knew that we'd only have to live with it in the relative short term.

Now we're trying to buy our FOREVER house. But as everyone knows, you can never find the perfect house. You always have to sacrifice some of what you're looking for. It just seems like such a bigger deal now, though.

Part of the issue is we're not sure where we want to live. We're looking in the town just north of where we live now. It's very similar in feeling to where we live currently. Very much a suburb...subdivisions and plazas aplenty. We don't dislike this area, but we aren't in LOVE with it, if that makes any sense.

We're also looking in the more western suburbs. It's still suburb-y, but more rural as well. Everything is more hilly and spaced out and...idyllic looking. It appeals more to us. But, to be honest, we've never lived anywhere like that. Would we miss the convenience of having three grocery stores within 10 minutes of our house? Of the relatively high number of restaurants and shops available? The convenience in general of having most of what we need close by?

And then the uproot factor comes into play. If we choose a town close to where we currently live, we don't have to change anything. The boys' preschool, our doctors, our friends: things might be slightly further away than they are now, but not unreasonably. If we moved a half hour further west, it would be far enough that we'd really be starting over. We'd have to change everything. Which is scary, though we've done it a number of times before, and it's always been kind of exciting as well as nerve-wracking.

It's confusing. As I said, we're having trouble making this decision that will have such a far-reaching affect on our lives.

Oh, and I'm also flipping out about taking on a bigger mortgage than we have now.

On the plus side, we found a house we like in the close town. Of course, there are a number of negatives, though: it REALLY would max out our budget, it only has 3 bedrooms when we'd really like 4, it is on well water, it has a ridiculously large master suite (completely out of control, and not at all what we need or want...the wasted space of it just makes me angry!), it only has one garage space. There are actually good things about the house (quite beautiful, beautiful, quiet lot, bigger than we expected to be able to afford), but as I said, we're finding ourselves completely overwhelmed and unable to commit!

Part of me wants to say, "Well, we're having doubts for a reason. Better pass this house by". The other part of me yells, "You're NEVER going to stop having doubts about any house, and you'll never find another house this nice! Don't be an idiot! Make an offer!"

Who knows.

Of course, ha, ha, our current house hasn't sold. It's not getting a ton of interest, either. Only one "second look", and the couple ultimately decided they didn't like that there are duplexes in our neighborhood. What? It's weird the things people will latch onto as a negative.

It'll all work out.



LauraC said...

I'm not sure what to say on this one. We were planning to take our time buying our FOREVER house. And then I found out at 18 weeks that I was having twins. Eeek. We at least knew where we wanted to live, so that helped narrow it down.

When we walked into our house, it was OUR HOUSE. It felt exactly like home and it was/is perfect. Within 10 minutes, I knew it was The One. It has felt like home since we moved in.

Three years later, the only thing we would like to change is to have more room in our living room. One day we'll take down the wall between the living room and playroom but other than that, it has everything we wanted/want.

But I'm not sure it happens like that for everyone. And we had tons of pre-planning done: knew the area, knew what we could afford, had a list of deal breakers, etc.

In retrospect, it is insane that it took us exactly one week to find a house and make an offer.

Mommy, Esq. said...

Laura lives in the south where they throw square footage at you. After moving into my house a couple of years ago I can say that if you think you need things like a 4th bedroom and second garage spot and maybe a bonus playroom then you really do. I wish now we had an "open" layout (or at least a little more open), slightly bigger bedrooms and second bath and DEFINITELY two garage spaces but that might be because the driveway only fits one car and we have an overnight street parking ban in winter. Okay, long comment short. This is a buyers market. This isn't House Hunters - you don't have 1 weekend to find a house. Take months if you need to. Buy something you'll love but definitely think about the mortgage cost - try to keep it under 60% of your take home montly salary if possible. We assume salaries increase but my husband took a pay cut recently (everyone at his company). Good luck.

Mary Ellen said...

aaaaah! Stress!

Since you don't have a buyer for your house yet, I would totally wait and look some more for your dream house. The house you've found sounds okay for me, but not great.

I'd like a fourth bedroom too... We have three -- and I'm all for kids sharing -- but if we had four, we could have sharing and a spare room! For guests! It would be so civilized. We might even give them matching towels ;)

About the preschools thing, ugh... I completely feel your stress. But it's temporary, right? I mean, eventually they'll go to elementary school and that's like six, sometimes seven years if you're K-6 (hopefully, no more than that...) and so it's probably better to move where you like the K-12 system. If there's a difference at all between the two areas.

Me, I like the country in theory, and on Sunday afternoons, but I do like to get to the Target and ice-cream aisle without it taking all morning...

Mary Ellen said...

Oops, I meant to say the house sounds okay for YOU, not ME...Sigh. It's hard being totally self-centered...

Jeanne Estridge said...

Given that your house hasn't sold, and the spring market hasn't really started yet, do you need to be in a hurry?

Anonymous said...

i got all excited when you talked about heading west. then i realized you didn't mean THIS far west ;).

i know that if i were in your shoes, i would want my dream house to appear and our current home to sell tomorrow (actually, make that yesterday). i am sooooo bad at waiting.

having said that, you're in control of your own destiny here (so to speak). take your time; it will all come together.

Unknown said...

It will all work out... the only thing that bother me is that it is 3 bedrooms when you said you wanted 4....

Aside from that , are you LOVING it?

I actually like have a mastersuite... (they don't have them here in Norway...but Bjørn made sure we had it... when we built last year....) good to get away from the kids...

Good luck!

Heather said...

you will find your forever house...and you'll just know when you find it. you'll be able to look past the small things you might need to change to realize it will all be worth it. don't freak out...eventually you will find it.

we knew the second we drove up the driveway to our house. and even then, we didn't commit to it for another 5 months. but after continuing to look at other houses none compared. and we knew that even though the house was perfect, we'd be willing to make the improvements that'd be needed to make it the home we'd want it to be...