Author Topic: Should we make the move?  (Read 1380 times)

patchyfacialhair

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Should we make the move?
« on: August 18, 2022, 03:42:44 PM »
Figured I'd get my thoughts from the group:

Current situation: 2700 sqft finished mcmansion, built 1999, plus an unfinished basement, corner lot, cul-de-sac, the suburban dream lol. No HOA. Zillow says it's worth $620k but who knows. We'd clear $200k or more after selling expenses probably.

Potential new house: 2500 sqft, historic home, built sometime in the late 1800s, two stories plus a basement, no garage to speak of, and the lot is TINY at 2500 sq ft itself, so no potential to expand/build garage. Price is probably around $650k. Seemed well maintained.

Why are we considering this?

1) Oldest kid is going to Pre-K at a new school that goes Pre-K-12. The new house would be a 6 minute drive to school while I'm currently looking at 20-25 minutes.

2) It's in my wife's favorite neighborhood in town. We chose our current home and bought in 2017 in a different part of town to make her commute better. She went permanent WFH in 2019 before the pandemic, and will likely stay that way. I am WFH and will probably be more hybrid, but the new house would be 12 minutes drive to my employer vs my current 8 minutes.

3) It's your typical historic district with mature trees, close biking distance to downtown parks and restaurants, and generally bike friendly in the immediate area. The current house is in suburb mcmansion hell and biking infrastructure is lacking.

What are my hesitations?
1) New house is basically built out, has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. For both of us working from home, wouldn't be ideal, but in reality, she'll have a permanent working space, and i'll have to figure something out. So no room to change things up, expand, build a garage, whatever.

2) TINY lot in the new house. 2500 sqft. Weird that this is a hesitation, because I hate maintaining my current yard, but I worry as my kids (5 and 1) get older they'll want more grass to run around. Currently it's well maintained and would be a breeze to keep up with.

3) No garage. Have I said that already? There's a shed for tools and stuff, and a small single car driveway space, and ample street parking, no permit needed. I just hate the idea of scraping off my car in the winter. I've gotten spoiled with having a 3 car garage for my two cars, with the 3rd bay being for tools and junk.

4) Extra housing costs. Not sure about utilities, but the mortgage itself would be about $1200 more maybe? Plus who knows what the maintenance increase would be given that it's a much older home. Of course this would be offset by far fewer miles driven, and we're considering selling my wife's car. You can pry my minivan from my cold dead fingers. But let's assume that she won't want to sell her car, since she hates the shaggin wagon.

So I ask the group:
What am I not thinking of?
From the people who have downsized with 2 kids, did you regret it?
From the people who went from yard to small yard, did you regret it?
Is this just dumb in this volatile time? I hate throwing away a 3% interest rate for a 5% rate, but the driving sucks.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2022, 07:40:03 PM »
It sounds like pros are:
--less driving to school
--more desirable neighborhod

And the cons are:
--it already sounds cramped (at 2500 sqft?! Could some space be repurposed?)
--no garage
--tiny yard (may be a plus or a minus)
--way more maintenance, and likely much higher utility bills
--way more interest payment

As romantic as it sounds, that doesn't sound like a favorable exchange to me. I think you've hit all the big issues. IMO, higher interest rates haven't yet taken a bite into home prices as much as I expect.

FWIW, we lived in a 1100sqft (+garage) 3/2 until we had four kids. I wasn't WFH, and it was getting cozy, but it still worked. We repurposed our formal dining room into an office, had the baby sleep in our oversized closet, and our daughter's bedroom doubled as the play room

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2022, 08:10:12 PM »
Yeah the size of the house is for sure smaller. We have a 2 story house now, great layout, 2700sqft finished two story. Basement unfinished so room to grow.

The potential is a total 2500 sqft which includes the finished basement. So each level of this house is smaller than what we’re used to.

I think we have our heart set on the location and I think we just need to wait for the right house. If this same exact house had a garage  and a slightly bigger lot we would’ve pulled the trigger.

HPstache

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2022, 08:12:32 PM »
I would not do it, find a newer house in the area you like.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2022, 10:19:03 PM »
Yeah, I’d definitely hold out for a more suitable house in the location you want. The small lot & lack of garage (or ability to even build one) would weigh pretty negatively in my book. The age of the place would also scare the hell out of me, but I do get the appeal of a historic place.

GreenFrog24

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2022, 08:52:23 PM »
To offer some perspective, my wife and I and two young kids live in one of the most walkable / bikeable areas in our first ring suburb that borders the city. We can walk to almost any daily task, and tons of bike routes to pull the kids around on adventures, or any time my wife and I have a date, we are off on our bikes, exploring and trying new coffee places, breweries, etc. We love where we live and our kids seems to like it but are pretty young. The trade off is that our house is much smaller than most friends and family (many who live farther out in the suburbs and have huge, nice homes - which is great - to each their own!). Our house is 3 bed / 2 bath / 1800 sq ft. We do have 1 car detached garage and for our area an actual backyard, but it's small compared to farther suburbs for sure. The house is 1930's build, a few updates but a lot of things in the house that aren't ideal. So not really your exact scenario but figured I'd share. This is the only house we've owned together.

But given the interest rates, no yard, etc, it is a tough call. Maybe keep looking but wanted to offer my thoughts about loving where you live, even if the house itself isnt perfect.  And in 5 years maybe my thoughts change, who knows. Good luck!

Jon Bon

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2022, 06:50:05 AM »
I think you should move closer to school, but not to that house. I am sure another one will show up soon.

We live about a 5 minute walk from my kids school, and let me tell you its fantastic. I am too the point where I just hate having to drive places. Living in a close in walk able neighborhood is totally worth it for our family. Despite the tradeoffs in expense and house size. We just added on to get to 2000 sqft 4 beds and 3 baths.

Good luck out there.


patchyfacialhair

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2022, 07:39:41 AM »
Appreciating the insights from everyone. It certainly is that trade off of size for location for sure.

The house hasn't sold for over 2 months now, combo of price too high and no garage/small lot for sure. We're in a holding pattern and are just going to wait for a better opportunity. Last weekend we also drove every street in the neighborhood and further narrowed our search.

Our goal is to end up with around 2000 livable square feet, a 5000 sqft lot, and at least one garage bay, ideally two, not on a busy street. What's funny is there is another house for sale now that meets all except the busy street requirement. And boy is it a busy street, plus a city bus stop right in front of the house, not ideal.

JupiterGreen

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Re: Should we make the move?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2022, 06:50:41 AM »
Appreciating the insights from everyone. It certainly is that trade off of size for location for sure.

The house hasn't sold for over 2 months now, combo of price too high and no garage/small lot for sure. We're in a holding pattern and are just going to wait for a better opportunity. Last weekend we also drove every street in the neighborhood and further narrowed our search.

Our goal is to end up with around 2000 livable square feet, a 5000 sqft lot, and at least one garage bay, ideally two, not on a busy street. What's funny is there is another house for sale now that meets all except the busy street requirement. And boy is it a busy street, plus a city bus stop right in front of the house, not ideal.

I'm glad to hear you didn't buy the house, hopefully something comes up soon. Keep us posted.