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Reality Knocks

So we've been thinking recently that our house is no longer just right for our family needs.  The space worked great when we were the parents of a six year-old and a two year-old, and even a ten year-old and a six year-old.  But now we're the parents of one teenager, and it won't be that long until we have two teens.  We need a different layout, a way to separate our world from the kids' world.

With this in mind, we've looked at a few houses and thought about putting our house on the market.  We did the paperwork last week, and made an offer on a house.  Bet even then the whole thing seemed like an experiment, you know?  It didn't seem real. 

Well, today we got a counteroffer on the house we're interested in buying.  We have 48 hours to respond.

Suddenly this feels VERY real.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
urgh. Good luck. Personally I'm never moving again. Going straight from where we are now to the grave...
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm thinking that's pretty smart right about now, but Nanc is getting very excited about moving....
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
sending sympathy vibes... beep beep beep...
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
There's always another house. That's what I learned. We let a couple pass us by when we were looking, ones that we liked. But there were counter-offers and it got beyond what we were comfortable with. In the end we got a house that we liked better than any of the others anyway.

I'd also figure it's a buyers market there, so something better may very well come along.
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Sound advice, Jonathan. Thanks. The one mitigating factor is that this is a small, small, small town. The market here is fairly static, so when a desirable house comes along you need to jump on it. I'll keep you posted.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
I like the way this man thinks. Send the kids off and THEN break out the good stuff. Very smart indeed.....
Feb. 18th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
Good luck, however it goes! Remember, if you don't get this house, you'll find another one. Last time we went looking, we put in offers on two houses we liked before finally buying a third -- which was the best house of the three.

So if the counteroffer isn't good, don't be afraid of making a counter-counteroffer, or feel bad about turning it down entirely.
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
"We have not yet begun to haggle!!" Actually, their counter offer was pretty good in many ways (not so good in others), so we're working on our counter to their counter. I feel like I'm writing a fight scene....

Thanks for the advice, which echoed Jonathan Strahan's above. As I say there, the limiting factor in all of this is the size of our town. It's just so small that houses don't come available that often, at least not ones that fit our needs.
Feb. 18th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
Well, I like your house, of course, but didn't somebody wind up putting one in what was an empty wooded lot next door?

You should totally go all in on the mountain man thing. Move way out in the county, get off the grid, no neighbors in site. Trust me, two teenage girls would LOVE that!
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, when you saw this place I think ours was the only house for a quarter mile. There are now three clustered around us.

I love the idea of going off-grid, if only for what it would do to my teenager's facebook/Napster habits. She'd be jonesing in no time....
Feb. 18th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
The two houses we loved here in Atlanta didn't become ours. One went too high in the counteroffers and the other just didn't happen. The spring after we moved into our new home a tornado went through the area. Our home had a single small branch in the yard. The other two lost parts of their roof. There's always a reason why things happen.
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
A cautionary tale if ever I heard one! Buy a place with a storm cellar....
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
Best wishes, may the decision you make bring much happiness for years to come!

Edited at 2009-02-18 02:05 pm (UTC)
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jagi!
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Not that I am one for giving advice (especially when unasked), but I just wanted to make an observation. You might want to avoid getting a big house one a 30 year mortgage when your teenagers are likely to be moving out in 10 years or less. You could be left with a big house, big mortgage, and a lot of extra rooms.

I guess I am too much a realist sometimes. Feel free to ignore me.
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
That's good advice, Mark, and something we have considered. The house we're looking at is not so huge that it would be a hardship down the road. As for 30 year mortgages, we want to have some debt (more than we will if we don't move) when the girls go to college. Why? Financial aid. If we're debt-free by the time our younger one is 18 (which is about where we'll be) we'll have a hard time getting aid.
Feb. 18th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Have thought that the desire to move is directly proportional to the period of time since the last move.

Right after moving, we say we'll never move again. Then, 5, 10, 15 years later we say we can't wait to get out of this house.

As a dad, I think the bizarre analogy is the first 3 months after having a child. It seems, at the time, to be the most difficult thing ever (not to mention labor for the wife) and then awhile later they start talking about having another. Memory is fleeting and pain tends to fade over time. Good thing.

Good luck with the reality thing. We just moved a year ago. And, I don't ever want to move again. Still, ask me that question in 5, 10, 15 years...

Have you looked into the question of selling or renting your current home? While house prices are down and it's a good time to buy, would it be preferable to hold onto the current property rather than sell at current market value?

As for "going off-grid". Didn't you just sign up for Twitter? Maybe it wouldn't be your daughter "jonesing"? ;)

Finally, is renovation an option? Where you convert part of the current property to add extra space? Either by turning the garage or basement into a teenager's 'hideaway' or adding an out building or, heaven forbid, adding a second story to a single-story home? Yeah, that's months out of a house while it's being done. Just cringing at the whole concept of a "move". 5, 10, 15 years... :)
Feb. 18th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the questions and insights. We did look into building on, and if the purchase/sale fall through may well go that way. But the cost of building on versus the gain that would bring us didn't make as much sense. As for renting, no we need the money from the sale of our current house to make the purchase of the new one possible.
Feb. 18th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
"need the money from the sale of our current house"

How is the housing market in your area? We had a house built in 2007 and, because we couldn't sell the old house, we had to rent it. I suppose if we wanted to lose quite a bit we could have sold it, but that didn't seem like a smart idea either (not that moving before we sold the old house was a smart one). So, we have two mortgages. Fun eh? I don't suggest it.

If you're willing to take a hit on your current house, I suppose that would work. Either way, I wish you luck. (I hate moving! :-))
Feb. 18th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
As I've said in other comments, the market here is always limited. But by the same token, this is a university town, and the school includes a Seminary with a 3-year graduate program, so a few people are always moving in and out. Yes, housing here has taken a hit, but compared with other places, we're doing all right. Still, it's no sure thing that we'll sell out house, in which case we won't be able to buy the new one.

Thanks for the good wishes. I'm not looking forward to the move, but I have to admit that my trepidation is mixed with some excitement.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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