Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Looking for an upgrade

on January 4, 2011

As you might have read in Samantha’s post a few weeks ago, our family moved around fairly often when we were kids. I haven’t kept pace with Samantha in the last few years because in 2005, my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I purchased a condo. At the time, it didn’t make much sense to us to throw money down the drain in rent. With the way prices had been  going at the time, we also wanted to lock into something before we were completely priced out of the market. What I wouldn’t give now for the benefit of hindsight back then. As we all know, the market has crashed and houses are worth much less than what they were purchased for just a few years ago. Alas. Nevertheless, we soldier on, and now we’re thinking of moving again.

Essentially, my commute pretty much sucks. I’m just shy of 2 hours door to door. I walk and take the train so it’s not as bad as if I’d have to drive, but leaving at 7 and getting home at 7 makes for a long day. We’d like to find someplace where I can shave a bit off my commute, without adding too much to Darren’s. We’re also outgrowing the condo. Well, truth be told, it was always a bit small for us, but we’re ready for some storage space and a second bathroom. And what we’d really like is a yard. A little patch of grass to call our very own. Someplace where we can set up a grill and BBQ to our hearts content.

Looking for a house is a lot different than looking for an apartment. With an apartment, it’s easy to take a chance. If your landlord is terrible or you decide you don’t like the area, you choose not to renew your lease and go find something else more suitable. Unless you have a wealth of disposable income, you don’t really have that luxury with a house. Plus, you have to be aware of a lot of additional factors: is it in a flood zone; what are the property taxes and how often do they increase; is there anything on the property that could become a problem like buried oil or septic tanks; how well has the house been maintained – does it need a new roof, plumbing, HVAC, etc. I don’t think our next house will be our last house, but we’ll probably be there for several years, so it also makes sense for us to check out the schools since eventually we plan on having rugrats.

Add to that the challenges of selling our current place in this kind of market and the whole process gets to be overwhelming. Despite all of this, I am looking forward to our next move. Our current place is more or less a glorified college apartment. We did some painting but didn’t do much else to make it feel like ours. I’m looking forward to finding a place that I love and personalize it so it feels like home. I’m also far overdue for a purge. The nice thing about moving around so much when I was younger was that every few years I was forced to go through all my things and get rid of what I didn’t need. Without this enforced purging mechanism, I have a tendency to hold onto things far longer than I should. It’s time to get rid of all this baggage and start fresh. I’d like to say that sometime later this year I’ll have a post about my brand new house, but given the market, I think it’s best to take things one step at a time.

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